So, you want to know what the secret is to elevating your health and well being but, you don’t want to hear a typical response such as “Eat clean, workout, get sleep and reduce stress.” While, yes, that stuff is vital, sometimes it’s just not enough. Trust me, I hear you and completely understand. You see, I’ve dealt with digestive issues and chronic inflammation my whole life. It’s been a long journey for me, and I’ve got the information you’ve been looking for. Its all about owning your body’s data. This has been life changing for me. We can use data about our bodies to tell us an array of things. By collecting data about yourself, you become the boss of your body. You become the expert on yourself.
Functional Medicine Lab Tests
Lab testing is foundational to functional medicine, and for a good reason. It can show you what the potential cause of your symptoms may be and if you are headed towards a disease. A comprehensive blood panel is a good place to start especially when it includes the use of functional medicine ranges (versus pathological lab ranges). The pathological lab range is used to diagnose disease; the functional range is used to assess risk for disease before disease develops. With functional medicine blood testing, it screens for some diseases and can catch a trend toward an illness while there’s still time to reverse it. Many types of lab tests are available in functional medicine.
Here are a few examples of lab tests that are very useful in functional medicine, which one you may or may not need will depend on your symptoms and health history.
- Comprehensive Blood Panel -is a series of blood tests that give your doctor a snapshot of your body’s chemistry and the way it is using energy.
- Hormone Test – The entire endocrine system works in unison to manage the level of hormones circulating throughout your body, and if one or more is even slightly imbalanced, it can cause a slew of health problems.
- DNA Genetic Test – Genetic testing delivers insight into disease risk and genetic metabolic variations that affect health. With the information gained from Nutrigenomic testing, the goal is to fill the genetic gaps and supplement what you cannot make and build a “Multi-Vitamin” specific for your genes.
- Adrenal Test – This test reveals the relationship between your health and stress handling. This is important because when we are in a “flight or fight” mode for an extended period, which the majority of us are, many imbalances in our bodies occur because our bodies are so busy handling the adrenal stress there isn’t any energy left for the simple and most basic things our bodies need to do.
- Mediator Release Test (MRT) – This is the most complete blood test for food sensitivities (not an allergy test). MRT gives insight into inflammation provoking foods and food chemicals. If a food you regularly consume causes inflammation, and you do nothing about it, it can and will contribute to chronic health disorders.
One in three U.S. adults has high blood pressure. Health researchers predict that by 2030, about 41.4 percent of US adults will have hypertension, an increase of over 8 percent from 2012 estimates. Blood pressure is an integral part of everyone’s health because high blood pressure contributes to many forms of cardiovascular disease. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or conditions related to high blood pressure, you should be charting this essential data. One blood pressure measurement does not provide enough information as it only tells what your blood pressure is at that exact moment. A record of readings taken over time offers a “time-lapse” picture of your blood pressure that can help you partner with your physician or holistic doctor to ensure that your treatments (or diet change) to lower high blood pressure are working.
Measuring your first-morning urine pH gives a good indication of your body’s mineral reserve and its acid/alkaline state. This is an easy and inexpensive way to test your acid/alkaline balance. I use Hydrion test paper which shows a pH range of 5.5 to 8. Ideally, the first-morning urine pH should be between 6.5 to 7.5—a more or less neutral pH indicating that overall cellular pH is appropriately alkaline and that the small amount of acids built up from normal metabolism have been easily concentrated for excretion. Cellular function is best when the body is in an overall alkaline state. Levels consistently below 6.5 indicate metabolic acidosis. Low pH also suggests mineral deficits, because minerals are pulled from bone and body fluid during metabolic acidosis to buffer and reduce acids and maintain pH within a healthy range. At the other end of the spectrum, morning urine readings that are consistently greater than 7.5 represent “false alkalinity,” and indicates a catabolic state involving tissue breakdown.
Keeping a journal of every bite of food, drink, and supplement you put in your body probably sounds like a hassle to most people. However, food journaling has proven to be a significant identifier of food intolerance and sensitivity. Luckily in this day and age, we have access to apps that simplify this process. My new found favorite app for this exact purpose is called Cara. This app allows you to journal your food, supplements, bowel movements, workouts, water intake, emotional state, stress level, bloating/gas, stomach pain & more. Once you have spent a few days tracking this information, it can show you the correlation between the food you eat and how you feel. You will see that on your good days you ate “ABC” and on your bad days you had “XYZ.” Food journaling is an excellent tool for people who are having a hard time pinpointing what foods are causing issues.
Did you know that keeping an eye on your body temperature trends provides essential insights into your health and fitness? The most obvious and popular reason for checking body temperature is to test our current health – if you’re getting sick, elevated body temperature can be one sign of it. However, long-term temperature tracking can give insights to our body over a period. For example, it can be a great tool if you’re trying to get pregnant or if you are trying to prevent it. On a physiological level, tracking temperature by graph would show how in the pre-ovulation phase, when estrogen hormone is at its peak, body temperature slightly reduces and reaches the lowest point as you get closer to ovulation. Post ovulation, when progesterone levels rise, body temperature increases and peaks around the mid phase, dropping again towards the end of the cycle. This is just one of the benefits of tracking your temperature.
Here is a list of a few other things you can learn by keeping up with your body temp:
- Potential Pregnancy
- Thyroid Function
- Fitness Training & Recovery
The bottom line is that the number of illnesses and diseases reported in people today is increasing at an alarming rate. Why wait for it to get worse before you start taking action? Timely diagnosis can make a difference between life and death and whether or not you are living your best life.
Do you own your data? What do you keep track of? Leave a comment below!