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

by Aditya Kumar

In conventional healthcare, the focus is often on treating symptoms rather than addressing the root cause of a disease. This approach involves suppressing symptoms with medication, such as using anti-acids or proton pump inhibitors to treat acid reflux. However, functional healthcare takes a different approach by asking why the symptom is present and working to find and address the underlying imbalances causing the disease.

According to Monique Jhingon, a Functional Nutritionist, Lifestyle Consultant, and Author, functional testing plays a crucial role in this approach. Functional tests are not designed to diagnose a disease but rather to identify the imbalances that are driving the disease process and causing the symptoms. These tests can include specialized gut and microbiome tests that look for microbial imbalances, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, infections, histamine overload, or impaired gut function.

Once these imbalances have been identified through functional testing, targeted interventions can be introduced, including personalized diet, lifestyle adjustments, and supplements. This approach leads to permanent symptom resolution and significant improvements in health and well-being.

Anupama Menon, a Lifestyle and Health Coach, emphasizes the importance of a clear prognosis or diagnosis to determine the underlying causes of health risks. Functional testing helps validate a symptomatic analysis of various factors such as gut health, hormones, stress, nutrients, and inflammation against bloodwork and other physical indicators. It provides crucial information to structure a tailor-made health program.

Dr. Debojyoti Dhar, Co-Founder and Director at Leucine Rich Bio Pvt Ltd, highlights the problem with merely managing symptoms. While people often struggle with various symptoms, a quick-fix approach for temporary relief is not effective. Understanding and addressing the root cause of the problem is essential. Functional lab testing collects data from different samples such as blood, saliva, urine, or stool to assess the impact of nutrition, environment, genetics, hormones, and medications on the body’s functioning. This allows for a targeted approach to treating or managing health issues from the ground up rather than addressing them superficially.

In conclusion, focusing on symptoms and suppressing them with medication is a common approach in conventional healthcare. However, in functional healthcare, the emphasis is on finding and addressing the root cause of a disease. Functional testing plays a crucial role in identifying underlying imbalances and providing targeted interventions for long-lasting symptom resolution and improved overall health.

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