Functional Nutrition labs tend to be different than what your doctor may order. But we can get so much important information out of them! If you wonder why your doctor doesn’t order certain labs or panels, or why they say everything looks “normal” even when you don’t feel quite like yourself, you may want to start by listening to this episode of The Gut Check: Functional Nutrition for Recreational Athletes — Labs and Tests: Why “everything is normal” isn’t what to look for.
Considering some functional medicine tests? A strong foundation can be set with getting your basic blood work from your doctor but viewed through a Functional Medicine lens. We’ll interpret it differently. Then use the MRT test and protocol to reset your body and reboot your energy! In most cases, these are the “hands down, do this!” but after that, it really would depend what we still saw.
The rest really is best determined on a case-by-case basis. There is SO MUCH that could be looked at, but hard to say where the best “bang for your buck” would be without a deeper dive into your health history, basic labs, diet, daily life, symptom score, etc.
- Get whatever standard labs your doctor and insurance would cover (CBC, CMP, Iron panel, thyroid panel, Vitamin D, B12, etc) since insurance may be able to help cover costs [I can also order some of these if the doctor does not]
- MRT test with 6 week ImmunoCalm Reset diet. Food sensitivities may be one of the greatest drains on our energy and recovery. This diet quickly reduces inflammation and lets us know which foods your body feels best with. Aids in improvements in performance and recovery. Tom Brady preaches his anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle all the time!
- GI-MAP stool test – It’s always good to check the GI (gastrointestinal) tract because the “perfect” diet doesn’t matter if you’re not absorbing and digesting properly. This test lets us look at good and bad bacterial balance, inflammation, digestive markers, immune strength, yeast, worms, autoimmune triggers, and more. Oh, and if you happen to be an OCR runner, and you ever noticed that sometimes mud doesn’t smell like mud, but something less pleasant? Well, picking up parasites is not unheard of – let’s get you checked! Addressing imbalances found on this lab test has helped people with mood, energy, mental clarity, pain and stiffness issues, protein absorption, and more.
- Micronutrient Profile to see how everything is looking and what foods/supplements may need boosted. Especially important if you have had a history of restrictive dieting, or digestive issues that blocked you from fully absorbing nutrients. It helps us see how well your body is utilizing vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, and more. (some common nutrients that are needed for optimal sports performance shown here)
- Organic Acid Tests – let’s us see which energy sources your body likes, how your body is utilizing nutrients, etc. Shows which metabolic pathways may be struggling, which are stronger. Organic acids are metabolic intermediates produced in pathways of central energy production, detoxification, hormone breakdown, and more. Seeing where blocks may be, we can address your energy and recovery more directly.
- Salivary Cortisol 6-Point test – this can be beneficial if you have the flexibility to change the time of day that you train. You should follow a standard cortisol (stress hormone) curve. If not optimal, your energy (and therefore performance output) may not be optimal. You also may not be getting ideal sleep, nor recovering as well as you could. We can rebalance curves, and optimize timing around it.
- Omega-3 & -6 Fatty Acid Panel – inflammation is always a concern in even non-athletes, but the intensive training athletes and endurance athletes put on their body is increased with the intensity and/or duration of workouts. Omegas are essential for health, but a proper ratio is especially critical for protecting nerves and cell integrity.
FINE TUNE YOUR HEALTH
Want more? The sky is the limit with labs! It really is amazing what we can learn about our bodies. If you have optimized all of your foundations above (namely tackling inflammation, gut health, adrenal/stress, and basic nutrients) then you can grind into deeper particulars and really fine-tune your health and performance.
- Life Extension Male Panel (Elite) – looks at an array of hormones including steroid hormones and testosterone, sex hormones, thyroid markers, cardiac markers, prostate cancer markers, insulin markers, and a few of the nutrients and blood/lipid profiles
- Inside Tracker Ultimate test – looks at blood and DNA to help you determine energy metabolism, training, food, mood, metabolism, bone health, and more.
- Pretty much anything else you may want from Genova or ZRT – they have some amazing labs, and I’d love to dive into them with you. Let me know, and I can hook you up with the practitioner discount, and go over results with you.