Functional Lab Testing.
Naturopathic doctors like conventional medical doctors frequently use
laboratory testing to assess, diagnose, and monitor their patients. It is incorrectly
assumed in some circles that naturopathic doctors are trained to use diagnostic
methods differently than our conventional counterparts. Our training is comparable
and how we utilize laboratory testing is much the same. What differs is our
interpretation of the results.
In addition to recognizing abnormal values and treat accordingly, we take a functional approach to a patient’s results. This means that we often order saliva and blood tests that your family doctor would not. We also will evaluate a patient’s results from a perspective of ‘is this result the cause of disrupted normal body function’. For example a blood work result may fall on the low end of the normal range. While this appears normal in the absolute sense, the patient may
be experiencing symptoms associated with that lower value. A naturopathic doctor will assess whether this is something that can be gently re-balanced preventing progression of symptoms.
Additional functional testing includes hormone testing, food allergy/sensitivity (IgG, IgE testing), environmental toxin assessment, parasite testing, and heavy metal testing. With these tests a naturopathic doctor is not necessarily looking for an absolute value, rather they are assessing the extent of stress your body is experiencing by an imbalance. Results can facilitate a diagnosis
as well as demonstrate whether the body is functioning optimally. They can provide
information that may be overlooked in a typical laboratory test. Results of these
tests provide a direction for treatment to prevent disease and restore balance.
If you would like to know more or are interested in having our health evaluated in
this way, check out my website!