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  • Writer's pictureJen Walpole

Why Do I Need Nutritional and Functional Testing?

For some clients, it may be helpful to undergo nutritional and functional testing to get to the root cause of a presenting symptom or to better facilitate an end goal outcome such as pregnancy. Before I suggest going into the extra expense of testing, the first port of call is your GP. Routine blood tests can offer a good insight into what areas we might want to investigate further. This testing usually includes a full blood count, hormone levels, specific antibody testing such as for coeliac disease, fasting glucose, urea and electrolytes, liver function, hormones, thyroid function, blood sugars and iron (ferritin). This is a cost effective way for clients to understand what's going on initially. That being said, due to cost of testing to the NHS, some aspects are not included. For example, the thyroid test on the NHS only covers TSH and free T4 which are only 2 pieces of the puzzle and doesn't give us the full picture. In most circumstances, this is a great place to start and I will request some tests from clients via their GP's, which may help us make a decision about what the next steps should be.

What is functional testing?

Functional testing spans many different types of tests and covers many different topics. Tests may require saliva, blood, urine, hair or stools, which may be able to be taken in the comfort of your own home or by visiting a testing lab. I only use advanced and well respected laboratories such as Genova, Regenerus and Nordic Health, where testing protocols are backed up with solid research in their efficacy. Some popular tests include comprehensive stool testing, Dutch testing for a thorough insight into a full hormonal panel, SIBO testing, intolerance testing, fatty acids, vitamin and mineral analysis and cortisol stress response. There are many more, but these are some of the tests that are most used in my clinic.

What are the benefits of functional testing?

These specific and more detailed tests may give us a greater insight into your health and allow your protocol to be further personalised if we can attain some confirmation regarding what might be the root cause of a current set of symptoms. For example, comprehensive stool testing can give a full picture of the digestive system including the microbiome, presence of non-beneficial bacteria or parasites, general gut health and function. The Dutch test is a comprehensive advanced hormone test, which allows us to see complete hormone patterns as well as detoxification pathways and is particularly helpful in women experiencing hormonal imbalances or infertility. Vitamin and mineral testing will allow us to address any deficiencies and support these in a more targeted approach. At certain stages on your health and well being path, testing may be more beneficial. For example, if trying for a baby or around menopause.

What are the costs involved?

Each test is unique and so it is hard to confirm a price until we know what further tests might be beneficial for you. However, most start at around £150 upwards.

How can I find out more?

Please book in with me and within a consultation I will be able to ascertain what tests would be appropriate for you.

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