Hi everyone! Dr. Connie here.
Typically, when a physician checks your blood chemistry, they are looking for abnormal labs or disease.
Then they take action if the results are abnormal.
How Conventional Lab Testing Works
Many labs won’t show positive markers until the disease has progressed enough to show up on the labs.
You may have significant symptoms that are causing suffering in your life.
So you’re “prescribed” meds to keep symptoms at bay and you “wait” until the disease progresses to a point where the doctor can do something about it.
That something is typically prescribing the correct medication for your disease.
Reference ranges are another issue. Typically, reference ranges are too wide.
For example, TSH is considered normal between 0.2- 4.5, however, there are many studies that indicate the body does not function properly when TSH rises above 2.5.
A study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2010 showed that the rate of miscarriage in 1st trimester pregnancy was almost double when TSH was over 2.5. (1)
I don’t know about you, but the conventional lab testing process seems very “reactive” and irresponsible.
Why wait until you have the disease to treat it when you can check various “health” markers which will help to PREVENT disease, and keep you from taking meds and also going in and out of the hospital?
This has been my soap box for a long time.
Why? Because many of you know, I was subject to this system.
The system waited until I was diseased to be able to treat it.
It’s a sick system.
We Only Test What’s Necessary
Since becoming a Certified Practitioner in Functional Medicine, I’ve been reflecting on a better way to provide PREVENTATIVE care for our patients.
Responsibility is great and it’s very important that we don’t make unnecessary strides in the practice of Functional Medicine.
But I do believe certain lab testing is necessary to track our HEALTH.
Mostly to stay one step ahead of the game.
I recently received a bill from the insurance for my labs and it was over $2300. Of course much of it fell on my deductible so I had to pay a couple of hundred dollars.
But my point is that those labs that are “standard” in the medical industry are inflated to the point of bankrupting those who have no insurance.
But if we do have insurance, then it provides a significant cost savings, up to 80%.
As a Functional Medicine Practitioner, many specialty lab testing companies are knocking at our door for business.
We’ve held out on performing testing until now because we wanted to make sure that if we do test, that knowledge is valuable in our patients’ treatment.
We also wanted to make sure that the cost made sense for our patients.
While we extend our actual cost to the patient, some labs are expensive.
Essential Specialty Labs
These labs can be taken depending on your symptoms and risks.
1. AVISE Testing
If we suspect Autoimmune conditions this test will provide us with DETAILED information on the prognosis and differentiate autoimmune conditions such as Lupus, RA, Hashmoto’s Celiac, etc.
2. Food Reactivity Screening
After the course of our signature Alkaline Detox Protocol, if the patient continues with symptoms, we’d like to go deeper.
3. Irritable Bowel/SIBO Screen
4. Comprehensive Stool Analysis
Assessing gut function is the most important pillar at Alkaline Wellness. This test looks for markers of inflammation and malabsorption which is essential for those with IBS, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and cardiovascular disease.
5. Adrenal Stress Profile
Allows us to measure adrenal imbalance, which is especially important for its impact on thyroid, autoimmune, fatigue, and mood disorders.
6. Organic Acid Testing
Allows us to assess metabolic function as organic acids are essential for proper detoxification pathways.
7. Comprehensive Hormone Testing
For both men and women, this test allows us to assess hormonal balance to determine if lifestyle changes, supplements, or hormone replacements are necessary to have quality of life.
8. Advanced Cardiometabolic Testing
Traditional testing is simply not adequate to understand the overall risk. This comprehensive testing reveals the true risks in order to make necessary changes in lifestyle as well as necessary supplementation to optimize health.
9. Heavy Metal/Essential Element Testing
We live in a toxic world. Such toxic elements can lead to autoimmune, gut dysfunctions, and various disease processes. If certain levels are out of the normal, then we can begin a chelation therapy to get rid of such toxins.
Essential Conventional Labs
You can usually get these tested by your primary Doctor and paid under insurance.
