Because a thyroid imbalance can cause significant depression or anxiety, it is essential to rule out these conditions as an underlying cause of your symptoms. Your doctor can test your thyroid function with a simple blood test and treat the imbalance with either synthetic or natural medicine. Sometimes people have anxiety or depression for other reasons and also have an underlying thyroid problem. If you are being treated for a thyroid imbalance and are still having symptoms of fatigue, low mood, or anxiety, talk to a doctor about other treatments or testing.
Neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine (adrenaline), epinephrine, and GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) regulate our mood and sense of well-being. Serotonin and GABA help us to feel content and relaxed. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine are responsible for controlling energy, muscle movements, and happiness. A simple urine sample provides indicators of neurotransmitter levels, allowing for targeted nutritional intervention to balance and optimize mood and create a greater sense of well-being.
Rather than prescribing medications to cover up your symptoms, specific vitamins and herbs can naturally increase or decrease neurotransmitter production in your body. After a period of time on these supplements, your doctor may want to retest your neurotransmitter levels. The vitamins and herbs are non-addictive, and can effectively replace the need for antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications for most people. Because these supplements are designed to improve your body’s natural neurotransmitter balance, we can taper you off of these vitamins and herbs over time, as you become symptom-free.
Anemia can be tested with a basic blood test called a Complete Blood Count (CBC), which is inexpensive and also should be covered by your insurance. This test can be run at the same time as thyroid tests or other blood testing if appropriate. With these results, your doctor can determine whether anemia is a causative factor in your symptoms and treat you with nutrient supplementation if necessary.
NUTRIENT DEFICIENCY TESTING
Specialty testing of nutrient deficiencies is available at East Valley Naturopathic Doctors. The Functional Intracellular Analysis is performed by taking a blood sample and sending it to a lab, which tests your cells for deficiencies in specific vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. The results are sent to our office, and with this information, we can design an individualized nutrient supplementation protocol for you.
Vitamin B12 deficiency testing is a simple blood test. Your doctor can test for your serum vitamin B12, but a more accurate test of B12 deficiency is methylmalonic acid (MMA), which is also tested with a blood sample.
ADRENAL STRESS TESTING
Your adrenal glands need to produce a certain amount of cortisol and DHEA in order to maintain good energy and a healthy weight. We can test your adrenal function with either a blood sample or a saliva test. The salivary test is a kit that you bring home with you, and take 4 saliva samples throughout the day. Then you drop the kit in the mail, and the results are sent back to our office for review. The saliva test gives us 4 different cortisol readings, plus DHEA, and your DHEA to cortisol ratio. This is helpful for determining the extent of adrenal stress and gives us a clear idea of which adrenal support supplements are right for you.
The endocrine (hormone) system in your body is very interconnected. If your adrenal glands are not functioning properly, it can be very difficult to maintain healthy hormone balance in the rest of your body. Adrenal stress can make it harder for your thyroid gland to work well, and can also put added stress on your reproductive glands. For women going through menopause, or men with low testosterone, adrenal testing can be very helpful. During menopause, your adrenal glands will take over for your ovaries in the production of estrogen and progesterone. Testosterone is also produced with the help of the adrenal glands. If your adrenal glands are not functioning at their best, symptoms can occur including low libido, poor energy, or menopausal symptoms in women. For people with poor thyroid function, supporting the adrenal glands can take a burden off of your thyroid, and promote better energy and weight loss.
HEAVY METAL TESTING
Analysis of elements in urine provides diagnostic information on potentially toxic elements such as lead, mercury, cadmium, nickel, beryllium, arsenic, and aluminum. Urine element analysis is an invaluable tool for the diagnosis or confirmation of toxic element burden and monitoring of detoxification therapy. For diagnosis of the presence of certain toxic element burdens, a challenge consisting of pre and post-provocation testing is recommended. A urine elements analysis requires a urine collection prior to administration of a chelating agent to establish the presence and baseline elemental levels. Your naturopathic physician can provide the test kits and treatment recommendations according to test results.
Candida albicans is a type of yeast that can grow in your intestines and upset the balance of your beneficial bacteria, resulting in an undesirable yeast overgrowth. We can test for candida with a urine sample, a stool test, or a blood test. The urine testing of candida is highly accurate and is run through a specialty testing company.
If you have candida overgrowth, we can treat it with herbs and digestive supplements (probiotics) to replenish the good bacteria, kill the yeast overgrowth, and improve digestion. Once the candida is resolved, most people say they have better energy, regular digestion, fewer food cravings, a healthier mood, and an easier time getting things done and focusing during the day.
FOOD ALLERGY TESTING
Food allergies can be tested in several ways. Keeping a diary of the foods you eat each meal, and noting the timing and intensity of your symptoms can be helpful. The gold standard for food allergy testing is an allergy elimination and challenge, in which you completely eliminate a specific set of foods, then reintroduce them one at a time, and watch for symptoms.
We can also order an IgG Food Intolerance Test to check your blood IgG or IgE immune reactions to a wide range of foods. With the results of this test, we can avoid only the foods to which you react, and later reintroduce these foods into your diet after your symptoms have resolved.
With proper nutrition, natural supplements to heal the intestinal lining, and homeopathic medicine to correct the underlying immune imbalance, you can treat food allergies and improve your overall health, mood, and energy.
This article has been contributed by a practicing Naturopathic Physician. East Valley Naturopathic Doctors is a multi-disciplinary group of alternative physicians who combine the best of conventional medicine with natural medicine for the benefit of the patient. Alternative treatments are offered for Arthritis, Attention Deficit, Autism, Cancer, Cholesterol, Depression, Diabetes, Environmental Toxicity, Fatigue, Heavy Metals, Hormone Replacement, Hypertension, Pain, Prostate, Weight Loss, Women’s Health and Many Others. East Valley Naturopathic Doctors is located in Mesa, Arizona, and also serves Gilbert, Chandler, Tempe, Scottsdale, Apache Junction, and Queen Creek.