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Functional Medicine Follow-Up Appointment & Test RESULTS!! Part 1 – Geek Turned Athlete

Functional Medicine Follow-Up Appointment & Test RESULTS!! Part 1

Wednesday, I finally made my way up to Austin to review my lab results from blood, urine, and stool samples taken 2 months ago. Here is my post on what my first visit was like with a functional medicine doctor. Before I go over the results, I would like to share with you my 2 biggest reactions:

1) I finally feel validated. I am NOT crazy. I knew I had some major things going on regarding my health that were just not being addressed by my previous doctors.

2) Finally, I know what is wrong so I can fix it!!!

Zonulin Profile

The first set of test results we reviewed were my zonulin levels. Zonulin is a protein that will be present in large amounts if you have a leaky gut since it is known to facilitate the permeability of intestinal cells. High zonulin levels are often associated with people who have celiacs disease and several other autoimmune diseases. This is a really good article if you are interested in reading more about zonulin.

My zonulin levels were extremely high.  We pretty much knew I had a leaky gut, but I didn’t realize my results would be on the complete right side of the graph.


Food Sensitivity C3d and IgG Report

Food sensitivities are a REAL thing.  Just because someone isn’t diagnosed with celiacs, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have issues with gluten or any other type of food for that matter.  If you don’t believe me, sign up and take an immunology course at your local university.  I had to take immunology for my Physician Assistant prereqs, and it completely opened my eyes to delayed onset sensitivities.  This means that you could eat cow’s milk, for instance, on Tuesday, but won’t feel the effects of it until  Thursday or Friday.  This sometimes makes it hard to pinpoint if you do have a food sensitivity or not.

This is a graphic from one of my lectures:

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 1.10.23 PM

You all might be familiar with Type I immune responses if you have seasonal, peanut, latex, or bee allergies.  A person with Type I immune responses can develop hives, start itching, sneezing, or even go into anaphylaxic shock.

As you can see from the graphic above, Type II and III immune responses are a little different.  Symptoms can be severe like fever, chills, shock, renal failure, and death for hemolytic reactions.  Thank goodness, most foods ingested won’t cause these types of reactions!  However, some apparent symptoms can be headaches, migraines, flu-like/ seasonal allergy like symptoms, skin rashes, digestive issues — villus atrophy in small intestine, inflammation, and poor absorption just to name a few.  This test was looking for an IgG (antibody) presence as well as the complement C3d (which is an activator in the complement cascade) when certain foods were introduced to my blood.

My doctor made this youtube video talking about this specific test.  The testing company that she is using now is different than the one mentioned in the video.


There were 5 levels of reactions on this specific test:

1) Severe Reaction

2) High Reaction

3) Moderate Reaction

4) Mild Reaction

5) No Reaction

The nutritionist in my doc’s office said that for the severely, highly, and moderately reactive foods, it doesn’t matter how healed my gut gets, I need to stay away from these foods.  For the mildly reactive foods, some might just be mildly reactive because my gut is so damaged.  For those foods, I was told to limit to 1-2 times/ week.  Eggs came up as mildly reactive for instance, so I can’t have those for breakfast everyday anymore! Some mildly reactive foods were very close to being moderately reactive (like rice for me) which means I probably will always be reactive to it.

My results:

Severe Reaction
Gluten (not surprised there)

High Reaction
Coffee (I literally had a mini freak out session in the doctor’s office b/c of this, and yes, I clarified that it wasn’t caffeine that is the issue)
Cow’s Milk
Whole Wheat (this is not referring to the gluten content)

Moderate Reaction
Rye (again, not referring to the gluten content)

Mild Reaction
Rice (this was actually one tick away from a moderate reaction– suggested to only eat 1x month)
Benzoic Acid (used in food preservatives)
Egg Albumin
Egg Yolk
Green Peas
Goats Milk
White Potatoes
Collard Greens (My husband from the south is not happy about this! lol)

I have more test results that I will share next week if you are interested.

Have you ever had one of these tests done?  Do you suspect you might have a food sensitivity? 

Test Results Part 2

{ 16 comments… add one }

  • MJruns August 17, 2013, 12:27 pm

    This is fascinating and so helpful! I hadn’t heard of zonulin before or seen the table of food sensitivities. PLEASE share more!

    I am gluten-intolerant (IMHO, celiac w/ poorly done tests, b/c I have other autoimmune issues), lactose-intolerant, have ulcers/GERD/hiatal hernia, have issues w/ other foods. Am on mostly paleo diet (working even better than just GF) with higher fat – only non-paleo whey protein (Ultragen recovery drink, Arctic Zero frozen dessert – my addiction) & some sugar (like in Arctic Zero – mostly eating no added sugar tho). Addicted to Arctic Zero, nut butters, crispy root chips (Terra chips mainly). Debating what else to cut out. I think my GP tilts into functional medicine. My mom had lots of food allergies & sensitivities. I think I’ve had so many digestive problems (hello IBS, ulcers & hv been on PPIs for several yrs) that I can’t tolerate much.

    Training for a fall marathon – 12 weeks away!

    Can’t recall how I found your blog, but I’m sure glad I did. Best wishes to you in your quest to get healthy and strong again. I will keep reading and learning.

  • steve August 17, 2013, 4:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I had no idea delayed onset sensitivities even existed.

  • Nicole August 17, 2013, 4:23 pm

    MJ, thanks so much for commenting! I was starting to think that I shared too much or my readers weren’t interested in the science. 😉

    I love Terra chips. 😉 My mom has a lot of issues as well. I’m trying to get her to fly into San Antonio so I can drive her up to Austin to see my doc. Good luck on your marathon! 😉 If I wasn’t also just diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, I would be training for a race as well. I miss training!

