Functional Medicine: The Nuts and Bolts of Working with Dr. Heather

Functional Medicine at Jacobson Chiropractic

The Nuts and Bolts of working with Dr. Heather Hunt DC


As a chiropractor it did not take me long to realize that I could help my patients tremendously with chiropractic and craniosacral/myofascial therapy, but that what I offered was still incomplete if I truly wanted to address whole body health.  I needed to find a way to treat more internal and systemic problems. I needed to analyze and treat hormones, digestive dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, thyroid imbalances, and chronic stress, etc. if I wanted to guide my patients towards vibrant health.  That is when I began offering Functional Medicine, nutritional counseling and group detox/purification cleanses. “Functional Medicine” is a form of medicine that gathers more data and then analyzes the information using a systems-based approach.  For example, if a patient has chronic high blood sugar, we ask what else could be involved and examine the other systems of the body that are related to blood sugar (adrenal glands, liver, possible autoimmunity, thyroid, etc).  With this focus on the whole person and one’s unique physiology, we can piece together the puzzle of what may be causing a person to feel unwell, ideally before disease manifests. We use comprehensive intake paperwork and extensive patient history to identify necessary lab work, which may entail blood-tests, hormone (saliva), digestive (stool) and other tests to gather objective evidence.  Then we narrow conventional laboratory reference ranges and look for patterns, as many people will feel unwell before any single lab result is outside of traditional normal ranges.  We then create a personalized plan for every patient, depending on our findings. This includes a wellness protocol of diet and lifestyle recommendations and may include quality nutritional supplements.  Supplements can often aid with reversing the trends that are leading people towards illness.  For instance, the supplements potentially have the ability to help in re-sensitizing insulin receptor sites, nourishing the adrenal glands, feeding the thyroid, increasing immune function and more.  Because there is often loss of proper function (fatigue, depression, sleep problems, weight gain, etc) before there is disease, I consider this method of analysis true “preventative medicine.” I am excited to offer my patients more security in their current and long-term health.

Before you meet with Dr. Heather:  Give yourself 15 mintutes to fill out the intake paperwork.  We can email it to you or you can come early to your appointment to complete it.  Gather all pertinent lab tests and a list of all supplements/vitamins and medications being taken.

Your First Appointment:  

·       Please bring intake paperwork, any previous test results and a list of your medications and current supplements to your first appointment.

·       Dr. Heather will take a personal history of your health, address any specific health concerns you have and perform exams that are indicated.

·       Likely, Dr. Heather will order you a Comprehensive Biological Screen Blood Panel either through our cash lab or though your insurance (if you do not have current blood work).  You can do this over the phone with our receptionist or at the office in person.  We will give you a requistion that you will bring to the lab.  The results will take about 4-5 business days for our office to receive.

·       Dr. Heather will decide if any other tests are needed: gut, hormone, adrenal, etc.

Your Second Appointment:

·       Dr. Heather will review the findings of your lab testing and will present a personalized Wellness Report and Protocol tailored from all the pieces of information collected. This Wellness Protocol will explain in detail each system found not to be functioning optimally (liver, adrenals, thyroid, etc).  We will also include lifestyle and dietary advice to empower the patient to make changes independently.  Finally, we will recommend high quality nurtitional supplements for your unique situation.

·       Dr. Heather will then create a comprehensive treatment plan for you to ensure good follow-up and to ensure the issues you came in for get resolved to the best of our abillity. This plan will likely include monthly nutritional follow-up consults and treatments in chiropractic/craniosacral therapy/visceral manipulation.

Likely I will suggest doing a series of body work sessions with me as chiropractic, visceral manipulation (gut massage), craniosacral and mayofascial release are so good for the body’s systems in general.  We look forward to joining you in your journey of manifesting vibrant health and vitality—truly becoming the person you want to be!

Testing Available: 

Blood work: Comprehensive Bio-Screen from Principal Labs (or through your insurance).  This test includes a Complete Blood Count with differential, Complete Metabolic Panel, 9 thyroid markers, a complete iron panel, B-vitamin assessment, inflammation markers, C-reactive protein, homocysteine, vitamin D, magnesium, arterial health marker fibrinogen, and more!  It is $2,600 when billed to your insurance or discounted to $200 though Principal Labs.  The Wellness Report is an additional $50 for cash payers and $75 for insurance payers.

Digestive Health Testing:  Genova Diagnostics GI Effects 2200 is a comprehensive stool test that reports on good bacteria, bad bacteria, parasites, fat absorption, pancreatic enzyme health, candida/yeast infection, H.pylori, C.difficil, inflammation and more.  If there is yeast, they will culture it and uncover what pharmecueticals and natural agents it is resistent to, and what will kill it.  If you have adequate insurance, the cost negotiated by insurance companies is $134.  The cash price is more than $500. 

Hormone Testing: Genova Diagnostics and Diagnostechs both have hormone panels ranging from $112-$270.  Female Hormones, Peri-Menopause, Post-Menopause, Male hormones, and more are available.  We can also test hormones at our cash blood laboratory for 75% off other local lab prices.

Adrenal Health Testing:  Diagnostechs’ Adrenal Stress Index test is a 4 sample saliva test taken throughout the course of one day.  This way we can see your specific cortisol output curve.  It also includes DHEA (a hormone that works to mediate cortisol’s effects), 17-OH progesterone (the ingredient needed to make cortisol), insulin, salivary IgA (the immune system of your saliva) and gliadin antibodies (a quick and dirty screen to see if you are sensitive to gluten).  Cost is $120.

Immunological Testing:  ImmunoSciences Labs has comprehensive screening tests for hidden viral infections.  

Food Sensitivity Testing and Autoimmunity Testing:  Cyrex is the only lab that I use for food allergy testing. They are the leaders in immunology today, look them up online. Their tests are expensive and patients may choose a longer process of food elimination or cleansing to identify sensitivities.   They have a comprehensive gluten senstivity test, Array #3 which includes 24 markers for gluten (Cost: $325).  Array #4 tests 24 foods that cross-react like gluten in your system for $225.  Array 10 tests for 80 foods (cooked, uncooked, etc) $580.  Additionally, Cyrex Array #5 (cost $575) tests for 24 tissue antibodies so that you can see what tissues in your body you have an immunological problem with.  Armed with this information, we work together to reduce inflammation and the autoimmune response.

Genetic/Methylation Testing: “23 and Me” or Doctor’s Data both have ways to test if you have any genetic issues with methylation.

SpectraCell- Micronutrient testing $190

Notes: Most of these tests can be submitted to your insurance for reimbursment, but you have to pay up-front to the lab directly.  We do not mark up any test.