Naturopathic and Functional Medicine

Lab Testing
Functional Testing at RupaConventional Testing at Quest

Navigating the labyrinthine world of Naturopathic and Functional Medicine testing can feel like a cross between a treasure hunt and a budgeting exercise. Trust me, if your conventional doctor’s insurance-covered tests were the golden ticket, you wouldn’t be reading this.

As your healthcare guide, I’m here to curate a set of diagnostic tools tailored to your wellness journey. Balancing cutting-edge testing with cost-effectiveness is my modus operandi.

Below, we’ll explore various test categories and cost estimates that might make it onto our collaborative healthcare map.

There are a TON of options below – if it’s overwhelming, schedule a short visit with me to help you select what’s best.  There is a 15-minute visit in the scheduler for “Specific Medication/Lab Management for New or Returning Patients”.  Or, schedule a Head-Start visit with my health coach Mia Taylor (learn more on the Booking page)

The Testing Process

Consult on Finding the RIGHT Testing

Connect with reputable sources to decide what testing is right for your particular concerns.  

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Obtain Cost Effective and Quality Testing

While some tests still require a doctor, MANY more are available directly to you.

Review Your Results, Make a Plan

Again, connect with a competent provider to help you make sense of your results, and how they apply to your health.

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Self-Service Testing

Gone are the days when medical tests required you to be poked and prodded in an antiseptic environment. Welcome to the age of self-service testing, a far cry from your generic Everlywell kits. I offer access to specialty labs that are the crème de la crème in the functional medicine world. Although insurance won’t cover these, they allow you to walk into our sessions armed with up-to-date lab results, chart your own treatment progress, or simply satisfy a medical curiosity.

Many tests are of the DIY variety, involving saliva, stool, urine, or blood spots—perfect for homebodies and needle-phobes alike. But don’t worry, if you’re a traditionalist who prefers a full-blood draw (or for labs where I trust whole blood more than blood spot), I’ve got you covered with a top-notch mobile phlebotomist, Sparkle Johnson. Contact her at to schedule a lab appointment in the LA area.

Featured Lab Vendors:

Rupa Labs

The one-stop-shop for functional medicine labs. I’ve handpicked some of my favorites in the ‘Doc Sandford’s Recommended Tests‘ section. Feel free to give me a nudge if you think I’ve overlooked a gem.

Ulta Lab Tests

Exclusive for Quest Diagnostics. My curated lab combos are available here. While pricier than Rupa for your basic bloodwork, you do have the option of visiting Quest directly, saving you the mobile phlebotomist fee. Pro-tip: Message me directly for a swanky 30% or more off those listed rates, or become a patient for even steeper discounts.

Specialty Testing

In the world of specialty tests, choice abounds. I’ve sifted through the morass to bring you the ones I find most effective in practice. Think of it as your personalized “best hits” album for diagnosing everything from your gut to your glands.

  • Lab labeling: (rx) = prescription needed and (s) means self-buy at the labs website.  Else, all other labs should be available on Rupa – let me know if you can’t find it.
Functional Medicine Testing Labs
Conventional Labs via Insurance or Cash

Conventional Lab Testing With Insurance: Best of Both Worlds

Navigating healthcare can feel like traversing a maze, but that’s where I come in. Whether you’re still dipping your toes into naturopathic waters or are a seasoned veteran, I’ve got your back on lab testing. For regular labs for established patients, I offer both insurance-covered tests and pre-pay options via Quest and Labcorp—the same labs your conventional doctors use. The convenience here is two-fold:

Insurance Coverage: If you’re an insurance aficionado and have a killer plan, rest easy. I can order tests that are fully compatible with your insurance plan.

Pre-Pay Peace of Mind: Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Through my tough-as-nails negotiations, I’ve secured jaw-dropping pre-pay rates. Opt for this and you’ll know your financial commitment upfront. No surprises, no sticker shock.

Behind the Curtain of Insurance Billing: Protecting Your Wallet

I get it, healthcare billing feels like a tangled web of numbers and jargon. When you see an outrageous figure on your Explanation of Benefits (EOB), your initial reaction might be to panic. But let’s demystify this.

