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Top Functional Medicine Lab Tests That Can Help Get Your Practice Started Today

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Top Functional Medicine Lab Tests That Can Help Get Your Practice Started Today

Functional medicine is a medical model encompassing the principles of individualized, patient-centered, and science-based medicine to find the root cause of illness and restore optimal wellness. Functional medicine practitioners are trained in thorough history-taking techniques and functional testing to understand an individual's genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors that could be contributing to disease and interfering with the healing process.

Functional testing can feel overwhelming for those just entering the functional medicine world, with the multitude of tests and companies that are available to choose from. Rupa Health helps by providing a platform that streamlines the ordering process and provides access to many educational resources. If you're considering onboarding functional testing into your practice but need help knowing where to start, read on to learn about the tests ordered most commonly by functional medicine providers.


Top Functional Medicine Lab Tests To Get Your Practice Started

Gut Function Testing

Up to 70 million Americans suffer from gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. Furthermore, the functional medicine community commonly accepts that health originates in the gut, and GI imbalances often contribute to many disease processes. This is why gut function testing is in high demand among functional medicine providers and patients alike.

A comprehensive stool analysis is a diagnostic assessment of digestion, absorption, inflammation, infection, and the gut microbiome. Stool testing is commonly ordered in the evaluation of:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Allergies
  • Skin conditions
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Mood disorders
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Joint pain

The GI Effects 3-Day Comprehensive Profile by Genova is one of the most popular stool tests ordered through Rupa. The user-friendly first page of the report classifies findings into five critical areas related to digestive function, making it easy for providers and patients to interpret results, prioritize findings to guide treatment recommendations, and monitor patient progress. Additionally, Genova offers insurance coverage options and customizable test add-ons to individualize the test to your patient's needs.

In addition to comprehensive stool analysis, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) breath testing is a favored test in the functional medicine world. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common GI disorders that push people to seek medical care, especially within the functional medicine world. At least two-thirds of IBS cases are caused by underlying SIBO, making the SIBO breath test an invaluable tool in the IBS diagnostic workup. There are multiple options to choose from when ordering a SIBO test. To simplify matters when first getting started, consider ordering the Trio-Smart breath test, the only test on the market that can test for all three variations of SIBO.

Additional Learning Resources:

  • The GI Effects: Precise, Reliable, and Clinically Effective free class
  • GI-MAP Lab Interpretation free class
  • GI-MAP vs. GI Effects: Stool Test Showdown free class
  • GI360 Extensive Assessment of the GI Microbiome free class
  • SIBO Testing: A Deep Dive free class
  • Deep Dive into the GI Map Test by Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory 6-week bootcamp

Hormone Analysis

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance and concerns of adrenal fatigue are common complaints that drive people to pursue functional medicine. Conventional labs offer blood testing to assess sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) and offer limited options for evaluating cortisol as a marker of adrenal gland function. Functional testing provides urinary and salivary testing options to comprehensively understand how the body makes, processes, and eliminates these hormones.

The DUTCH Complete by Precision Analytical (DUTCH) is the most popular hormone panel that analyzes the metabolic pathways involved in sex and adrenal hormone levels in the body. It is a four-sample urine collection, making it easy for patients to collect at home, and provides a complete look into how a person's hormones work together. Reasons to consider DUTCH testing include the following:

  • Irregular periods
  • Heavy periods
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Menopause and monitoring hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Low libido
  • Difficult weight loss
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic fatigue  

The Adrenocortex Stress Profile (ASP) with CAR by Genova is a commonly ordered test when a doctor is more interested in diagnosing dysfunction within the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. This panel measures cortisol, DHEA, and the cortisol awakening response (CAR) to evaluate the stress response. It may be a preferred choice over the DUTCH if you are not looking to measure sex hormones. The results of ASP with CAR can provide valuable insight into underlying mechanisms behind disease processes like:

Learning Resources:

  • How to Use the DUTCH Test for PCOS free class
  • Understanding the Cortisol Awakening Response free class
  • Choosing the Best Salivary Hormone Profile for Your Patient free class
  • HPA Axis Dysfunction 101 free class

Nutrient Assessment

The Organic Acids Test (OAT) is a urine test that extensively looks at an individual's overall metabolic and nutritional health. Assessing over 70 markers that can indicate signs of oxidative stress, neurotransmitter imbalance, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and intestinal dysbiosis, this can be an all-inclusive option for your patients in which you are interested in looking for imbalances without ordering multiple tests. Recognizing organic acid patterns can be one of the easiest ways to identify root cause imbalances in fundamental metabolic pathways, nutritional status, neurotransmitters, and gut function. Organic Acids (OAT) by Great Plains Laboratory is a highly regarded organic acids test on the market.

Organic acid result interpretation can be challenging and may require additional training. For those interested in offering nutritional assessments with less complexity, micronutrient testing may be the way to go. Micronutrient testing analyzes a person's nutritional status at the cellular level by measuring vitamins, minerals, amino/fatty acids, and antioxidants. This Micronutrient Test by SpectraCell is the micronutrient panel most ordered through Rupa.

People who could benefit from either an OAT or micronutrient test include those who:

  • Suffer from chronic disease, a malabsorptive digestive disorder, or chronic fatigue
  • Have a history of eating restricted diets
  • Are trying to optimize overall health, athletic performance, pregnancy, or aging

Learning Resources:

  • Pattern Recognition in Organix Comprehensive Test free class

Food Sensitivities

Food sensitivities are an IgG immune-mediated response that can cause symptoms up to three days after ingestion of a food trigger. Conventional doctors rarely test for food sensitivities due to mixed research. However, food sensitivity testing can detect specific food triggers and guide elimination diets, making it frequently requested by patients in a functional medicine office. The General Food Panel by US Biotek is a well-regarded sensitivity panel that assesses the IgG response to 96 food items. The blood spot test makes it easy to collect the blood sample in the office or at home.

Common symptoms associated with food sensitivities that would indicate ordering this panel include:

  • Digestive symptoms
  • Skin conditions
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Joint pain
  • Mood disorders

Learning Resources:

  • IGG, Complement, and Zonulin: Perfect Combination for Food Sensitivity Testing free class
  • How to Select the Right Food Sensitivity Test free class


As more people seek alternative avenues from the conventional healthcare model of medicine, now is a great time to start incorporating functional testing into your practice. Gut function testing, hormone analysis, nutrient assessment, and food sensitivity testing are all popular testing options that distinguish functional medicine providers from their conventional counterparts. These labs provide possibilities for investigating the root cause of diseases that aren't typically available through a conventional doctor. Rupa Health provides easy access for providers to order their desired functional medicine testing. For more information, check out Rupa Health's many features, including the lab reference guide, free classes, and boot camps.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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