1. What is the mission of The Great Plains Laboratory?
The mission of The Great Plains Laboratory is to offer cutting edge diagnostic testing that can help a practitioner uncover various hidden sources of metabolic imbalances. They are also actively involved in educating health practitioners about the benefits of integrative medicine for a wide variety of chronic health disorders such as autoimmune disease, asthma, autism spectrum spectrums, chronic fatigue, neurological conditions, and mental health disorders.
2. Can you explain what the Organic Acids Test (OAT) is and how it can help physicians in diagnosing chronic illnesses?
The Organic Acids Test is a urine test from The Great Plains Laboratory that evaluates various metabolic markers of biochemical imbalances, as well as biotoxins from yeast and bacteria. This test is comprehensive in that it can detect certain vitamin deficiencies, mitochondrial problems, essential fatty acid issues, neurochemical imbalances, yeast and bacteria toxicity, oxidative stress, and high oxalate levels, which are all known to create physical and neuropsychiatric problems. For example, the Organic Acids Test measures two biotoxins from clostridia bacteria called HPHPA and 4-cresol. These two toxins are known to inhibit a dopamine converting enzyme which when adversely affected, leads to excess dopamine production. This causes oxidative stress in the nervous system and can lead to mental health and neurological problems. In my practice, I often find these clostridia toxins elevated in my patients and treatment of the clostridia bacteria with either antibiotic and/or natural remedies shows great improvement in patients’ clinical problems. In my opinion, the Organic Acids Test from The Great Plains Laboratory is an essential test to perform for any integrative health practitioner.
3. How is (OAT) testing different than regular blood and urinalysis testing?
Many organic acids cannot be measured effectively and cost-efficiently through the blood. There really isn’t a blood equivalent to the Great Plains Laboratory Organic Acids Test (OAT). There are other OAT tests on the market, but they don’t measure specific markers that Great Plains Laboratory is known for, and that are needed to practice integrative medicine effectively.
4. What are some of the chronic illnesses (OAT) can help diagnose?
The OAT evaluates for various metabolic imbalances such as mitochondrial dysfunction, nutrient deficiencies, oxalate toxicity, and the presence of various pathogen toxins from bacteria such as clostridia and candida. The OAT also measures quinolinic acid, which has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease. All information gathered from the test is then applied clinically to the patient’s health history and symptom complaints. It doesn’t diagnose a specific illness per se, but assists a practitioner in deepening their understanding of imbalances that can cause or exacerbate a specific health condition. For example, a patient with chronic fatigue syndrome may have a chronic candida issue manifesting with elevated yeast metabolites that are directly impacting mitochondria activity.
5. So the OAT can help to diagnose mental illnesses as well as physical ones?
The OAT cannot diagnose a mental illness. This needs to be done clinically by a licensed physician. What the OAT can do is identify toxins that are known medically to be associated with mental illnesses. This information helps a practitioner to understand the potential problems for their patients and to treat them accordingly.
The OAT provides biochemical assessment for myriad imbalances. There are compounds that help to identify in-born errors of metabolism seen in metabolic diseases in children. Most commonly, the information from the OAT can be used in a wide variety of clinical situations, whether it is an individual suffering from chronic fatigue, autoimmune disorders, mental health problems, autism, etc. In reality, there isn’t any clinical scenario that I can think of where the OAT cannot be useful. What has to happen is a practitioner needs to become proficient at implementing the OAT into their clinical practice. Once they do this, they will find it is an extremely useful diagnostic tool.
6. Is your training specifically targeted towards integrative healthcare practitioners or can more traditional medical practitioners and their patients also benefit from it?
The OAT seminars are open for any health care practitioner interested in learning how to apply this test in their practice. The seminar is full of practical information rooted in science, biochemistry, and clinical practice. A practitioner who has some integrative medicine training may already understand some of the concepts of organic acids testing more than a conventional doctor, but everyone can gain useful knowledge from the OAT seminar.
7. Can you explain what the Integrative Medicine Academy is and who it is for?
Integrative Medicine Academy (IMA) is an online educational training system for health practitioners interested in learning how to become proficient at various topics in integrative medicine. I am the medical director of IMA and am actively involved in course development and teaching. We have courses on autism, gastrointestinal disorders, practice marketing strategies, and we have upcoming courses for adrenal and hormone testing and treatment. The main website for IMA is www.IntegrativeMedicineAcademy.com.
8. How have the changing attitudes of patients toward their care impacted the kinds of tests physicians need to perform nowadays?
Patients are much more active in their own education regarding their health now. Much of this has come about with open access to online information and the free distribution of health information. Because of this, doctors have to become more aware of different ways of assessing patients, particularly when it comes to chronic health disorders. Also, because of advancing science, sophisticated lab testing, and clinical experience from different types of practitioners, we now know different ways of helping people with their health challenges than ever before.
9. What kinds of treatment options might a physician prescribe based on the results of an OAT?
There are many different treatment options available based on OAT results. For example, dietary changes may be necessary if a certain compound called oxalate is high, often seen in people with kidney stones. Elevated candida and clostridia toxins often times warrant prescription antifungals and antibiotics, respectively. Most commonly though, there are many natural supplement remedies that can be employed for various biochemical and nutritional imbalances.
10. Where can physicians learn more about the Organic Acids Test if they are interested in offering it to their patients?
The Great Plains Laboratory sponsors one-day OAT training seminars at various locations around the country. Practitioners can check the main website at www.greatplainslaboratory.com or the workshop website, www.organicacidworkshop.com for more information and upcoming seminar dates and locations.