Self-directed Tools to be Your Own Health Detective

by Heather Rae Gail

This article gives you a few tools that you can use to regain ownership of your health, your body and your mind.  The tools are self-directed, meaning you do not need a practitioner to access or use them, and you can access them as often as you want or need.

Raymond Francis: there is only one disease (malfunctioning cells), only two causes of disease (deficiency and toxicity), and six pathways to health and disease (nutrition, toxins, psychological, physical, genetic, and medical).

Dr. Jerry Tennant: every cell in the body is designed to run at -20 to -25 millivolts. To heal, we must make new cells. To make a new cell requires -50 millivolts. Chronic disease occurs when voltage drops below -20 and/or you cannot achieve -50 millivolts to make new cells.  Thus, chronic disease is always defined by having low voltage.

Dr. Jack Kruse:  “When sunlight hits our skin, nitric oxide is released and 40-60% of our blood volume migrates to the skin surface to absorb this light to alter the chemistry of the blood … to harvest the sun’s power and to generate energy by splitting water to create hydrogen. When this process is interrupted the body must gain energy from other sources such as the [citric acid cycle] or beta-oxidation pathways [of the mitochondria].”

In “Methylation Simplified,” I wrote about the biochemistry of energy in the mitochondria of our cells.  In “The Intersection of BioEnergetics and Health” I wrote about the human biofield, the extension of bioenergy beyond the skin.  The tools I highlight below recognize that health is an interplay of cellular mitochondria; gut microbiota; dental heath; and the biophysics of water, light, magnetism, electrons, protons.

These tools are functional health tools, not medical, because the intent is not to diagnose disease or the risk of disease, but to assess function. Medicine, by Wikipedia’s definition, is the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, or a drug or other preparation for the treatment or prevention of disease.

Functional health is different than medicine. It is having a special activity, purpose, or task, relating to how well, and the way in which, your mind and body show up to maintain health. The aim of functional health is to detect and correct toxicities and borderline deficiencies.

The purpose of the genetic testing listed here, for example, is to identify weaknesses of the enzymes in the cellular mitochondria; these enzymatic energetic pathways are key to health and longevity and can be supported with nutrition (as in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, homeopathic solutions, light, water and other treatments.)

Everything, functionally, comes down to electrons and light.  Light, surprisingly, is a vital energy source that is emitted by the mitochondria in our cells!  It can be used to heal:  an example is laser therapy used by chiropractors.  Water combined with light effects metabolic function, too.  How interesting is that?!

The science of bioenergetics and mitochondrial genetics and function is way out ahead of conventional medicine.  Most conventional allopathic health practitioners, including “functional medicine” doctors, are trained to focus on organs and disease; they do not look at the human condition holistically, acknowledging that the mind, body, spirit connection is bioenergetic as much as structural and biochemical.

For health detectives, biohackers and mitochondriacs., it’s important to keep electrons and bioenergetics top of mind, especially in this age of wifi, smartphones, laptop screens, immobility, and indoor living with artificial light.  Exposure to sunlight influences how well the food you eat is handled by your microbiome.  In other words, inadequate sunlight is a form of malnutrition.

BioChemical Testing

Today you can order many functional health lab tests yourself through online sites like MyMedLab, RequestATest, DirectLabs, LabTestsPlus+, and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition’s Metabolic Makeover Labs.  You can order a basic blood panel, and many other kinds of tests on these sites, like the organic acid test from Metametrix/Genova or Great Plains labs. The process is easy:  the lab sends you a kit, and you mail them back your sample.  (If you need a blood draw, you might consider Iggbo; it is on the forefront of mobile phlebotomy but still scaling its reach into US cities.)

On the toxin side of the equation, Kudzu Science is working with the Detox Project and offers a self-ordered hair test to measure pesticide and glyphosate levels.  On the nutritional side, SpectraCell, one of the more respected labs in functional health, now offers self-ordered tests for micronutrients.  Another test earning attention is called DUTCH (dried urine test for comprehensive hormones), but at this writing this hormone test is not available directly to the public.  I hope it will be soon!

In the future, it may be possible to assess other biomarkers, levels of nutrients and toxins (like glyphosate) using a hand-held or wearable device that can monitor your status throughout the day and night.   Sayer Ji, speaking to Dr. Patrick Gentempo in the GMOs Revealed series, talks about a handheld device that you can use to identify toxin residues on food.  Imagine walking through the grocery store, pointing at a head of organic lettuce and getting to the truth about labeling!

Timing and Self-Directed Testing

Timing is everything.  My father who is in his 80s got riled up at the bank by some bureaucracy over a money transfer; he then headed straight over to his doctor’s office for a checkup where they DXd him with high blood pressure.

Regaining ownership of your health data means that you will have flexibility to decide when tests are done, the control over costs and frequency, and a bigger say in interpretation.  Software with artificial intelligence will be at your fingertips to gauge all that influences your health and well-being:  sunlight, stress, nutrition, travel, toxins, localized infection, and more.

