THE ORDERING AND INTERPRETATION OF LAB-WORK IS A MAJOR PART OF MOST NATUROPATHIC TREATMENT PLANS. MANY TESTS ARE STANDARD SERUM BLOOD TESTS THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD FROM YOUR TRADITIONAL PHYSICIAN. SOME TESTS ARE PREVENTATIVE OR INTEGRATIVE. ANY NECESSARY LAB-WORK WILL BE DISCUSSED AND ORDERED ON YOUR FIRST VISIT.
General lab-work: the most common lab-work. Often your naturopath will either order this for you or look at the labs ordered by your traditional physician to help you to formulate a wellness plan. Many times, lab-work deemed “normal” by your traditional physician might give us clues naturopathically how to support you in optimal and preventative wellness. The following are the most common labs that will be ordered or reviewed by Dr. Whittington:
- CBC (Complete Blood Count)
- Chemistry Panel
- Fasting lipids
- Thyroid panel: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Thyroid Antibodies, as needed
- 25-OH-Vitamin D
- Fasting Insulin
- Serum Ferritin
- Other specified testing as needed
Integrative lab-work: There are a few lab tests that are considered “alternative,” or “integrative” that might have been recommended for you. These are deemed “alternative” simply because traditional physicians typically aren’t recommending them; naturopathically, we glean a lot of information from them which can drastically decrease your symptoms.
Food Allergy Testing: measures your reactivity to the 150 most common food allergens. Food reactivity has been linked to such common complaints as headaches, migraines, skin manifestations such as psoriasis, and GI disturbance (gas and bloating, IBS symptoms, constipation). It is nearly impossible to determine what your food allergens are without this blood-work simply because allergens can produce symptoms up to 4 days after you have eaten the food (by the time you have a symptom you have eaten four days worth of food). This is not the same food allergy testing that might have been performed by your traditional physician. That test likely only tested IgE antigens (a by-product produced by your body when it is reacting to an immediate allergen); delayed food allergy testing measures IgG antigens (a by-product of delayed food allergies). IgE is responsible for anaphylactic-type reactions, IgG is responsible for the reactions listed above (GI disturbance, skin disturbance, etc).
Cortisol, DHEA: measures adrenal function. The human adrenal gland secretes steroid hormones. The hormones are actually released in a cycle with the highest value in the morning and the lowest value at night in a 24-hour cycle called the circadian rhythm. An abnormal adrenal rhythm can influence many functions of the body including energy production (an abnormally low level of cortisol in the day can lead to fatigue), sleep disturbance (a high level at night can lead to insomnia), weight-gain (a high-level of cortisol throughout the day leads to weight gain), and dysfunction of the sex hormones and related symptoms. DHEA is a pre-cursor to the sex hormones and proper levels are needed for proper lean tissue building and the production of the sex hormones.
Hormone testing: measures some or all of the sex-hormones: testosterone, DHEA, progesterone, estrogens, FSH, and LH. It is sometimes necessary to obtain an estimation of your levels of sex hormones in order to properly adjust them using bio-identical hormones.