I often see clients that are unsure about what an hour with a blood analyst entails. Some reluctantly roll-up their sleeves so I can take blood from their vein and others have eaten a big breakfast with a cup of coffee. What clients do before seeing functional blood analysts will effect the outcome of their results so it is important to know how to prepare.
For all functional blood tests please do not eat for 12 hours before the appointment. The reason it’s important to fast is so the analysts can determine the current state of your gut flora. Bacteria presents itself in the same way as food and caffeine do. Drinking water or herbal tea before your appointment is welcomed and please feel free to bring your breakfast with you. I love chia seed pudding with almond milk, cinnamon and blueberries because I can shake it up in a jar and toss it in my bag for later.
The beginning of every appointment will be spent discussing the patient’s current health concerns including: their sleep patterns, diet, water consumption, exercise routine, digestion, energy and stress levels and if any supplements or medications are being taken. This will help the analyst understand what they are seeing in the blood and how a patient can make positive changes. As a holistic nutrition student, I spend a lot of time discussing what clients eat and how I can make suggestions that are easy to implement, but have big impacts.
For those clients that don’t love needles, don’t fret, it’s only a finger prick with a lancet. This is the same way diabetics check their blood sugar levels throughout the day. The blood is then put onto glass slides and within minutes you are viewing your blood cells on the TV monitor. We take two samples, live and dry blood. In the live blood sample, the red blood cells should be moving, round in shape and the background should be free of debris. The dry blood is a good indicator for chronic and long term health conditions like adrenal fatigue, inflammation and heavy metals. Did you know your red blood cells live an average of 120 days?
When looking at the live blood sample an analyst can tell if your body is functioning optimally. Digestion is a common area of concern for many people. When the red blood cells are clumped and stacked together like a rolled coin this is an indication of digestive issues. People may experience gas, bloating or signs of an underactive stomach (undigested food, constipation, heart burn). If clients aren’t digesting food well, they won’t be absorbing the nutrients from all those foods and will feel tired. If the body is expending too much energy trying to break food down clients may also have low energy.
Another common imbalance is liver congestion and this occurs when the liver is overburdened. Consuming a diet high in refined sugar, unhealthy fats, pesticides (try to buy organic when purchasing Environmental Working Guide’s Dirty Dozen), medication, all affect the liver’s ability to filter, regulate hormones, proteins, blood sugar levels and aid in breaking down fat. The liver is responsible for over 500 functions in the body so we want it to be functioning optimally. It is common to see itchy skin, rashes, headaches and digestion imbalances when liver toxicity is present. There are many other imbalances that can be seen in the blood that the blood analyst will discuss with you during your appointment.
A client leaves AIM with suggestions and tips to improve their health leaving them feeling informed and empowered. A detailed handout of the report goes to the client, one is kept on file with the blood analyst to document improvements and another goes to their naturopath. A naturopath will then make a detailed and tailored plan for the client. Functional blood testing takes the guessing game out of the equation!
As a former patient at Aurora Integrative Medical, I was fascinated with the information that can be gained from looking at one’s own blood under the microscope. I personally had signs of digestive issues, a presence of heavy metals, low Vitamin B12/Iron and low essential fatty acids. This is a great test to determine one’s overall health, improve athletic performance and gain new insights into your pre-existing conditions. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your health over a hot cup of tea.