At Vital Health we often recommend doing targeted, specialized lab testing to help us gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of your symptoms and to guide us in our decision-making for the best treatment plan. These are tests that are often not performed at a conventional practitioner’s office.
- Adrenal Function Testing
Adrenal testing can be done with an easy, noninvasive saliva test. Four samples are taken throughout the day to assess levels of DHEA and cortisol. Symptoms and conditions that indicate a need for testing include anxiety, back pain, cardiovascular disease, celiac disease, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), insulin resistance, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, migraine headaches, insomnia, obesity, thyroid dysfunction, ulcers, and a weakened immune system.
- Food Sensitivity Testing
Food sensitivities are different than food allergies. Food allergies are obvious, occur immediately after consuming the food, and have obvious symptoms (anaphylactic shock, hives, wheezing, etc). Food sensitivities can occur hours to days later, making them difficult to recognize. Many of these food sensitivites are caused by IgG4 antibodies. These antibodies can be measured in the blood. The most common food sensitivities are corn, milk, eggs, and wheat. Symptoms of food sensitivites include asthma, arthritis, ear infections, eczema, sinusitis, urticarial, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and gastrointestinal discomfort (including heartburn, gas, and bloating). Testing can be done via a blood draw or finger stick depending on the number of foods tested.
- Hormone Testing
Hormone testing may be done to assess current level of hormones via blood, saliva, or urine, or to reveal how different hormones are metabolized via the urine. Examples of hormones that may be tested include estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, DHEA, cortisol, melatonin, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), and prostate specific antigen. Assessing hormone levels and metabolism is an important factor in evaluating women’s and men’s overall health. The testing may provide valuable information for patients experiencing symptoms or conditions such as menstrual irregularities, pelvic pain, PMS, infertility, menopause/peri-menopause, fatigue, Breast Cancer (or family history of breast cancer), Osteoporosis, sleep disorders, depression, poor sex drive, poor sexual performance (e.g. vaginal dryness, Erectile Dysfunction (ED), or those looking to go on hormone therapy replacement.
- Leaky Gut Testing
Normally the gastrointestinal lining is lined with cells that are tightly situated together to provide a barrier from the outside world to our bodies. Sometimes our intestines can become damaged and our intestinal barrier becomes permeable or “leaky”. Causes of intestinal permeability (leaky gut) include intestinal infections, chronic ingestion of allergic/sensitive foods or toxic chemicals, a deficiency of secretory IgA, trauma, toxins from gut infections (such as candida), and use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) (such as ibuprofen). Leaky gut leads to an increased number of foreign compounds entering the blood stream, increases autoimmunity, and overwhelms the hepatic detoxification system (liver). These changes lead to a variety of health disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), multiple food allergies and sensitivities, inflammatory joint disease, chronic dermatologic conditions, hormone imbalances (such as estrogen dominance), and autoimmune disease. Leaky gut testing is easily performed with a breath test.
- Nutrient Evaluation Testing
Blood and urine testing can be performed to assess deficiencies in antioxidants, B vitamins, essential fatty acids, minerals, and amino acids. Testing can also indicate a need for digestive support and dysbiosis (an imbalance in bacteria and/or yeast) in the small intestine. Symptoms and conditions that indicate a need for nutrient evaluation include mood disorders (depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances), Fibromyalgia or fatigue, or any chronic health condition. Those looking to optimize health or improve sports performance would also benefit from this testing.
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Testing
SIBO can be evaluated with a simple breath test performed in your home. Up to 50% of women with pelvic pain have SIBO. Risk factors for SIBO include taking medications to decrease stomach acid (e.g. proton pump inhibitors), medications or medical conditions that slow the transit time (e.g. pain medications), stress, antibiotic use, Diabetes, intestinal adhesions, and low stomach acid. Common symptoms and conditions that suggest a need for testing include excessive gas, abdominal bloating, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, burping after meals, Restless Leg Syndrome, body aches, fatigue, and pelvic pain.
- Stool Testing
Stool testing may be done to assess digestive function, the microbiota (bacteria that live in the intestine), GI inflammation, and infections (yeast, bacterial, and/or parasitic). A healthy gut is essential for optimizing health. Individuals who may benefit from stool testing include those with symptoms or conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), any autoimmune disorder, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, mood disorders (anxiety, depression and/or sleep disturbances), and anyone experiencing any gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Toxin Exposure and Detox Pathway Metabolism Function
We are constantly exposed to toxins through our food, air, and environment. This bioaccumulation of toxins can lead to chronic health conditions such as autoimmune disease, neurodegenerative disease, cancer, diabetes, and accelerated aging. Some common symptoms of chronic toxic exposure include fatigue, infertility, digestive complaints, respiratory problems, a weakened immune system, chemical sensitivities, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, memory loss, numbness and tingling in hands and feet, tremors. and a loss of appetite. A few examples of toxins which can contribute to the development of health conditions include heavy metals (e.g. mercury, lead, cadmium), benzenes, bisphenol A, paragons, PCB, and phthalates. There are various ways to test the total toxic body burden, how these toxins are impacting one’s health, and how well someone is genetically capable of detoxifying. Methods of collection include blood and urine. The test performed and method used will depend upon your individual symptoms and past exposure.
Specialized blood, stool, urine, saliva, skin and breath tests can help assess adrenal function (stress levels), intestinal fungal, bacterial and parasitic growth, toxin exposure, estrogen metabolism, food intolerance and sensitivities, allergies, nutritional deficiencies, and hormone levels and ratios.