Alter Health Services

Advanced Testing utilized by Functional Medicine

Laboratory Testing

The laboratory testing done in Functional Medicine is one critical part of creating your personalized treatment plan.  When needed, draws for blood tests are done at an outside lab.  For other testing options such as blood spot, stool, saliva, breath, urine and DNA samples, these are typically collected in your home with a special kit.

The Bowel Function Test

Stool analysis that evaluates your ability to digest and absorb food, the presence and quantity of beneficial bacteria, harmful bacteria, and yeast. SIBO breath testing for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Problems in these areas can be the underlying cause for many clinical symptoms and conditions such as immune dysfunction, leaky gut, irritable bowel, fibromyalgia, migraines, emotional disruption and many more.

Nutritional Testing

There are special blood test measures vitamin and mineral levels inside your cells, which are more accurate than routine serum levels. This is can be an important basic screening for both the prevention and treatment of some medical conditions.

One of our favorites is the Urine Organic Acid test.  This test looks for disruptions in your biochemistry indicating functionally deficiencies in certain vitamins.  More importantly it also evaluates key metabolic pathways related to depression and anxiety, energy production and potential fungal overgrowth.

An Amino Acid Profile is a blood test to assess the levels of these protein building blocks that are needed to build healthy tissues throughout the body, such as hair, muscle, neurotransmitters and immune cells. This is important for people with hair loss, depression or fatigue, and especially useful for vegans and vegetarians to determine if you are getting enough protein.

Nutrient and Toxic Element Profile is a blood test that determines the levels of essential minerals in the body as well as toxic elements such as aluminum, arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury.

Hormone Evaluation

Adrenal Testing: This is an easy to perform urine test to evaluate adrenal function by measuring cortisol and DHEA levels, as well as others, throughout the course of the day.  This is especially helpful for those with excessive fatigue, inflammatory conditions, hormone imbalance, and weight issues.

Thyroid Testing:  Blood spot analysis of several thyroid related factors including thyroid antibodies gives a much more detailed analysis of thyroid function over conventional serum thyroid screening.

Female Hormone (Fertility) Level Testing: This is a saliva test to quantify estrogen and progesterone levels during the entire month long cycle. This is a powerful analysis in that it measures the entire cycle and not just one day.  Pre and Post menopause testing is also available and requires only one sample.  Fertility, hot flashes, irregular or missing cycles, headaches, emotional instability including PMS are just a few reasons this test has historically been so useful.

Bone Health Test: Another unique saliva based test that is simple to perform.  This test measures biochemistry given off by the bones.  Healthy bones and unhealthy bones give off different chemistry that can be measured.  This test does not indicate the thickness of bone but rather how robust the bones are. Combined with a standard bone density scan, this gives a better picture of bone integrity.

Food Allergy Evaluation

Food Allergy Testing.  This goes beyond the tests typically done by allergy specialists.  Much more in-depth than standard testing.  It can help identify food triggers for many health conditions including increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut, gluten sensitivity, and Celiac disease.  Testing can also identify cross reactivity to gluten free foods that still trigger a gluten like response.

Heavy Metal Testing

We use a special multi-hour urine collection to assess your total body burden of mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and many more. This goes beyond a blood test that can only measure current exposure.  This is especially useful for those with autoimmune conditions, severe fatigue, neurological symptoms, unexplained symptoms, or environmental exposure.

Anti-oxidant Status

Urine test to measure markers of free radical damage, which reflect your body’s level of anti-oxidants. This is important for anyone with neurological illness or symptoms, and as a basic screening to know if you need more anti-oxidants.

Genetic Testing

DNA testing: Cheek swab.  Metabolic pathway dysfunction can dramatically change how your body converts even basic nutrients into the proteins that form the tissues that form you!  Your DNA code is hard wired into you but the amazing thing is that your hardwired DNA can expresses itself differently, even moment to moment. Ever hear of identical twins having very different health situations?  Why?  It's because even though they are genetically the same, their DNA expresses itself differently due to environmental, emotional and nutritional factors, to name a few.

Cardiovascular Testing

Blood test and others that evaluate overall cardiovascular risk with comprehensive cholesterol (particle analysis), inflammation, and metabolic markers.  Cardiovascular disease is rooted in inflammation and the appropriate combination of testing will be customized for each individual situation.