Functional Testing – A valuable tool

Written July 2018 by Phoebe Wynne-Lewis, BHSc, Dip Nat Med, Dip Herb Med – FxMed Technical Support

Every patient has a unique biochemistry based on factors including genetics, diet, environmental exposure to chemicals and metals, lifestyle, and psychological as well as physical stress. While conventional medical testing addresses acute illnesses already manifested, it does not take into account the individual factors that may be theunderlying cause of a chronic health condition.

Comprehensive medical histories, lab work, and a broad understanding of the body and its metabolic processes are needed when trying to determine the biochemical imbalances contributing to ill health. Revealing the root cause of symptoms is the foundation of integrative and functional medicine and it aims to address underlying issues; infectious, toxic, genetic, nutritional, metabolic, and others.

Functional medicine testing can be a vital part of a health assessment by a practitioner. It provides scientifically based information on a patients‘ unique biochemical makeup and the factors that may be altering their cell function and body systems. It also identifies the many physiological precursors that may be leading to a chronic condition or degenerative disease.

It is important to note functional testing is only ‘one piece of the puzzle’. A practitioner must also consider all of the other information obtained through a patient’s health assessment to develop an accurate diagnosis and compile an individualized treatment protocol for disease prevention and/or recovery.

Functional testing can help identify many conditions and contributing factors to disease, including:

  • Digestive dysfunction e.g. nutrient malabsorption,
  • Leaky Gut Syndrome, chronic constipation, diarrhoea, and IBS
  • Food intolerances/allergies
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Hormone imbalances e.g. in menopause, PMS, infertility
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Heavy metal toxicity
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as Fibromyalgia, Lupus, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Causes of chronic pain
  • Bacterial and yeast overgrowth
  • HPA axis dysfunction
  • Methylation status

How to select the right Laboratory and Test?

It is important to use research based, certified, clinical labs that use state of the art testing technology and proven techniques. This will ensure consistently reproducible results that are reliable, comprehensive and clinically accurate.

FxMed has partnered with eight different Functional Testing labs, and offers a variety of tests. Often practitioners are unsure of exactly what test will give the most valuable information and clinical insight regarding their patient’s health. If you are unsure what specific test to advise your patient to complete, please contact us at

Testing Catalogue available on request (available to New Zealand practitioners only)

Please visit the testing pages on the FxMed website for more information e.g. sample reports