As a Nutritional Therapist, my job involves helping clients find the root cause of their health concerns, then guiding and supporting them towards taking control of their own health. This includes a detailed investigation into their previous and current health history as well as their lifestyle and other factors.
Often it’s necessary to delve deeper into the underlying causes, especially when there are no obvious symptoms, for example, a skin rash or indigestion. One way of doing this is by means of functional testing. This could be anything from a food intolerance test to an adrenal function test. Such tests are specific and specialised and can provide a helpful indication as to what’s going on inside the body. GP services provide some tests on the NHS, but these are generally undertaken when the patient is already suffering noticeable symptoms of ill health.
Functional tests are usually obtained via a Nutritional Therapist who must be suitably qualified and registered with the appropriate associations and the testing company concerned.
However, with more people taking in an interest in their health, there are many tests available which can be purchased by anyone, either over the counter in a pharmacy, online or directly from the testing company.
Preventative health is all about taking control of our health before disease sets in and functional testing can play a key part in helping us do this.
Rather than waiting until we start experiencing adverse physical health symptoms, we can now take advantage of such tests to help us spot underlying deficiencies or problems before the disease process is underway and begins manifesting as unwelcome symptoms.
Thriva home testing
One type of Do It Yourself home test is supplied by the company Thriva who started up in 2016 with the aim of building the world's first preventative health service.
At the time of writing, tests include the Essential, Baseline and Advanced.
Essential: Cost: £24 per test
This test tracks two main health indicators related to risk factors for cardiovascular disease and liver function. Cholesterol biomarkers include: (LDL cholesterol, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and cholesterol ratio). Biomarkers for liver include: (Alkaline phosphatase, gamma GT, albumin, globulin, alanine transferase, bilirubin and total protein).
Baseline: Cost: £49 per test
The Baseline test tracks key indicators of internal health. Within the baseline test you’ll find out the following:
B12 (total), Cholesterol biomarkers: (as per the Essential test). Liver biomarkers: (as per the Essential test). Plus: Vitamin D biomarker: (25-hydroxy Vitamin D); Iron Profile biomarkers: (Ferritin, Iron, Transferrin saturation and TIBC - see Thriva for more details on this).
Advanced: Cost: £69 per test
The advanced test is the most comprehensive and provides a detailed insight into a variety of key internal health systems. This test includes all the biom