The Beginner’s Guide to Nutritional Testing, Diet, and Supplements

Most of us have stumbled across the go-to supplements that are supposed to help conditions like apraxia. We have heard the hype from other parents about how their child’s speech dramatically improved after one week of Nordic Naturals Fish Oil, or NutriiVeda, or SPEAK.

We have heard a handful of professionals state positives about their product and negatives about another. It is daunting to know who you can and cannot trust and which product, if any, is the right fit for your child.

I am wholeheartedly a supporter of nutritional intervention, but I also feel that it is extremely important to do some basic testing before you begin any diet or supplement program.

testing

Let me share a few examples of why I feel testing is so important …

Case #1 – Jake and Omega-3

I was so worried about omega-3 when I took Jake to his first integrative medicine appointment. He cannot take this supplement because of his fish allergy. Prior to this appointment, I spent a lot of time researching fish-free omega supplements. There are not many out there! If I did happen to stumble across one, it took time to make sure it wasn’t manufactured on shared equipment with fish oil. It took phone calls and emails to the manufacturers and reading a lot of fine print.

Needless to say, it was emotionally exhausting for me to think inside and outside the box regarding omega-3. Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to see on his NutrEval test that his omega levels are perfect! I breathed a long sigh of relief and began putting my time, money, and mental energy where they belonged instead of chasing something that was a non-issue.

Case #2 – Jake and Vitamin E

From September through mid-December of 2012, Jake took a vitamin E supplement. When I increased the dose in December, allergy symptoms developed. Turns out, the pure form of E is made from almond oil and Jake was allergic to almonds at the time. Not good. Prior to starting this supplementation, two doctors and myself knew about this allergy because of a skin prick test, but it was an oversight. The moral of the story is … know allergies, know intolerances, and know what is in supplements.

Case #3 – Fish Oil, Gluten-Free & ADD

My friend Tricia recently had the NutrEval and the ALCAT tests run on her son who has suspected ADD. Prior to testing, she had been giving him fish oil for a few months, but had seen no results. Turns out, her son’s main issue is gluten intolerance. He is now taking a few supplements that are specific to his deficiencies along with a gluten-free diet. Addressing the diet first in this case was imperative because without taking out the offending foods, the supplements could not be properly absorbed in the gut.

Case #4 – Jake and Simple Carbohydrate Diet (SCD)

In December of 2013, I had a few tests run to determine the cause of Jake’s food allergies. At the beginning of January, I put Jake on the SCD with the hopes of healing or improving his food allergies even though I didn’t have my test results back. On Day #7 of this diet, his CDSA 2.0 stool test came back and the doctor’s office called and told me to take him off of the SCD. More on this later, but turns out this diet is not a good fit for him. The good news is, these test results showed what is causing his food allergies. We are waiting for the rest of the test results to come back before we fine tune his program and get back to healing.

Who Does Testing & How Much Does it Cost?

  • A Medical Doctor certified by the American Board of Integrative & Holistic Medicine. Click here to search for a physician in your area. We go to this type of doctor. One benefit in going this route is that insurance covers some of our cost because she is a real pediatrician. Some tests are covered by insurance and some are not. The NutrEval that we had done was not covered and it was around $700-800 and the ALCAT was $200-300. We have taken several tests that insurance covered and I paid a flat fee of $25 for all of them.
  • A DAN doctor
  • A chiropractic office with additional wellness services. I’ve recently reunited with my best friend from elementary school and she had herself and her daughters tested at a reputable chiropractor’s office. She said she paid $50 for all of her tests because insurance covered it!
  • The Great Plains Laboratory. I have recently ordered a urine amino acid test from this company and I have been very impressed with their customer service and thoroughness. They also have a great explanation of how to submit tests to insurance and their prices are very reasonable. Their website says that your results include a thirty minute phone consultation and I also plan on sending the results to our doctor to get her input. The only caveat is you must have a physician’s signature before they will run the tests. Perhaps a traditional pediatrician would consider helping out with this. I believe their Organic Acids Test (OAT) is somewhat comparable to NutrEval and according to the price sheet, the cash price is $299 and the insurance price is $599. The IgG Food Allergy Test with Candida (comparable to ALCAT) is $219 / $325.

