While physical exams are necessary and incredibly useful, evaluating lab tests can help our doctors get a full picture of what’s happening to your body.
In order to find the root causes for your symptoms or disease, we utilize a variety of conventional lab tests to appropriately evaluate cholesterol, cardiovascular health, cancer screening, hormonal balance, and more. When necessary we can order standard imaging studies including X-rays, Ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI’s, and Bone Mineral Density evaluation for you.
In addition to conventional lab testing, we also utilize a variety of specialized laboratory tests that evaluate functional disorders that are often misdiagnosed or left untreated. Examples include salivary hormone testing, adrenal function testing, food allergy/sensitivity testing, comprehensive digestive analysis, micronutrient testing, genomic testing, and heavy metal testing.
Salivary Hormone Testing
Balanced hormones are an essential part to living a balanced life. Hormones are the communication messengers that tell our body how to operate on a cellular level. Our hormones influence everything from our digestion, metabolism and sexual function. When our hormones are out of balance our quality of life diminishes and the impacts are widespread.
Men and women often come to us wondering why they have “hormone-related symptoms” with blood tests that show that their hormone levels are within normal range. The answer lies in whether or not the appropriate type of laboratory testing was used. Steroid hormones such as cortisol, estrogens, progesterone and testosterone are mostly bound to carrier proteins in the bloodstream. Serum (blood) tests measure the level of these bound hormones. However, hormones are only available to act at the cellular level and exert a specific effect on the body when they are unbound. Unlike serum (blood) tests, salivary hormone testing measures the levels of the bioavailable (unbound) hormones and can properly identify hormone balances missed by serum testing and can identify hormone imbalances before symptoms appear.
Adrenal dysfunction is one of the most common hormonal health disorders that we see as naturopathic doctors specializing in hormone health. The adrenal glands are the cornerstone of hormone health; when adrenal function is compromised we see a decrease in immune, digestive, and cognitive function as well as disruptions in hormone balance.
Common symptoms associated with compromised adrenal function include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Fatigue not relieved by naps or sufficient sleep
- Trouble falling asleep
- Craving for salt
- Physical fatigue or lethargy
- Low sex drive
- Decreased ability to cope with stress
- Frequent illnesses or prolonged recovery time from illness
- Feeling dizzy when you stand up
- PMS or hormonally related mood swings
- Feeling terrible if you skip a meal or have a small meal
- Fuzzy thinking, poor concentration and poor memory
Saliva hormone testing is considered to be the single best lab test for detecting compromised adrenal function. Unlike serum (blood) or urine testing, salivary testing gives us a more complete and comprehensive way to diagnose adrenal dysfunction and also allows us to treat it much more effectively. By measuring the level of cortisol at 4 different time points throughout the day, salivary testing helps us assess whether there are disruptions in the normal circadian rhythm and this allows us to use the right therapies to treat your imbalance in a more targeted way.
Food Allergy/Sensitivity Testing
Did you know that what you are eating could be the reason why you suffer from hay fever, arthritis, IBS, or a myriad of other health problems? While we tend to think of allergies as the classic presentation of hives and swelling of various body parts, signs of allergic reactions and sensitivities to various foods can present as everything from headaches to fatigue to eczema to neurological symptoms.
How do you know if you have sensitivities to certain foods?
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to determine whether a person is sensitive to a particular food item. One reason is that the signs and symptoms of food sensitivities are widely variable and can often present hours later or even the next day after consuming the food that is responsible for triggering an inflammatory response. Another reason is that many foods that cause reactions for many people are so commonly consumed (wheat, dairy, eggs) and thus it can be difficult to identify which food item(s) are the culprit. To make matters more confusing, we can acquire allergies and sensitivities throughout our lives – which means that even though we have been eating a particular food for years without any ill effects, the same foods may now be responsible for triggering an inflammatory response in your body and causing your discomfort and undesirable symptoms.
By identifying food sensitivities and eliminating those foods from our diets, we can begin decreasing the level of inflammation within the body and begin to address the root causes of our health issues and finally become well. At Tru Health Medicine, we can help identify any food allergies or sensitivities you may have and provide dietary guidelines that will put you on a path toward greater health and vitality.
Complete Digestive Analysis
You are what you eat?
