What is the difference between Conventional and Functional Pathology?

What is the difference between Conventional and Functional Pathology?

by Vanita Dahia

Conventional Lab testing is used routinely to identify levels of hormones, lipids, iron, etc in a blood sample, most of which is coverd by the Medicare system.

Conventional testing is considered the Gold Standard as it is recommended to identify essential blood parameters. There are however, some limitations as functional pathology introduces a new paradigm.

Conventional pathology tests are used to measure the levels of substances in the body, such as blood sugar, cholesterol, and hormones. These tests are typically used to diagnose diseases or to monitor the progression of a disease.

Functional pathology tests are used to assess how the body is functioning. These tests may measure the levels of nutrients, enzymes, or hormones, or they may look for signs of inflammation or oxidative stress. Functional pathology tests are often used to identify underlying causes of health problems, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Functional pathology measures metabolic and biochemical blocks in physiology of the body, genetic variants, analytes not measured in conventional testing, metabolites of hormones and neurotransmitters.

State of the art technology is used to validate testing and provide clinically relevant information on your biochemical parameters.

The key differences between Conventional vs Functional Pathology Testing

FeatureConventional Pathology TestsFunctional Pathology Tests
PurposeTo measure levels of substances in the bodyTo assess how the body is functioning
GoalTo diagnose diseases or to monitor the progression of a diseaseTo identify underlying causes of health problems
Types of testsBlood tests, urine tests, imaging testsBlood tests, urine tests, saliva tests, stool tests, hair mineral analysis, food sensitivity tests
CostTypically covered by insuranceMay not be covered by insurance

Can’t handle a Blood Draw?

Not to worry! There are many samples you can use to measure specific analytes. For example, Vitamin D can be measured in a blood sample or a blood spot or finger prick sample.

Hormones are conventionally measured in a blood sample. Progesterone, for example,  can be measured using functional pathology in a blood, blood spot, urine, dried urine or saliva sample. This allows the health practitioner to differentiate between Progesterone that is protein bound or Progesterone that is free and bio-available.

Samples used to test may include, blood, blood spot, urine, saliva, stool, buccal swab or hair.

Unique Functional Pathology Testing

Functional pathology tests can measure the function of the body, levels of brain chemicals and decipher your propensity for disease states via genetic testing. The area of Genetic or DNA testing has expanded significantly.

Genetic testing was traditionally used in criminology to find the killer or determine the propensity of Downs Syndrome, for example in a pregnant woman. Today, genetic testing identifies:

  • Nutrigenomics – the study of nutrient need based on genetic mutation
  • Epigenomics – The study of genes that are switched on and off without changing the actual DNA sequence. They may be caused by age, toxic exposure, or factors such as diet, exercise, drugs, and chemicals.
  • Pharmacogenomics – the study of which medicines are ideal for you based on your genetics
  • Immunotherapy – The study of how your genes determine the health condition and the sensitivity of specific drugs that would be effective based on your genes. In addition, genetic material like MRNA is extracted to compound a targeted “cancer vaccine” in for example, a cancer patient, a science called SOT (single oligonucleotide therapy) or DC ( Dendritic Cell therapy)

Mental health conditions are typically diagnosed with the assistance of a Diagnostic and Statistical manual (DSM) questionnaire system. Integrative practitioners can assess the levels of excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in a simple urine sample and additionally, measure drivers of mental health conditions like zinc and copper levels, pyrroles, hormones, MTHFR genes, etc.

Lab Tests

Which Lab test is right for you?

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