We are not the same every day, every minute of our lives.  Our health is influenced by exposure to light and circadian rhythms.  The “father of functional medicine” has recently acknowledged that we have biorhythms … changes that occur throughout the day and night.  In just the last few weeks, his personalized medicine group (PLMI) announced a conference on biorhythms, saying:

“Biorhythms regulate the way an individual’s body responds to their environment and lifestyle at any specific moment in time. These rhythms include the fluctuation of hormones, neurotransmitters, transcription factors that control genetic expression, inflammatory mediators, anabolic and catabolic metabolic functions, and stem cell-associated tissue regeneration.”  ~ Jeffrey Bland, Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute, 2/29/19

The interaction of a person’s genetics with their lifestyle, diet, and environment to create patterns of health or disease is time dependent, says Bland.

The pattern for the genes stays the same.  But everything else, internal and external, is in flux (including the energetics of the body and mind) and that in turns influences how those genes are expressed.  The tests used in functional genomic analysis look at expression (through organic acid and other tests, and the person’s signs and symptoms).

Photobiomodulation: sunlight, nitric oxide

Dr. Ted Achacoso of the BioBalance Institute in the Philippines believes that the healing therapy for our children’s children will be light.

There is no device, that I know of, measuring for exposure to the light spectrum:  how much, how long, what kind.  Nor do I know of a device to measure exposure to electro-magnetic frequencies and intracellular water: how much, how long, what kind.  Is there a reasonably-priced thermographic imaging device that can identify infection in the teeth?  I don’t know of it, not yet anyway.

We really are in the infancy of health science!

“Within certain blood-based cells exist components called mitochondria, which produce cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). An enzyme in mitochondria known as cytochrome c-oxidase (CCO) utilizes light photons and converts them into ATP. This process also creates mild oxidants (ROS) that lead to both cellular repair, healing and gene transcription. Nitric oxide that has bound to the CCO is also released, enabling enhanced oxygen uptake and helping blood vessels dilate; thereby improving blood flow.” ~ The Quantlet

You can measure a biomarker for levels of nitric oxide with salivary test strips from HumanN.   It’s a super easy self-directed health tool!  Nitric oxide is critical to your health, no matter what your age.  It controls and regulates most cellular functions; the cardiovascular system relies on it which means it is important for every function of your body. (N-O is implicated in all chronic high blood pressure and other conditions, and aging.) The solution to depleted nitric oxide is diet and lifestyle, no pharma intervention needed.

Genetic Testing

As your own health detective, you will collect a lot of data about yourself!  The data is powerful; it can be alarming and gratifying.  Some of it may be entirely useless. You’ll want to keep a level head, and not give in to fear, especially when it comes to genetic testing.

It has been extremely disturbing in researching this topic to find companies selling genetic analysis reports that at once acknowledge that diet, lifestyle and environment are the things that lead to dysfunction and disease (not the genes) and yet these reports, with more than a hint of alarm, direct you to medical practitioners and genetic counselors who work for hospitals (meaning, they are directing you to drugs and surgery, not to proper nutrition, toxin elimination, stress reduction, movement and energetic healing.)

Do not be frightened into acting rashly … like cutting off your breasts because you have a BRCA gene variant!

Naturopathy respects the body’s innate ability to heal itself.  With the information you collect from these tools, you have a guide to give your body and mind what they need to function well, supporting yourself naturally with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants/enzymes, breathing exercises, electrical stimulators, and the like.

This list is short. I have not included wearable devices like FitBit or AppleWatch and probably won’t until one can measure nutrition, hormones and toxicity in real-time without a prick or a pee.  (DermalAbyss from the MIT Media Lab is interesting as is the oximeter to measure blood oxygen levels, especially for people who fly a lot.)

Nor have I included sites that claim to tell you what to eat and how to exercise based on a DNA test (examples are IamYiam, GeneFood, FitnessGenes, DNAFit, PureGeneticLifestyle, NutriGenomix, emBodyDNA).  There’s some transparency, but not enough, on those sites about how they came to their conclusions, but they are terrifically simplistic and dish out some bad (bad!) advice.  (NutriGenomix is advising people to supplement with iron and folate based on the US recommended daily allowances.  If you’ve been following the work of Morley Robbins and his “ferrous” wheel, you’ll understand why that is bad advice.)

Tools to assess environmental toxins is a big topic which I will save for a future article. Tools to measure insulin, blood pressure, weight, BMI, in the age of obesity and diabetes are commonplace, so I did not list those either.  Nor did I list Viome, a company that uses “advanced technology developed for national security testing from Los Alamos Labs” to tell you what to eat based on an expensive stool test.

I convinced my husband to order this test a while back, because I mistakenly thought we would receive a list of non-human DNA of microbiota (viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, etc) in his stool. Instead, we received a skimpy report riddled with spelling errors.  I still feel bad about that expensive mistake!

