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Functional Diagnostic Lab Tests

Updated: Mar 12

Part II of the Functional Lifestyle Journey

If you’re currently experiencing chronic discomfort in or around your body, a good way to begin your return to a healthy balance is by working with a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P) like me.

Here's why: Unlike other nutritional coaches, an FDN-P has the ability to order functional lab tests directly, which prove to be incredible tools in helping to analyze the root cause of your discomfort and work with you on healing opportunities to reduce the stress your body experiences and heal from dis-eases.

There are many functional lab tests available, but three are common practice: the GI MAP Stool Test, the MRT Food Sensitivity, and the DUTCH Hormonal Test. You can also find your unique Metabolic Type. The specific ins-and-outs of these tests can get a bit technical and science-y, so let’s take a closer look at what these tests look at in simple terms.

What is the GI MAP stool test?

GI-MAP Stool Test
GI-MAP Stool Test

The Microbial Assay Plus (GI-MAP), short of Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus, is an FDA-approved stool lab test that is considered the most sensitive and accurate stool test available ,and you can conveniently perform at home. Utilizing state-of-the-art Quantitative PCR technology, it delves deeply into your microbiome with remarkable sensitivity. This comprehensive test identifies microbes that may disrupt the natural balance of your microbiota or contribute to various illnesses, while also revealing insights into digestion, absorption, inflammation, and immune function.

While virtually anyone can benefit from a GI-MAP assessment of gut health, I typically recommend it for individuals experiencing the following conditions:

  • Autoimmune diseases

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

  • Digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation

  • Brain fog

  • Skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis

  • Mood disorders like depression and anxiety

  • Severe food sensitivities or intolerances

By undergoing a comprehensive stool test like the GI-MAP, we can thoroughly investigate potential underlying causes of your health challenges.

This test looks at the level of pathogenic bacteria, parasites, viruses, opportunistic organisms, normal flora, and fungi found in your stool sample. That’s right, we’re talking about what’s found in your poop!

In other words, this test is really good at analyzing your base gut bacteria levels and genetics to determine what stressors your body may be prone to.

DUTCH Hormone Test

The Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones (D.U.T.C.H) is an advanced assessment tool designed to explore the intricate realm of reproductive hormones and their metabolites, pinpointing areas of hormonal imbalances with precision.

Among the women and men I encounter, many are juggling multiple roles as dedicated mothers or driven professionals, often prioritizing others and their projects over their own well-being. These demanding circumstances can significantly impact hormone levels and cortisol production.

Cortisol, our body's primary "stress response" hormone, is secreted by the adrenal glands through a process known as the Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal-Axis (HPA-Axis) cascade. The Dutch test offers insights into adrenal health by analyzing the diurnal (daily) cortisol pattern, assessing cortisol production upon waking, midday, evening, and before bedtime, allowing us to detect potential HPA-axis dysfunction. Additionally, the DUTCH test examines cortisol metabolites in urine, offering a comprehensive view of how your body metabolizes cortisol.

Furthermore, the Dutch test provides a detailed breakdown of sex hormones, shedding light on how your body processes and eliminates them, while also offering insights into your methylation capacity. This valuable information informs dietary adjustments and potential supplementation recommendations to optimize your hormone pathways.

What does the DUTCH test analyze?

DUTCH Hormones Test
DUTCH Hormones Test
  • Progesterone and its metabolites

  • Estrogen and its metabolites

  • Androgens and their metabolites

  • Cortisol, cortisol metabolites, and cortisone

  • Creatinine

  • DHEA-S

  • Melatonin

  • Neurotransmitter markers

  • Nutritional organic acids for B12, B6, and glutathione

Why consider taking the DUTCH test?

  • If you're dealing with infertility

  • If you struggle with fatigue or sleep disturbances

  • If chronic stress is a concern

  • If you have conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, PMS, irregular or painful periods

  • If you experience symptoms of anxiety, depression, or mood swings

  • If you're feeling unwell without clear answers from traditional medical testing.

What is the MRT test?

The Mediator Release Test (MRT) is a blood test designed to assess your body's responses to over 170 foods and food additives. Developed by Oxford Biomedical Technologies, Inc., this patented test offers valuable insights into food sensitivities.

This article will delve into the foods and additives that can be tested, the mechanics of the MRT test, expectations during testing, interpreting the results, and the subsequent steps involving the Lifestyle, Eating, and Performance (LEAP) elimination diet. Additionally, it will discuss alternative methods of food sensitivity testing that may be available.

To learn more about MRT, check this blog-post

What are Food Sensitivities?

Food sensitivity is a term frequently utilized interchangeably with food intolerances, although it lacks an established medical diagnosis. Food sensitivity refers to an immune system reaction to food or food additives that doesn't reach the severity of a life-threatening food allergy. While reliable blood tests for detecting food sensitivities are lacking, food allergies are typically diagnosed using blood tests that measure immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. IgE antibodies are blood proteins produced by the immune system to recognize and neutralize foreign substances.

Are there other wellness tests available?

The use of certain lab tests is based on your unique set of symptoms. An FDN-P like me can help guide you to pick the best testing regimen for you.

Here are some other tests and what they measure:

Thyroid: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, TPO, TgAB, Reverse T3

OAT: Organic Acids Testing

SIBO: Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth

MWP: Metabolic wellness profile (measuring levels of indican, total bile acids and 8-OHd, key metabolic markers of digestion, detoxification and oxidative stress.)

MBA: Mucosa barrier permeability

Wellness Panels: for men, women, heart health, energy levels, brain function, mineral & methylation.

Metabolic Typing

Metabolic Typing is method of interpretation the “body language,” or the evaluation of any number of the hundreds of different traits and characteristics that make one person distinct from another in terms of:

  • physical appearance

  • anatomical or structural traits

  • psychological characteristics

  • personality and behavioral traits

  • food reactions and dietary preferences

Metabolic Typing along with MRT food sensitivity test give you a complete list of foods that are good for your body. You'll be amazed how this system works.

What comes next?

After the results of your lab testing come in, I’ll get straight to work on your specialized nutrition and lifestyle program. Learn more about the D.R.E.S.S. protocol in Part III of the Functional Lifestyle Journey.

Are you ready to hear more about me?

Schedule a free consultation with me and start exploring how you can help your body healing.

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