4 min|Dr. Maya Kuczma
4 Biohacking Tests That Will Keep You On TrackWellness, Education
Don’t Biohack Blind: Testing is Key
While it used to be reserved for Silicon Valley hackers going to great lengths to ‘upgrade’ their biology, biohacking has become a vague term to describe any DIY intervention in the name of self improvement. Under this definition, cutting out sugar for a month and seeing how you feel could be considered a biohack, as could intermittent fasting, or a fecal transplant. Biohacking now encompasses a range of extremes, in both analysis and interventions. And while subjective measures of how you feel, how energized you are, or how you look in the mirror can be helpful, a key tenet of biohacking is, and always will be, testing.
In part, the emphasis on testing has been driven by its forefathers - largely tech-savvy entrepreneurs who live and work by the code of analysis, intervention, and efficiency. When this approach merges with medicine, testing can serve to eliminate guesswork within treatment parameters, and develop an individualized treatment plan.
Rather than recommend any and all health interventions with scientific backing, why not choose the interventions that will provide the biggest bang for your individual buck? And in a world where there is research to support various, opposing dietary and lifestyle interventions, why not use testing to determine which health advice to heed, and which to ignore? Furthermore, certain tests can serve to monitor progress of treatment, providing objective data, beyond the subjective measure of how you feel.
For these reasons, the Integrative Biohacking Program includes extensive testing initially, prior to beginning a treatment plan, in an effort to ensure you receive a plan developed specifically for you. Additionally, once you’ve completed a course of treatment, we recommend repeating certain tests to track your progress.
There are many tests currently marketed towards biohackers, many of which are overpriced or provide information that doesn’t greatly influence treatment options. At Integrative, we’ve sifted through the options and chosen clinically significant diagnostics to help guide your treatment.
Specific organic acids are excreted via the urine as a by-product of metabolism. These organic acids can be measured in order to review metabolic efficiency, rule out a variety of genetic metabolic disorders, investigate levels of dysbiosis (overgrowth of yeast and/or bacteria), as well as provide direct and indirect indication of nutrient deficiencies, oxidative stress, and altered metabolism of neurotransmitters.
The DUTCH (Dried urine test for comprehensive hormones) includes testing of sex and adrenal hormone levels and their metabolites. There are many hormone test options, but we chose the DUTCH due to the rigorous testing methods utilized by Precision Analytical, ease of patient collection, stability of samples during shipping, and the extensive and detailed hormone information provided via urine analysis that cannot be obtained via another form of testing.
Comprehensive DNA testing enables your Doctor to incorporate treatment recommendations guided by your genetics. The dnaPower Genetic Panel analyzes your genetic material to provide tailored health guidelines regarding diet, exercise, brain health, and lifestyle. Due to the analysis of detoxification, hormone metabolism, and inflammation, your Naturopathic Doctor may also gain insight into the root cause of symptoms you are experiencing.
Blood tests can be an efficient and accurate measure of certain physiological parameters. While our Naturopathic Doctors recommend the Organic Acids Test Panel, DUTCH Panel, and the dnaPower Panel in order to fill in the gaps that conventional bloodwork cannot accurately assess, they recognize the merits of certain serum tests.
Additionally, the ease of collection enables repeat testing over the course of treatment to assess how your body is responding. Your Naturopathic Doctor may recommend analysis of many blood parameters, including blood sugar, lipid levels, thyroid health, overall inflammation, kidney and liver function, red blood cells and white blood cells, in order to complete their clinical analysis.