Complementary Medicine Tests
Top 10 Complementary Medical Tests that you (and/or your Doctor) may not be aware of:
1. IgG Food Intolerance Testing
2. Comprehensive Faecal Microbial testing
3. Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis
4. Functional Liver Detoxification Profile
5. Urinary N-Telopeptides (Osteopaenia/Osteoporosis)
6. Salivary Hormones
7. Hair Mineral Analyses/ Comprehensive Urinary Element Profiles
8. Urinary Kryptopyrroles
9. Plasma Zinc/Copper
IgG Food Intolerances
There is a distinct difference between IgE (allergies) and IgG (intolerances). Firstly, the former presents as anaphylaxis (throat/tongue swelling, urticaria) whereas the latter can present with fatigue, headaches, exzema, asthma, recurrent ear/throat/chest infections, sinusitis, mood disorders and the like. As such, food intolerances will not show up on conventional RAST/ Immunotherapy testing.
Yet these food intolerances are extremely common and can be diagnosed most easily by a Food Elimination Regime or, if necessary, an IgG Food Intolerance test. Most people will experience symptoms of food intolerance after re-introducing certain foods separately after 3 weeks of certain food elimination. However, very occasionally, food reactions may be delayed by up to 2 weeks. If so, an IgG food intolerance blood test may help. Although such testing may not always be 100% accurate, it will show which foods you may react adversely to in order of importance.
Comprehensive Faecal Microbial Analysis
Conventional stool testing for microscopy, culture and sensitivity are often used by doctors in cases of persistent diarrhoea to determine whether a micro-organism is the underlying cause. Pathological bugs, however, can be difficult to pick up at the best of times and there is a multitude of organisms that are not looked for on conventional testing.
A comprehensive faecal microbial analysis can detect the type and quantity of these pathological bugs. It can also detect the presence or, indeed, absence of many good gut bacteria such as Lactobacilli and E. Coli. Such as analysis may be used in individuals suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohns Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
It may also be useful in cases of severe Irritable Bowel Syndrome which do not respond to probiotics and dietary modification.
Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA)/Bioscreen
As the name suggests, this test (actually a comprehensive series of tests) examines the stools for evidence of:
-The presence of Bacteria, Yeasts, Parasites
In addition CDSA may test:
- Malabsorption of Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates
- Indications of Stomach pH, Digestive Enzyme function
- Measures of Probiotic balance
- Presence of Gastrointestinal Inflammation
This is an extensive test which looks specifically at the health of one’s gastrointestinal system.
Functional Liver Detoxification Profile
This is a comprehensive test regarding the state of your liver. One of the most important roles of your liver is to detoxify the body. There are 2 basic phases of liver detoxification. Phase I can be thought of as the collection of garbage whereas Phase II involves sorting the garbage out into glass recycling, paper recycling, non-recycling and scraps for compost, for example. Each of these pathways are supported by certain nutrients and amino acids.
A FLDP will determine how well each of the detoxification Phases and pathways are working. Depending upon which pathways are underfunctioning, particular herbs and nutrients may be given to support this pathway. A repeat FLDP can then be performed 3 months later to assess change.
Integrative doctors tend to order BMD (Bone Mineral Density) tests when an individual reaches 50 years or when a woman begins to experience hormonal irregularities associated with peri-menopause. For this reason, they are often able to diagnose the presence of osteopaenia (on the way towards osteoporosis) before osteoporosis actually occurs. Generally speaking, osteoporosis tends to occur more commonly in women rather than men, unless he is obviously thin and possibly protein deficient.
Urinary N-telopeptides are ordered when an individual shows signs of bone loss on their BMD. This test is an indication of the ratio of bone-forming cells to bone-destroying cells. It gives the doctor a baseline from which to work with. Treatment usually involves a combination of weight-bearing exercises, an alkaline diet and supplementation with a variety on minerals (calcium, magnesium, boron etc) with a follow-up N-telopeptides in 6 months.
There are many different hormone assays that can be performed on saliva, including male and female sex hormones and adrenal gland function. Although there is still debate as to the possible differences between blood and salivary hormone testing, it is believed by many that saliva testing actually tests the amount of free (and therefore active) hormone in the body whereas blood tests indicate the amount of bound (and therefore inactive) hormone.
In the vast majority of cases, hormonal imbalances can be determined by accurate history taking. However, a salivary hormone test can be extremely helpful in difficult cases. It is interesting to note that low libido, for example, is not always associated with low testosterone as one would expect.
Hair Mineral Analysis/ Comprehensive Urinary Element Profile
Unfortunately, the society we live in today is filled with toxins. And as individuals we all have different sensitivities to these toxins. Either of these tests can help determine whether we have excess amounts of toxic elements such as mercury, lead or copper in our bodies. These may be particularly important in the case of many neurological disorders and psychological disorders. It is important to note, however, that each individual case must be taken on it’s own merits in the light of clinical history and examination.
In the case of a CUEP, an individual may do a pre and post-chelation urinary test with an agent such as DMSA. This agent binds to the heavy metal and carries it out of the body through the urine. This may be very important as often the first urine test does not show excretion of these metals.
First discovered in the 1970’s, Urinary Kryptopyroles were also entitled “mauve factors” as they were found to turn the urine of patients with schizophrenia a mauve colour. Approximately 1 in 10 individuals are allegedly able to produce Kryptopyrroles, having an aberrant biochemical pathway. The unfortunate consequence of this is that the production of Kryptopyrroles rob the body of both the essential mineral zinc and the important Vitamin B6.
Both zinc and Vitamin B6 are needed to produce every one of the body’s currently known neurotransmitters. So it is no wonder that these enigmatic pyrroles can wreak havoc with our mental health. There are many characteristics of kryptopyrrolurics, the most common being mood swings, anxiety, sensitivity to tags on clothes, bright lights and/or loud noises with a reduced ability to remember dreams. Indeed, Kryptopyrroles may play a significant role in any mental illness as well as ADHD and autism.
Plasma Copper and Zinc
Both copper and zinc play important roles in the health of our minds and bodies. They should, however, ideally always be in a 10:1 Zinc:Copper ratio. Unfortunately this is not always the case, with many individuals having a deficiency of zinc with relative copper excess.
One of the most commonest signs of zinc deficiency is white dots on the fingernails. Zinc plays a significant role in many our body systems, including supporting our immune system, balancing our blood sugar levels, producing all currently known neurotransmitters, healing our wounds and creating healthy sperm, to name but a few.
Excess copper has been linked to post-natal depression, aggressive and criminal behaviour, oestrogen dominant conditions and the formation of blood vessels necessary for a malignant tumour to grow and spread throughout the body.
Most people are aware that serotonin is one of our “happy hormones” with most anti-depressants working by stopping the breakdown of serotonin. Most people also know of anti-histamine drugs that are used to treat allergic reactions such as urticarial skin rashes and hay fever.
However, histamine is also another very important neurotransmitter. It is intrinsically involved in the methylation process that occurs in the body. Too much histamine can result in “undermethylation” which is associated with a deficiency of neurotransmitters. Too little histamine subsequently results in “overmethylation” which can be associated with too many neurotransmitters. Either way, both processes can greatly impact on the state of our mental health.