Testing & Diagnostics
At Natural Balance Wellness Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, we are proud to be at the forefront of providing education-based health programs and preventive medicine programs. That includes offering an array of genetic-based testing aimed at rendering the most accurate diagnoses in order to pinpoint the most effective programs for a wide range of medical treatments.
- Biomedical Labs & Diagnostics
- Blood & Urine Tests
- Gastrointestinal Testing
- Genetic Testing
- Nutritional Testing
- Hormone & Neurotransmitter Testing
- Toxicity & Heavy Metals (Mercury)
- Chemical & Food Sensitivities
- In-Home Sleep Diagnostics
- Biotoxin-Mold Tests
- Additional Tests
Biomedical Labs & Diagnostics
Many diagnostic strategies are available at NBW Medical Center to help guide clinical decisions, explain symptoms, and reveal hidden ‘dis-ease’. In addition to conventional medical tests, we provide a full range of functional medicine tests including: home and in-office nutritional blood and urine testing; saliva assay kits for stress hormones and neurotransmitters; comprehensive stool analysis; toxicity and oxidative stress test kits; food sensitivity testing; genetic tests AND many others.
Insurance & Pricing
While many tests we order are often covered by health insurance, they are also considered novel and leading-edge diagnostic tools. We have specifically partnered with the most innovative and reputable laboratories in the US and abroad to serve our patients at the highest level possible.
With respect to their costs (which varies based on insurance), you can be certain that our doctors will order testing with the best pricing, insurance coverage, and payment terms available for each individual. Therefore, regardless of deductibles and insurance details, all tests ordered by our clinic are considered “paid in full” when submitted unless otherwise stated in writing to avoid any costly and unexpected insurance denials which has proven stressful to both our patients and doctors in years past.
Blood & Urine Tests
Our initial lab work includes many of the same tests ordered by conventional physicians: blood sugar, electrolytes, liver function, thyroid, hormones, immune system markers, iron studies, and other standard blood tests.
However, we also look deeper into specific markers of methylation, fatty acid status, oxidative stress and inflammation, cholesterol chemistry, and higher-level evaluations of hormones, thyroid, adrenal, and immune-autoimmune parameters.
We also work exclusively with labs that understand the financial aspects of being out-of-network with insurance and have payment options that limit out-of-pocket expenses for our patients related to insurance denials. Examples of labs our clinic orders include:
- True Health Diagnostics
- Boston Heart Diagnostics
- Direct Health Labs (via LabCorp)
- Doctor's Data Inc., Methylation Profile
- Empire Labs Inc.
Gastrointestinal (GI) Testing
Our extensive array of GI diagnostics gives our doctors the ability to comprehensively evaluate the digestive system using stool samples to assess gut ecology and identify potential pathogens such as opportunistic bacteria, invasive yeast, and parasites.
These tests also provide valuable insights into metabolic digestive weaknesses and gut lining integrity issues (i.e., leaky gut), as well as allow us to differentiate inflammatory processes and the gut’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients from the foods consumed.
- Genova Diagnostics, GI Effects (Stool)
- Genova Diagnostics, CDSA 2.0 (Stool)
- Doctor's Data, Comprehensive Stool and Parasitology X3 (Stool)
- Great Plains Laboratory, Comprehensive Stool Analysis (Stool)
- Great Plains Laboratory, (MOAT) Microbial Organic Acid Test (Urine)
- Genova, Intestinal Permeability (Urine)
- BioHealth Laboratory, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Breath Testing (Breath)
Genetic - Genomics
Nutrigenomics is the study of nutrients as it relates to gene expression. The software we use to translate a variety of genomics tests, including 23andMe, Ancestry, and many others, focuses on identifying molecular-level weaknesses in an individual’s genome.
Nutrigenomics has also been described as the influence of genetic variation on nutrients by correlating single nucleotide polymorphisms (or SNPs), for example MTHFR, with a nutrient’s (i.e., folic acid) absorption, metabolism, or biological effects. Therefore, nutrigenomics aims to optimize nutrition with respect to an individual’s genetic weaknesses.
