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Top Functional Lab Tests for Autoimmunity

Top Functional Lab Tests for Autoimmunity

Top Functional Lab Tests for Autoimmunity

Autoimmunity is a complex dysfunction within the body, specifically within the immune system. The long list of physiological triggers can make it hard to understand and address. However, with access to a variety of functional tools, including lab testing, healing and reversing autoimmune disease is possible. This is how you can best utilize functional lab tests for autoimmunity.

What is Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system attacks its own body. In other words, it mistakenly views itself, including it’s tissues and organs, as non-self. As a result, it begins to attack in self-defense. Ironically, this form of self-protection ultimately leads to self-destruction. 

Today, there are actually over 80 known autoimmune conditions, each responsible for targeting different tissues and organs in the body. Needless to say, the presence of autoimmunity can leave you feeling less-than-optimal. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, you can learn more about the first steps to take, here.

Common Causes of Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmunity is a dysfunction within the body’s own immune system, which can be caused by a variety of environmental, lifestyle, or genetic triggers. More often than not, it occurs as a result of one or more of the following:

        • Chronic stress
        • Underlying infection
        • Toxicity
        • Gut dysbiosis
        • Nutrient deficiencies
        • Genetics
        • Imbalanced hormones
        • Chronic inflammation
        • Emotional trauma

 

Together, these triggers create the perfect conditions for autoimmunity to brew. For this reason, it’s essential to understand the root cause of autoimmunity before determining the best course of action. Luckily, there is an array of diagnostic and functional tools available to help us do just that. But, more on that in a minute.

Symptoms of Autoimmunity

Autoimmunity comes in many different shapes and sizes. However, there are common symptoms that accompany most types of autoimmune disease, including:

        • Chronic fatigue
        • Digestive issues
        • Anxiety and/or depression
        • Weight gain or loss
        • Joint pain

If you suspect autoimmunity in your own body, it’s important to work with a trusted functional practitioner. Through symptom analysis and lab testing, they can accurately diagnose autoimmune disease and create the best plan of action moving forward to reduce symptoms and possibly even reverse autoimmunity.

Functional Lab Tests for Autoimmunity

With the guidance of a functional medicine doctor, it is possible to experience freedom and healing from autoimmunity. Luckily, there are many functional tools available, making it possible. In my professional experience, functional lab testing has proven to be the most effective in understanding autoimmunity.

The following functional tests can be used to identify the underlying causes of autoimmunity, while curating the best protocol:

  • Gut Integrity

All health starts in the gut. In fact, over 80% of your immune system is stored there. When there is an overgrowth of bacteria or underlying infection in the gut, autoimmunity can be triggered. In fact, it has been shown that an imbalanced gut microbiome has a direct negative impact on immunity and thyroid health. For this reason, testing for gut infections or imbalances is a necessary first step in understanding and treating autoimmunity. Functional lab tests for gut integrity, include:

        • Comprehensive Stool Testing (such as the G.I. Map)
        • SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) Breath Test
        • Food Sensitivity Test
        • Allergy Testing

 

  • Nutrient Deficiencies

A body that is deficient in essential vitamins and minerals is more prone to illness, including autoimmunity. Why? Because without these essential building blocks, your immune system can’t do its job properly. Enter: immune dysfunction. Nutrients that are specifically needed for strong immune function, include vitamin D and zinc. Use the following tests to identify and address any nutrient deficiencies:

        • Organic Acids
        • Vitamins (ie. vitamin D, folate, and vitamin B-12)
        • Minerals + Electrolytes
        • Essential Fatty Acids (omega 3 and omega 6)
        • Iron + Anemia Screen

 

  • Hormone Panel

Chronically stressful and fast-paced lifestyles have resulted in common hormonal imbalances. Hormones that are out-of-whack can eventually lead to immune dysfunction. In effort to rule out and address any hormonal imbalances, test the following hormone panels:

        • Full Thyroid Panel
        • Adrenal Stress Index 
        • Sex Hormones

 

  • Toxin Burden

Toxins surround us everywhere we go. Unfortunately, they’re in our food, air, homes, clothing, water, and more. Given the prevalence of toxins, today, it’s no wonder so many of us are burdened by dangerously high toxin loads. Testing for toxicity in the body is an important step. Use the following functional tests to check for underlying toxicity issues:

 

  • Immune Function

Functional tests can identify threats specifically within the immune system, like infection. These tests are extremely beneficial in understanding and addressing autoimmune conditions:

        • White Blood Cell + Differential
        • Chronic + Latent Infections (Viral, Fungal, Bacterial, Parasitic)
        • Multiple Tissue Auto-Antibody Screen

 

  • Inflammation

Inflammation is the root of all disease and can ultimately trigger an autoimmune condition. These inflammatory markers give an insider’s look at what’s going on within the body and how to approach autoimmunity.

        • ESR
        • Homocysteine
        • hs-CRP
        • Ferritin

 

READ MORE:  6 Types of Sensitivity

Functional lab testing can be done via blood, breath, stool, or urine tests. Each provides a unique insight into possible dysfunction or imbalance in the body.

Fortunately, these specific functional lab tests make it possible to understand autoimmunity and it’s possible triggers on a deeper level. Healing, and ultimately reversing, autoimmunity becomes a strong possibility! For this reason, I utilize functional testing when any autoimmune condition is in question. As a result, my patients can receive the best care possible!

To learn more about how to work with me in your journey to heal autoimmunity, click here.

Dr. Natasha F
[email protected]

Dr. Natasha F is a Doctor, Designer, Speaker and Artist. She specializes in healing autoimmunity through integrative chiropractic, functional neurology, functional medicine, nutrition, homeopathy and narrative medicine.

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