Here’s how it usually works: Quest (or Labcorp) sends an astronomical invoice to your insurer, which could be 10-20 times higher than what they expect to get paid. The insurer, in turn, haggles with the lab to nail down the specifics—coverage, costs, diagnosis codes, and more. Now factor in your deductible, copay, and other financial intricacies.

The Safety Net: If you find yourself slapped with a lab bill that rivals a down payment on a car (let’s say, over $300), reach out to me immediately. This often indicates a snag in the labyrinthine dealings between the lab and your insurance. I’ve got the experience and the savvy to hopefully reign the bill into something nice and reasonable.  I can make no guarantees, as the system is so complicated with so many players, but in the majority of cases things aren’t that hard to resolve.

By offering both insurance and pre-pay options, along with my expertise in resolving billing snafus, I aim to make your healthcare journey as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Note that insurance labs, these negotiated prices and billing assistance are only available for established patients.

GI and Digestion
  • SIBO Testing: I typically use Aero Diagnostics (rx) or Genova. TrioSmart and I haven’t quite seen eye-to-eye clinically, so it’s a less frequent choice.  No matter what, it must be a lactulose THREE hour test (Cedar-Sinai will only run 2 hour, unless you push them)
  • Digestive Function Stool Testing: Genova’s GI Effects is my go-to, but Diagnostic Solutions’ GI Map is also in the mix (but not my fave)
  • Advanced Parasite Testing: takes the cake for ova and parasite microscopy. A little quirky, but unmatched in quality.
  • Stool Yeast Culturing: Diagnostechs gets the nod here, edging out Genova and GI Map.
  • Candida Immune Complex (rx): A test through Quest Diagnostics (only) that I am very fond of.  The test correlates better to response-to-treatment than any other yeast test out there.  If this is negative, then suspicion for typical candida albicans (not other types) is lowered quite a bit.  You’re looking for that exact test name, where it is sent out to Bioagilytix.
  • Leaky Gut / Intestinal Permeability: From old-school lactulose/mannitol absorption tests to cutting-edge autoantibody tests for zonulin and occludin, I’ve got your gut lining covered.
  • IBSmart Testing (rx): For those with persistent SIBO issues, this test targets autoimmune causes.
  • Viome (s): Interesting, but typically most useful in helping to select foods to optimize your microbiome, vs helping to diagnose concerns.
  • PRO TIP: For stool collections, the following can simplify the experience.  1) Urinate.  2) Turn off water to toilet.  3) Flush.  4) Loosly drape toilet with plastic wrap.  5) Eliminate.  6) Remove the plastic wrap and collect stool from there.
Expanded Hormones
  • ZRT: A comprehensive suite of salivary hormone tests for both sexual and adrenal hormones, all at a wallet-friendly rate.
  • Precision Analytics DUTCH: If you’re eyeing adrenal or sex hormones, these urinary tests are worth their weight in diagnostic gold, although I’ll typically use conventional labs unless on cream bioidentical hormones.
Infections and Environmental Exposure

From insidious molds to elusive ticks, I have an array of diagnostic options to shed light on what might be lurking inside—or outside—your body.


    • Mold Mycotoxin Urinary Testing: Choose between Vibrant and Real Time Labs to identify mold toxins.
    • MyMycoLab (rx): For those interested in how their immune system is holding up against mycotoxins.
    • Marcon’s Testing (s): Done through MicrobiologyDx (, often relevant if mold exposure is suspected.
    • Visual Contrast Sensitivity Test – (s): A tool to gauge your healing journey from mold exposure.
    • PRO TIP: Jill Crista ND has some great guidlines for mycotoxin test prep HERE


    • Tick-Borne Disease Testing: I usually kick off with LabCorp’s western blot for budget-conscious patients primarily concerned about Lyme. If a broader net is required, MDL (rx) offers an expansive panel that’s often insurance-friendly. For the gold standard, it’s hard to beat Igenex, while Vibrant is a rising contender.


