Biochemical tests can be a useful tool for assessing the underlying causes of health problems. Tests may involve either stool, saliva, urine or blood samples and are carried out by independent testing laboratories in the UK and US. Test kits are provided by post, full instructions for sample collection are provided and completed tests are returned via post for analysis.
During your consultation I may highlight any tests which may be useful. You then decide if you wish to proceed. Commonly recommended tests are outlined below, however please note that all the issues noted below can also be assessed with Kinesiology muscle testing, which I undertake as a standard part of most consultations. The advantage of this is that it is included in your consultation and incurs no extra charge, though additional biochemical testing may be useful in certain circumstances.
Yeast overgrowth, bacterial imbalance, parasitic infection, insufficient digestive enzymes, intestinal inflammation, low levels of intestinal immunity, food intolerances and leaky gut are all common underlying causes of digestive discomfort. These underlying digestive imbalances may also contribute to seemingly unrelated health concerns such as fatigue and skin conditions. Comprehensive digestive tests can help to determine the cause of digestive problems.
Food Intolerance Testing
Food intolerance (not to be confused with food allergy) is increasingly common. Allergies to foods such as peanuts and shellfish are well known and can result in severe reactions. However, milder intolerances to foods such as gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs and soy are also widespread, resulting in symptoms such as digestive discomfort, skin conditions, insomnia, depression, anxiety and asthma, to name just a few. These intolerances are difficult to isolate as symptoms can sometimes take several hours, or even days to manifest. Simple finger-prick blood tests can test reactions to over 100 foods. Elimination of indicated foods often results in improvement of symptoms.
Testing for gluten related issues is complex. The tests that I recommend to investigate reactions to gluten are from Cyrex Laboratories in the US. These amazing tests use a blood sample to differentiate between an autoimmune reaction to gluten (ie. Coeliac disease) and a less severe sensitivity to wheat or gluten. Cyrex also offer innovative testing for intestinal permeability and autoimmune disease.
Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers, carrying information from one organ to another. They are the reason we feel how we feel. An imbalance in hormones can lead to a variety of symptoms, from the more obvious such as PMS and menopausal symptoms, to the less obvious such as depression and insomnia. Certain hormone tests are available to indicate the general pattern of hormone balance in the body.
Adrenal & Thyroid Testing
The adrenal glands and the thyroid gland release hormones that help us to sustain energy levels, cope with stress and maintain body temperature and metabolic rate. Prolonged emotional, dietary or environmental stress can lead to fatigued adrenals, which may result in a drop in energy levels. Poor adrenal function is then just one reason why the thyroid gland may under-function, resulting in weight gain, difficulty losing weight, cold hands and feet, hair loss and dry skin. Low adrenal and thyroid hormone levels can help explain a myriad of symptoms and subsequent targeted nutritional and supplement strategies may bring considerable relief.
Tests can range from relatively inexpensive (£80) to much more expensive for very comprehensive tests (£300+). I will only ever recommend tests if the results will definitely influence nutritional and supplemental strategy. If I feel that a test would be useful than I will discuss this in detail with you at a consultation and will only order if you are in full agreement. The alternative to Biochemical Testing is in-clinic Kinesiology muscle testing that I undertake as part of a standard consultation.
Kinesiology Muscle Testing
I use Kinesiology testing in clinic to assess possible underlying health issues. Kinesiology can be especially helpful as a substitute for biochemical tests in areas of food intolerance, digestive issues (ie. yeast, bacteria, parasites), adrenal or thyroid function and supplement/nutrient need. Read more about Kinesiology here.