  • MJruns August 18, 2013, 11:00 am

    I see the zonulin article is from Fasano, glad it’s from such a respected expert! I may try to get my doc to test that. (I see Zonulin profile 5100 in the test result – so that’s the test name to use, do you know the lab used so I can tell my doc? same question on the Food Sensitivity C3d and IgG Report – that’s the test name, do you know the lab?)

    Terra chips and some cassava chips are ok (still miss potato chips, which I’ve only given up in the last few months). I like plantain chips, but like so many things, I can easily overeat them.

    I’m sad to think about how many more foods I need to give up – pretty sure the whey will have to go, and any added sugar, plus some fruit. (already have patchwork of veggies to eat/not eat) Think I may have some FODMAPS issues also, and am seeing more about gut dysbiosis that makes me think I need to look into that. I have made many adaptations over time (and if I feel better, perform better athletically, makes it somewhat easier) but it’s very hard on my DH who still eats SAD. We don’t eat out, and it makes holidays w/ his family or trips for us stressful. Gluten is my worst offender so far, really does make me sick, so we make GF the priority – but eliminating so many other things and being concerned about additives, preparation, makes me really stressed when eating anywhere else. And that makes food, which should be enjoyable in addition to fuel for performance, less fun and more work.

    Would love any tips you have about how you handle the above issues (tho it seems like your DH is onboard – so great! I think mine wld feel so much better if he was, but not going to push it).

    PLEASE keep blogging about how it’s going, what you eat, etc. – in as much detail as you’re comfortable with! I learn so much and appreciate it. Would also be interested to hear more about your adrenal fatigue experience – symptoms, how you figured it out, how you’re treating it, are things improving. Hearing much more about that in the last few years.

    Thanks and best wishes!

    • Nicole August 23, 2013, 1:47 pm

      MJ, sorry about the delay!!

      The lab for all of the testing mentioned in this post was Dunwoody Labs. My doc seemed to like them better than the one she used previously.

      My anxiety regarding eating anywhere besides home was through the roof before I had all this testing done. It was bad. We didn’t go anywhere for a REALLY long time. However, I’ve noticed that if I can keep my FODMAP consumption down (especially when I know we are going out to dinner), and order accordingly, any cross contamination doesn’t seem to be that bad unless they bread something by accident (which has happened before!) It was smothered in sauce so I didn’t notice it until I had taken a few bites. Bad. Feel free to follow me on instagram. @geekturnedathlete I post a lot of my food on there. 😉 You will get through this!!

  • Donna August 19, 2013, 8:54 am

    Thanks so much for posting about your sensitivity testing. This is something we are doing for my husband this fall, as slowly we think we have discovered the patterns of what is making him feel bloated, fatigued, bad stomach-y… We went gluten free at home about 18 months ago, and he has naturally started to avoid dairy, and our next suspect is corn. I think it is going to be a real eye opener for us.

    And thanks for reaching out and following me on Instagram – it is nice to reconnect “off Twitter” and in a format that I think is more expressive for me, for what I see, for what resonates with me!
    Donna recently posted..Harwich Triathlon Race Report

  • Donna August 19, 2013, 8:57 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this – a full screening of sensitivity is something we are planning to do for my husband this fall. Already we have eliminated gluten at home, and he is naturally avoiding dairy. Next prime suspect is corn. I think a screening will really help us, and I am impressed to see how detailed they can be!

    Also thanks for reaching out and connecting on Instagram! I love the format there, where I can show what makes me tick, in a more visual way! I look forward to following you there too!
    Donna recently posted..Harwich Triathlon Race Report

    • Nicole August 23, 2013, 1:41 pm

      Thanks, Donna! This stuff can be so tricky. I hope you can get the answers you need!

  • Julie August 19, 2013, 3:57 pm

    Thank you for sharing! So glad to hear you are finding some answers!
    Julie recently posted..5 Preserving and Homesteading Blogs You Should Follow

    • Nicole August 23, 2013, 1:39 pm

      Thanks, Julie! Any luck on your end?

  • jrm August 19, 2013, 4:38 pm

    Glad you are getting some good help! Although I don’t think I have any food intolerances/allergies, I love the science behind everything so this is very interesting to me.

    • Nicole August 23, 2013, 1:38 pm

      I’m glad a few of you are enjoying the science! I have enjoyed that part of all the research over the years!

  • Toronto Girl West August 21, 2013, 12:22 am

    I had tummy issues begin in full force this past Spring. I suffered enough and finally went to a Naturopath on a fellow blogger’s recommendation. I’m currently awaiting my food sensitivity results. The test wasn’t cheap (it’s not covered by my extended health) but it’s well worth it to me!

    Frankly, I’m excited to finally have answers and get back to normal.

    • Nicole August 23, 2013, 1:36 pm

      I hear ya!!! My insurance sucks, and the fact that I wasn’t working earlier in the year definitely didn’t help our finances, however, we are really good at saving money. I don’t shop for clothing that often, and I’m lucky that my husband doesn’t mind sacrificing a few things for my health. 😉

      I hope your test results come back soon!! Let me know how they go!

  • Cammie September 14, 2013, 7:36 am

    Still waiting for the second post! Love seeing someone going thru the same things:)

    • Nicole September 17, 2013, 7:41 pm

      Sorry!! I’ve actually had it 1/2 way done for 2 weeks. I’m planning on finishing it up tonight!!! 😉


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