Functional Pathology Testing
Functional pathology testing allows your practitioner to gain a more thorough understanding of the inner workings of your body. Furthermore, pathology testing is also a valuable tool used to monitor your treatment outcomes and health progress. We utilise a number of different laboratories depending on the testing and services required.
Some of the tests offered at the Santé Wellness Clinic include:
- Complete Thyroid Hormone Profile; Urinary Iodine Testing
- Salivary Cortisol and Adrenal Hormone Profiles
- Male and Female Salivary Sex Hormone Profiles
- Pfeffier Protocol Nutritional Profile
- Urinary Pyrrole Testing
- MTHFR gene test
- Organic Acids Test (OAT)
- DUTCH Test (Dried Urine Testing for Comprehensive Hormones): Considered by some to be the gold standard in testing adrenal hormones, sex hormones and their metabolites.
- SIBO breath Test
- Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (for parasites and bacterial dysbiosis)
Once your results are obtained, your practitioner will work with you to educate you about your results; the implications of these results for your health; advise on the best treatment options; and provide ongoing support.
salivary cortisol & adrenal profile
The adrenal glands sit on top of the kidneys, and one of their functions is to produce cortisol. Cortisol gives us energy and reduces inflammation. But like anything, too much cortisol can cause problems. Stress increases cortisol levels; high cortisol levels are damaging to tissues but the subsequent problem is even worse. 'Adrenal fatigue' is a term used by many practitioners to describe the situation where after prolonged periods of stress, the adrenals' ability to produce sufficient cortisol for our needs may be affected. More technically speaking though, 'adrenal fatigue' refers to an altered stress or HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) response, which can also be due to changes in the way the brain (pituitary gland) communicates messages with the adrenal glands.
- Morning fatigue (you're dragging yourself out of bed and need a coffee drip to get you going);
- Increased energy or a 'second wind' at night time (the night owls);
- An afternoon crash in energy, often accompanied by sugar cravings;
- A reliance on sugar, carbohydrates and caffeine to get you through the day;
- Poor ability to cope with stress (anxiety, depression and insomnia can also co-exist);
Long-term, chronic stress can wreak havoc on our adrenals and our body. As a consequence, it can lead to the following issues I see so commonly in clinic:
- Hormonal imbalances: PMS, irregular menstrual cycle, anovulation (lack of ovulation), acne, infertility;
- Thyroid dysfunction: typically an under-functioning thryoid (hypothyroidism and Hashimotos) as chronic stress and cortisol inhibits thyroid function;
- Digestive disturbances;
- Anxiety, depression, insomnia, reduced coping mechanisms, and loss of resilience;
- A foggy brain, poor memory and concentration.
The Salivary Adrenocortex Stress Profile (as pictured), along with sex hormone profiles (where indicated), can help us to gain a deeper understanding of the health of your adrenals, and help us to target the appropriate treatment.
The test in non-invasive and is completed in the comfort of your own home. Results are obtained within 2 weeks.
comprehensive thyroid testing
Thyroid conditions are common and something I am seeing more and more often in clinic. They are far more common in women than men (10:1). However, because the 'regular' thyroid testing typically only looks at levels of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), sub-clinical hypothyroid conditions can often be missed.
Comprehensive thyroid testing involves looking at TSH, T4, T3, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies. This provides very a helpful and comprehensive insight into where the problems might lie. I also recommend Urinary Iodine Testing to determine levels of iodine - a commonly deficient mineral that is crucial for thyroid hormone production.
Common symptoms of an under-functioning thyroid include:
- Weight gain;
- Extreme fatigue (you may feel like you need to take a day nap);
- Mood swings, low mood and depression;
- Dry skin, hair falling out and eyebrows thinning;
- Hormonal issues such as PMS and irregular menstrual cycles.
If you are experiencing 3 or more of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to have your thyroid checked.
Thyroid testing is conducted through a blood test; you will be referred to a preferred laboratory for the blood draw.
You can read more about hypothyroidism in my previous blog post here.
"Pyrrole disorder" is characterised by high levels of hydroxyhemopyrrolin-2-one (HPL) being present in the urine (also known as mauve factor), and is associated with zinc and B6 deficiency; oxidative stress; and potentially, increased gut permeability. Although controversial and not recognised as disease or condition in and of itself, clinicians have noticed that there is high incidence of HPL in various mood (e.g. anxiety, depression, schizophrenia) and behavioural conditions (e.g. ADD, ADHD, learning difficulties), however, the good news is that most people response very well to treatment with supplemental B6 and zinc. Because B6 and zinc are important nutrients for the nervous system and stress response, I have found that particularly during times of increased stress, those with pyrrole disorder have a higher requirement for zinc and B6 (plus magnesium and other supportive nutrients). Without adequate nutrients, they may have a heightened or disordered stress response.
Pyrrole testing is done via urine sample however, it is important that this is conducted through a reputable laboratory since the HPL that is excreted in the urine is highly unstable, and if the urine sample is not stored and processed under the right conditions, the results may be incorrect. Therefore, to maximise accuracy, I use one lab only who have a proven track record with providing consistent and accurate results.
Results are obtained within 4 weeks.
MTHFR GENE TEST
MTHFR stands for methyl-tetrahydrofolate reductase, an enzyme that converts the folate you eat into the active form, and is responsible for the process of methylation in every cell in the body.
What’s the big deal about methylation?
Methylation is a biochemical process which is responsible for:
- Cellular function: synthesis of nucleic acids, production & repair of DNA and mRNA;
- Detoxification: of endogenous and exogenous chemicals, and hormones;
- Neurotransmitter production;
- Cardiovascular health;
- Healthy immune system function.
MTHFR is a common genetic variant that causes this key enzyme in the body to function at a lower than normal rate. This can lead to a variety of problems within the processes and systems listed above. Most commonly, the symptoms and conditions I see related to MTHFR gene mutations are mood disorders and problems with fertility.
Although there are over fifty known MTHFR variants, the two primary ones are called C677T and A1298C.
The MTHFR Gene Test is a quick and simple in-clinic, cheek swab test. Results are obtained within 2 weeks.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)
The Santé clinic employs the latest, patented technology in Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) monitors which looks just like a bathroom scale. Electrodes in the foot sensor pads send a low, safe signal through the body. Weight is calculated automatically along with body fat content in less than a minute.
The benefits of using BIA:
- Help you to gain a better understanding of your inner health and body composition (body fat % and lean muscle mass %).
- Allows targets to be set for your desired physique and then monitors your progress.
- Motivates you towards your goals through providing tangible, objective readings.
- Monitor your overall body fat and also your visceral fat.
- Provides you with your current ‘Metabolic Age’ based on body composition and activity levels.
- Assists in fine-tuning your diet and fitness program.
How it works:
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis or BIA is considered one of the most reliable and accessible methods of screening body fat. Simply explained, BIA measures the impedance or resistance to the signal as it travels through the water that is found in muscle and fat. The more muscle a person has, the more water their body can hold. The greater the amount of water in a person's body, the easier it is for the current to pass through it. The more fat a person has, the more resistance to the current. BIA is safe and completely painless. Results are obtained immediately.