Importance of Functional Lab Testing


As we get older it is not uncommon to have yearly labs done through a primary care provider. Unfortunately, the results are either never conveyed, or the results are summarized by the relieving phrase, "Everything looks fine."

This kind of lab testing is not meant to assess overall health. It is meant to identify common problems such as anemia, high cholesterol and diabetes. There is a big difference. Functional lab testing is important for everyone over the age of 30, and is used to identify imbalances before they manifest as symptoms. 


Blood is a window to into physiology and the functioning of cells and systems in the body. Peering into that window can reveal subtle changes that may be small problems that don't cause symptoms now, but could lead to larger problems later that manifest as chronic disease.


Conventional physicians look for "High" and "Low" flags, relying on lab ranges to be accurate indicators of what constitutes a healthy lab value. Unfortunately, meaningful imbalances in your health can happen within the lab ranges. It takes a well-trained eye to assess each lab value independently and within the larger context of other values to determine its relevance for your overall health. 


Dr. Nigh orders a full set of functional labs on each new patient. This means that he is not simply ordering labs to be sure there are no obvious problems. Instead, he orders labs that tell him a great deal about inflammation, glucose metabolism, fat metabolism, nutrient levels, electrolyte balance, cardiovascular risk and other indicators. When appropriate, he also orders genetic testing that can add additional information about both risks and strengths when it comes to long-term health. 


Everyone over the age of 30 should do at least annual functional labs and sit with a doctor who knows how to interpret the results. Dr. Nigh spends 45 minutes going over every aspect of lab reports, explaining to each patient the implications of their results, and laying out a treatment plan that fits their unique presentation.


If you would like more information about functional lab testing, call 503-719-4806 or email

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Portland, OR 97214




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