There are a number of specialized Naturopathic tests available at the Toronto Wellness Centre, when you book an appointment with Dr. Kate McLaird ND. Read on to learn more about which tests are available, and how they can aide you in achieving your best care:
This 4 point cortisol test will evaluate cortisol levels upon waking, before lunch, before dinner and bedtime, to create an accurate curve representing cortisol fluctuation within your body throughout the day.
Our modern-day stresses tend to be chronic persistent and sadly considered a daily norm. This means that cortisol levels may stay mildly elevated, resulting in symptoms such as (to name a few):
feeling tired but wired
With continued stress, the adrenal glands may become depleted from producing too much cortisol or may reduce cortisol production significantly in response to the detrimental effects of high cortisol. Symptoms of low cortisol may include (to name a few):
fatigue (particularly morning fatigue)
increased susceptibility to infection
decreased recovery from exercise
low blood sugar
burned out feeling
low sex drive
Since cortisol is a major stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, it is often a first response in people’s bodies as a coping mechanism. Because hormones in the body influence one another so directly, it can also be common for both high and low cortisol to have effects on other hormones within the body manifesting in several other symptoms.
By assessing where your cortisol pattern, it may be very helpful to identify what type of supports are needed to regain a healthy ability to cope with stress.
Women of any age can be affected by hormone issues.
Women who still have menstrual cycles may experience infertility, premenstrual syndrome, mood swings, anxiety, painful periods and other symptoms as a result of hormone imbalance.
Women in peri-menopause and menopause often experience debilitating sleep disturbances, night sweats, hot flashes, accelerated bone loss and many other symptoms related to hormone changes.
Five hormones make up the Female Panel: cortisol, DHEAs, estradiol, progesterone and testosterone. Imbalances can have a significant impact on an individual’s health, and assessing specific hormone levels allows the clinician to apply the most effective natural therapies in order to achieve hormonal balance and heal the presenting symptoms.
Hormone imbalances can significantly impact men’s health and are important to address to maximize quality of life. Conditions associated with male hormone imbalance include but not limited to:
Benign prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate)
Four hormones make up the Male Panel: cortisol, DHEAs, estradiol, and testosterone.
The immune system exists to defend the body against bacteria, viruses and any other potentially harmful organisms. One of the ways it does this is by producing cells called immunoglobulins, also called antibodies. There are five major immunoglobulins: IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM.
Food Allergy: Only IgE reactions are considered true food allergies. IgE reactions typically occur within minutes of exposure to, or ingestion of, food antigen. Commonly observed IgE reactions include: hives, itchy watery eyes and breathing difficulties. Testing for IgE food allergies requires a blood draw. Diagnosis of a food allergy can only be made by an allergist, and may involve skin prick tests or a double-blind, placebo-controlled oral food challenge.
Food Sensitivity: Food Sensitivity is a term that usually refers to delayed immune reactions to foods. For example, IgG and IgA reactions to foods are commonly referred to as food sensitivities.
Food Intolerance: Usually refers to non-immune reactions like enzyme deficiencies. For example, people who lack the enzyme lactase have trouble digesting milk. This is called lactose intolerance.
IgG testing: There is a growing body of evidence to support the clinical benefits of eliminating IgG reactive foods from the diet. IgG food sensitivities have been implicated in migraine headaches and irritable bowel syndrome (alternating diarrhea and constipation). Bloating and indigestion are also common food sensitivity reactions, as is fatigue. Continued consumption of reactive foods may contribute to weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight. Eczema is also commonly associated with food reactions. Because IgG food reactions take hours or days to develop, this makes it difficult to determine which food is responsible for the reaction without doing testing.
Candida: Assessment to detect elevated IgG antibodies to Candida can also be very helpful clinically in determining the most effective treatment to treat a variety of symptom presentations. Elevated IgG antibodies to Candida have been seen with frequent vaginal yeast infections, ‘jock itch’, ringworm, as well as an overconsumption of sugar-rich foods (extremely common in today’s society with many hidden sugar sources). There are several other symptoms which have been shown to correspond with many other common symptoms which can be discussed with a knowledgeable health care professional or naturopathic doctor.
