When I first started working in ecological medicine, I often did the basic nutritional tests including vitamin levels, mineral levels and essential fatty acids. It soon became clear that anybody eating a Western modern die,t who was not taking micronutrient supplements, was deficient in most micronutrients.
My practice now is to recommend that everybody take a multivitamin, minerals, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and D in order to prevent common deficiencies. So I no longer bother doing basic nutritional tests in people who are not taking these supplements because I know what the result is going to be.
So the first port of call is to take good nutritional supplements. See Nutritional Supplements
It takes up to six months for nutrients to replete and if by then people are still not feeling well, then is the time to do routine screening tests for nutritional deficiencies. I like to do functional tests of nutritional status, which I find much more useful than simply measuring levels of minerals. The tests that I would recommend are as follows.
- Superoxide dismutase (also a test of zinc, copper and manganese status). -- SODase (superoxide dismutase) studies
- Glutathione peroxidase (a test of selenium and glutathione levels) -- Glutathione peroxidase
- Co-enzyme Q10 (many micronutrients are required to make Co-Q10) -- Co-enzyme Q10
- Serum B12 and iron (ferritin) -- B12 vitamin levels and Ferritin levels in serum If these are low, then this could point to malabsorption caused by, for example, Hypochlorhydria.
- Red cell magnesium -- Magnesium test - red cell This is a useful indirect test of mitochondrial function. See CFS - The Central Cause: Mitochondrial Failure.
This list is not exhaustive, but if all these results were completely normal and that person was taking my basic package of nutritional supplements, then it would make it unlikely that there was anything seriously amiss with respect to micronutrient status.
Increasingly, I now do screening tests for toxic stress such as DNA adducts, or Fat biopsy for pesticides or Volatile Organic Compounds. There is no one single best test for heavy metal toxicity - some people are poor detoxifiers and so hair, blood, and sweat analysis may show normal results and toxicity may only be demonstrated by a challenge test such as Mercury - Kelmer test. This test can be done for other heavy metals, not just mercury.
Finally, chemical poisoning and chemical sensitivity go together. Where there is poisoning there will be sensitivity and vice versa. This means Lymphocyte sensitivity to metals and chemicals can be a very useful way of screening for a variety of toxic exposures (including silicone).
People are much better motivated to do detox regimes if there is solid evidence of poisoning! Toxins can be removed in many ways - see Detoxification - an overview. My experience is that Detoxing - Far Infrared Sauna (FIRS) reduces levels of pesticides and VOCs and some heavy metals reliably well. As a very rough rule of thumb 50 FIR saunas will halve your toxic load.
- Nutritional Supplements
- CFS - The Central Cause: Mitochondrial Failure
- Detoxing - Far Infrared Sauna (FIRS)
- Detoxification - an overview.
- SODase (superoxide dismutase) studies includes levels of Glutathione peroxidase.
- Glutathione peroxidase
- Co-enzyme Q10
- Magnesium test - red cell
- B12 vitamin levels
- Ferritin levels in serum
- DNA adducts
- Fat biopsy for pesticides or Volatile Organic Compounds
- Mercury - Kelmer test
- Lymphocyte sensitivity to metals and chemicals
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