Functional Labs Ranges
Confused when your doc says "everything looks normal" but you can feel that something is not? Yes, me too, that's why i started learning about functional screenings ranges.
Functional laboratory screenings are comprehensive and innovative tests that allow preventative care and a deeper look into hidden, not-so-obvious root causes of a malfunctioning body. They may include blood, stool, urine, saliva or hair samples to provide information about a variety of systems including metabolic, nutritional, endocrine, gastrointestinal, hormonal, immune, genetic, detoxification, and others.
We want to be in the ranges of any test that are optimal for your unique physiology and chemistry. Why? In traditional medicine as long as your labs fall within the “normal” reference range, it’s assumed that you’re healthy, or at least not sick enough for a medical intervention. I don't know about you but i really don't want to reach that number on the screening that requires a medical intervention. Ever. I'd rather play Tom Cruise in "Minority Report" and see the future:)
What differentiates functional medicine labs ranges from conventional medicine ranges?
Functional Medicine Labs Ranges
Traditional Medicine Labs Ranges
Look for optimal for a specific person
Look for "normal" for all
Narrow bell curve
Wide bell curve
Come from health conscious population
Come from the average "healthy" population
Focus on pattern recognition
Look at absolute state - disease is/not present
Focus on long term health
Are not set up for long term health
Preventative, "action steps" approach
"Wait and see" approach
Correlate to health history, symptoms, genetics, lifestyle, environment
What does it mean "come from the average "healthy" population - to calculate a biomarker range, labs test samples from a certain population with similar characteristics e.g. age, gender, health status, race. This sampled population is essentially a random snapshot, intended to capture the average — not what’s healthy because in many parts of the world, people are obese, don't exercise enough, eat a poor diet, are exposed to pollutants, etc. Average blood biomarker ranges from these populations will wildly misrepresent the optimal health targets that we should be shooting for.
What about preventative or pattern recognition functional medicine labs ranges?
Practitioners track their clients’ progress on the either side of the optimal range to detect early changes in metabolism. By tracking these patterns over time, we can gain a powerful method of more rapidly identifying dysfunction before it becomes disease and monitoring the impact of the protocol plans: when a biomarker strays above or below that range for a period of time, practitioners can use this as a sign an intervention is needed, whether that’s the recommendation for supplements, dietary and lifestyle changes. Since optimal reference ranges are much narrower than what’s used in conventional medicine any signs of dysfunction can be detected early on, before disease has the chance to develop.
Check out this image below: on the far left and on the far right we have traditional labs low and high values - which are not normal meaning the state of disease is present. And don’t know about you but I don’t want any of my biomarkers end up even near these ranges.
Then we have functional low and high values - they seem normal but they are actually also not healthy - and these are the ranges that most conventional doctors pass as not concerning. As long as your labs fall within the “normal” reference range, it’s assumed that you’re healthy, or at least not sick enough for a medical intervention. it’s like saying you are pre-diabetic but let’s just wait and see what happens. No, thank you!
And here in the middle under the star we have the functional optimal range, it is meant to reflect optimal health and function rather than the absence of disease - and this is something that is different for everyone based on our bio-individuality, lifestyle, health history, genetics, environment, symptoms. And this is my goal: to get my clients to this spot under the star.