What is functional medicine testing?

What is functional medicine testing?

August 30, 2022

If you’re like me and ever felt frustrated that your blood work doesn’t explain why you struggle with acne, functional medicine testing can come to your rescue! 


What is functional medicine testing? Functional medicine testing is a more in-depth type of testing with a lot more information that can help you discover the root issues of your acne. It’s often a financial investment and unfortunately is often not covered by your insurance. However, it helps you find out what exactly is causing your acne and you’ll be able to get results twice as a fast. 


In our clinical field, we say, “Test and don’t guess.” The results will also help you know what to do and what you should prioritize. 


I have worked with so many clients that said that their doctor told them that they are relatively healthy and then we discovered the underlying issues of their acne and they were blown away by all the information. 


The functional medicine testing is what REALLY helped me get to the bottom of my acne. I honestly wish I knew about it earlier. It would have saved me so much money and time. 


Here are my favorite functional medicine tests that I use a lot in my clinical practice. I’ll share some symptoms so it can help you decide what you should do first. 


DUTCH (The Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones Test (Hormone Testing) 

DUTCH testing evaluates hormonal patterns that may be linked to reproductive disorders, infertility, hormonal acne, and non-specific symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, like fatigue, weight gain, and brain fog. 


Here are the symptoms that might indicate a need for this test:


  • Irregular, heavy and painful periods
  • Loss of periods
  • Mood swings + Anxiety
  • Acne
  • Facial hair growth
  • Low sex drive
  • Headaches + bloating
  • Abnormal weight gain + tender breasts
  • Post birth control 

Cost: Self-pay 


Nutr Eval by Genova (Overall Health) – it’s an amazing in-depth test that gives great insight into your whole health. 


Nutr Eval is an advanced test that evaluates nutritional deficiencies. It evaluates all vitamins, minerals, amino acids, organic acids, key digestive and detoxification markers, essential fatty acids (such as omega-3 fatty acids), probiotics, digestive enzymes and so much more. 


It’s one of my favorite testing tools for determining the underlying issues of acne. I often see many acne sufferers are deficient in numerous vitamins and minerals and especially antioxidants. 


The most common nutritional deficiencies related to acne are vitamin C, zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, glutathione, magnesium and B vitamins, probiotics and digestive enzymes. 


Symptoms:

  • Acne
  • Digestive issues
  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Migraines
  • Weight issues

Cost: Self-pay $399 


Food Sensitivities (IgG Testing)
The Food Sensitivity Test (FIT) detects both IgG antibody and Immune Complexes together to find out the reactivity of foods. 

Food sensitivity is caused by foods that you eat a lot. It’s a delayed hypersensitivity reaction which can take more than 24 hours and sometimes even up to seven days which makes it extremely hard to pinpoint. Food sensitivity can often be developed later in life. You can even have sensitivity to a healthy food. These are the foods that you often crave or say that you can’t live without it.

Before I did the test, I noticed more breakouts and even small rashes and rough patches on my arms. I couldn’t figure out what’s going on. My dermatologist friend recommended to use a moisturizer. I’ve tried it and it didn’t help. I knew there must be a reason for these rough red patches on my arms.

I found out through the food sensitivity testing that I was sensitive to eggs. It all disappeared in a few weeks after I removed the eggs completely from my diet and followed an elimination diet.

The most common food sensitivities that can contribute to acne are eggs, corn, soy, dairy and gluten, but can be any foods that you eat a lot. 

Symptoms: 

  • Bloating and digestive issues (diarrhea, constipation)
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Acne and redness 
  • Inflammation
  • Fatigue and sleep issues
  • Allergies and food sensitivities 

Cost: varies from $100 and to $400 depends on the specialty and how many foods are measured. 


Comprehensive Stool Test (GI Effects from Genova)

The stool test is one of my favorite tools to determine the underlying issues of acne. I use it 90% of the time. The more I worked with my clients, the more I discovered that almost all of the acne suffers (including me in the past) have gut issues. 


When you optimize your gut, your skin starts to improve. You’ll be able to clear your acne and get your confidence back. 


Here are the most common issues that I see on the stool test that’s linked to acne: dysbiosis, H.pylori, candida overgrowth, leaky gut, SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), low levels of healthy probiotics and prebiotics and digestive enzymes.


Symptoms: 

  • Autoimmune condition
  • Acne
  • Mood disorders: anxiety and depression
  • IBS and IBD
  • Digestive issues: bloating, acid reflux, stomach pain, constipation and or diarrhea
  • Frequent urinary yeast infection


Comprehensive Iron and Thyroid Panel (TSH, Free T4, Free T3, rT3, TPO + TG Abs


Most doctors don’t run the complete thyroid and iron panels. The tests they usually order show up normal such as iron or TSH. Thyroid issues can go undiagnosed for many years. If your thyroid is not functioning optimally, it can be one of the underlying issues of your acne. Iron and thyroid are tightly connected as well. 


Symptoms:

  • Allergies
  • Irritability
  • Hair loss
  • Infertility
  • Acne
  • Anemia
  • Weakness
  • Nutrition imbalances
  • Constipation
  • Irregular, heavy and painful periods
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Rough and dry skin
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Insomnia


Cost: All these blood work tests can be run through the insurance to help you save money


Vitamins and Minerals (D, A, B12, Vitamin E and C, Folate, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium) 

Unfortunately, a fast-paced lifestyle, stress, sleep deprivation and highly refined and processed foods often lead to multiple nutrient deficiencies. Also, a lot of clients have issues with their gut and can’t absorb the foods they are eating further leading to more deficiencies. 


The following vitamins and mineral deficiencies can contribute to acne: 

  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin A
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc (zinc is a big one. Birth control and other medications often deplete zinc. Zinc is super important for healthy skin and immune system)
  • Selenium
  • Glutathione


Cost: All these blood work tests can be run through the insurance to help you save money

 

Guest blog written by Lienna May, MS, CNS, LDN, Founder Thrive Functional Nutrition