1. Essential Nutrients
Iron/Ferritin, Vitamin D, B12, Magnesium. These nutritional levels are not typically checked in a routine primary care visit. Our bodies depend so much on the “balance” of various nutrients including iron, vitamin D, B12 and magnesium especially because so many people are deficient in them.
Supplementation if you are deficient can be life changing. It’s magical what can happen when you provide your body with the necessary nutrients it needs to function at its best.
2. Complete Metabolic Panel and Complete Blood Count
3. Annual Physical Panels
There are two panels of labs that are always ordered at an annual physical. They measure a person’s electrolyte and hydration status, kidney-liver function, and blood cell values to assess for infection and/or anemia, clotting, etc.
4. Metabolic Markers
HgA1C, Fasting Glucose, Insulin, and Lipid Panel. Metabolic markers help to assess how you are metabolizing the foods that you consume. A basic comprehensive metabolic panel will be covered at your yearly physical at your physician’s office.
However, if your values are in the higher limits of normal, high, or abnormal, then we prefer to assess the advanced lipid panel to further understand in detail your actual risk for disease.
Many times, a patient may have high cholesterol, but upon closer examination, depending on your particle size of LDL, you may not be at risk.
Inflammatory markers like these are almost never checked at a routine primary care visit. hs-CRP is an inflammatory marker which can tell us the general inflammatory status of the individual. Slight increases in hs-CRP are associated with increased risk of physiological dysfunction that can manifest as cardiac events or even depression.
Homocysteine is an amino acid that requires methylated vitamin B12 and folate to be cleared. Elevations in this level are indicative of increased risk for stroke, heart disease, B vitamin status, ability to methylate, detox, and convert to neurotransmitters as well as trigger our cancer genes.
To emphasize the importance of ranges, there’s a difference between optimal range and normal range.
For example for vitamin D, the normal range is from 20-100 nmol/l, but we consider optimal ranges to be 55-80 nmol/l
Such testings as I previously mentioned are considered the most important. Based on your symptoms and goals, there are others we can check, however, certain testings are covered by your insurance through your primary physician.
We Want To Provide Healthcare, Not Sick Care
Our goal is to maximize savings and minimize unnecessary spending for our patients to help them regain their health and life.
Many patients are left confused and suffering because labs, tests, and scans are normal but they struggle everyday with physical, mental, or emotional symptoms that are keeping them from living their lives.
They have severe digestive issues, fatigue, pain, and brain fog that make it hard for them to stay productive in their lives.
They’ve gone to just about every specialist, some even to the Mayo Clinic only to leave puzzled with a growing list of medications to “try”.
Unfortunately, our current medical system is structured to treat “sick care”. And the truth is, “sick care” makes much more business sense for the healthcare practitioners than getting their patients healthy.
If we have healthy thriving individuals, hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies would be in a financial crisis.
At Alkaline Health, we believe in PREVENTION and actively empowering you to create health.
We understand our patients and their fundamental needs. At the core, our patients just want to be the best versions of themselves as mothers, fathers, men, women, student, professional, and want to look and feel good everyday.
Because prevention is not lucrative, insurances don’t cover the level of services that we offer.
What We Recommend
We believe you should get an annual physical.
Then we use those biomarkers to assess your health status. This allows us to dive deeper to understand everything from your health struggles to your health goals, and we order further speciality testing (only if necessary) to ensure we understand your health baseline.
Then we get down to the nitty gritty of creating a lifestyle program addressing the common struggles you have on a day to day basis, such as making choices on foods to eat, whether to exercise or not, if so which exercise, the practice of presence and mindfulness, etc.
Many conventional physicians are not trained to check specialty labs.
At Alkaline Health, we are trained in advanced lab assessment to use as a preventative tool to ensure optimal health for our patients.
I hope this is helpful to you. Wherever you are, you can likely request such testing and or get educated so that you keep your health under your control.
Remember, an ounce of prevention everyday is key in staying as healthy as possible.
Thanks for listening. As always, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and our podcast. Follow and like us on our social media channels, Lupus Rebel and Alkaline Wellness, and have a wonderful weekend.
See you next week!