What if you could decode the biological clues that your body is giving you in order to discover whether you’re at risk for Hashimoto’s, if you have the right gut microbes to help make vital energy or release toxins, if your immune system is over reacting to gluten, or if you have a leaky gut that is at the root of your arthritic pain and swelling? Then what if you could take this valuable bio-individual information, decipher it, and use it to change your diet and lifestyle and halt or even reverse health issues?
Well you can! You can do the right functional health tests that analyze metabolism, food reactivity, gut barrier integrity, composition of your gut microbes, hidden infections, and more, to uncover root causes of illness, prioritize health actions, drive recommendations and nutritional therapies, ensure compliance with dietary changes, and more.
Your bio-individual data is the key to unlocking the mysteries of your body and maintaining optimal wellness. Plain and simple… it gives you the power to change your health destiny.
Why Health Data Matters & the Power of Analytics
Data is something many of us are all too familiar with. We’re just now discovering the many ways our personal data is collected and used in order to compile a profile of us and understand our behaviors better—from what we eat for breakfast, to who our friends are, to what kinds of movies we like to watch at home. However, data only becomes “powerful information” when it is viewed in context or used as part of analysis that leads to the taking of some action.
Data is not all bad. All of us use data in our lives to make important decisions… what school to go to, where to invest money, whether to have a medical procedure, what to do about retirement, and so forth. But what most people don’t do is proactively use biochemical data and important assessment information about the body to improve and even predict their health and well-being.
Without getting too nerdy, analytics is simply a process that uses principals from mathematics, statistics, predictive modeling, and computer learning, to find meaningful patterns and knowledge in data or information. When we combine the science of numbers, data and analytical discovery and put the “crunching gears in motion”, we can discover patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, and get the answers to important questions and even predict future outcomes e.g., what’s our real health “age”, are we more or less likely to develop an autoimmune disease in 10-20 years, is our sugar metabolism causing that annoying belly fat.
Analytics doesn’t occur in a vacuum—it’s always an action-driven process. Meaning that the reason you sift though all that data is to get you to take some kind of action, whether that is to drive business improvements or in this case, to improve your personal health outcomes.
Ultimately, where your health is concerned, you want to use analytics to empower your personal wellness vision, improve vitality, and help create the life you desire and deserve.
You Can’t Put a Price On Your Health (Data)
When you’re not feeling well and suspect that something more serious is going on, you don’t hesitate to go to the doctor and if they order a test, you roll up your sleeve, pee in a jar, or spit in a tube. Based upon the results of the test data, you want your doctor to be able to tell you with a high level of confidence, what is going on in your body and why you don’t feel well.
Many of us have been conditioned since childhood to simply submit to tests and trust that the results data helps our doctor make the right diagnosis. The doctor is in control, makes all the decisions for you, and holds all the wildcards. In this model, you’re not in control of your personal health data and unfortunately it’s often used once and then conveniently locked away on some computer somewhere. Incredibly, this valuable personal data often sits idle, never to be used to empower real change in long-term and preventative health outcomes.
Unfortunately most doctors and patients use lab tests and bio-individual data as a way to give symptoms a “name” or make a final proclamation to the world that, “I am sick”, rather than as health supporting and predictive tools that help get at the root cause of illness, course correct, improve quality of life, and more importantly, increase vitality and help to put the “feel good” back into daily life.
Think about it.
Why Testing is Better Than Guessing
Having a “gut feeling” about something may not always be good enough when it comes to understanding or resolving health issues. The beauty of being able to use personal health data to uncover correlations and patterns is that you don’t have to rely simply on guessing or intuition when understanding risks, following recommendations, or making important health decisions.
Testing is an opportunity, not something to be afraid of or feel like you are being judged or graded. It’s not just about “bad results”. The data (good or bad) is valuable either way. If it is good news, then you know more about your health risks or if a current program is working for you. If it is not so good news, then you can take steps to turn that around.
It all comes down to being empowered and taking an active role in your well-being and not about being a victim to symptoms and being subject to a lifetime of horrible medications. The choice is yours.
For instance, functional assessments can help you answer the following types of health questions:
- What’s my risk for Cancer or Alzheimer’s?
- Am I reactive (like nearly 1:10 people are) to some form of gluten?
- Is a leaky gut causing my arthritis, bloating, gas and discomfort?
- Do I have the right gut microbes to break down nutrients?
- Are my thyroid hormones causing me to feel tired, have brain fog or gain weight?
- Is my body able to perform necessary detoxification or am I clogged up?
- Am I assimilating enough iron, B vitamins, or essential fatty acids from my food?
