Functional testing: Getting to the root of what is causing your symptoms

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Sep 21, 2023 01:14 PM IST

Health experts reveal all you need to know about functional testing to get to the root of what is driving the disease process and causing your symptoms

All symptoms arise because of underlying imbalances and in a conventional healthcare approach, there is a tendency to focus on the symptoms and suppress them with medication. An example of this is treating acid reflux with anti-acids or proton pump inhibitors but in a functional healthcare approach, we ask why the symptom is there and we find and address the root cause of the disease.

Functional testing: Getting to the root of what is causing your symptoms (Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash)
Functional testing: Getting to the root of what is causing your symptoms (Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Monique Jhingon, Functional Nutritionist, Lifestyle Consultant and Author, explained, “Sometimes this is achieved with a detailed health history and lifestyle review, followed by targeted, personalized diet and lifestyle adjustments. Other times the process may require functional testing. Functional tests are not diagnostic in nature, they are not meant to find a disease. They assist in finding the underlying imbalances that are driving the disease process and are causing the symptoms.”

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She elaborated, “As for the example of acid reflux, functional testing may include a specialised gut and microbiome test that looks for microbial imbalances, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, infections, histamine overload or impaired gut function. Once these imbalances have been identified, they can be addressed with targeted diet, lifestyle and supplement interventions resulting in permanent symptom resolution and a drastic improvement in health and wellbeing.”

Bringing her expertise to the same, Anupama Menon, Lifestyle and Health Coach, shared, “Holistic Wellness encompasses the health of the mind, body, and spirit through food, fitness and emotions. Hence, a clear prognosis or diagnosis of a person's body condition is important to determine the base cause of possible health risks and to know how to structure a tailor-made effective health program. Hence Functional testing is super important to validate a symptomatic analysis of gut, hormones, stress, nutrients and inflammation against bloodwork and other physical health markers.”

Dr Debojyoti Dhar, Co-Founder and Director at Leucine Rich Bio Pvt Ltd, revealed, “We often find people struggling with one or the other symptoms. This could be anything as common as headache or bloating. Sometimes, these symptoms go unattended while other times, people work on quick fixes for temporary relief. However, it is time we realised that symptom management should not be the only approach. We need to understand the root cause of a problem and then take a targeted approach to address the underlying medical condition.”

He concluded, “Through functional lab testing, data from different types of samples like blood, saliva, urine, or stool is collected to provide the user information on the effect of factors like nutrition, environment, genetics, hormones or medications that interfere with the normal functioning of their body. Based on the result of functional lab tests, treating or managing a health issue from the ground up is possible as opposed to managing the issue superficially.”

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