Before we tell you what, we need to find out why!
People often ask us to recommend a good supplement routine for optimizing health. Our response is “How should we know?”
We have been in healthcare long enough to know that a supplement that makes sense for one individual might not apply to someone else. It’d be like suggesting an exercise routine without knowing the status of the person’s health, if they wanted to lose weight, build muscles, or improve their heart health.
Seeking the Status Quo
The first step is to determine your specific nutritional needs. We have a number of tools to help.
Functional medicine testing
This is an individual assessment of your body’s functions. Both your blood and urine carry metabolic markers that, when looked at as a whole, can tell us how your body functions and, more importantly, how to improve that functioning.
There are a number of metabolic markers that can be tested for that are critical for peak body performance. The tests can give us an idea of what is needed to improve the efficiency of function
These test panels are offered by various “functional medicine Labs”. Insurance plans might cover a portion of the test. Without insurance the cost is $400.00. The NutraEval from Genova is one of the tests we currently utilize.
Blood levels- we can also check specific vitamin and mineral levels, although not as representative of body need or performance, blood levels can pick up chronic nutritional deficiencies. These can be done through Quest or other local labs.
Going through our symptoms check list with patients can key us into potential nutrient deficiencies, for example, chronic muscle cramps usually points to an electrolyte deficiency most typically magnesium or potassium.
Identifying medications. Many prescription medications can deplete levels of key and essential nutrients. Knowing what a patient is taking is critical to determine their supplement needs.
Checking for physical signs. There are many physical signs of nutrient depletion, a nutrition physical exam can help identify the need for nutrient support. For example white spots on your nails can indicate a zinc deficiency.
Case Study: Functional Testing
Harriet, a 58 year old woman, has been coming to the Center for a number of years but was only recently assigned to me. In reviewing her history, the thing that most stood out was that the significant improvement she has had taking some nutrients initially, were undone by the changes that Covid brought to her health routine, the lack of exercise and impact of “stress eating” seemed to put her back into more significant depression.
Throughout her life. Harriet had experienced chronic anxiety and depression. She has been off and on medication usually coming off due to a side effect of the prescription.
She is coming back and seeing me because she wants to avoid taking medications again.
We talked about the testing options that could help us determine what nutrients would best support her and she decided to take the NutraEval and the Methylation Panel test.
The NutraEval is a functional medicine test that helps determine just what Harriet’s body would need to function better.
The Methylation panel is a test that combines identifying genetic markers and detoxification markers. These Methalyation pathways are involved in the production and balancing of our hormones and neurotransmitters.
The Methylation panel showed that her COMT and MTFR enzymes are not functioning well due to a genetic variation.
The NutraEval showed very low Omega 3 fatty acids, which the Methylation panel findings,
We put her on the needed supplements and scheduled a follow-up for 3 weeks.
Six months later
It has been over 6 months and Harriet is “feeling the best I’ve felt in years”. The changes came gradually. At 3 weeks, there were slight improvements, then she noticed the most significant changes over month 2 and 3. She has much improved energy and mood and has utilized the benefits by getting into a good exercise routine and onto a better diet plan.