Laboratory Testing

Accurate lab diagnosis of complex conditions

The Naturopathic Doctors at Springs Eternal Natural Clinic have access to lab diagnostic services that allow for accurate diagnosis of complex conditions.

Certain foods can be a detriment to our health if our bodies are not tolerant to that particular food. The food acts like an irritant.

Food Allergy Testing vs Food Sensitivity Testing

Sometimes this shows as an immune reaction to that food, in the case of food allergy.  Food allergy testing is the best way to pick up this type of immune reaction. Other times food reactions show as a non-immune reaction, a food sensitivity.  Food sensitivity testing is the best way to pick this up. To name a few possible reactions in food sensitivities, your body may have a problem with absorption or elimination of the food, the food may cause irritating by-products, you may not not have enough digestive enzymes to breakdown the food, or the food could be overloading the liver. Common food sensitivities and allergies include shellfish, eggs, dairy, wheat, soy, corn, peanuts and tomatoes but each person is unique in what their body reacts to. Unknown food sensitivities can cause a variety of health problems, including eczema, joint pain, digestive problems and hypertension.

Our naturopathic doctors offer a variety of methods of food sensitivity testing and food allergy testing. We offer Vega testing (electrodermal stress response testing) for food sensitivity testing, guided elimination & challenge for both food sensitivity or food allergy testing, and blood (IgE, IgG, IgA) and salivary testing for those interested in food allergy testing.

The electrodermal testing involves painless readings of electrical conductivity of the skin.  A stress response in the body is measured by a change in electrical conductivity. This measures how the nervous system is responding to a food. This approach was developed in Germany and is widely used throughout Europe. It can check food sensitivities and environmental sensitivities as well as yeast overload. This is a great tool for identifying food sensitivities in all ages, including babies and children.

Hormonal imbalances can affect energy, sleep, libido, fertility and menstrual cycles to list a few areas.

Our naturopathic doctors use salivary testing and urine testing to measure estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and DHEA to help assess and evaluate hormone status. This information, along with blood tests and clinical signs and symptoms, is the most comprehensive way to help guide treatment.

The Latest Advancement in Improving Digestion: Specialty Stool Analysis

When we treat the cause we can fix the problem.  This statment is useful in many areas of life but especially in digestive problems.  How do you know what the cause is unless you get a great picture of what is happening in your digestive tract?

Stool samples sent to specialty laboratories give us the best that science has to offer in understanding what is happening in your digestive tract. Information can be gathered regarding enzyme production and how well you digest your food, how balanced are the gut microflora, yeast and other microbes and much more.  These tests combined with our clinical assessment are the best that science has to offer in truly understanding the cause of your digestive symptoms and directing how to create a plan to improve them.

These tests are helpful for patients who suffer from the following non-exhaustive list:

  • gas or bloating
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • cramping
  • mal-absorption
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • diverticulitis
  • GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder)
  • indigestion
  • ulcers
  • gall bladder problems
  • etc..

The most comprehensive test in stool analysis:

Comprehensive Stool Analysis w/Parasitology x3 from Doctor’s Data

This test is from the most reliable and consistent lab in stool studies that Dr. John had found over the years called Doctor’s Data.

The following information is taken from Doctor’s Data website, it gives a brief explanation of this test.

The Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology x 3 is an invaluable non-invasive diagnostic assessment that permits practitioners to objectively evaluate the status of beneficial and imbalanced commensal bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, yeast/fungus and parasites. Precise identification of pathogenic species and susceptibility testing greatly facilitates selection of the most appropriate pharmaceutical or natural treatment agents. Important information regarding the efficiency of digestion and absorption can be gleaned from the measurement of the fecal levels of elastase (pancreatic exocrine sufficiency), fat, muscle and vegetable fibers, and carbohydrates.

Inflammation can significantly increase intestinal permeability and compromise assimilation of nutrients. The extent of inflammation, whether caused by pathogens or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can be assessed and monitored by examination of the levels of biomarkers such as lysozyme, lactoferrin, white blood cells and mucus. These markers can be used to differentiate between inflammation associated with potentially life-threatening inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which requires lifelong treatment, and less severe inflammation that can be associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is frequently due to the presence of enteroinvasive pathogens. Lactoferrin is only markedly elevated prior to and during the active phases of IBD, but not with IBS. Monitoring fecal lactoferrin levels in patients with IBD can therefore facilitate timely treatment of IBD, and the test can be ordered separately.

