What are Functional Medicine Tests?

Functional Medicine refers to getting to the root cause of symptoms or challenges, as opposed to a band aid approach which often just masks symptoms. The Allopathic Medicine model is to diagnose and treat with prescription medicines, or surgeries. And sometimes it is necessary. But often it only masks symptoms, helping you feel better temporarily, but it doesn’t actually address the underlying issue. Functional Medicine is always asking “why” – Why has one of your lab markers increased or decreased? Why do you have these new symptoms? When we identify the ‘why,’ often the root cause can be discovered and addressed, instead of only masking symptoms.
My struggle with food sensitivities and eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE) is part of what led me to nutrition. I had been to multiple doctors, done scopes, tests and was basically told, “Just avoid the foods you are reacting to because the results are inconsistent.” I knew there had to be more information available. I’m happy I kept on digging because for the most part, EOE is a non-issue for me now.
Maybe you’ve tried lots of different things but nothing seems to help? This could be an indication that you need to dig a little deeper too. One of the ways to dig deeper is to test. Testing can provide data that helps connect the dots and provide guidance on the next steps in your health journey.


The tests described below are the ones I use most frequently to not only help clients identify the root cause of their ailments, but also to optimize their health.


Comprehensive Stool Test

Yep, this is a poop test. You will receive a kit in the mail, complete the collection at home and then send the sample back in the shipping materials provided. This test looks for pathogenic bacteria (including helicobacter pylori), opportunistic bacteria, levels of beneficial bacteria, parasites, worms, yeast and intestinal health markers. Basically it gives us information about what’s actually going on in your gut. Having this information can help guide recommendations for diet, supplements or areas to further explore that are potentially contributing to your digestive issues.

Micronutrient Test

This blood test looks at nutrients levels intracellularly (inside your cells) telling us what your body has actually absorbed and utilized in the past couple of months. While the levels themself can be insightful, sometimes we see patterns of nutrient deficiencies that help us put the puzzle pieces together. This test is also a great way to assess if the supplements you have been taking are working as intended. For this test and all blood tests ordered, you will either go to a lab or have a mobile phlebotomist come to you for your blood draw.

Food Sensitivity and Allergy

Traditional allergy tests are done as a back prick test, watching for a histamine reaction – the larger the red bump, the higher the reaction. The test I like to use is a blood test that looks not only at food allergies, but also food sensitivities. Because sensitivities can take up to 72 hours to occur and can manifest in a variety of symptoms, they can be harder to identify with just a food journal. While an elimination diet (removing specific foods and being intentional about systematic reintroduction) can be helpful, it can also be time consuming if assessing multiple foods. This test also identifies food intolerances, which not only can result in uncomfortable reactions, but continued consumption of these foods over time can contribute to inflammatory conditions. As a result of doing this test, I have had clients discover ‘healthy’ foods they were eating were actually causing inflammation and/or contributing to their issues.

Routine Blood Work

A comprehensive metabolic panel, lipids, thyroid markers, blood sugar indicators, uric acid and a few specific vitamins like D and B12 should all be part of your routine annual blood work. Whether you have results from blood tests that your provider ran or need them ordered, I can review them with you to make sure they are within optimal functional range. This often is different from the ranges listed on your lab results.

Want to learn more?

If you would like more information about testing options, reviewing test results, or discussing a different type of test not listed (e.g.,hormones, toxins, or other specialty labs)? Let’s connect!