Additional Resources:

  •  Jenny McCarthy’s Generation Rescue offers biomedical grants to families who cannot afford treatment.
  • January 30 – February 2, The Gluten Summit’s webinar “Now That You Know, Where Do You Go?” is available online and free of charge. I watched Part One back in October at the advice of Jake’s doctor and it was EXCELLENT … top-notch experts and information. According to the site, this webinar will cover the following:
  1. What tests should I take to see if I have a disorder?
  2. How do I convince my doctor to order the tests?
  3. Could it be gluten? Or dairy? Or another food triggering symptoms?
  4. When should I take the tests?
  5. How do I get them? What if I’m outside of the U.S.?
  6. How do I interpret the results?
  7. What if my results come back positive for a gluten-related disorder?

What about you, friends? Got any information you’d like to add to this post? I’d love to hear if someone out there has gone to a DAN doctor or if you got testing, etc. from another source. 

Disclaimer: All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or disorder. Please see complete disclosure at the top of this page.

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3 thoughts on “The Beginner’s Guide to Nutritional Testing, Diet, and Supplements

  1. Good post. I have a few things to add.

    There is no such thing as a DAN doctor any longer. They are now called MAPS doctors. To find one: http://www.medmaps.org/

    And here is an explanation about MAPS and DAN – https://www.tacanow.org/blog/treating-autism-maps-doctors-dan-doctors/

    And the truth is – DAN was an acronym that (scuba) divers didn’t want to share.

    My doctor used Great Plains for the stool tests we ran on our son, but we used Genova Diagnostics/Metametrix for our 2 OAT tests. We’ve also done a urine porphyrins test (French lab), a nagalase test, and a hair test on my son. Oh, and allergy testing*, a 23andme sequencing, and lots and lots of bloodwork.

    *Allergy testing – we used Alletess labs. It’s a blood test that looks at IgG (and tests a few IgE) antibodies to a certain number of foods. We had the 96 food panel drawn. Anyhow, the fun thing about that testing is that someone with a leaky gut or similar issues will pretty much show positive for things they have been eating. And that if you were to draw labs over a period of days, you could see things changing. That being said, I think it’s a good start to see what’s going on. And if there is something they *are* positive for, and they haven’t been eating it, that a sign you should steer clear.

    Hope that’s useful for someone! And, IMO, a *good* doctor is an absolute requirement.

  2. Candace, You are always such a wealth of information! Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. I’ve done most testing through Genova, but have just tried out Great Plains. I did it mainly because it was cheaper and sounded easier than going through my doctor’s office. I always see DAN vs. MAPS and have wondered what the difference is. I have zero experience in that area so thanks for the link. I’m still waiting for my 23andme test to come back. I sent it the beginning of December so any day now. You may be hearing from me soon as I really struggle in the science department! Great explanation about IgG testing & the additional testing source. Hope you are well. We are finally thawing out here in the South! :)

  3. Hi Tori. Hope all is well. We are just recovering from the snow/ice and a flu. (We got 2 rounds of flu in the past 2 months!) I got flu shot but didn’t give Aaron flu shot this year for the first time. Of course, he gets flu! Thankfully, he didn’t have severe reaction. Hope his immune system is getting stronger.

    We did NutrEval but didn’t to ALCAT. It would have been nice to have, but it is so hard to get blood drawn from Aaron, and I also heard what Candace said about leaky gut and accuracy of the test results. So for now, we’ve been GFCF and I give Aaron digestive enzyme with every meal (except when he’s in school). We’re also trying to limit sugar as much as possible.
    We also got results from 23andMe last summer. It’s been very fascinating to learn about the methylation and gene mutation. It helps me determine which supplements may work or want to avoid. So, it’s definitely worth every penny. Dr. Amy Yasko’s research on methylation has been very fascinating to read.

    Please keep us posted on the test results and the diet changes. By the way, I like your new blog make over. Looks nice!

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