TESTING: WHAT TO EXPECT
Lab testing is an important part of medicine as it gives objective reasons why something may be going wrong or why a particular treatment is necessary to undergo. Testing can also give important feedback to see if treatment is working the way we expect. As a licensed naturopathic doctor, Dr. Amy Kroeker, ND is licensed to run general blood chemistry tests such as iron, ferritin, vitamin B12, liver function tests, thyroid tests, kidney function tests, CBC's, electrolyte tests, etc.
If your medical doctor has already run these tests, we can requisition them from your medical doctor by getting you to sign a release of records. This helps us not have to repeat lab work and it saves you having to pay to get type of testing done privately through Dr. Kroeker, ND.
Other types of testing available include several specialized tests that give a much more detailed look into various systems in the body that may not be available through your medical doctor. Some of the most common types of lab testing available are outlined below:
Food Sensitivity Testing
This test is a blood test run through Meridian Valley Labs (MVL) that tests for IgG antibodies to different proteins in the most commonly eaten foods. Symptoms of food sensitivities that may indicate testing include cognitive/mental/emotional/neurological symptoms (ADHD, depression/anxiety, foggy brain, migraines), digestive symptoms (IBS, constipation/diarrhea, gas/bloating, food cravings), skin symptoms (eczema, hives, rashes, acne, rosacea), respiratory symptoms (asthma, hay fever, ear infections), autoimmune diseases (lupus, Crohn's, colitis, rheumatoid arthritis), musculoskeletal symptoms (joint pain, arthritis, gout, fibromyalgia), or general symptoms (fatigue, fluid retention, PMS, leaky bladder or interstitial cystitis). As you can see, there are many varied symptoms and it helps to know what a person should and should not eat based on your own body's reactions.
Here is a link to the basic sample report from Meridian Valley Labs.
Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis
Evaluating what is happening inside the digestive tract can seem complicated. Your medical doctor may have done a test for blood in the stool or a test for parasites in the stool or he/she may have referred you to get a colonoscopy or endoscopy or ultrasound or CT scan. Sometimes, however, the problem isn't in the lining of the gut so you can't see it with a scope. Sometimes the problem is the environment within gut and the stool; the actual microorganisms and enzymes and inflammatory markers released on a microscopic level. This is where this test really shines and is worth its weight in gold. Because the scopes or the CT's or the commonly run stool tests do not look for or assess dysbiotic bacteria that can cause severe digestive symptoms (gas, bloating, constipation, IBS, diarrhea, frequent bowel movements, etc.). Once the more serious conditions have been ruled out, if you still have symptoms or are given a diagnosis of IBS, this test is definitely one to consider.
Here is some patient information regarding the stool test.
Comprehensive Metabolic and Cardiovascular Profile (LPP Plus)
You may have heard recently that the commonly run cholesterol panels are not the indicators of cardiovascular disease we once thought they were. You may also have heard some reports that cholesterol is actually a necessary factor in the body and the brain. And yet, when you are diagnosed with high cholesterol and urged to lower it, how can you be more certain how much of a risk you are at for cardiovascular and metabolic disease? Or, you may have normal cholesterol levels but also have a family history of heart attacks or stroke or diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Did you know that 50% of heart attacks happen in those with normal levels of cholesterol? Did you know there are 4 different types of the bad cholesterol, LDL? (2 of these are riskier than the other 2 for developing plaque in the arteries and leading to increased risk of heart attack and stroke.)
This cardiovascular profile digs deeper to answer some of these questions and give us a better assessment of your risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke. It tests for:
whether your body is sufficient in heart protective omega-3's
insulin levels (these rise long before blood sugar levels increase and show diabetes)
types of LDL (specifically the 2 most risky types)
Lp(a) (a genetic high risk factor for cardiovascular disease that requires more strict control on cholesterol to manage)
hs-CRP (a marker of inflammation within the vessels)
a full cholesterol panel (total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL)
HDL 2b - bouyant - a protective cholesterol marker
Here is a sample cardiometabolic report from Spectracell Laboratories. The omega check report is not shown in this sample.
Month-long Hormone Testing - saliva
Heavy Metal Testing - urine
Stress Hormone 4 Point Cortisol Test - saliva or urine
Organic Acid Testing
If you want to test for which neurotransmitters in the brain are low (such as serotonin in depression) or high, there are very few ways to assess this. We cannot take a sample directly from the brain and many brain chemicals are different within the brain and outside the brain due to the blood brain barrier. Urine testing of the metabolites of neurotransmitters is currently one way to test what is happening in the brain from a chemical perspective. When it comes to treating depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other neurological disorders this type of testing can be extremely beneficial so that treatments can be tailored to each individual and to reduce the risk of side effects.
The test also tests for digestive bacteria and yeast metabolites, nutrient/vitamin status in the body and which vitamins you specifically need to supplement with, detoxification markers, whether your body is effectively metabolizing and creating energy from the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that you are eating.
Here is a sample report
Here is a brochure on the importance of organic acid testing.
Environmental Toxin Testing - phthalates, parabens, etc
Comprehensive Thyroid Testing
Thyroid dysfunction occurs in approximately 25% of women in North America and the number keeps growing. When testing for thyroid conditions, it is important to keep in mind that if you have symptoms of low or high thyroid function and if your numbers are within the normal limits on basic testing, more comprehensive testing should be done regularly. A complete and comprehensive thyroid test includes the following:
TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
Here is a sample report from Meridian Valley Labs.
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