Naturopathic physicians are primary care practitioners who do standard labs but also do a number of alternative labs to help diagnose and follow patients. AIMS does many of these alternative labs either through your insurance or for exceedingly reasonable rates.
Unlike many other clinics in the Valley, we are sorry to write, many alternative labs are significantly marked up to be profit driven investigations. Some tests can be doubled from the basic physician price. AIMS does not do this! AIMS is completely sure that you will find no lower prices for alternative tests at other labs.
- Food Sensitivity Testing—this is the main alternative test done at AIMS. Food reactions might help cause eczema, psoriasis, migraines, asthma, auto-immune diseases, GERD/heartburn, gallbladder problems, IBS, Crohn’s/Colitis, recurrent upper respiratory infections, and many other conditions. This non-fasting blood draw measures the IgG delayed immune system, which is not the IgE immune system tested by allergist via skin testing. This is a blood draw and we can test for up to 200 food reactions with one blood draw. If you have United or Cigna we can run the test through your insurance; otherwise it is an out of pocket cost. We can do this test on children, too.
- Stool analysis (and digestive analysis)—When standard MDs do a stool analysis, all they check for usually is salmonella, shigella, c.difficile bacteria, as well as some parasites. Our lab, Doctor’s Data, measures so much more in one’s stool. For patients with gastrointestinal distress, this is an amazingly key test. It measures. This cannot be run through insurance, so is out of pocket cost:
- Beneficial bacteria—do you have good amounts of all the five beneficial bacteria measured?
- Commensural bacteria—did you overgrow normal bacteria in your gut which can cause problems?
- Pathogenic bacteria—do you have a pathogenic bacteria which can cause diarrhea and intestinal upset?
- Fungal growth—do you overgrow any species of fungus, either normal or pathogenic to the gut.
- Ova and Parasites
- Acute bacteria causing gastroenteritis (food poisoning)
- Digestive Enzyme capabilities
- Fatty Acid types and amounts
- Inflammatory markers
- Immune system marker
- SIBO test—Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth breath test. This can be run through your insurance. For patients who have chronic problems with terrible daily gas and bloating, with constipation or diarrhea, testing them for SIBO is invaluable. SIBO is a growing problem being diagnosed fairly regularly at AIMS. Morstein speaks at medical conferences on this condition but any physician at AIMS is well trained to treat it.
- Adrenal Saliva test—the adrenals are little almond sized glands sitting on top of each kidney. They make both reproductive and stress related hormones. With the saliva test, we check for the stress hormones cortisol and DHEA. If cortisol is too high it can make you anxious, gain weight, have insomnia, wear down the lining of your intestinal tract, interfere with thyroid production, and make you more inflamed. If cortisol is too low you can be very tired, have little stamina, also negatively impact on your thyroid and metabolism. If DHEA is too low you will be more inflamed and not heal up as well. If DHEA is too high, and you are a female, you may have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This is a helpful test to run in patients with any of those listed complaints.
- Vitamin K/Undercarboxylated Osteocalcin—This is a test for how much Vitamin K you have in your body; it’s much more accurate than serum Vitamin K. This test is out of pocket. We tend to keep our serum levels of nutrients in a good level, although the nutrient may be very low in our actual body cells. Vitamin K is used in our body for clotting, and also to allow calcium to “stick” to our bones, which is where 98% of calcium is in our body. Vitamin K carboxylates osteocalcin, which activates it and makes it sticky. If there is no Vitamin K doing that, your Vitamin D and Calcium will not help your bones! The calcium may deposit elsewhere in your body, such as your arteries, or body tissues. If you have osteopenia or osteoporosis, you should do this fasting blood draw.
- N–Telopeptide urine test—when you are diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, it is good to do this urine test as a follow-up. This can be run through your insurance. This test tells us how much calcium you are losing now from your bones into your urine. While not a diagnostic test of osteopenia or osteoporosis, this is a well regarded test to help us gauge how accurately our treatment is of your bone loss. If we do this test and find you are losing excess calcium in your urine, we can then initiate a comprehensive naturopathic. protocol to reduce that and preserve and strengthen your bones. By repeating this test in 3 months and seeing you are not losing excess calcium, we can be assured that our protocol is effective and your bones are either stable or growing.
- SpectraCell Nutrient Test—this fasting blood test measure many (but not all) of the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need in our body cells to enable our bodies to function well. This test is run through a patient’s insurance to help them save $100, but still has an out of pocket cost. We use this test to see how well a patient is absorbing foods, how well their intestines work, and how their diet is working for them, and also if they have been ill for awhile, depressed, anxious, low energy, low recuperative ability, we can measure what fuctional nutrient deficiency the patient has which we can correct.
- Heavy Metal Test—This test measures 14 different toxic metals in a patients urine. It is an out of pocket cost. Our environment is very polluted, and so is our food, our water, our air. Environmental toxicity is associated with being an etiological risk factor for many conditions—hormonal, auto-immune, neurological. We run this test when past exposure to a toxic environment is documented, or when patients mention they are very sensitive to odors and scents, new carpeting, tobacco, that it gives them headaches or other symptoms. If the patient has a positive result, a comprehensive detoxification program is initiated.
- 24 Hour Urinary Hormone Test—this test is out of pocket. For women experiencing infertility problems, this test is an accurate way to measure all their reproductive and adrenal stress hormones, including all the intricate metabolites of them.
Of course, not every patient has all these tests done. AIMS physicians recommend only that test which specifically relates to the chief complaints their patient presents with. But, when done, these tests can provide vital missing links to what is at the core of the patients conditions, what is causing them to be ill, and thus are considered to be extremely important investigatory tools for a naturopathic physicians.