Day in and day out, many of us pay little attention to our bodies. All the while they withstand (often extreme) stress and enable us to complete tasks that we often take for granted. It’s not until our current way of living is threatened, or things simply don’t feel the same that we decide to take action. By shunting whatever nutrients we get from our diet to vital functions, the body may not manifest symptoms until much later. But with long term stress, nutrient requirements increase, while availability remains unchanged or even decreases (we tend to make poorer dietary choices when stressed). Eventually nutrients become depleted, deficiencies develop, and the body can no longer cope. Symptoms and imbalances arise.
Without an omniscient machine to show us everything that’s happening in your body - how can we determine which deficiencies & imbalances to correct, to yield a permanent solution to your health concerns?
Naturopathic Doctors focus on treating the underlying cause to attain permanent results. Symptoms are carefully interpreted, physical examinations are performed and testing is done, all to better understand the underlying cause of your ailments.
Test results yield objective information to reflect how individual parts of your body are interacting with each other to create your individual symptom picture. It can confirm suspicions - which hormones are in excess? Deficient? Test results, whether breath, blood, salivary, urine, stool and/or hair, provide your healthcare team with a starting point, whilst guiding and streamlining treatment.
Menstrual symptoms such as breast tenderness, (often debilitating) heavy bleeding and cramping can be due to an absolute or relative excess of estrogen.1 In an absolute excess of estrogen, levels of estrogen are higher than normal, whereas in a relative estrogen excess, estrogen levels are actually normal but progesterone levels are low.1 It’s important to consider the estrogen-progesterone ratio. This information guides treatment, is the treatment goal to decrease estrogen, or to boost progesterone? Testing will tell you exactly what you need to know.
Testing informs both yourself and your healthcare provider about how your body is responding to your treatment. It tells us that that the treatment plan is either working wonderfully or needs to be adjusted. This is the case when thyroid medications are prescribed. Every 6-8 weeks after thyroid hormones are prescribed, or a new dosage is recommended, thyroid levels are tested.
Testing also addresses your individuality by informing your healthcare provider about your body’s current conditions. This ensures that the best starting and subsequent dosages are chosen. How you respond to treatment might be completely different from how someone else responds to the same treatment and is often unpredictable without testing.
Using the best testing methods and testing the right hormones or markers ensures that imbalances are being addressed and that your time and money are getting you the results that you want. It can help shine a light on stubborn cases, where nothing seems to work.
Testing betters both your own and your healthcare provider’s understanding of what’s happening within YOUR body. And when considered all together - test results, symptoms, and physical examination findings can make all the difference in your recovery, helping you to feel your best.
What Testing is Available?
Spectracell Micronutrient Test
This test can be extremely informative for those who are healthy and those with health concerns. This specific test measures the levels & function of 35 different micronutrients - vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and amino acids, crucial to your well-being.2
For those who are healthy, this test can reveal overt or borderline deficiencies to inform you on which supplements to take, to optimize your health and to help you to be proactive in preventing future illnesses.
For those with health concerns, it can confirm nutrient deficiencies and help you decide which supplements are crucial for you to take, when there can often seem like a million things to take. Of course, eating a nutrient-rich, balanced diet can contribute to health and wellness.
Adrenal & Hormone Testing
Adrenal testing is a must for those who have had to deal with extremely stressful events or just high stress for prolonged periods of time. Adrenal testing measures cortisol levels at 4 different points during the day to track how levels of this stress hormone change. In a healthy person, cortisol levels are highest in the morning, one hour after waking and then gradually decrease throughout the day to become lowest around bedtime when the mind should be calm and ready for a night of repair and regeneration.1 Variations in this natural cortisol curve can reflect different stages of adrenal fatigue with symptoms of fatigue, burn-out, exhaustion and restlessness leading to insomnia.1
Hormone testing is best done via saliva or urine and extremely useful for tracking how hormones are converted from one into another, a reflection of what’s happening in your body. It can help predict cancer risk by looking at ratios and percentages of the different forms of estrogen. It can be used to track hormonal changes over the course of a woman’s menstrual cycle - extremely important information for those with menstrual irregularities3:
All our hormones (adrenals, female/male sex hormones) are interrelated and therefore often tested all together.
Food Sensitivity Testing
One of the most frequently run tests in my practice. A simple finger prick or blood draw can be used to identify foods that you might be eating everyday and causing you harm. Food sensitivities can take hours to days to manifest in your body, making them extremely difficult to identify.1
Your immune system responds to certain foods by initiating an inflammatory response.1 The inflammation can either be localized to the gut or throughout the whole body. Long-term, this process damages the gut and is no longer a barrier to the outside world - toxins now enter the body and even the bloodstream and travel throughout the body to wreak havoc - brain fog, weight gain, digestive symptoms (bloating, flatulence, abdominal pain, constipation), skin issues, and autoimmune conditions among others.1
By identifying food sensitivities, foods can be removed, giving the body time to rest, repair and regenerate. Eventually, foods can be reintroduced to the diet, without harm.1
Low energy, weight fluctuations and dry skin are common symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.4 To accurately test thyroid function, four hormones should be tested for - , TSH, T3, T4, and reverse T3.
TSH is released from the pituitary gland which then signals to the thyroid to make T3, and T4.4 T3 is the only active thyroid hormone in the body but is only produced in small amounts (7%), whereas T4 is inactive but produced abundantly (93%).4 T4 is converted into both T3 (in the liver), and reverse T3, another inactive form.4
The thyroid is extremely complicated and simply measuring TSH is not enough to accurately access thyroid function - the reason why thyroid conditions are often undiagnosed.
To learn more about testing and to discuss which tests are right for you - book in for a 20 minute complimentary Meet & Greet. Find out how to start feeling your best again.
Book online or call Inspirit Health Group, at 604-559-8816 to book your complimentary Meet & Greet.