Functional Blood Chemistry

What is it?

Learn the benefits of this unique tool…

Blood chemistry is a very different tool for any healthcare provider to screen and identify imbalance in body metabolism. It serves as an inexpensive way to assess major bodily functions. Providers that have learned the skills required to analyze blood chemistry panels can provide their patients with sound recommendations, screen for health issues, and monitor changes for treatment.

There are two main types of ranges in the field of blood chemistry analysis: a pathological range and a functional range. The pathological range is used to diagnose disease; the functional range is used to assess risk for disease before disease develops. The references that are provided with laboratory test results are referred to as “the pathological range”, because if the results are out of range, it usually indicates potential for pathology or disease.

The main difference between the functional and pathological range is the degree deviation allowed within their normal ranges. For example the functional range for glucose may be 85-100 mg/dl, but the pathological range may be 65-100 mg/dl. Levels above the pathological range may indicate diabetes. Levels above the functional range, but before they reach the extremes of the pathological range, may indicate insulin resistance and future risk for developing diabetes.

Conventional medical training is concerned with the diagnosis of disease and rarely preventative medicine; therefore, patients are usually not consulted regarding the parameters of the functional range. Healthcare providers that practice prevention medicine are those most inclined to incorporate consulting patients when their levels present outside of the functional range. If biomarkers can be managed before they fall within the pathological range, prevention medicine can be practiced.

When lab results fall within the patterns of a functional imbalance, strategies such as lifestyle, diet, nutrition, and other non-invasive therapies may be recommended. Many traditional healthcare providers do not embrace the concept of a functional range. They believe that care should only be provided when disease is present. This view is generally formed from conventional medical training which ignores the philosophies of preventative medicine and nutrition. Traditional medical training teaches physicians to evaluate blood chemistry in comparison to ranges that determine pathology. If pathology is not present, the patient is considered “healthy”.

The main difference between healthcare providers who embrace or reject functional ranges basically boils down to the definition of health. Some healthcare providers define “health” as the abstinence of disease, and therefore if you are not diseased than you must be “healthy”. Other healthcare providers define health as being free of disease but also having adequate energy levels, healthy digestion, ideal physiological function, etc. It is obvious that those in society who feel that prevention and “health” are more than just being disease-free will embrace the importance of the functional range, and those that view “health” as only free of disease will only accept the validity of the pathological range.

Functional ranges have been determined by healthcare providers and researchers who embrace the principles of preventative medicine, such as those who practice diet, nutrition, and lifestyle changes. Much of the research regarding functional ranges has been established by well-respected organizations such as the American Association of Clinical Chemists (AACC).

Ask us more on your next visit!

Dietary Tips for Dysglycemia

Dietary Management of Dysglycemia Patterns

The nutritional management of all patterns of dysglycemia must start with proper lifestyle and dietary changes. Individuals with dysglycemia must take changes to their diet; there are no exceptions to this. A person who exhibits insulin resistance cannot simply eat what they please when they please anymore, and a patient with hypoglycemia cannot continue missing meals during the day.

The first and most important change that all dysglycemic patients must perform is to eat a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast for dysglycemics consists of a protein-dominant meal, preferably rich in essential fatty acids and low in simple sugars. Ideal meals include eggs, salmon, chicken, vegetables, or even a high quality (low-sugar) protein shake. Fruit juice and sweets must be avoided for dysglycemics. They must eat low-glycemic snacks during the day such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, deli meats, or protein shakes. They cannot snack with sweets, fruits, juices, or smoothies. The best for dysglycemic will basically be lean meats, vegetables, and legumes.

