Off you go to the Doctor and say "Doc give me the full work up!". But then your results come back and everything is "normal"... but is it? Do you feel "normal"?
And what does "normal" feel like, anyway?
1. Waking up in the morning well rested, energized with no aches & pains. You have dream recall and they are not "bad" dreams. You did not keep your partner up all night because you do not snore or have sleep apnea.
2. When you look in the mirror there are no dark circles or bags under your eyes, your eyes are not blood shot or yellowed. Your tongue is pink with no white coating or scalloped borders. Your skin is clear. You are not accumulating fat around your midsection, hips or thighs or generally everywhere. Your face doesn't appear puffy or swollen. You are not living with injuries that never get better or have occurred for no darn good reason.
3. You are happy and content; not experiencing anxiety, depression or feeling generally cranky.
4. You are not relying on coffee, Red Bulls or sugar to get you through your day.
5. You are not craving... anything.
6. Food nourishes you and does not leave you feeling bloated, sleepy, experiencing heartburn, indigestion, nausea, unexplained changes in mood or brain fog.
7. Your periods are pain free, regular with no fatigue, bloating, swelling, mood swings or skin break outs.
8. Your libido is great!
9. Your bowel movements are around 2 times daily; well formed, easy to pass, not smelly.
10. You have no gas... especially smelly gas.
I'm just getting started really. I could go on and on!
So if this is NOT how you are feeling, why are your bloods normal? If your lab work shows you in the normal range, all that means is that you are not diseased, yet!
Or maybe you have a few markers that are "worrying" but do you have a clear understanding the underlying cause?
What's really going on?
Let's look at Pathological Lab Ranges vs Functional Ranges.
There are two main types of ranges in the field of blood chemistry analysis: a pathological range, and a functional range. The pathological range is used to diagnose disease; the functional range is used to assess your risk for disease, before the disease develops. The references that are provided with laboratory test results are referred to as "the pathological range," because if the test results are out of range, it usually indicates potential for pathology or disease.
The main difference between the two ranges is the degree of deviation allowed within their normal range. For example the functional range for glucose may be 85 – 100 mg/dl, but the pathological range may be 65-110 mg/dl. Levels above the pathological range may indicate diabetes. Levels above the functional range, before they reach the extremes of the pathological range, may indicate insulin resistance and future risk for developing diabetes.
The pathological lab values provided on the lab results are actually based on a "bell curve analysis" of all the people that have been to the lab over "x" amount of time. If you go to the same lab in two different cities, you will find that the reference ranges are actually different. It is important to look at functional ranges, so you are not considered "normal" or "healthy" because your lab tests fall in the same range as the majority of the sick people that have been to that lab. The sicker the population gets, the wider, and less useful the lab reference ranges become.
If pathology is not present, the patient is considered "healthy." But in fact we know that disease does not occur spontaneously overnight but slowly develops over years with the body giving us many early warning signs that big trouble is on the way. By looking at blood tests from a functional perspective we can identify early-on trends that are leading us toward poor health. More importantly, it provides a window of opportunity to do something about it through restoring and supporting normal function, not overriding the body through medication (and their associated side effects) when trouble sets in.
The main difference basically boils down to our conventional definition and view of health. Some define "health" as the absence of disease or symptom, and therefore if you are not diseased then you must be "healthy." Other define "health" as being free of symptoms and disease but also having adequate energy levels, healthy digestion, ideal physiological function, etc. Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines health as: "A state of optimal physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity".
Nutritional Therapists use the functional range when evaluating clients.
We get incredible results with very difficult chronic health histories because we are willing to take a step back, look and nutritionally support the WHOLE person, not just a diagnostic label. When we see shifts out of the functional range we are going to analyse that in conjunction with a detailed history and physical functional evaluation. Glancing down at a lab report and saying everything is "normal" because all the values fall within the "pathological reference range," ignores critical opportunities to achieve long term optimal health.
The information obtained from a Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis allows us to give you critical nutritional advice on your chemical state. Following this analysis, our practitioners can tell you what specific nutrients maybe lacking in your diet and whether or not your organs and glands are functioning optimally. Abnormal physiological levels are used as warning signs that action needs to taken to improve lifestyle to avoid future health issues.
Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis can help you on the road to achieving a healthier and happier you!
If you have kicked off the New Year with a health check up that has included blood tests or had lab work done within the last 3 months, qualified Nutritional Therapy Practitioners can use those lab results to perform the Functional Blood Chemistry Analysis. If you have not had the required lab work done in the last 3 months, we can work with your Doctor to organise the required lab work to create a completely BioIndividual program that's right for you.
Leanne is a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Integrative Health Coach and Lead Instructor for NTA Australia/NewZealand. She hopes to change the health of future generations through loving support and knowledge. Find Leanne at purecorenourishment.com.au