Computerized Blood Chemistry
Computerized Blood Chemistry provides an understanding of nutritional information based on lab reports. Once the values are input, the program compares them to healthy values and correlates the blood components for an accurate assessment of nutritional needs.
The program lists recommended products and a description of the recommended products. It is a valuable teaching tool to help understand blood.
Blood testing: Functional ranges versus lab ranges
Do lab tests say you’re perfectly healthy even though you suffer from fatigue, brain fog, hair loss, digestive issues, joint pain, or other symptoms that make you miserable? Does your doctor give you a prescription for antidepressants or tell you to seek therapy because your problems “don’t exist”?
Many doctors dismiss people’s health complaints because they order incomplete testing and only look for full-blown diseases instead of trends toward disease. For instance, a fasting blood glucose of over 100 mg/dL can identify a risk for diabetes long before the blood sugar reaches 126 mg/dL for a diabetes diagnosis. Or more complete thyroid testing can explain hypothyroid symptoms when a standard test shows results are “normal”.
Functional medicine uses ranges for good health, not disease
Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of symptoms instead of overriding them with drugs or surgery. One tool we use to accomplish this is to interpret blood tests using functional ranges, which outline the parameters of good health.
On the other hand, the ranges most doctors use are based on a bell-curve analysis of all the people who visited that lab over a certain period of time, many of whom are very sick. Also, lab ranges have broadened over the last few decades as health of the American population has declined. As a result, more and more people with health problems are told they’re fine when in fact they have a health dysfunction.
Do you really want to evaluate your health based on all the sick people who visited your lab, or do you want to look at what constitutes good health?
Looking for patterns instead of at individual markers
Because functional medicine is based on an in-depth knowledge of human physiology and how different systems in the body work together, we also look at markers in patterns instead of just individually. By doing this, we can see how different systems in the body influence one another to cause a constellation of symptoms.
For instance, by looking at different white blood cell counts, we can see whether an immune reaction is chronic or acute, and whether a virus, a bacterial infection, allergies, or parasites are causing it. Other patterns can help us identify fatty liver, leaky gut, different types of anemia, or even a possible autoimmune disorder.
Functional blood chemistry consists of more thorough testing
Because we like to look at a more complete picture, the functional blood chemistry panel also typically includes more markers that standard blood tests. For instance, many doctors only look at TSH, a basic thyroid marker, when screening for hypothyroidism. However, in functional medicine we know that Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland, is responsible for 90 percent of hypothyroid cases in the United States. Therefore we also test thyroid antibodies to screen for thyroid autoimmunity, as well as other thyroid markers for more information.
Also, a functional blood chemistry panel can help us know what other tests may be necessary, such as a gastrointestinal panel or further testing for anemia.
Principles of functional medicine
Once the potential problems or risks have been assessed, the functional medicine practitioner uses a variety of science-backed, non-pharmaceutical approaches to restore health. These include:
- Adjustments to the diet
- Lifestyle changes (such as eating breakfast, proper sleep hygiene, physical activity, or reduction of stress)
- The use of botanicals or nutritional compounds to improve physiological function
- Other natural medicine approaches customized for the patient based on lab testing