Why Am I Still Sick?
Two of the most common things that I hear from new patients is that “my family doctor says that my lab work is normal” while in the same breath telling me that they feel like crap. This certainly begs the question as to what ‘normal’ lab results really mean.
Simply put, the training of medical doctors and functional doctors is very different when it comes to the ordering of lab tests and evaluating their findings.
The first thing that we do when interpreting lab results is to limit the reference range to what are actually functional values. Beginning with functional ranges for lab results is important because ‘normal’ lab ranges are really just regionally aggregated results for so-called ‘healthy people.’ Yet since most people aren’t healthy, telling someone that their lab results are normal is equivalent to saying that you’re just as sick as everyone else. The question shouldn’t be what pill to take for a certain high or low number; instead, the question should be why your lab values aren’t in the sweet spot where you actually feel well. Rather, we look for nutrient deficiencies, pathogens, toxicity, emotional and physical stress, and food or airborne sensitivities. There is no such thing as a prescription drug deficiency!
The systems approach employed by functional doctors enables us to help patients even when lab results don’t reach the threshold for a clinically defined disease. Instead of relying on pharmaceutical drugs to treat specific symptoms, we look at how each of your different systems is actually functioning and work to optimize them accordingly. Interestingly, we often find that we can benefit multiple systems by addressing common problems impacting our different systems. For instance, by reversing a Vitamin D deficiency, we can strengthen the immune system which increases your secretory IgA which in turn strengthens the immune system of your GI tract while simultaneously improving your ability to make hormones. This is the power of a systems-based approach supported by functional lab ranges.