It is difficult to calculate an exact ratio of protein to carbohydrates. Dietary changes such as the “Zone Diet” can be used as general guidelines, but the most important factor is to assess how the patient feels after they eat. Specifically, it is important to monitor symptoms of insulin surges after meals. If a person eats a meal and develops fatigue or cravings for sugar they have exceeded their carbohydrate tolerance and are exhibiting the symptoms of an insulin surge. If they continue to eat with insulin surges their potential to improve their blood sugar imbalance will be grim. Each individual has their own level of carbohydrate tolerance based on the amount of metabolic integration they possess with their blood sugar stabilizing system. Therefore, they must become observers of how many carbohydrates they are able to consume after they eat a meal. It is also important to note that insulin surges may be exacerbated by hypersensitivity reactions from food intolerances. For example, if an individual is gluten intolerant, eating even a small amount of gluten with low-glycemic meal may cause insulin surges and the symptoms of fatigue and cravings for sugar after meals. It is important for the healthcare provider to teach their dysglycemic patients how to observe the symptoms of carbohydrate intolerance and to modify their diet accordingly. The identification and removal of food intolerances is crucial in managing dysglycemic insulin surges.

Some patients will present with symptoms exceeding their carbohydrate intolerance while eating very little or no carbohydrates. For example, a patient may state that they had extreme fatigue after they ate a chicken breast with nothing else. In these cases, the healthcare provider must first rule out potential exposures to food intolerances such as a gluten-based marinate on the chicken breast with a gluten sensitive individual. If food intolerances are ruled out, then the patient needs to be supported with additional insulin receptor site co-factors. In our office, we place them on Supplementation starting with two capsules per meal, if they continue to present with symptoms of insulin surges after they eat low-glycemic meals, we will have them increase their dosage until their symptoms of fatigue and/or cravings for sugar after meals improves.

With hypoglycemics the most important dietary and lifestyle change is that they must not go long periods without eating. The three worst things a hypoglycemic can do are to skip breakfast, eat quick sugars as meals and snacks, and eat sugar before they go to bed. Most hypoglycemics will complain that they are not hungry in the morning; as a matter of fact, they complain of nausea and therefore cannot eat. It is important to understand that they are exhibiting nausea because they are in sympathetic overdrive from hypoglycemia and therefore nauseous. They must eat regardless of their appetite and nausea. They can start with small bites to engage their parasympathetic system and gradually finish their meal. After two or three days of stabilizing their blood sugar and taking themselves out of sympathetic overdrive, they will no longer wake up with nausea or loss of appetite. Hypoglycemics must eat a high quality breakfast, snack between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner. They cannot snack with fruits alone, however if they want to eat a fruit after a protein rich meal they can. They must not eat sweets after they eat dinner.

The most clinically challenging factor in managing cases of dysglycemia is to have patient compliance with their diet. This is hard at times because individuals develop such intense cravings for foods sweets, carbohydrates, and foods that they have developed intolerances to. Exposure to food intolerances cause the release of catecholamine that the body begins to crave, and it is not uncommon for individuals to be sensitive to the foods they like most.

If the patient is compliant with their dietary and lifestyle requirements, and they are also taking supplements to support their blood sugar system, and they are not improving, the clinician must rule out stressors that are activating the adrenal axis. Most common stressors include: unidentified food intolerances, exposure to food intolerances (usually gastrointestinal or oral), and even possible sub-clinical autoimmune reactions such as antibody production against the beta cells or antibody production against cell signaling receptor sites or proteins.

Quick Re-Cap –

  1. Start day with high protein breakfast
  2. Do not eat quick sugars as a meal or a snack
  3. Do not eat sugar before bed

Know Your Source

Truth in Labeling in the Nutritional Industry

Chances are, you’re not getting what you think…

Is it Really in the Bottle?
Everywhere you look there is exciting new research on the efficacy of nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, the average consumer does not realize that evidence seems to come out monthly showing nutritional products do not always meet label claims. It is shocking to learn that in the advanced society in which we live, so many nutritional products do not meet their label claims. In fact, many recent studies show that most of the nutritional products tested did not completely meet label claims. Buyer, beware.