The Comprehensive Parasitology component is an important tool for identifying imbalances in intestinal microflora. It includes comprehensive bacteriology and yeast cultures to identify the presence of beneficial flora, imbalanced flora including Clostridium species, and dysbiotic flora, as well as detection of infectious pathogens and evaluation for the presence of parasites. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing to prescriptive and natural agents is also performed for appropriate bacterial and fungal species at no additional charge.This provides the clinician with useful clinical information to help plan an appropriate treatment protocol.

More than just parasites are tested:

  • Parasites
  • Yeast
  • Good and Bad Bacteria
  • Infectious pathogens

Parasitology According to Dr. Hermann R. Bueno of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in London, “parasites are the missing diagnosis in the genesis of many chronic health problems, including diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and endocrine system.” While parasitic infection may be an underlying etiological factor in several chronic disease processes, doctors often do not consider the potential for parasitic involvement because signs and symptoms of parasitic infection often resemble those of other diseases. However, it has been shown that parasite testing is a reasonable approach to the detection of causative agents for chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Most Americans are inclined to believe that parasitic infection is a rare and exotic occurrence, limited to those who have traveled to distant, tropical lands. However, for a number of reasons, there has been an increase in the incidence of parasitic infection in this country.

Since the vast majority of secretory IgA (sIgA) is normally present in the GI tract, where it prevents binding of pathogens and antigens to the mucosal membrane, it is essential to know the status of sIgA in the gut. sIgA is the only bona fide marker of humoral immune status in the GI tract.

Cornerstones of good health include proper digestion of food, assimilation of nutrients, exclusion of pathogens and timely elimination of waste. To obtain benefits from food that is consumed, nutrients must be appropriately digested and then efficiently absorbed into portal circulation. Microbes, larger-sized particles of fiber, and undigested foodstuffs should remain within the intestinal lumen. Poor digestion and malabsorption of vital nutrients can contribute to degenerative diseases, compromised immune status and nutritional deficiencies. Impairment of the highly specific nutrient uptake processes, or compromised GI barrier function, as in “leaky gut syndrome,” can result from a number of causes including:

  • Low gastric acid production
  • Chronic maldigestion
  • Food allergen impact on bowel absorptive surfaces
  • Bacterial overgrowth or imbalances (dysbiosis)
  • Pathogenic bacteria, yeast or parasites and related toxic irritants

Why Use Stool Analysis?

When we get to the root cause and understand the problem it gives us a clear path to follow and it is usually it  is only a matter of time before we see the change.

“Gastrointestinal function is important for general health. The intestinal tract contains significant amounts of bacteria; some beneficial, some neutral, and some harmful. Balancing beneficial microbial flora in the gut is key to proper digestion, efficient nutrient usage, and ridding the body of waste and pathogens. Poor digestion and malabsorption can lead to immune dysfunction, nutritional insufficiencies, mental/emotional disorders, and autoimmune diseases. “- Metametrix GI Profile

We mainly use Doctor’s Data Laboratory to do our stool analysis but have used another lab called Metametrix for some specialty testing as well.

Related Testing for GI Disorders

Toxic heavy metals include lead, mercury, arsenic, and cadmium. These toxic metals can be a source of unknown toxic load on the body. This chronic toxicity can lead to a variety of health problems, including neurological symptoms, male and female infertility, autoimmune conditions and thyroid problems.

The most comprehensive way for testing total body burden is through urine collection using a chelating agent that binds to heavy metals in your body.

Comprehensive Detox Profile | Organix by Metametrix

Get an assessment of your body’s cellular metabolic processes and the efficiency of metabolic function. Identifying metabolic blocks or problems with detoxification, gut dysbiosis, or oxidative stress that can be treated nutritionally allows for individual tailoring of interventions. Targeted treatment can help maximize patient responses and lead to improved patient outcomes.

Advantages of the Organix Comprehensive Profile

Extensive Analyte List – The Organix Comprehensive contains one of the most extensive analyte lists in the industry. Including markers such as Quinolinate, D-Arabinitol, and 8-Hydroxy-2’deoxyguanosine, the Organix offers great value.
Innovative Method – The LC/MS-MS method, which is also used to screen newborns for metabolic disorders, requires very little sample preparation and processing. This technology provides more stability, accuracy, and sensitivity in measuring organic acids at low levels for optimum test results.
Single Urine Specimen – A single overnight urine collection is easy for patients, leading to increased patient compliance.

Why use an organic acid test?

Organic acids are metabolic intermediates produced in pathways of central energy production, detoxification, neurotransmitter breakdown, and intestinal microbial activity. Accumulation of specific organic acids in urine often signals a metabolic inhibition or block. This abnormality may be due to a nutrient deficiency, an inherited enzyme deficit, toxic build-up, or drug effect. Testing for organic acids helps reveal activity and changes at the metabolic level, helping practitioners discover hidden issues and pinpoint where therapeutic focus is needed.