For our clinic’s purposes, SNPs cross-referenced to medical testing of blood, urine, saliva, etc. is the heart of our Precision Medicine approach that attracts patients from all over the country to our clinic. Below is an example of Cytochrome P450 (Phase 1 liver detoxification), where -/- means no abnormal gene, +/- means an abnormal copy inherited from mother OR father, +/+ means an abnormal copy inherited from mother AND father.
A full report is typically 80-plus pages and provides information for thousands of critical metabolic steps related to everything from methylation-histamine to neurochemistry-hormone balance, and the list goes on extensively.
Nutritional and organic acid testing is used by NBW doctors to determine nutritional deficiencies associated with fatigue, metabolic impairments, mood and sleep problems, hormone dysregulation, toxin accumulation, cognitive impairment, and so on.
Standard blood tests ordered by conventional doctors evaluate for obvious health problems which may or may not represent the full picture. However, the following functional medicine tests look more fully at metabolized byproducts of toxins, neurotransmitters, hormones, amino acids, organic acids, fatty acids, nutrients, and antioxidants, providing crucial insights that can help outline the root cause of illness. Examples of this class of testing include:
- Genova Diagnostics, NutrEval FMV (Blood & Urine)
- Genova Diagnostics, ONE FMV (Urine)
- Great Plains Laboratory, (OAT) Organic Acid Test (Urine)
- SpectraCell Laboratories, Micronutrient Test (Blood)
Hormone & Neurotransmitter Testing
The final common pathway for ALL accumulated negative effects of physical, biological, and emotional stress is the hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal, thyroid, gonadal-hormonal (HPAGT) axis. This key axis comprises an intricate network of controls and balances coordinating the human nervous system, with its “Fight or Flight” tendencies, to all aspects of hormonal regulation.
Regardless if one’s stress is caused by inflammation, infection, toxicity, or psycho-emotional events (past or present), or a combination of all of the above, it is the HPAGT axis that takes the brunt of the burden. Once this system can no longer compensate for the totality of stress endured, neurochemical-hormone imbalances linked to depression, anxiety, pain, insomnia, hypoglycemia, PMS, and so on, is the ultimate consequence.
NBW doctors use a variety of testing strategies to determine the overall status of the HPAGT axis and, more importantly, to create rehab protocols for the related fatigue; sugar cravings; pre-, post-, and peri-menopausal symptoms; loss of sex drive; PCOS; dysmenorrhea; mood problems; sleep problems; declining cognitive function; and the list goes on. Often this class of tests involves collecting timed saliva samples to assess a wide spectrum of hormone and neurotransmitter levels in pediatric and adult patients.
Examples of hormones tested include progesterone, testosterone, DHEA, cortisol, melatonin, thyroid hormones, and several others. Urine neurotransmitter testing in combination with saliva hormones can be especially helpful when evaluating mood disorders, anxiety, AD(H)D, insomnia, phobias, et cetera. Examples of hormone and neurochemistry testing our clinic offers include:
- NeuroLab/Sanesco Health, HPA Stress & Neurotransmitter Profile (Urine & Saliva)
- Precision Analytical, DUTCH Adrenal-Hormone Profile (Urine)
- DiagnosTechs Inc., Adrenal Stress Index-Flex 5 (Saliva)
- ZRT Laboratories, Saliva Hormone Assessment (Saliva)
- DBS Labs, Neurotransmitter Testing (Urine)
Toxins & Heavy Metals (Mercury)
Tests our doctors use to identify potential toxin and/or heavy metal burdens often correlate with debilitating fatigue, “brain-fog,” depression, autism spectrum disorder, autoimmunity, and a multitude of other functional symptoms and/or clinical conditions. Testing patients for toxic burden allows our doctors to identify and measure cellular stress and provides a rationale to treat and mitigate the consequences of toxic exposures.