Study: Only 2 of 32 Met Label Claims
In a recently published study done at the Pharmacy School at the University of Maryland, 32 bottles of chondroitin sulfate (used for arthritis and joint conditions) were purchased at pharmacies and health food stores. Only 2 of the products met label claims. In fact 14 of the 32 bottles purchased contained 10% or less of the label claim. It was also found that even the most expensive products did not meet label claims.

Study: Less than 30% of Label Claims Met
Another published study evaluated 51 antioxidant products through mail-order catalogues and health food stores. Less than 30% of all antioxidant enzyme label claims were met. What is even more shocking is that 7 of the 51 products showed no antioxidant enzyme activity at all.

Study: 10% of Products Tested Had No Measurable Amounts of Echinacea
Yet another recently published study tested 59 Echinacea-only products that were purchased in the Denver, Colorado area. The testing found that 10% of all products tested contained no measurable amount of Echinacea phytochemicals. Of the Echinacea species that were labeled as being standardized, only 43% of the products that were “standardized” met label claim?
Recently one of the Chiropractic colleges sent a bromelain product in to be tested for activity. The product had no milk clotting activity (a standard assay for bromelain activity).

Bacteria, Mold, Heavy Metal Contamination
Even if a product does meet label claims, how can you know if it has the biological properties that you want? How can you know if it is the part of the plant or even the exact species that has been shown most effective? If these shocking things are true, than what about bacteria, mold, or heavy metal contamination?

At a recent International College of Integrative Medicine Seminar, James Short, MD, showed slides of off-shore manufacturing plants and the attending healthcare professionals cringed to think of all the bacteria and mold that raw materials are processed and packaged in. Sure the manufacturer gets the product in respectable containers, clean and safely sealed. However, the conditions before it reaches the manufacturer’s hands are unknown even to the supplier who sells the raw materials.

Dr. Short compared the heavy metal content in parts per million of 11 glucosamine products. The Cumulative Toxic Metal Profile ranged from 10 parts per million to 2100 PPM. Those are huge differences and may not make an immediate difference to a healthy person, but over and extended period can add to an already toxic load. Imagine giving the 2100 PPM product to someone already burdened with heavy metals. It could be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Russian Roulette
An article by Kerry Boone in a recent Townsend Letter article emphasizes the difficulty patients have in buying quality nutritional supplements. “About 15 years ago in my practice, when I told my patients that I was recommending they take Echinacea, they would look at me blankly and say “What’s that?” Now they say: “I’m already taking Echinacea!” Many are surprised by my answer which is typically: “No, you’re not!” This survey underlines that anyone self-prescribing Echinacea is playing Russian roulette with their health and often wasting their money. This situation is even more problematical than the above study suggest because, in my view, many Echinacea products contain the wrong part of the plant, inadequate doses, or are standardized to the wrong maker’s phytochemicals.”

There is only one sure way of buying nutritional or herbal supplements. Do the research and find a holistic practitioner that scrutinizes over every product they carry. It is surprising, but most nutritional supplement manufacturing companies do not test raw material they receive from suppliers. They receive assays from the supplier that they rely upon. The studies listed above prove this to be an ineffective measure of quality.

Most supplement manufacturers don’t have the personnel, technical knowledge, or physical capacity to test the raw materials they receive. They simply encapsulate or tablet the materials and put them into bottles. Unfortunately, these are most of the products available in stores to consumers. The only guaranteed way to acquire potent and clean supplementation is through practitioners that carry pharmaceutical grade supplements that have been regulated through strict agency testing on an on-going base.

  1. Adebiwale A, Cox C Liang Z, Eddington N. Analysis of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate Content in Marketed Products and the Caco-2 Permebility of Chondroitin Sulfate Raw Materials, JANA Spring 2000 Vol. 3, No. 1, 37-44.
  2. Bucci L, Klenda B, Stiles J, Sparks W.Truth in Labeling for Antioxidant Enzyme Products, Survey of Label Claims and product Potencies, Board of Nutrition, Palmer College of Chiropractic 1989, Daveport IA.
  3. Gilroy CM, Steiner JF, Byers T, Shapiro H, Georgian H. Echinacea and Truth in Labeling. Arch Intern Med 2003; 163(6)”699-704.
  4. Boone K. Phytotherapy Review and Commentary. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, June 2003 43-45.

