Naturopathic doctors are trained to order and interpret blood test results. If you have done a recent blood test with your family doctor, you are encouraged to bring the results with you to your initial appointment or request to have a copy sent to your naturopathic doctor.
NDs are also able to requisition standard medical blood tests and can send you to Calgary Laboratory Services (CLS) to have your blood drawn. Please note that Alberta Health Services does not cover the cost of lab tests requisitioned by a naturopathic doctor at this time and therefore, you will be asked to pay your ND in advance for the test(s). Depending on your extended health benefit plan, laboratory tests may be covered.
Food sensitivity Testing
Food sensitivities are immune system-mediated reactions to certain foods. The most common are dairy, eggs, gluten, soy, and nuts. A person can develop a food sensitivity at any stage of their life due to a variety of different factors. Symptoms of a food sensitivity can range from diarrhea, constipation, bloating and other digestive symptoms to joint pain, muscle pain to skin rashes.
The food sensitivity testing is done in-office and involves a finger prick to obtain a small amount of blood for the sample. This tests your immune system’s IgG reaction to 120+ different foods including the common allergens. Results are typically available in approximately 7-10 days. There is an additional cost to this.
The cheaper alternative to the IgG food sensitivity testing is the elimination diet. While cheaper, this does require a good compliance in order to identify any food triggers. The elimination diet, if done carefully and under guidance of a naturopathic doctor, can help identify both food sensitivities and intolerances.
Saliva hormone testing
Hormonal testing can be done for both males and females. Sex hormones and cortisol are tested through obtaining a sample of your saliva. Salivary hormonal testing is preferred over blood tests as it is a better measure of the concentration of hormones in your tissues.
Cortisol – a stress hormone secreted during periods of stress. It plays a role in blood sugar regulation, sleep, weight, skin changes, and adrenal dysregulation.
Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone – These are your reproductive hormones which are also affected by stress and deficiencies can result in low libido, infertility, and other reproductive problems. In females, imbalances can play a role in menstrual disturbances.
Vitamin D testing
In Alberta, your family doctor cannot test your vitamin D levels anymore. Being in the northern hemisphere, many people are deficient in Vitamin D and low levels of vitamin D are linked to depression, seasonal affective disorder, many skin conditions, thyroid dysfunction and other conditions.
If you are thinking about supplementation, it is always good to get a baseline vitamin D test done before you start supplementing or if you have been supplementing for a long time, it is always good to see where your levels are to ensure you body is absorbing it.
In-house urinary testing can be done to assess for urinary tract infections or as part of your physical exam to provide a basic assessment of your kidney function.
Naturopathic doctors are trained to administer intra muscular vitamin B12 injections. Many individuals, particularly vegetarians, vegans, and the elderly can be low in vitamin B12 and sometimes, oral supplementation may be ineffective if one cannot absorb the B12 from the digestive tract. Sublingual supplements are ideal but for those individuals who are very low, intra muscular injections can help boost vitamin B12 levels. Low levels of the vitamin can result in fatigue, numbness and tingling and nerve degeneration in the long-term.
Some benefits of vitamin B12 supplementation are having more energy and improved mood and it may improve muscle pain.