Innovative Lab Testing

Dr. Noemi studied neuroscience at UC Berkeley and started her career in biomedicine, working at UCSF and Genentech. She is a firm believer in an integrative approach to health, drawing from both the latest technological advancements in scientific research and the ancient wisdom of traditional healing methods. She is excited to partner with various cutting-edge labs that offer specialized testing. Below is a sampling of some of the unique tests commonly used in our practice. As a primary care provider in the State of California, Dr. Noemi can also order routine labs or bloodwork that may be relevant to your health conditions.

Innovative Lab Testing at Marin Integrative Recovery with Dr. Heather Noemi
Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitter Panel

Neurotransmitters are chemicals that the nervous system uses to send messages within the brain, between nerve cells, or between nerve cells and muscles. Neurotransmitters are often the target of psychiatric medications that are intended to raise or lower levels of these chemicals in the brain. Neurotransmitters are also involved in regulating our heart rate, digestion, blood pressure, organ function, sleep, temperature, memory, mood and more.

Dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, serotonin, GABA, and histamine are all types of neurotransmitters. Did you know that with a basic urine sample you can find out the levels of various neurotransmitters in your body? Often determining these imbalances is the missing key to improving sleep, mood, digestive issues, or other chronic problems. Neurotransmitter levels can often be regulated with supplements and dietary changes, reducing or eliminating the need for psychiatric medications.

COMT

The COMT (catechol-O-methyltransferase) gene is involved in dopamine levels, pain thresholds, stress resiliency, and estrogen levels. COMT is most active in the parts of the brain that are involved with personality, emotions, behavior inhibition, abstract thinking, and short-term memory. Variants in the COMT gene have been implicated in various mental health disorders due to changes in dopamine levels, including drug abuse, alcohol abuse, severity of schizophrenic symptoms, obsessive compulsive disorder in men, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar affective disorder.

By learning if you have a variant, and which one, you can determine if your dopamine levels, stress resilience, pain threshold, and estrogen levels are higher or lower than average. Various supplements, herbs, and lifestyle changes can be implemented to regulate your neurotransmitter levels to bring the mind and body back into balance.

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Functional medicine doctor taking notes for personal health report

MTHFR (no we’re not kidding!)

MTHFR

(no we’re not kidding!)

The MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene produces an enzyme that helps the body to utilize folate (aka folic acid or vitamin B9). Problems with this gene’s expression create low levels of folate and high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a marker of inflammation in the body. Elevated levels of homocysteine have been linked to depression, decreased memory scores, dementia, heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis.

Some MTHFR variants are associated with a higher risk of depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Other variants are highly correlated with methotrexate sensitivity. Methotrexate is a drug commonly prescribed in the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer. If you have a MTHFR variant, you may need less of this drug than the average person to have the same effect. If you take the normal amount, you may experience side effects.

If you have a MTHFR gene variant, you can adjust for this with supplements, diet, and lifestyle changes.

"Dr. Noemi is amazing! Her acupuncture treatments reduced my pain and swelling and helped me get back on the trails after my knee surgery. Five stars!"

– MIKE S.