Approaching Morgellons Disease with Functional Medicine testing to get a baseline reading of the body's metabolic functioning
Functional medicine is anchored by an examination of the core clinical imbalances that underlie various disease conditions. Those imbalances arise as environmental inputs such as diet, nutrients (including air and water), exercise, and trauma are processed by ones body, mind, and spirit through a unique set of genetic predispositions, attitudes, and beliefs. The fundamental physiological processes include communication, both outside and inside the cell; bioenergetics, or the transformation of food into energy; replication, repair, and maintenance of structural integrity, from the cellular to the whole body level; elimination of waste; protection and defense; and transport and circulation. The core clinical imbalances that arise from malfunctions within this complex system include:
Currently there are no tests available that can definitively pinpoint Morgellons Disease. The battery of tests your regular doctor will have you take might not show abnormality. It has been speculated that the organism responsible for this disease is so tiny, the immune system doesn't register it.
The nutritional testing used in Functional Medicine has been very helpful for those suffering from Morgellons. Again, these tests won't tell you if you have the disease. They provide a metabolic snapshot of the bodily systems, revealing current health weaknesses so that they may be addressed.
The two tests currently being used by the community are available from Metametrix Labs and Great Plains Labs. Both have a stool test (although we favor the Metametrix test for its DNA feature). Other labs test for fungus and parasites using a database. If there is an unknown fungus or parasite in your sample and they can't match it to their database, they will not report it on the test results. Metametrix is the only lab that is reporting 'Taxonomy unknown' for fungus and parasites. Both Metametrix and Great Plains have an Organic Acids (OATS) urine test.
If the labs can culture your sample, they will run sensitivity tests on it to see which pharmaceuticals and herbal products, if necessary, will or will not work for you.
Having the labwork done is only one part of the equation. You will need a competent practitioner who can translate the findings into a meaningful protocol, specific to you. The labs make some recommendations about supplementation, but a practitioner will weigh in all factors and should have the final say in preparing a regimen.
Testing needs to be ordered by a doctor of Integrative Medicine, or a holistic healthcare worker. They will formulate a plan of action for you. You may ask, "Why can't my regular M.D. order the tests? They probably could, however it requires some training to understand the results of this labwork. Even if your M.D. were able to glean some understanding, mainstream doctors aren't well versed in supplementation and nutrition. They seek to manage disease with pharmaceuticals, not address the underlying conditions. In their hands, you would most likely not receive adequate guidance.
Nancy Guberti is my practitioner. Every time I have a new test, she questions me closely about what is currently going on with my health. She takes into account what the lab recommends, but she finesses it, often suggesting a supplement that will address multiple functions in the body. She also does all the research on the supplements, careful to screen out those with harmful additives, and tells me which brands to purchase.
Having Morgellons is like going into battle. It makes sense to try to shore up the body the best we can. Right now, these tests have been meaningful to those in our community.
Even having the testing done and a personal protocol formulated for you, might not stop the Morgellons. It's still too early to tell. Yet I am a great believer of getting a baseline reading of your body and doing what you can to reinforce it's health as you journey the disease.
Listen to this excellent blogtalk program presented by Pamela Crane on 'Nutritional' testing and what it is, as well as more information on the GI stool test from Metametrix. Features Nancy Guberti, Certified Holistic Nutritionist; Dr. David, Laboratory Director of Metametrix; Natosha Solsberry, Client Services at Metametrix; Trisha Springstead, Scientist, Nurse, Public Speaker, Health Issues Advocate.
Another new test is from Fry labs. They have discovered a previously unknown protoza that they believe is responsible for some chronic diseases including Morgellons. Listen to Dr. Fry speak about his findings. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/pamcrane/2011/05/19/1-step-blood-test-discovers-protozoa-under-biofilm-structure
GI Effects Stool Analysis
GI Effects Stool Analysis Profiles go beyond "old stool technology" to bring you the most comprehensive stool analysis to date. GI Effects Profiles use DNA analysis to identify microbiota including anaerobes, a previously immeasurable area of the gut environment. In addition to much more comprehensive bacteriology, mycology, and parasitology, GI Effects Profiles report drug resistance genes, antibiotic and botanical sensitivities, gliadin-specific sIgA, Elastase1, plus other inflammation, digestion, and absorption markers clinicians requested with no hidden costs.
PCR, GC/MS, HPLC, EIA, Automated Chemistry, Colorimetric
Haemolytic E. coli.
plus many others
Entero-hemorrhagic Eschericia coli (EHEC)
vanA, vanB, vanC
Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)
Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA)
Great Plains Lab
The Organic Acids Test (OAT)
The Organic Acids Test provides an accurate evaluation of intestinal yeast and bacteria. Abnormally high levels of these microorganisms can cause or worsen behavior disorders, hyperactivity, movement disorders, fatigue and immune function. Many people with chronic illnesses and neurological disorders often excrete several abnormal organic acids. The cause of these high levels could include: oral antibiotic use, high sugar diets, immune deficiencies, and genetic factors.
If abnormalities are detected using the OAT, treatments can include supplements, such as vitamins and antioxidants, or dietary modification. Upon treatment, patients and practitioners have reported significant improvement such as decreased fatigue, regular bowel function, increased energy and alertness, increased concentration, improved verbal skills, less hyperactivity, and decreased abdominal pain. The OAT is strongly recommended as the initial screening test.
