We recently spoke to Chris Kresser, a pioneer and leader in functional medicine practice and training. He’s a strong advocate of functional testing and nutrigenomics and the role ongoing testing and retesting can play in understanding and improving patient health. “Test don’t guess” as he puts it. You can see our interview with Chris here. Here we explore some of the tests he believes have a role to play in the practitioner toolkit.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology (CSAP) Test
“I think a stool test for gut health is crucial”.
A stool analysis and parasitology test is an invaluable non-invasive diagnostic assessment that permits practitioners to objectively evaluate the status of beneficial and imbalanced commensal bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, yeast/fungus and parasites. It allows practitioners to look at pathogens, inflammatory markers and short chain fatty acids important for immune regulation and anti-inflammatory effect. The extent of inflammation, whether caused by pathogens or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can be assessed and monitored by examination of the levels of biomarkers such as lysozyme, lactoferrin, white blood cells and mucus. These markers can be used to differentiate between inflammation associated with potentially life-threatening inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which requires lifelong treatment, and less severe inflammation that can be associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Dried Urine Total Complete Hormones (DUTCH) Test
“An assessment of the HPA axis is really important … in the world we live in chronic stress is epidemic and it has profound effects on physiology and it can effect blood sugar regulation, hormones, gut function and just about everything else so everyone I see gets that test.”
The health of the entire hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is critically important for maintaining proper health primarily because of cortisol’s role in the body. The advanced hormone testing offered by the DUTCH test was developed to improve on the available hormone testing options. DUTCH offers the most extensive profile of sex and adrenal hormones along with their metabolites. Additionally, the daily (diurnal) pattern of free cortisol is included along with melatonin. This unique combination of clinical information is not available by any other method.
The DNA Health test is designed to optimise well-being and health by personalising lifestyle and diet choices and, where necessary, using supplements tailored to offset any particular nutritional deficit based on specific gene variants.
The DNA Health approach assists the healthcare practitioner in establishing the optimal nutrition necessary for good health, longevity and disease risk mitigation. Diet is a key factor in determining genomic stability as it impacts on all relevant pathways: exposure to dietary carcinogens, biotransformation, DNA repair and synthesis, and apoptosis. Current recommended dietary allowances for vitamins and minerals are based largely on the prevention of diseases of deficiency. However, because diseases of lifestyle are partly caused by damage to DNA it stands to reason that we should focus our attention on defining optimal requirements of key minerals and vitamins for preventing genomic instability.
“An example of that is knowing your APOE status. If you’re APOE 3 or 4 you might be particularly susceptible to the effects of dietary saturated fats so I might suggest more of a Mediterranean paleo diet with more mono unsaturated fats, less fat overall and more fruit carbohydrates.”