The tests used to identify fat-soluble toxins, such as pesticides and plastics for example, are different from those used to identify heavy metals such as mercury. Some examples of tests our doctors might recommend based on your individual circumstances include:
- Great Plains Laboratory, GPL-TOX (Urine)
- Genova Diagnostics, Toxic Effects CORE (Blood and Urine)
- Genova Diagnostics, Pre- & Post-Provocation Toxic Elements Clearance Profile (Urine)
- Doctor’s Data Labs, Fecal Heavy Metal Profile (Stool)
- Quicksilver Scientific, Mercury Tri-Test (Blood, Urine and Hair)
- Hakala Research, Iodine-Bromide Challenge Test (Urine)
Food & Chemical Intolerance Testing
At NBW Medical Center we use a variety of tests to evaluate for chemical sensitivity and food/environmental intolerances. Some tests measure inflammatory markers and look indirectly at metabolic byproducts to assist in diagnosing sensitivities while others culture blood products, such as white blood cells, and challenge them directly under controlled laboratory conditions.
Our clinic also uses specific tests to identify gluten sensitivity related to celiac disease and other more “subclinical” gluten sensitivity problems such as gluten intolerance seems to correlate frequently with constitutionally weak individuals. Examples of tests our doctors use include:
- Cell Science Systems, ALCAT Food & Chemical Sensitivity Test (Blood)
- ELISA/ACT Biotechnologies, Food Sensitivity Testing (Blood)
- Great Plains Laboratory, IGG Blood Spot (Blood)
As compared to delayed sensitivity testing described above, allergy and immune tests, such as skin and blood allergy tests, evaluate for immediate reactions to foods and chemicals that are distinctly different. Such tests measure the direct release of histamine or the presence of allergen-specific IgE molecules resulting from allergen exposure.
- Cyrex Laboratories, Array Testing (Blood & Urine)
- Genova Diagnostics, IgE Food Antibodies (Blood)
- Genova Diagnostics, IgE Environmental Antibodies (Blood)
In-Home Sleep Diagnostics
In-home sleep diagnostics are an increasingly popular and convenient way to diagnose sleep apnea or other forms of disordered sleep NOT associated with brainwave abnormalities or restless leg syndrome (which require in-lab testing).
The reason this approach is becoming the new standard for insurance, doctors, and patients is that it is considered more of a “true test” of sleep, assessing multiple nights in a row in a comfortable and familiar setting. The units are portable and easy to use, and the test is self-administered, which also makes it more cost effective.
We use an in-home sleep diagnostic company that bills all commercial insurance, including Medicare. The test evaluates oxygen saturation and respiratory excursion, and uses a recorded microphone to evaluate for abnormal palatal noises to detect subtle and obvious apnea events. The test also distinguishes the difference between central (brain mediated) mechanisms versus obstructive mechanisms.
One of its most important utilities for our patient base is that it will detect clinically relevant oxygen deprivation while sleeping, which tends to be correlated to many symptoms such as fatigue, hormone abnormalities, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, pain sensitivity, headaches, and a long list of other potential associations.
- Quest Labs / LabCorp, Shoemaker Biotoxin, Innate Immunity and HLA Testing (Blood)
- Shoemaker (VCS) Visual Contrast Testing (In-Office Vision Testing)
- API-Staph Nasal Culture for MARCoNS Test (Nasal Swab)
- Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) Testing (Dust Sample)
- HERTSMI-2 DNA-based MsqPCR Test for Mold (Dust Sample)
- Phase-Angle, Bioimpedance, Hydration Test
- Brain Electrical Testing: High-resolution, Relational, Resonance-based, Electroencephalic Mirroring (HIRREM)
To learn more about our clinic and programs, call our office at (734) 929-2696 or use our online scheduler to request an appointment with our New Patient Coordinator. We will answer all your questions, go over pricing and insurance details, and get you scheduled for the program that best fits your individual needs. We are here to help and look forward to speaking with you soon!