The Top 10 Foods You’re Not Eating

You just might be overlooking these healthy items, packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Put them on your shopping list and try out the serving suggestions.

These grungy-looking roots are naturally sweeter than any other vegetable, which means they pack tons of flavors underneath their rugged exterior.

Why it’s Healthy: Think of beets as red spinach. Just like Popeye’s power food, this crimson vegetable is one of the best sources of both folate and betaine. These two nutrients work together to lower your blood levels of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound that can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease. Plus, the natural pigments- called betacyanins-that give beets their color have been proved to be potent cancer fighter in laboratory mice.

How to eat them: Fresh and raw, not from a jar. Heating beets actually decrease their antioxidant power. For a simple-serving salad, wash and peel one beet, and then grate it on the widest blade of a box grater. Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of half a lemon. You can eat the leaves and stems, which are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Simply cut off the stems just below the point where the leaves start, and wash thoroughly. They’re now ready to be used in a salad. Or, for a side dish, sauté the leaves with a minced clove of garlic and a tablespoon of olive oil, in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the leaves are wilted and the stems are tender. Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Absent from most American kitchens, this cruciferous vegetable is a major player in European and Asian diets.

Why it’s healthy: One cup of chopped cabbage has 22 calories, and it’s loaded with valuable nutrients. At the top of the list is sulforaphane, a chemical that increases your body’s production of enzymes that disarm cell damaging free radicals and reduce your risk of cancer. In fact Stanford University scientists determined that sulforaphane boosts your levels of these cancer-fighting enzymes higher than any other plant chemical.

How to eat it: Put cabbage on your burgers to add a satisfying crunch or use as part of a veggie sauté’. Or, for an even better sandwich topping or side salad, try an Asian-style slaw.

Guava is an obscure tropical fruit that’s subtly acidic, with sweetness that intensifies as you eat your way to the center.

Why it’s healthy: Guava has a higher concentration of lycopene-an antioxidant that fights prostate cancer-than any other plant food, including tomatoes and watermelon. In addition, 1 cup of the stuff provides 688 milligrams (mg) of potassium, which is 63 percent more than you’ll find in a medium banana. And guava may be the ultimate high-fiber food There’s almost 9 grams (g) of fiber in every cup.

How to eat it: Down the entire fruit, from the rind to the seeds. It’s all edible-and nutritious. The rind alone has more vitamin C than you’d find in the flesh of an orange. You can score guava in the produce section of higher-end supermarkets or in Latin grocery stores.

Swiss Chard
Hidden in the leafy-greens cooler of your market, you’ll find this slightly bitter, salty vegetable which is actually native to the Mediterranean.

Why it’s healthy: A half cup of cooked Swiss chard provides a huge amount of both lutein and zeaxanthin, supplying 10mg each. These plant chemicals, known as carotenoids, protect your retinas form the damage of aging, according to Harvard researchers. That’s because both nutrients, which are actually pigments, appear to accumulate in your retinas, where they absorb the type of shortwave light rays that can damage your eyes. So the more lutein and zeaxanthin you eat, the better your internal eye protection will be.

How to eat it: Chard goes great with grilled meat and chicken, and it also works well as a bed for pan seared fish. Wash and dry a bunch of Swiss chard, and then chop the leaves and stems into 1-inch pieces. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok, and add two garlic cloves that you’ve peeled and lightly crushed. When the olive oil heats lightly, add the chard. Saute’ for 5 to 7 minutes, until the leaves wilt and the stems are tender. Season the chard with salt and pepper.

