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 Naturopathic Medicine: Take Control of Your Health  
Lauri Aesoph M. ND ©

This test requires you fast overnight and then drink a beverage the next morning containing lactulose and mannitol, sugars that don't break down during digestion. Six hours later urine is collected and sent to the lab where urinary mannitol and lactulose are measured. Within one week, you receive results. Low levels of both sugars indicate malabsorption; high amounts point to a leaky gut. High lactulose and low mannitol means both conditions exist.

Various types of arthritis have been linked to a leaky gut, as have food allergies, skin conditions and celiac disease. Inflammatory bowel disease or other intestinal conditions including infections, injuries and dysbiosis may increase intestinal permeability. Alcoholism, aging and certain medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen aggravate this problem.

"The gut is the source of a lot of health problems," says Lukaczer. "It's like the roots of a tree, if the roots are poor, the whole system suffers."

Functional Liver Detoxification Test
The gastrointestinal tract does its best to screen out harmful toxins. The liver catches then detoxifies and eliminates most toxins that sneak over the intestinal wall. However, a leaky or dysfunctional gut, or over-exposure to noxious compounds can overwhelm the liver and ultimately creep into the bloodstream.

Fatigue, headaches and other symptoms signal liver overload as well as conditions like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease, food allergies, multiple chemical sensitivities and premenstrual syndrome.

Rather than check for liver damage (which is difficult to repair), the $100.00 and up Functional Liver Detoxification test determines how well the liver filters out toxins. Urine and saliva samples are collected after you ingest several pills including one containing caffeine. A complex printout returns in one week with results, for instance, as follows. Elevated salivary caffeine usually means high toxin exposure; low levels may indicate an inefficient liver.

Checking for Free Radicals
If you're wondering how well your body manages free radicals, for $70.00 to $100.00 you can find out. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that, when exceedingly high, speed up aging and promote cancer by harming cells and tissues. This damage may be silent, or contribute to one of over 100 diseases ranging from ulcerative colitis to rheumatoid arthritis.

Your body produces free radicals to help white blood cells disable germs, and aid in liver detoxification. However, pollution, too much sun, pesticides, radiation, some drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and rancid fats push free radicals above comfortable levels, and use up free radical-fighting nutrients called antioxidants.

With the same lymphocyte technique used in their Essential Metabolics Analysis test, the Spectrox test from SpectraCell Labs inspects blood to see how well your body's antioxidants and repair mechanisms resist free radical damage.

Great Smokies Lab offers similar information with its Oxidative Stress test. Technicians examine your blood or urine sample for glutathione, an antioxidant found in your body, and lipid peroxide (free radical) levels. High glutathione means your body's working overtime combatting free radicals. Elevated lipid peroxides signal excessive oxidative or free radical damage.

It's a good idea to test both antioxidant body stores and free radical damage, states Lukaczer, so you know how much antioxidant supplementation is needed to offset current oxidative harm. Lukaczer suggests running the Functional Liver test together with the Oxidative Stress test since a dysfunctional liver increases free radical production. Test results take from one to two weeks.

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