Not Sleeping? Gaining weight? The Top 3 Functional Tests You Need Today

People seek out a functional medicine practice like Parsley when they’re frustrated. Desperate even.

They feel like they are doing everything right and their weight is still climbing, they’re not sleeping enough, they have horrible PMS or low libido, they’re bloated and uncomfortable, and they’re exhausted most of the time.

Sound a little bit familiar?

I wanted to share the three tests I find most commonly impact people’s health that only functional doctors like ours at Parsley are doing.

One of my patients, a 31 year old woman who works in finance, is the perfect example. She was doing 5 boot-camp and spin classes a week, working long hours, falling into bed exhausted then tossing and turning all night, her periods were becoming weirdly irregular and she was feeling bloated all the time.

She never would have gone to her regular primary care doctor for any of these problems. Would you? She knew a 10 minute visit and a prescription for a sleeping pill wasn’t the ultimate answer.

But she needed expert advice that would take a 360 look at her life, her diet, her medical history and her symptoms, and help her get to the root of the problem.

So she joined Parsley and out of the gate I realized we needed to do more than the usual basic bloodwork to understand why she was feeling so badly.

First we did a Parsley baseline profile which includes far more blood tests than a regular doctor looks at. Right off the bat we discovered an imbalance between her estrogen and her progesterone, and nutrient deficiencies like B12 and magnesium.

From there we did a cortisol test and learned that her high nighttime cortisol was what was keeping her awake at night.

We also did an in depth poop-test – yup a 3-day stool sample! Not as bad as it sounds and it was key to discovering she had dysbiosis (an imbalance in her gut microbes) and low digestive function.

Finally we did a genetics test that told us that she was slow at breaking down certain estrogens and slow at making neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. So we were able to give her targeted supplement to help support her body based on her genetics.

Now each of these fancypants tests as I called them had an extra lab fee – but at Parsley we work hard with our lab partners to keep those fees down, and for my patient the knowledge she gained was invaluable. How worth it is it to get a genetics test you can keep for life, vs. one extra dinner out that made you feel bloated and exhausted anyway?

For my patient, we were able to use medical grade natural supplements (NOT the stuff at the grocery store) that helped her balance cortisol and estrogen, improve protein absorption with enzymes, resolve dysbiosis through probiotics and replete nutrients she was low on.

Her health coach also guided her through an elimination diet that helped her identify food sensitivities and I prescribed an antifungal medication that killed off the yeast overgrowth in her gut.

For my patient the testing helped us guide her care in a targeted way and now she is sleeping, her menstrual cycles are regular, her PMS is gone, her digestion is beautiful and she lost 10lbs without working at it.

Here are the three functional tests I find most commonly impact people’s health that only functional doctors like ours at Parsley are doing.

1.Four Point Cortisol Adrenal Health Test.

This test is one you do at home on an average day for you, so a work day ideally. It requires that you spit in a tube four times in the same day – when you wake up, before lunch before dinner and before bed. It gives us a curve of your cortisol over the course of the day. Cortisol should start high in the morning, when you need that get up and go and come down over the course of the day. If this pattern is off for you, your cortisol could be the reason you have weight gain, high blood pressure, sugar imbalances and hormone imbalances.

2 The GI Effects or CDSA 2.0 3 day stool test.

This test reveals imbalances in the good and bad bacteria in your gut, identifies the overgrowth of yeasts and finds parasites. It also tells us if you have inflammation in your digestive tract and if your digestive juices in your pancreas are low, meaning you are not absorping nutrients as well. For some people with digestive and autoimmune problems, this test is a game changer

3.Genomind Genetics profile or 23&Me.

We are just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding genetics. And as I always explain at Parsley, gene are just potential, NOT a diagnosis. Meaning that while genes may set you up for a certain type of disease or problem, just because you have a gene for something like Alzheimer’s disease or autoimmune disease or depression, it doesn’t mean you are destined to get that disease. As we say in functional medicine, genetics load the gun but environment pulls the trigger. This means that we can look at genetics and make specific recommendations for diet, exercise and supplements that will help you metabolize hormones like estrogen in a healthier way, and

Now I’m all for direct to consumer testing – tests like 23&Me, Ubiome and Cube that let you DIY thing like genetics and Vitamin D at home. But the truth is, you need a functional medicine team to help you put that information together in a way you can use in the context of your life. Don’t go it alone – you’ll just get confused and scared, and the internet is no way to solve your problems.

Join Parsley as a medical member today and work with a functional medicine doctor and health coach team who are experts in interpreting your in depth test results, and giving you comprehensive medical and lifestyle advice that will help you solve your health issues in a way your primary care doctor can’t.

 


Robin Berzin MD

Dr. Robin Berzin is the Founder and CEO of Parsley Health. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Robin went to medical school at Columbia University -where she co-founded the physician communication app Cureatr – and later trained in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital. She is a certified yoga instructor and a meditation teacher, writes for a number of leading wellness sites, and speaks regularly for organizations including Stanford Medicine X, The Clinton Foundation, Health 2.0, Summit at Sea, and Further Future, on how we can reinvent health care.

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