Although the first step in functional medicine is to listen to the patient’s story, other important information comes from assessing how the body systems are functioning with functional medicine labs.
Patients put a lot of work into dietary and lifestyle changes, and we want to know that our guidance matches up with what their body needs. Personalizing treatment recommendations to your unique biochemical and genetic makeup is fundamental in functional medicine.
How we personalize your Gut Health protocol at Root involves hearing your story, assessing your nutrition and symptoms, listening to what you are able and ready to do with your current lifestyle, and then using valuable laboratory information to see where we can make the biggest impact with change.
When we assess the gut, we can use a combination of stool, blood, and urine tests.
Starting with digestion and absorption:
When we are trying to optimize how your body is functioning, we need to know how your body is digesting and absorbing the vital nutrients required for your cells and the hundreds of enzymes to operate efficiently. Important vitamins, minerals, and amino acids need to be available to keep the lining of your gut healthy, especially vitamin A and D, zinc, glutamine, and omega 3 fatty acids.
We need fat to absorb Vitamins A and D and we need adequate pancreatic enzymes to break down protein into absorbable amino acids. We can check the stool for pancreatic enzyme level, and fat and bile acids, helpful in absorbing fat.
Then, we want to know about the microbes that are either protecting our gut lining, or causing inflammation and disrupting our gut lining.
We can check for a good diversity, and balance of bacteria. Too much of one kind of bacteria, or of bacteria known to create more inflammation is called dysbiosis. By knowing your balance, we can target diet and botanical recommendations.
We also want to know about overall inflammation present in the gut.
This is important not only in evaluating for potential harmful diseases of the gut, but we can also use this value to measure and track improvement.
Using personalized lab recommendations together with your story and clinical symptoms allows us to optimize your wellness plan. We take the time to explain and interpret the results of this advanced testing using our functional medicine training, which simply is not available in traditional medical offices.
We offer Microbiome and Gut Health testing without needing to become a Root client here.
Marchesi J, et. al. The gut microbiota and host health: a new clinical frontier. Gut. 2016 Feb;65(2):330-9.
Clemente J, et. al. The impact of the gut microbiota on human health: an integrative review. Cell. 2012 Mar;148(6):1258-70.
Menees SB, et. al. A meta-analysis of the utility of C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, fecal calprotectin, and fecal lactoferrin to exclude inflammatory bowel disease in adults with IBS. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 Mar;110(3):444-54.