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. The test I use most often is the GI Map Test which asses intestinal flora, infection, inflammation and digestive function. The cost of this test is £295.
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 IgG antibody (and possibly IgA antibody) reactions to over 100 foods. Elimination of indicated foods often results in improvement of symptoms. Prices range around £200. I do tend to advise clients who come to see me for a face to face appointment to start with the kinesiology muscles testing which is included in the consultation fee. This is an excellent tool for assessing food issues. Blood tests can then be ordered also if desired.
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. I use the excellent DUTCH tests to assess hormone levels. These not look at levels of hormones in the body, but also how efficiently those hormones are being detoxified. This is so useful in then being able to target nutritional and supplemental support. The DUTCH Complete Test is £286.
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. I use the DUTCH tests again to assess adrenal function. Cost is £205, or adrenal assessment is included in the DUTCH Complete for £286. Thyroid hormones, antibodies and key nutrients required by the thyroid can be assessed via a simple finger prick blood test. The cost of this is £99.
Functional Blood Analysis
A comprehensive blood test is an excellent way to assess many aspects of health in one hit. When analysed in a functional way (i.e. not just looking for out of range markers, but looking at the general trends in blood markers), a simple blood draw can shed light on issues such as microbial overgrowth, toxicity, nutrient status, hormones and inflammation. This is a great test to start with if symptoms are multiple and it is difficult to see what the obvious underlying issues are. Prices range from £179 to £360.
Organic Acids Test
The OAT test is a profile of 73 organic acids found in the urine. It is another broad and very useful test for getting an overview of what is going on in the body. By analysing the organic acids it is possible to evaluate intestinal yeast and bacteria, neurotransmitter levels, detoxification markers and status of certain vitamins and minerals. Cost £256.
Testing DNA can be useful for assessing susceptibility to certain diseases, inflammation, detoxification issues, food intolerances and nutrient need. It can also help reveal the right type of diet for an individual – are blood sugars and insulin easily imbalanced by sugars, is dietary fat metabolised well? These factors can be helpful for fine tuning dietary advice. DNA tests also give an insight into the right kind of exercise for an individual. The test I most often use which gives a good overview of all these variants costs £199.
Kinesiology Muscle Testing
I use Kinesiology testing in clinic to assess possible underlying health issues. All clients who come for a face to face appointment will receive a Kinesiology assessment. Read more about Kinesiology here.
When I recommend Biochemical tests
I will only recommend additional biochemical tests such as those mentioned above 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 agreement. Having said this, it can be useful to start a consultation process with a test such as the OAT or the Functional Blood Analysis. The results of both of these can give a good overview of health and can help to direct my Kinesiology investigations. If a client is engaging in online appointments only, biochemical tests may become more necessary to investigate underlying imbalances.