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).

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