Citramalic, 5-Hydroxymethyl-furoic, 3-Oxoglutaric, Furan-2,5-dicarboxylic, Furancarbonylglycine, Tartaric, Arabinose, Carboxycitric, Tricarballylic, 2-Hydroxyphenylacetic, 4-Hydroxyphenylacetic, 4-Hydroxybenzoic, 4-Hydroxyhippuric, Hippuric, 3-Indoleacetic, Succinic, HPHPA (Clostridia marker), 4-Cresol, DHPPA (beneficial bacteria), Glyceric, Glycolic, Oxalic, Lactic, Pyruvic, 2-Hydroxybutyric, Succinic, Fumaric, Malic, 2-Oxoglutaric, Aconitic, Citric, Homovanillic Acid (HVA), Vanilmandelic Acid (VMA), 5-Hydroxyindoleacetic (5-HIAA), Quinolinic, Kinurenic, Qunilinic / 5-HIAA Ratio, Quinolinic / Kynurenic Ratio, Uracil, Thymine, 3-Hydroxybutyric, Acetoacetic, 4-Hydroxybutyric, Ethylmalonic, Methylsuccinic, Adipic, Suberic, Sebacic, Methylmalonic (Vitamin B12), Pyridoxic (Vitamin B6), Pantothenic (Vitamin B5), Glutaric (Vitamin B2), Ascorbic (Vitamin C), 3-Hydroxy-3-Methylglutaric (Vitamin Q10), N-Acetylcysteine (Glutathion Precursor), Methylcitric, Pyroglutamic, Orotic, 2-Hydroxyhippuric, 2-Hydroxyisovaleric, 2-Oxoisovaleric, 3-Methyl-2-Oxovaleric, 2-Hydroxyisocaproic, 2-Oxoisocaproic, 2-Oxo-4-Methiolbutyric, Mandelic, Phenyllactic, Phenylpyruvic, Homogentisic, 4-Hydroxyphenyllactic, N-Acetylaspartic, Malonic, 3-Methylglutaric, Phosphoric, Creatinine.
The new and improved OAT has increased the number of tested compounds to 70 and two new ratios have been added. Descriptions of the new markers are listed below:
3-Hydroxyglutaric Acid Marker for Genetic Disease
A metabolite associated with the genetic disease glutaric aciduria type I, which is due to a deficiency of glutaryl CoA dehydrogenase, an enzyme involved in the breakdown of lysine, hydroxylysine, and tryptophan. In this disorder, other organic acids (glutaric and glutaconic) will be elevated. Treatment includes special diets low in lysine and supplementation with carnitine or acetyl-L-carnitine.
3-Methylglutaric Acid Marker for Mitochondrial Disorder
Significant increase is due to a reduced ability to metabolize the amino acid leucine. This abnormality is found in the genetic disease methylglutaconic aciduria and in mitochondrial disorders. 3-Methylglutaconic acid may also be elevated. Supplementation with coenzyme Q10, NAD+, L-carnitine and acetyl-L-carnitine, riboflavin, nicotinamide, biotin, and vitamin E may be useful.
4-Cresol Marker for Bacteria Including Selected Clostridia
Indicates a possible overgrowth of intestinal bacteria that are specific p-cresol producers including selected Clostridia. 4-Cresol is a phenolic product poorly metabolized in children with autism. High-potency multi-strain probiotics may help rebalance GI flora.
Tricarballylic Acid Marker for Exposure to Certain Fungal Contamination in Foods
A chemical by-product released from fumonisins during passage through the gastrointestinal tract. Fumonisins are fungal toxins produced primarily by F. verticillioides. Elevated levels can be caused by the intake of corn or corn-based food contaminated with fumonisins.
Quinolinic Acid Marker for Inflammation and Neurotoxicity
This acid derived from the amino acid tryptophan and can be neurotoxic at high levels. Quinolinic acid can over stimulate nerve cells, causing the cells to die. Brain toxicity due to this acid has been implicated in Alzheimers disease, autism, Huntingtons disease, stroke, dementia, depression, HIV-associated dementia, and schizophrenia.
Inorganic Phosphate Marker for Bone Function/Vitamin D Deficiency
Low phosphate is associated with thyroid disorders, low nutritional phosphate intake, and vitamin D deficiency.
4-Hydroxybenzoic Acid Marker for Exposure to Parabens
This acid is a metabolite of methylparaben, an anti-fungal and a popular preservative added to food and cosmetics. Parabens may be linked to mitochondrial failure resulting in chronic fatigue. Hydroxybenzoic acids can also be produced from microbial metabolism of polyphenols in the diet. Parabens have been found at high levels in breast cancer samples, but a definitive relationship with breast cancer has not been demonstrated.
4-Hydroxyhippuric Acid Marker for Exposure to Parabens
4-Hydroxyhippuic, like 4-hydroxybenzoic acid, is a metabolite of methylparaben. Higher levels of this compound can result from eating fruits rich in anthocyanins, flavonols, and hydroxycinnamates that are metabolized by gastrointestinal bacteria.
Malic Acid Marker for Mitochondrial Dysfunction
When malic acid is elevated simultaneously with citric, fumaric, and alpha-ketoglutaric acids, it may cause Cytochrome C Oxidase Deficiency, a metabolic disorder disrupting energy production.
DHPPA Marker for Beneficial Bacteria
Harmless or beneficial bacteria mediate the breakdown of chlorogenic acid to 3,4-dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid (DHPPA). High values of DHPPA are associated with increased amounts of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) Marker for Glutathione Precursor & Chelating Agent
NAC is a powerful antioxidant that increases glutathione reserves in the body. Glutathione is a crucial antioxidant and detoxification agent produced in the body. NAC reduces the toxicity of drugs like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and protects against poisoning by mercury and other heavy metals.
Quinolinic Acid/5-HIAA Ratio Marker for Neurotoxicity and Inflammation
A high ratio of quinolinic acid to the metabolite 5-hydoxyindole-acetic acid indicates excessive inflammation. High levels of these markers could be due to recurrent infections, immune overstimulation, high tryptophan intake, excessive adrenal production of cortisol, and frequent exposure to phthalates (chemical used in plastics and many household items).