- Is my body metabolizing sugar correctly or am I headed for Diabetes Type II?
- Is stress shutting down my energy?
Knowing the answers to these and other health questions before chronic health issues take root in the body, is at the heart of personalized medicine and true well-being.
When Should You Get Tested?
If you are interested in staying healthy, then functional testing can identify risk factors and help you and your health care team identify conditions before they get too serious and put in place important diet and lifestyle changes.
More importantly, your tests and health data can help establish a “baseline” for future monitoring and give you general information about your overall health and body function. For instance, if you have made lifestyle changes to improve your health such as going on a gluten-free diet, it will be important to know if your efforts have been successful. This is where “before/after” testing can be beneficial in long-term recovery and maintenance programs.
The Best Functional Assessments
Functional assessments allow you to peek into the past, evaluate the present and even glimpse into the future. Here are some of the most important tests to consider:
- Wheat-Gluten Intolerance – Gluten and similar proteins found in wheat and other grains can be problematic for people suffering from chronic digestive issues, leaky gut, autoimmune, or other health conditions. Standard tests only check for a response to alpha-gliadin and are not inclusive of a wider spectrum of gluten proteins. You need a comprehensive test that looks at: wheat and non-wheat glutens, agglutinins, wheat allergy and total immunoglobins.
- Intestinal Barrier Integrity (Leaky Gut) – Having a leaky gut along with an unhealthy microbiome, are part of the root cause of many of today’s chronic diseases such as autoimmune, obesity, diabetes, heart, and cancer. Important biomarkers should check for tight-junction integrity (zonulin) and intestinal lining health (actin/actomyosin, lipopolysacchharides(LPS)).
- GI & Microbiome Panel – This is a true microbiome “selfie”, looking at beneficial and harmful bacteria, inflammation, short-chain fatty acids, infections and overgrowth in the lower bowel. This test is ideal to check for pathogens or to do a general gut screen especially if you have a history of leaky gut, digestive issues, IBS, bloating, gas, etc. Perfect for understanding your gut flora diversity and what foods are best to feed them.
- Food Intolerance Panel – Over 15M adults and 1:13 children suffer with some kind of food issue. A food “intolerance” is different from an “allergy”, and the former wreaks havoc in the gut long-term. With leaky gut, problematic foods get into the blood creating inflammation and causing gas, abdominal pain, skin rashes, brain fog, mood issues, low energy, and more. If you don’t identify and remove these food triggers, symptoms get worse over time.
- Metabolic Profile (Organic Acids) – Optimal health relies on cellular metabolic function including how you make energy, detoxification, neurotransmitters, and intestinal microbial activity. Identifying metabolic blocks gets to the root cause of illness and allows for targeted diet, nutritional, and lifestyle therapies. A good metabolic profile looks at nutrient and enzyme deficiency, toxic build-up, and drug effect.
- Adrenal Stress Index – Stress of many kinds cause our adrenal glands to produce excess Cortisol and abnormal and long-term high levels of this hormone can cause health issues like fatigue, mood swings, brain fog, immune issues, anxiety, poor sleep and more. Cortisol is released throughout the day and should be higher in the morning for “activity” and lower at night for “rest/sleep”. It should be measured throughout the day along with DHEA.
- Thyroid Panel – Your thyroid has a big job—it affects every cell and regulates practically every function in your body, including making vital energy. Most often low thyroid is connected to low adrenal function and notably, women experience thyroid issues about 8-10 times more than men do. Look at: Free T3/T4, Reverse T3, Total T4, rT3 to Free T3 ratio, and antibodies. TSH alone is a poor measure of estimating thyroid health.
- Micronutrient Panel – Vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants are needed for metabolism, growth, and well-being. With compromised modern diets, poor gut health, and lower nutrient-levels in food, you may not be absorbing or assimilating what you need to maintain optimal health. In particular Vitamin D, K, C, B12, Zinc, Calcium, Iron, and Glutathione are some to pay close attention to.
- Inflammatory Markers – Your body needs some level of inflammation to stay healthy, but too much inflammation is proven to be at the root of most chronic illness. Make sure you test for CRP/hs-CRP and homocysteine, and for advanced symptoms consider Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA), Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and specialized autoimmunity tests by tissue type. Around 70% of your immune system resides in your gut, which means you need to also pay attention to digestive issues, leaky gut, and microbiome health.
- Comprehensive Blood Sugar – When you balance your blood sugar, you fix a lot of things FAST, which can help you recharge your energy and reclaim your life. This test helps identify common glucose-related conditions like insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, hypoglycemia, and Diabetes Type I & II. Knowing key bio-markers like fasting glucose/insulin, hemoglobin A1c, triglycerides, and HDL helps design a perfect lifestyle for you.
