My Doctor Says My Labs are Fine, but You Say I’ve Got Problems—What Gives?
Sometimes people actually ask me this
Well, they don’t usually say “what gives?” (but they may be thinking it).
So, I will explain.
There are two main reasons why I find problems your doctor didn’t.
#1) I Know the Difference Between Standard Laboratory Reference Range and the Functional Reference Range
Most doctors (and laboratories), when assessing blood chemistry, look at what is called a “standard laboratory reference range”. This is based on an average of people who are getting their blood tested, both sick and healthy.
Therefore, when one patient is comparing their results to this standard laboratory reference range, really what they are doing is seeing how sick they are compared to a population who is both healthy and sick (and, unfortunately, getting sicker).
This is kind of like going to McDonald’s and seeing that compared to the people in there, you’re in pretty good shape. However, if you go to a gym where there tend to be more healthy people, we notice more how out of shape we can be. While humbling, it is a more honest assessment of our physical fitness.
Functional medicine blood chemistry reference ranges are like the people at the gym—it’s an average of the blood chemistry levels taken from people who are healthy. By comparing our values to these, we tend to notice how out of shape we can be. What often happens with patients who are symptomatic, is that they are within the standard laboratory reference ranges but are outside the functional medicine reference ranges.
In our office, we use functional medicine blood chemistry reference ranges. We also refer to the standard laboratory reference ranges so that we can show our patients the difference between the two. Patients love seeing the black-and-white the difference. Just this morning I saw a patient whose main complaints were chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Her previous labs showed no problems. But when I ran a functional medicine blood chemistry panel on her, guess what? It showed that she was hypothyroid and had marked inflammation! No wonder she felt horrible!
#2) Our Functional Blood Chemistry Evaluation Includes More Tests
Most doctors these days do not give very thorough lab test workups. For example, most doctors today do not test for iron status, inflammatory markers, essential fatty acid levels, correct blood sugar evaluations, or B vitamin status, just to name a few. But these tests are essential in assessing the health of the patient. Case in point, I have one patient that had what was called “auditory hallucinations”—he was hearing voices! The doctor could find nothing wrong. But when I tested this patient using functional blood chemistry, I found that he was pre-diabetic, and had dangerously low in iron, vitamin D, and B12. Within a month, he completely stopped hearing voices! Win!