Why it’s healthy: Cinnamon helps control your blood sugar, which influences your risk of heart disease. In fact, USDA researchers found that people with type-2 diabetes who consumed 1 g of cinnamon a day for 6 weeks (about ¼ teaspoon each day) significantly reduced not only their blood sugar but also their triglycerides and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Credit the spice’s active ingredients, methylhydroxychalcone polymers, which increase your cells’ ability to metabolize sugar by up to 20 times.

How to eat it: You don’t need the fancy oils and extracts sold at vitamin stores; just sprinkle the stuff that’s in your spice rack into your coffee, tea, on your oatmeal or fruit.

Although the FDA classifies purslane as a broad-leaved weed, it’s a popular vegetable and herb in many countries, including China, Mexico, and Greece.

Why it’s healthy: Purslane has the highest amount of heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant, according to researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The scientists also report that this herb has 10 to 20 times more melatonin-an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer growth-than any other fruit or vegetable tested.

How to eat it: In a salad. Think of purslane as a great alternative or addition to lettuce: The leaves and stems are crisp, chewy, and succulent, and they have a mild lemony taste. Look for it at your local farmer’s market, or Chinese or Mexican market. It’s also available at some Whole Food’s stores, as an individual leafy green or in premade salad mixes.

Pomegranate Juice
A popular drink for decades in the Middle East, pomegranate juice has become widely available only recently in the United States.

Why it’s healthy: Israeli scientists discovered that men who downed just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for a year decreased their systolic (top number) blood pressure by 21 percent and significantly improved blood flow to their hearts. What’s more, 4 ounces provides 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

How to drink it: Try 100 percent pomegranate juice. It contains no added sugars, and because it’s so powerful, a small glassful is all you need.

Goji Berries
These raisin-size fruits are chewy and taste like a cross between a cranberry and a cherry. More important, these potent berries have been used as a medicinal food in Tibet for over 1,700 years.

Why they’re healthy: Goji berries have one of the highest ORAC ratings-a method of gauging antioxidant power-of any fruit, according to Tufts University researchers. And although modern scientists began to study this ancient berry only recently, they’ve found that the sugars that make goji berries sweet reduce insulin resistance- a risk factor of diabetes in rats.

How to eat them: Mix dried or fresh berries with a cup of plain yogurt, sprinkle them on your oatmeal or cold cereal, or enjoy a handful by themselves. You can find them at specialty supermarkets or at

Dried Plums
You may know these better by “prunes,” which are indelibly linked with nursing homes and bathroom habits. And that explains why, in an effort to receive this delicious fruit’s image, producers now market them under another name.

Why they’re healthy: Prunes contain high amounts of neochlorogenic and chlorogenic acids, antioxidants that are particularly effective at combating the “superoxide anion radical.” This nasty free radical causes structural damage to your cells, and such damage is thought to be one of the primary causes of cancer.

How to eat them: As an appetizer. Wrap a slice of turkey or tempeh bacon around each dried plum and secure with a toothpick. Bake in a 400*F oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the plums are soft and the bacon is crispy.

Pumpkin seeds
These jack-o’-lantern waste products are the most nutritious part of the pumpkin.

Why they’re healthy: Downing pumpkin seeds are the easiest way to consume more magnesium. That’s important because French researchers recently determined that men with the highest levels of magnesium on their blood have a 40 percent lower risk of early death that those with the lowest levels. And on average, men consume 353 mg of the mineral daily, well under the 420 mg minimum recommended by the USDA.

How to eat them: Whole, shells and all. (The shells provide extra fiber.) Pumpkin seeds contain 150 mg of magnesium per ounce; add them to your regular diet and you’ll easily hit your daily target of 420 mg. Look for them in the snack or health-food section of your grocery store, next to the peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds.

Eating with Eloise

The “Eating with Eloise” blog & web forum

Empowering families with amazing and EASY knowledge for organizing and making healthy food choices