At Tru Health Medicine we like to say that you are not only what you eat but also what you digest and absorb from what you eat. A healthy diet is essential for health, however, proper digestion and absorption of nutrients as well as proper elimination of waste products is equally important. Having poor digestion can negatively impact many aspects of your health and result in poor immune function, changes in mood (including depression and anxiety), headaches, joint pain, allergies, inflammation, and fatigue.
At Tru Health Medicine we believe good health starts with good digestion. We offer comprehensive digestive analysis tests that can help identify the causes for your gastrointestinal symptoms. Causes for common gastrointestinal complaints such as reflux, abdominal pain, bloating, indigestion, constipation, and digestion include:
- Food sensitivities
- Parasites (including H pylori)
- Bacterial overgrowth
- Insufficient stomach acid
- Decreased pancreatic function
- Inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn, Ulcerative Colitis)
- Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity
Are you getting the nutrients that you need in order to feel your best and be your best every day? How would you know? At Tru Health Medicine, we believe that a healthy diet is essential but that our body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients is equally important. Even if you are conscientious about what you eat and follow a healthy diet, you may be deficient in some vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and/or other essential micronutrients and not even know it. Research shows that nutrient deficiencies are common and that 50% of those who are already taking supplements have deficiencies. Prescription medications and disruptions in digestive function can also cause nutrient deficiencies.
Many of our patients have questions about their supplements: Are they taking too many supplements or not enough? Are they taking the supplements that their bodies need for greater health? Micronutrient testing can help answer some of these questions and is an invaluable diagnostic tool that can help identify nutrient deficiencies that may be obstructing your health and overall wellness. This test measures your body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients through a comprehensive analysis of vitamin, mineral, amino acid and antioxidant levels. This blood test tells can help identify if you have a deficiency in any of the above and help determine an appropriate treatment for how to correct it. By identifying any existing deficiencies, you limit unnecessary spending on costly supplements and invest in specific nutrient therapies that your body needs to increase your overall health and performance.
Our nutritional status is vital as a foundation for our overall health and performance and vitamin, mineral and antioxidant deficiencies have been shown to contribute to degenerative processes such as arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. With results from micronutrient testing, our doctors can help set you up with a customized plan to provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best while slowing down the aging process and helping prevent chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer.
Heavy Metal Testing
The presence of heavy metals in our environment is ubiquitous and frequently hard to avoid entirely. While most people are able to properly excrete heavy metals from the body, those who suffer from chronic conditions often have a hard time eliminating them efficiently resulting in a build-up of these toxic metals. Because heavy metals negatively impact the function of our nervous system, cardiovascular system, and immune system, the vague symptoms produced by heavy metal toxicity are often mistakenly misdiagnosed as incurable chronic conditions.
Some of the symptoms that are seen with heavy metal toxicity include:
- Chronic pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Food allergies
- Gastrointestinal complaints, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, heartburn, and indigestion
- Migraines and/or headaches
- Visual disturbances
- Mood swings, depression, and/or anxiety
- Unusual sensation in the extremities such as burning, numbness, tingling, or paralysis
Sources of chronic heavy metal exposure include mercury amalgams (“silver fillings”) in teeth, cigarette smoke, eating contaminated fish, living near a landfill, or living in a home that has lead-based paint. The most common heavy metals that humans are exposed to are aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury.
Testing for heavy metal toxicity varies but typically incorporates the use of urine analysis. Treatment options for heavy metal toxicity can vary but typically include a combination of nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle modifications, therapies that support and improve the health of your immune and detoxification system, and chelation protocols.
Genomic testing investigates how the genes that we inherited from our parents play a role in our overall health. Genomic testing looks specifically for gene variations called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), alterations in the chemical composition of your DNA that can play a role in immune system function, cardiovascular health, aging and longevity, and a range of other health matters. Specifically, genomic testing can determine how your genes impact your body’s ability to modulate immune and inflammatory activity as well as how well it can regulate the female hormones for bone health and your risk for osteoporosis. Other genomic tests can identify your susceptibility to environmental toxins and adverse drug reactions and determine whether you could benefit from therapies that improve brain and nerve function.
In years past we believed that the genes we inherit from our parents predetermine us to certain diagnoses or health conditions. Today, through the ever growing field of epigenetics, we now understand that how you live, breathe, move and supplement has a significant impact on the expression of your genes. With genomic testing options available, you can take your health into your own hands and take the steps needed to correct or postpone the onset of a condition or disease that your ancestors had.