Scientific research regarding food sensitivity testing and how IgG testing can be used to help individuals identify symptom provoking foods is still emerging, but recent studies have looked at IgG levels in subsets of people with autoimmunity and indicate that the importance of this connection needs to be addressed globally. There are several notable studies that demonstrate the benefit of using IgG reactivity levels to help individuals identify foods that cause or exacerbate symptoms, including migraine headaches, major depressive disorder, and irritable bowel syndrome, often helping people with overlapping symptoms. Some studies have shown that for individuals with inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis, symptoms are significantly improved when individuals use IgG testing to guide food elimination diets and may help guide management of these conditions.
As women age, their hormones go through natural changes. Sometimes, when hormones become imbalanced, women can experience symptoms that go beyond menstrual cycle changes and negatively affect their wellbeing. A recent study demonstrated how at-home testing for female hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and fertility are as reliable as traditional venipuncture samples. But many other studies have demonstrated the accuracy of non-traditional sample sources for the measurement of hormones that affect fertility, the menstrual cycle, menopause, and the body’s reaction to stress. These biomarkers can be used to help women understand their changing bodies and the potential implications for fertility changes.
While often not as pronounced or openly discussed, men also experience hormone changes with age that can negatively affect their wellbeing. Several studies demonstrate the usefulness of salivary testosterone as an alternative to traditional venipuncture samples for monitoring hormone levels, especially if men are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone. Studies also demonstrate how other hormones can effectively be measured from saliva, making these types of test more convenient and accessible to men.
Rising rates of sexually transmitted infections in the US prompted representatives from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to conclude in August of 2018 that we are now facing a ‘public health crisis’. The US is not alone; the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that every day 1 million people acquire a sexually transmitted infection. In the US, as well as around the world, reducing barriers to testing is one way organizations are trying to reduce this rising epidemic. Many studies have demonstrated the utility of using dried blood spot card collections for screening and diagnosing many sexually transmitted infections and other viruses that are transmitted through blood. Other studies show the usefulness of self-collected samples for the diagnosis of sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections.
HPV testing in women may one day replace the traditional Pap smear for cervical cancer screening. The WHO has estimated that there are more than 290 million women worldwide with an HPV infection, and the CDC has stated that “HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get the virus at some point in their lives.” While many strains of HPV cause no symptoms and no physical harm, High Risk strains are associated with nearly all cases of squamous cervical cancer in women. Many studies have demonstrated that self-collected samples for HPV testing are as accurate as clinically collected samples. Access to HPV testing from home may help keep women adequately screened, especially if they experience potential exposures between routine health checks.
Heart disease remains the number one killer of both men and women in the US. Diabetes is a significant risk factor for the development of both heart disease and vascular disease. Many people with these conditions have difficulty with compliance, according to several studies. Removing obstacles to testing may help people and their providers better manage or even prevent certain conditions. Several studies have demonstrated the reliability of dried blood spot testing for markers commonly used to monitor an individual’s risk for heart disease and diabetes, including triglycerides, total cholesterol, lipoproteins, HbA1c, and hs-CRP. It is always important to remember that variations in cholesterol levels are common and results may not accurately reflect changes from diet or medication changes for several months.
Many factors can influence our daily health and wellness and Everlywell has testing to help you assess a wide variety of biomarkers that can give you insights in to your body. Stress can negatively affect many aspects of our health, from sleep disturbance to weight changes, and can even increase the risk of certain conditions like cardiovascular disease and cancer. Several of our tests can help you see if stress is causing havoc in your body. Changes in the adrenal hormone, cortisol, can alter metabolism, sleep cycles, and affect other hormonal balances. Urinary cortisol and cortisone, along with a breakdown product of melatonin called MT6, can be used to find changes in our body’s normal diurnal pattern. Salivary cortisol can also be used to screen for conditions affecting the adrenal gland and altering metabolism. Along with cortisol, thyroid function directly affects metabolism and can be measured with dried blood spot as accurately as with venipuncture samples. According to the American Thyroid Association, “More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime. An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.”
Other groups of individuals should also pay attention to certain vitamin intake and levels. According to the CDC, even if not actively trying to get pregnant, reproductive aged women should consume 400mcg of Folic Acid daily to prevent neural tube defects in their babies. Adults, especially those at risk for osteoporosis, should ensure they have adequate vitamin D to transport calcium to bones. Studies have shown that testing for B and D vitamins using dried blood spot is an accurate means of determining levels in individuals and can help identify deficiencies which can be corrected before long term negative effects are encountered.
Sometimes, the food that we consume can be harmful to our health. Often going undetected until elevated levels cause symptoms, heavy metals exposure in the US often come from our food sources according to the FDA, and not one food or food source is to blame. Individuals can now check for elevated levels of heavy metals than can become toxic and check for deficiencies in elements that our bodies require for normal function, like iodine, through simple urine tests.