Health Assessments Tips To Know
There can be a good deal of confusion around health assessments and testing done by specialized labs. Here are some tips that may be helpful when you are considering or are taking advanced diagnostic testing:
- Some people can react severely to gluten and so it is NOT necessary to do a “gluten challenge” before a gluten/wheat reactivity test (be careful if you are a person who many not recover well from introducing any gluten into your system).
- If you get a negative test result back from a gluten or food reactivity assessment and you suspect you still have an issue, conduct an elimination diet for 30-days; if a food is still causing symptoms when it is introduced back into your diet, remove it and consider getting retested.
- You need to test for Total Immunoglobins whenever doing immune-related assessments in order to determine the viability of your immune response.
- Print out the Top 10 Health Assessments chart and discuss these tests with your primary health care provider or team to determine which may be a good fit for your health needs.
- It’s recommended to test annually to identify issues early-on and achieve the best overall healthy outcomes over the long-term.
Getting false-positives/negatives is something to be aware of with any testing that you do. It is always a good idea to discuss the accuracy of any test and specific details with your healthcare professional before you take it.
Here are some factors that can skew test results:
- A suppressed immune system that is fighting hard to keep the body healthy (recovering from cancer, infections, or other serious conditions can tax the immune system significantly)
- Immune suppressant drugs, other medications, or hormones
- Breaking a fast before a glucose or insulin screen
- Heavy metals and some toxic chemicals
- A “sluggish” immune system that is unable to raise an adequate response to be captured in testing
- Recent trauma or high levels of stress.
What Comes After You Do Testing
Testing alone will not solve all your health issues over night. It’s a powerful tool, not some magic bullet. That’s why you need to use testing in conjunction with a personalized wellness program that can address your specific health challenges and provide long-term and more importantly, lasting, diet and lifestyle improvements.
There are plenty of healthy things you can do if you’re suffering from symptoms that will support well-being and get you well on your way to feeling terrific again.
Here are some suggestions:
- Based on your test results, make a plan and start taking action… this may involve finding the right wellness program, going to a specialist, taking a vacation or doing some “soul-searching”
- Take inventory of your life and find out what your real motivators are… get a wellness vision and set goals that you can accomplish in 90-days
- Begin cleaning up your diet by removing processed and high sugary foods, and toxic oils… replace these with healthy fiber, fats, clean protein, and lots of organic fruits and vegetables
- Evaluate your lifestyle choices and habits and if they aren’t harmonious, begin to let them go
- Be appreciative for all that life is bringing you and find joy in both the wins and challenges.
Just to Recap the Importance of Functional Health Assessments & Testing
- Most doctors do not do the right lab tests to properly evaluate functional systems in the body and discover the root causes of illness
- Despite the research, most doctors have never heard of leaky gut or don’t believe that it (or even gluten issues) even exist, which is unfortunate if you’re the one with the food issue
- Do the right functional health tests that analyze metabolism, food reactivity, gut barrier integrity, composition of your gut microbes, hidden infections, and more, to uncover root causes of illness, priorities health actions, drive recommendations and nutritional therapies, ensure compliance with dietary changes, and more
- Testing should be part of any wellness program, workplace health policy, or personal health regime!
If You Say Yes to Any of The Following… maybe you should get a functional assessment NOW!
- Do you have a history of digestive issue or possibly a leaky gut?
- Have you had a round of antibiotics in the last 18-24 months?
- Do you have symptoms that just won’t go away no matter what you do?
- Do you have food sensitivities and allergies?
- Does your energy crash mid-morning or late afternoon or you need several cups of coffee to get you through the day?
- Do you suffer with aches and pains and stiffness in your joints?
- Do you have problems getting or staying asleep?
Click HERE to get access to many of the best functional health assessments. Order an assessment and get a FREE 30-minute phone consultation to review your results and discuss dietary and lifestyle recommendations.
Disclaimer: the views and nutritional advice expressed in this publication are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical advice. No information provided should be interpreted as a diagnosis of any disease, nor an attempt to treat or prevent or cure any disease or condition. All information in this publication is for educational purposes only and Aine-Marie and Advesta Health encourages its clients and members to continue to work in a partnership with qualified medical professional. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider or seek medical assistance. Reading, sharing, or downloading this publication does not establish a doctor patient relationship with Aine-Marie or any Advesta Health employee or consultant including any of our licensed health practitioners, coaches, dieticians or nutritionists.