Labwork is Important!
Most people are used to getting a requisition from their medical doctor for lab work, which is covered by MSP. Currently in BC, Naturopathic Doctors are able to request these same labs, but they require private pay, and may be covered under some extended benefit plans. Additionally, routinely use other laboratories to test hormone levels, cortisol (stress hormone) levels, food sensitivities, and SIBO.
Labwork gives us a baseline to how your body is functioning, and can also be used as a measure of the efficacy of treatment. It's much more than numbers on a piece of paper.
Some tests that your Naturopathic Doctor may request may include:
- SIBO Testing - a breath test that measures gases produced by bacteria in the small intestine. SIBO is commonly associated with IBS and other digestive disorders.
- Food Sensitivity Testing - a blood sample (either finger prick or blood draw) is analyzed for immune reactions (sensitivities, not allergies) against over 120 or more different common foods.
- Hormone Testing - there are a variety of hormones that can be tested using salivary, blood, and urine samples. Most commonly, we look at the thyroid hormones (TSH, T4, T3), stress hormone (cortisol), and female hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone).
- Examples of Common Blood Tests:
- CBC - this is an analysis of your red and white blood cells, which can be useful for diagnosis of anemia and immune function.
- Ferritin - stored levels of iron, which helps identify iron deficiency (common cause of fatigue and hair loss)
- Thyroid Function - more than just TSH, NDs test levels of circulating thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) to determine if production or conversion of these hormones is being affected. Additionally, we evaluate the potential for autoimmune conditions against the thyroid (Hashimotos)
- Cholesterol - as the backbone of all steroid hormones, cholesterol is very important. LDL and HDL are typically used to evaluate cardiovascular health and risk
- Liver Function - liver enzymes such as AST and ALT, as well as GGT help monitor the functioning of the Liver and Gall Bladder to ensure all systems are working properly
- CRP(hs) - C-reactive Protein (CRP) is a marker of inflammation, and is commonly used to evaluate cardiovascular risk
This is by no means an exhaustive list. You can be tested for almost any and everything. Be sure to talk with your ND to understand what and why is being tested.
Lab work can help guide treatment protocols, and give us a quantitative measure of your health and what is going on inside your body.