What are the best labs for autoimmune disease? When I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease (hashimotos), I remember that the only lab that was run was a simple thyroid blood test to check TSH, T4 and TPOab. That’s it. My allopathic (conventional) medicine doctor just needed to confirm a diagnosis and start me on a prescription. This is what what my insurance covered. No further investigation on why my body was behaving this way. As far as the doctor was concerned, this was how it was going to be from now on. At the time, I had no idea what the best labs for autoimmune disease would be.
In conventional medicine, systems, such as the endocrine system, are treated separately. Conventional medicine can often be stuck in this mindset. Because of this compartmentalized mindset, they miss a big opportunity to get to the underlying root cause.
The best labs for autoimmune disease look for underlying root causes for the imbalances in the body that create the inflammation that leads to autoimmune disease. If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you already know that putting autoimmune disease into remission is possible for many. Running functional medicine labs can be an important tool to help you achieve that.
The Best Labs for Autoimmune Disease
Food Sensitivity Test
This is an excellent starting point for you if you’re new to this site and want to begin using functional medicine labs to guide any dietary changes. Food sensitivities can be one of the earlier signs that your body has gotten out of balance though it can be hard to pinpoint exactly which foods you’re sensitive too. This is because IGG immune system responses can occur up to 3 days after you’ve consumed that food.
Food sensitivity reactions can include digestive upset, fatigue, anxiety, joint pain, headaches, runny nose, watery eyes and rashes.
What I’ve found, for my clients, is that it can be a real challenge to give up certain foods that cause inflammation in your body when you don’t see empirical evidence that you are sensitive to that food. This blood spot test provides you with that empirical evidence so you can take a targeted approach to your diet rather than guess. Note that if you’ve been eliminating gluten or other foods for years, it’s possible your test results won’t show that food marker as high. You can order this test here.
Organic Acids Test
One of the best labs for autoimmune disease, to start with, is a urine waste metabolite test. This test checks for over 70 urine waste metabolites and so provides a huge amount of information on your intestinal microbiome, nutrient deficiencies, neurotransmitters, mitochondrial function and detoxification.
If your digestive system is suboptimal and your gut microbiome is out of balance, you are likely not absorbing nutrients you consume. Over time, overgrowth of organisms, such as candida, can cause ‘leaky gut’ which can lead to food sensitivities. I’ve written before about how candida overgrowth can be a root cause of alopecia areata here.
This simple at home lab requires only a urine sample and so it’s an easy test for both adults and children. Don’t worry, you’ll never have to interpret this test alone as you need a health practitioner to interpret it for you and provide you with a protocol to rebalance your body. You can order this test here.
This may seem like an odd ‘best labs for autoimmune disease’ recommendation but mold toxins are not only neurological toxins but they also can be a root cause trigger for autoimmune disease.
Mold/mycotoxins interrupt the signaling from the pituitary gland to the hypothalamus so that the hypothalamus may not signal the thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. This can cause hypothyroidism.
Mold is also an environmental trigger for Hashimotos . I had interviewed Jenn Malecha on my Detox for Vibrant Health podcast about her experience with mold and how she was able to reverse hashimotos when she detoxed from the mold.
Dave Aspray of Bulletproof has also made an amazing recovery from Hashimotos by tackling mold toxicity (one of the root causes for his Hashimotos). He even created a movie called Moldy to spread the word about how mold/mycotoxins can mess with your health.
This mycotoxin test for the urine was metabolite for a dozen different mold toxins so it’s easy to use for children and adults. You can order this test here.
Environmental Tox Test
One of my best labs for autoimmune disease, after addressing gut imbalances, is the environmental tox test. With over 80,000 human made chemicals in the environment, their impact on the body is hard to ignore. DDT, PFAs  and PCB’s, perchlorates, phthalates, microplastics, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride and bromine and numerous other chemicals can disrupt hormones, impair development, impact fertility, disrupt metabolic health  , cause neurological issues and some can even disrupt DNA.
This test is a urine test, so it’s easy to use for children and adults. You can order this test here.
Other Labs for Autoimmune Disease
While I’m a big fan of Functional Medicine Lab testing to get to the root cause of autoimmune disease, there are several tests I recommend for my clients.
Fasting Insulin Levels
This test is different from your fasting blood glucose test or your Hemoglobin A1c. I want to highlight this because your conventional medicine doctor will be less accustomed to testing fasting insulin levels.
What a fasting insulin level can help identify is whether you have insulin resistance which can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, hormone imbalances, PCOS type symptoms and overall metabolic disease. I highly recommend this test for anyone experiencing any weight loss struggles.
Ferritin Iron Levels
Ferritin represents your iron stores. Iron is essential for thyroid function as well as transportation of oxygen in the cells. What I’ve experienced in my own life is that when ferritin levels are low, my thyroid function looks low. Ferritin levels below 30 are considered low. Working with a good naturopathic doctor or functional medicine doctor is ideal, as they may suggest a higher level for you. This test is a must-do for any woman who is menstruating or pregnant.
Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not constitute diagnosis or treatment of any disease.