by Glen Depke, Traditional Naturopath
The mess I am talking about is referring to testing in functional medicine and the mess is not knowing what to do, and when to do it.
After all, there’s so much to consider.
- Adrenal saliva testing for your stress hormone system
- Stool testing to look for pathogens
- Urine testing for chemical, environmental or heavy metal toxins
- Blood testing for food sensitivity (and know which one)
- Urine testing for leaky gut
- Breath testing for SIBO or small intestinal bacteria overgrowth
So what’s a person to do?
What should you test?
When should you test?
Does it matter what you look at first?
What the heck do I do?
Most people would think to test where you are feeling your most significant symptoms.
I know, it makes logical sense, and how many times in your life has something seemed logical, only to find out there was a better way to go about that?
Let me give you an example of what I am talking about.
Let’s say that you are dealing with some significant problems with your gut. Pain, discomfort, bloating, issues with bowel movements, and the list goes on…
A friend of yours told you about how her practitioner confirmed that she has Leaky Gut, and it sounds as if you are dealing with the same symptoms. It may make sense to test for Leaky Gut, or does it?
My advice is to always look back.
So if you have Leaky Gut, why do you have Leaky Gut?
Is it because you have some type of gut infection, such as parasites, detrimental bacteria, yeast, H-pylori and the list goes on?
Is it because you have a food sensitivity that has not been uncovered?
Is it because you have SIBO?
Or can it be because you’ve lost the underlying ability to maintain a healthy intestinal lining AKA, mucosal lining?
So you see what I’m talking about in regard to this being a mess?
Let me make sense of this for you…
- Even if you have a gut issue, I still look at your stress hormone system first. Why you may ask? Because this system, technically referred to as your HPA Axis (previous referred to as adrenals), plays a direct role in the health of your intestinal lining, immune regulation, pro and anti-inflammatory response and more, all of which affect all of the underlying conditions that could lead to Leaky Gut. I always use a #205AE w/CAR & SIgA for this testing.
- After this, you want to get to the bottom of what’s caused the damage to the gut lining. This could be due to either gut infections as mentioned above, SIBO, or both. An experienced practitioner will help you decide if it is more important for you to test for SIBO or to use a stool collection to look for infections. This is a key because either of these will be the most likely factor for your development of inflammation in the gut, eventually leading to Leaky Gut. I use a #401H GI Screen for gut infection testing and a #910-C Breath Test for SIBO.
- Once you have addressed your HPA Axis and helped your body overcome SIBO, gut infections, or both, now you should look at what foods you may be sensitive to. I used to look at this earlier and now I look at the infections first because the gut infections can play the most significant role in regard to your sensitivities. For this test I use an Array #4 – Gluten Cross Reactive Food Sensitivity testing, which looks at both and IgA and IgG response. Note, I will typically ask my clients to give up wheat at the beginning if there are deeper health issues, as this is most often a give in.
- After you’ve been working on balancing your stress hormone system and have address either your gut infections, SIBO, or both, now it’s finally time to assess Leaky Gut. Honestly, at this point it would be extremely likely that you are dealing with Leaky Gut, and you still want to test so you have a baseline of where you are at. After all, after working on assisting your body on overcoming Leaky Gut, you of course want to see your level of results, and you can only see this if you have a baseline. For this test, I always use the #110 – Intestinal Permeability urine testing.
- Now you are finally at the point where you can assess likelihood of toxicity. I know, I know, most practitioners like to look at this at the beginning, claiming that you’ll never get better with all those toxins in your body. Simply put, most people are not health enough at the beginning to go through a detox, with some significant symptoms and you generally want to wait on this until you have some level of overall improvement in your health. For this test I always use a Urine Porphyrin testing. And at this point in your health journey, you’re likely in a much improved space to address toxicity.
Now while this is the most common path I would take with a client and obviously recommend, there may be some variances at times.
If you are reading this today, Tuesday May 15, 2018, I am presenting a training for Hawthorn University Students and Alum that you can view if you want to get deeper into this to understand the depth of how this can help you overcome your health issues.
Click here to register for tonight’s Hawthorn University training!
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