An Introduction to Metabolomics Testing
What is Metabolomics Testing?
Patients come into your practice every day complaining of fatigue, weight gain, depression and anxiety. Many of them present with inflammation, insulin resistance or oxidative stress. How do you know how to treat them effectively? The answer is metabolomics testing.
Don’t panic! It is a new test, but we are going to share with you a “cheat sheet” to get you started until you become more familiar with the tests, what they can tell you and the advice you can give your patients based on the test results. Metabolomics testing makes personalised medicine more precise.
It assesses a person’s metabolic function, not a disease. A metabolomics test provides tests for chemicals that are produced during metabolic processes in the body, commonly referred to as organic acids. It can be thought of as a gauge of your metabolic function. It can tell you if your enzymes are working efficiently, and it can measure amino acids, along with more specific markers including cortisol, equol, quercetin and tartaric acid. There are many other metabolite markers included in the test to help you more fully understand the state of your patients’ cellular functions.
Metabolomics testing should be used for everyone. Without them, you really don’t know how to treat a metabolic error. The tests take the guesswork out of your treatment plan. Not only do they tell you what is wrong with your patient’s metabolism, but where the damage is coming from – inflammation, catabolic physiology, insulin resistance or oxidative stress. More than that you can establish what is getting damaged: mitochondria, lipids or DNA.
Metabolomics Testing focuses on six areas:
- Mitochondria and metabolic processing
- Amino acid and protein metabolism
- Stress and mood (the brain)
- Toxic impacts
- Gut microbes and microbial metabolites
The Most Common Disrupted Metabolic Pathways Found by Metabolomics Testing
When you receive your first or even your thirtieth, result for metabolomics testing, you may feel a bit overwhelmed by the information that is being presented to you. While it is all relevant, there are some metabolic pathways that are affected more often than others. Having a plan in place to help people manage these damaged areas in their metabolism will help most of your patients overcome their issues.
The most commonly disrupted metabolic pathways to focus on are:
- Beta oxidation, which relies on fatty acids as the primary energy source.
- Glycolysis, which can give you an early indication of insulin resistance.
- Neurotransmission errors can cause depression and anxiety due to serotonin and dopamine deficiencies.
- Methylation defects
- Mitochondrial dysfunction
- Toxin exposure, including environmental chemicals and heavy metals.
Personalised Treatment For Damaged Metabolic Pathways
Your treatment plan should target the most relevant areas for the person sitting in front of you. Use the test results in combination with their symptoms to determine which supplements you are going to prescribe. Rather than sending your patient off with a long list of supplements, whittle it down to the five that are going to make the most significant impact.
It is important to understand that a lot of the metabolic problems identified by metabolomics testing is due to a bad diet. If your patient is eating a bad diet, the test results are going to look bad. You will be able to fix the damaged metabolism with nutrients that address the nutrition deficiencies created by a poor diet.
Don’t forget, though, that there are some genetic reasons for a poor metabolism. Some people need more specific nutrients than others.
Supplements To Treat Damaged Metabolism
The effectiveness of your treatment relies on using the correct nutrients to support the chemical pathways that are not working properly. The nutrients used for each of the most common problems identified by the metabolomics test are listed below:
Mitochondria and metabolic processing:
- Free form amino acids
- Lipoic acid
Urea cycle/Nitric oxide:
Metabolomics Testing Provides Important Information About A Person’s Metabolism
If you are new to metabolomics testing you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the depth of information the test results provide. It helps to identify the metabolic pathways that are most commonly damaged and learn how to treat them in order to help most of your patients. The more you work with the tests, the greater your understanding will become and the more confident you will feel interpreting the results.
Metabolomics testing makes it possible to treat the root cause of a problem without having to shoot in the dark, guessing where the problem might be. The test results tell you what the problem is and where it comes from. Only when you know what to target can you offer your patients effective treatment plans.