IODINE PLUS (Thyroid testing)
According to the World Health Organization, nearly 10% of North Americans receive insufficient iodine in their diets – and that adds up to over 30 million people! The following groups are at greatest risk for iodine insufficiency:
- pregnant women – the need for iodine increases in pregnancy, and iodine is critical for development of the central nervous system of the fetus. Globally, severe iodine deficiency is the largest single preventable cause of brain damage and mental retardation.
- people living in areas with iodine-deficient soil
- people who do not use iodine-fortified table salt
Iodine was added to table salt (sodium chloride) decades ago in an effort to reduce the incidence of iodine deficiency. However, the use of table salt has declined due to increased consumption of high sodium, non-iodized processed foods.
- high bromine intake, which competes with iodine for transport into cells
exposure to bromine through pesticides, medications and fire retardant chemicals has increased. An excess of bromine may compromise iodine status.
The Iodine Plus urine test can help determine whether you have sufficient iodine and whether excess bromine could be negatively impacting your iodine status. Iodine Plus also includes selenium and cadmium. Selenium is an essential element for thyroid function, and cadmium is known to interfere with the actions of selenium. This urine analysis is a simple and inexpensive way to measure levels of iodine, selenium, bromine and cadmium to provide a comprehensive evaluation of thyroid health. This test is best combined with a thyroid panel blood test.
According to Health Canada, only about 1/3 of Canadians have vitamin D levels above 75 nmol/L, the minimum considered optimal for health. To ensure adequate vitamin D supplementation to correct a deficiency, a vitamin D spot test allows a health care practitioner to provide a therapeutic beneficial dose and ultimately improve overall health as vitamin D plays a critical role in numerous aspects of our human physiology.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
- Season or Latitude: The low angle of the sun in Canada means we cannot make vitamin D during the winter months.
- Sunscreen Use: SPF 15 sunscreen reduces natural vitamin D synthesis significantly.
- Skin Colour: Dark skin has more of the pigment melanin, which can reduce vitamin D synthesis by up to 99%.
- Age: Vitamin D synthesis decreases by about 75% in a 70 year old.
- Medications: Specific medications, like anti-rejection, anti-seizure and AIDS medicines can speed up the breakdown of vitamin D, resulting in low levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D.
Cholesterol-lowering medications are commonly prescribed for high cholesterol and heart disease. Monitoring cholesterol is important, because having too-low cholesterol impairs the body’s ability to make vitamin D.
The Fatty Acid Profile measures the percentage of fatty acids in red blood cells from a convenient dried blood spot. Measurements include the Omega-3 Index and Omega-3 score to assess for heart disease risk, the ratio of Arachidonic Acid (AA) to Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) as a marker of inflammation, total Omega-3 fatty acids, total Omega-6 fatty acids along with mono-unsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids and saturated fats.
Good Fats: The essential fatty acid family includes omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which are considered essential because they only come from food. Most of us get plenty of omega-6 fatty acids from grains and grain fed animals, but our diets often lack omega-3 fatty acids. A few of the more important omega-3 fatty acids are: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosohexaenoic acid (DHA) and alpha linolenic acid (ALA). The right balance of omega-3 fatty acids has been proven to reduce the risk of heart attack, and having the right balance of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids may help reduce inflammation.
This test will identify the fatty acids which need to be changed in order to improve your cardiovascular health specific to your body’s biology. By attaining a visual representation of biochemical markers of your cardiovascular health, it serves as a strong incentive to improve your health, by decreasing risk factors and supplementing which will ultimately change your trajectory from heart disease to a longer, healthier and happier future.
Urine element analysis is a simple and inexpensive way to measure levels of essential and toxic elements (including heavy metals). The presence of toxic elements has been linked to (not all encompassing):
- neurological problems
- memory impairment
- learning difficulties
- gastrointestinal problems
- ADD/ADHD and the autism spectrum
Heavy metals tested:
A small sample of urine can be used to look for essential element deficiencies (see sample test for list) and for the presence of toxic elements. Many practitioners use a chelating agent to determine past exposure versus current exposure. Talk to your naturopathic doctor about the safest way to remove any toxic elements and rid the body of burden.