Finally, I did not list the DNA test, 23andMe Personal Genetic Service, as a tool. The company released version 5 of their test in 2018 (at the same price as version 4) in which they had dropped thousands of the genetic variants useful for functional genomic analysis. Once you have your data from 23andMe, you must feed it into an analytical tool like GeneticGenie; I’ve done this with my version 4 data and have seen the report which I don’t believe is fit to be a useful health tool.  (I use the DNA test and analytical software from NutriGenetic Research Institute.)  23andMe has since partnered with the giant pharmaceutical company, GSK, to offer a much more expensive product, competing with other equally expensive, pharma-focused companies like Veritas Genetics. Not my tribe!

There is a company called Insilico Medicine which works with artificial intelligence for drug discovery, biomarker development and aging research.  When Alex Zharavonokov, of Insilico speaks about partnering with “drug companies,” he is referring to supplement companies as well as pharma.  (You’ll see one of Insilico’s tools below.)

3D Chess Under Water

As Bob Miller of NutriGenetic Research Institute says, functional genomic analysis is like playing 3D chess under water!  Enzymatic (genetic) pathways are complex and they cannot be interpreted in isolation from phenotype (how the gene is expressed).  As the saying goes, genes load the gun, and diet, nutrition and lifestyle pull the trigger.

Genetics are a component of a much larger data set. That’s why my coaching practice uses functional genetic testing as a piece of the bigger story. Making sense of your “big data” takes time; artificial intelligence helps, as does having a holistic health coach who can spend the time with you to make sense of it.

There are more tools to come, ever more sophisticated, surely, and those I’ve yet to encounter.  If you know of any that you think are interesting, let me know!

BioChemical & BioEnergetic Self-Directed Tools

BioChemical tools to be your own health detective

Your Genomic Resource (NutriGenetic Research Institute)

NGRI has created functional and nutritional genomic analysis software, using a proprietary DNA variant test through Thermo Fisher Scientific and Rutgers University. Currently you order the test through one of their certified functional genomic analysts, and your data is loaded in to HIPAA-compliant software to which you have secured access.  You complete a signs and symptoms questionnaire which you can update and use to track your progress.  NGRI plans to allow self-directed testing in the near future.  They also plan to add artificial intelligence (AI) to the software, adding another level of insight to an already robust tool.   “The advancement in DNA testing and measuring not only helps you learn about your ancestry, but also has supported the emergence of a new scientific approach to wellness. Once thought to be rare, everyone has some level of genetic variation in their DNA. This genetic variation may impact your ability to make and use different nutrients critical for digestion, detoxification, tolerance to gluten, blood sugar regulation, mitochondrial function, free radical production/premature aging, master antioxidant production and much more.”

SelfHacked, SelfDecode, & Lab Test Analyzer

Joe Cohen created SelfHacked, SelfDecode and Lab Test Analyzer which I am watching closely.  It’s a self-directed tool whose time has come!

SelfHacked combines thoroughly-researched, scientifically-backed information with personal experimentation, critical thinking, and an open mind.  We want to provide you with the information you need to help you overcome your chronic health issues that aren’t addressed by conventional medicine.  SelfHacked is also a citizen science movement. Our articles, books, and software provide the information that you can use to self-experiment based on your goals and physiology. Everyone is different and your goal should be to find out what works best for you.”

“SelfDecode is the world’s most comprehensive DNA-based health hacking tool to improve brain health, sleep, and reduce inflammation. So if you’re getting a genome sequencing test done, SelfDecode is the place to go to interpret your results.”  SelfDecode uses the 23andMe DNA test.

Lab Test Analyzer:  “We give you high-quality, science-backed information about your personal lab test results. Standard lab tests work based on “normal” ranges, which only tell you if you’re not sick. At Lab Test Analyzer, we’ve spent thousands of hours determining the true optimal ranges for health – and we’ll tell you what you need to do to get there.”

Insilico Medicine’s Deep Biomarkers of Human Aging

This online tool is fun!  You enter in your standard blood markers and the tool tells you your biological (rather than your chronological) age.  If you need a blood panel, see the list above of online labs where you can order your blood test.

“This is a deep-learned predictor of your age made with a deep neural network trained on hundreds of thousands anonymized human blood tests. Enter your data below and will guess your age and sex.”

BioEnergetic tools to be your own health detective

GDV    Russians health scientists are far ahead in designing tools to measure bioenergetics. It may be difficult to find one in your area.  “Gas Discharge Visualization (GDV) technique as one of the biometric tools that have the potential to identify deviations from the normal functional state at early stages and in real time. GDV is a nonintrusive technique to capture the physiological and psychoemotional status of a person and the functional status of different organs and organ systems through the electrophotonic emissions of fingertips placed on the surface of an impulse analyzer.”

SCENAR  Self-controlled Energo-Neuro Adaptive Regulator (SCENAR):   A hand-held device, “the SCENAR combines energy measuring functions along with real-time feedback and constant adjustment, to deliver the correct type and amount of energy to the body.” “The device was designed to be used by housewives, engineers, office clerks, and other specialists without medical background, and also on ferries, on liners, in aeroplanes, in cars, etc.”


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