The Organix Profile provides important information in the areas of:

  • Vitamin and mineral insufficiencies
  • Amino acid insufficiencies like carnitine and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC)
  • Oxidative damage and antioxidant sufficiency markers
  • Indicators to assess detoxification sufficiency
  • The best functional markers of B-complex deficiency
  • Neurotransmitter metabolites to assess central nervous system (CNS)  function
  • Mitochondrial energy production assessment via citric acid cycle components
  • Methylation sufficiency status
  • Lipoic acid and CoQ10 sufficiency markers
  • Specific dysbiosis markers for bacterial and yeast overgrowth

The Organix Profiles can provide important information for treating certain conditions, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Sleep abnormalities
  • Mood changes
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity
  • Bloating
  • Distention
  • Joint pain
  • Gas
  • Reflux
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Dermatitis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Inflammation
  • Headaches
  • Early aging

What is SIBO?

SIBO is Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, and can occur when the small intestine has become chronically infected with an overgrowth of bacteria.  Symptoms differ for everyone and can include bloating, belching, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, nausea, food sensitivities, headaches, joint pain, fatigue, skin rashes, respiratory issues, mood changes, eczema, fatty stools, iron deficiency, flatulence, abdominal pain and vitamin B12 deficiency.  SIBO testing can be ordered through any physician. Book an appointment with one of our naturopathic doctors and find out if SIBO testing is right for you.

SIBO Testing FAQs

How is SIBO testing done?

SIBO testing is done using a breath test kit.  It takes 3 hours to complete, and gives us a picture of how the bacteria in your intestinal system are functioning.

If you are referred to our clinic for SIBO testing by your physician or one of our naturopathic doctors, you will receive a kit and will be able to administer the test in the convenience of your own home. You will also need to eat a special prep diet for 24 hours prior to the exam. Once testing is complete simply return your kit to our lab for analysis.

What does the test look at?

SIBO tests measure the levels of hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) gases. These gases are produced by bacteria in response to glucose or lactulose. Since humans do not produce either hydrogen or methane, these gases are evidence of bacterial fermentation.

What is lactulose?

Lactulose is a manmade sugar that humans cannot digest and is sometimes used as a laxative. During testing some people may experience the following symptoms: needing to use the restroom, bloating and gas. These symptoms are a natural response to the lactulose and will pass.

When will I receive my test results?

Test results will typically be given to your doctor within two weeks of your returning the completed test to our lab.

What is the SIBO prep diet?

You will be asked to adhere to the SIBO prep diet for 24 hours prior to taking the test with the goal of starving the bacteria for a day in order to produce better test results. SIBO bacteria love plant products and sugars, so during the prep diet you can only eat the foods listed below:

  • Any meat/poultry/fish/seafood that is not cured or brined
  • Plain, steamed white rice
  • Eggs
  • Clear meat broth (made only from the meat, no bone/cartilage or vegetables)
  • Fats/oils (coconut/olive/vegetable oils, butter, or lard)
  • Salt and Pepper (no other herbs/spices)
  • Weak black coffee and/or weak black tea (plain, no sweeteners or cream, NO green or herbal teas)
  • Plain water (no mineral water or water with additives)

If it is not on the list DO NOT eat it.

Your referring doctor will discuss the diet with you, and may also ask you to stop taking some of your medication. Please ensure that you inform your referring physician of all medications you are currently taking so that they can properly advise you. Please do not stop taking any of your medications without the consultation of your physician.

How to administer the SIBO test

Prior to taking the test please make sure you read all the information included with the test kit. You may also want to take a look at this helpful video.
Collecting breath samples

DO NOT take a deep breath, please breathe as you would normally. (There is a small hole in the bag that allows air to flow through.) Blow out through the mouthpiece attached to the bag. During your exhale, push the test tube onto the needle collection device and leave it on for about 1-2 seconds. Pull the tube off the needle while still exhaling. Once the tube is off the needle you can stop breathing into the mouthpiece.

Common sample collection errors
  • Putting the tube on the needle before breathing into the collection device. This is the most common error and will cause room air to contaminate the sample. Make sure you are breathing into the mouthpiece prior to puncturing the tube with the collection device needle.
  • Taking a very big inhalation before the sample.  Make sure you take a normal breath otherwise room air will contaminate the sample.
  • Putting the tube on the needle at the beginning of the exhalation instead of mid exhalation.  If you put the tube on early the air in the tube will be from your trachea whereas the air mid exhalation will be from your lungs and is the air we want to capture.
  • Puncturing the tube more than once. This can cause the sample to leak out of the tube.