LAB SERVICES


STANDARD LAB TESTING

These can be ordered as part of a routine medical checkup, or may be ordered to assess a certain medical condition. Some medications can cause problems in the body that can be easily detected through blood testing. If you do not know why your doctor is recommending a particular blood test, be sure to ask. Most standard lab tests can be ordered from your medical doctor at no charge and naturopathic physicians are happy to work in conjunction with your MD in order to receive testing you have already completed. We can also order these tests directly for a fee in cases where patients do not have a medical doctor. There are several common blood test panels that are recommended

Blood Testing
STANDARD DIAGNOSTIC LAB

PANELS

  • CBC (Complete blood count w/ differential white blood cell count), FERRITIN
  • ELECTROLYTES (Sodium, Potassium, Chloride)
  • LIVER FUNCTION (AST, ALT, GGT, Alk Phos, Bilirubin)
  • KIDNEY FUNCTION (Creatinine, eGFR)
  • THYROID FUNCTION (TSH, Free T4 & T3)
  • SEX HORMONES (Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone, DHEA)
  • CHOLESTEROL (Total, HDL, LDL, Triglyerides)
  • BLOOD SUGAR (Fasting or Random), HbA1C

SPECIALIZED LAB TESTING

Naturopathic practice often involves more specialized testing in order to investigate the root cause of a patient’s illness. These lab tests provide lots of valuable insight that the physician can use as a guide to providing the correct assessment and appropriate treatment. Depending on the test, collection of samples could be done in house, at home or by requisition at an off-site laboratory facility. We use a combination of Rocky Mountain Analytical and Calgary Lab Services for all labwork. Keep in mind that these tests may or may not be covered under certain health insurance policies. Some of the more common tests include

  • FOOD ALLERGY / SENSITIVITY TESTING
  • HORMONE TESTING
  • NUTRIENT TESTING
  • URINE MINERALS AND HEAVY METAL TESTING
FOOD ALLERGY / SENSITIVITY TESTING

Many people have sensitivities to certain foods or group of foods. When triggered by these food particles, our immune system reacts to these food particles and forms complexes that settle in various parts of the body causing inflammation. 
Irritable bowel, migraines, weight gain, hardening arteries, atopy, rheumatoid arthiritis, ADHD have all been linked to these type of immune reactions.

Sometimes food particles trigger immune reactions that can cause physical damage to the gut lining hence the right test can be a valuable tool for related conditions such as Crohn’s, colitis or “leaky-gut”. In addition, these tests an be used to identify foods that our body has an acute reaction to causing anaphylaxis and hives helping us eliminate them from our diet.

Food sensitivity tests are also valuable in determining non-immune related problems caused by enzyme deficiencies (such as lactase), chemicals in certain foods (such as histamine) and food toxins (such as saxitoxin in shellfish).

The practitioner will usually recommend a certain test depending on the individual case and circumstance. After obtaining these results, it is then possible to proceed with appropriate treatment and/or follow up with additional testing if required.

HORMONE TESTING

SALIVA HORMONE TESTING

Saliva hormone testing is very convenient and has shown to produce numerically similar results compared to serum hormone testing and hence is widely used by naturopathic doctors. The most common saliva hormone panels include:

  • Adrenal Panel (cortisol, aldosterone, DHEAs)
  • Female Hormone Panel (cortisol, DHEAs, estradiol, progesterone and testosterone) and Month-Long Hormone Assessment
  • Male Hormone Panel (cortisol, DHEAs, estradiol, and testosterone

URINE HORMONE TESTING

Urine steroid hormone analysis, like saliva hormone analysis, is noninvasive and convenient to do at home. Urine thyroid hormone analysis is the most common urine hormone test. A specimen collected over a 24-hour period may better reflect the average thyroid gland output, since thyroid gland activity varies through the day.

HAIR HORMONE TESTING

Finally Hair Hormone analysis such as Hair Cortisol level is a test that measures the cumulative output of cortisol (stress hormone) over a long period of time. While serum and saliva provide a snapshot of cortisol levels, hair cortisol can be beneficial when determining cortisol production over months.

NUTRIENT TESTING

VITAMIN D LEVELS

Vitamin D is considered the most important secosteroid in the body because it directly regulates genes. Therefore, deficiencies or insufficiencies can have a significant deleterious impact on health. The tests measure specific forms of Vitamin D  and it is important to note that levels may have seasonal fluctuations due to differential exposure to the sun at different times of the year. Vitamin D test is done in house or at home and is fairly simple to administer. There are numerous health conditions that have been linked to Vitamin D levels in the blood

FATTY ACID ANALYSIS

Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are an integral component of cell membranes in the body. Abnormalities and imbalances in essential fatty acids can have wide-ranging health effects and given that our bodies cannot synthesize EFAs, knowing our levels and how much to supplement in our diet is very important. Evidence indicates that cardiovascular disease, chronic inflammation, depression, behavioural and mood disorders, and early dementia may all benefit from improvements in essential fatty acid balance.

This test measures and reports the EFAs of red blood cells in the body including, omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids and saturated fatty acid levels as a percentage of total fatty acids. In addition, we can determine the Omega-3 Whole Blood Score, which estimates risk for sudden cardiac death; the Omega-3 Index, which is used as a predictor of cardiovascular disease, and the arachidonic acid (AA) to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ratio as a marker of inflammation.

URINE MINERALS AND HEAVY METAL TESTING

HAIR ELEMENT ANALYSIS

Measures levels of 45 different elements in hair. Abnormal distribution patterns of essential elements may indicate toxic element exposure, as may elevated toxic element levels. As opposed to urine element analysis, hair element analysis provides a picture of chronic exposure to environmental toxins.

URINE ELEMENT ANALYSIS

Urine element analysis measures the levels of 39 essential and toxic elements in urine. It is traditionally used to assess exposure to toxic elements like lead, mercury or arsenic, but can also be used to measure essential elements to determine current nutritional status. Measurement of toxic and essential elements in hair, urine and blood has been used clinically for decades.

MICROMINERALS & OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS

Iodine and selenium are essential elements required for the production
 and proper function of thyroid hormones. They are also involved in fertility and fetal development and other physiological processes in the body. Bromine and cadmium are toxic elements that interfere with iodine and selenium and may thus impair thyroid hormone function. They have also been linked to neurological disruption and hormone disruption (cadmium) among others. A 24-hour urine collection would be required for this test.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTANTS

Used to assess recent exposure to environmental pollutants such as volatile organic solvents, phthalates, and parabens. Presence of measured metabolites in urine suggests patient is currently being exposed to the corresponding pollutant. Accumulation of environmental pollutants in the body can cause a variety of chronic health problems and testing is important to determine the root cause of the patent’s illness especially for patients in certain occupations.

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