    • Heavy Metals: Doctors Data tests are conducted three days apart, with a prescription metal chelation medication (rx) sandwiched in between. It’s the delta between the two tests that provides value. Quicksilver Scientific offers a similar test that’s still on my radar.
    • Organic Pollutants: US Biotek’s tests give insights into exposure to environmental toxins, a must-have for some puzzling cases.

Your heart doesn’t beat just for you; it beats for everyone who cares about you. Hence, precision is key in cardiovascular assessments.

  • Cleerly Health’s CCTA Analysis (rx): Imagine a calcium scan, but one that’s actually useful in preventing heart disease. Insurance may cover between $0-$500 for the scan, while Cleerly charges $750 for the in-depth analysis.  Spendy, but incredibly valuable if you are at risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Boston Heart’s Cholesterol Balance Test: For those debating whether the liver or gut is the cholesterol culprit.
  • SIBO Testing: For a left-field look at cholesterol, consider the SIBO testing above to gauge Methane bacteria’s role.
Nutrients and Depletion

Are you adequately fueled for life’s marathon? Let’s find out.

  • Micronutrient, Vitamin, and Mineral Testing: SpectraCell and Vibrant look at elemental levels in your blood cells, while Genova’s NutrEval focuses more on metabolites—a less favored approach for me.
Memory and Cognition
  • Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Suites: Inspired by Dr. Dale Bredesen and Dr. Laurie Mischley, these specialized tests are available on Ulta—message me for a discount.
  • Cognition Status Testing: Via Creyos and CNS Vital Signs (rx). Establish your cognitive baseline after 40 and revisit yearly.
  • Neurotransmitter Testing: Offered by Doctors Data, this can be hit-or-miss in terms of usefulness, but when it hits, it’s amazing.
Other Interesting Labs
  • Organic Acids Testing (OAT): By Great Plains/Mosaic or similar. Useful as a secondary confirmation for gut issues but not a frontline choice in my practice
  • New Anti-Aging Tests: Labs like TruDiagnostics and DNALife are becoming increasingly exciting spaces for age-related insights.
  • BodySpec: Test your Body Composition with the most accurate tools available (DEXA)  Discount code coming soon.
Food Sensitivity Testing: A Complex Terrain

True (epipen) Allergies

IgE testing is the go-to for identifying immediate allergic responses, but a clinical history often helps to triangulate the findings. A comprehensive panel could also include tryptase levels, especially in cases of severe anaphylaxis.  Normally assessed through regular IgE allergy blood tests and skin patch/prick testing.

Food Sensitivities

Less acknowledged by mainstream medicine, food sensitivities are often elusive in their symptomatology. They could manifest as anything from gastrointestinal issues to neurological symptoms like brain fog. Here, the testing technologies are more diverse:

  • IgG Testing: Widely available and looks at the direct antibody response to food. This method is controversial, as elevated IgG levels may simply signify exposure to the food rather than a pathological response.  Most companies offer some variang on this.
  • Immune Complex C3d Testing: Goes deeper into the IgG cascade. It measures not just the antibodies but the complexes they form, providing a more nuanced view of the immune response.  KBMO has been the leader here, with Vibrant coming out with a great new panel recently.
  • White Blood Cell Response Testing: Alcat and MRT(rx) lead in this domain. These tests expose the immune cells to the food in question and then observe the cellular behavior, aiming to mimic the in-vivo reaction.  A great idea, looking at an actual cell response, vs just at floating antibodies, but there are questions about how well the test-tube result correlates with the person.

Food Intolerances

Food intolerances usually have to do with enzymatic deficiencies or irritations in the gut lining. Lactose, fructose and sucrose intolerances are the poster children of this category, with corresponding hydrogen breath tests occasionally of use.  The FoodMarble (s) is brilliant here.  Intolerances to substances like lectins or oxalates also fall under this umbrella, which can be mitigated through special food preparation methods like soaking or fermenting.   

Gut Dysbiosis Related Food Reactivity

This is where my mind goes first, when talking about reactions to foods.  This is an emerging field where the focus shifts from the host to the gut microbiome. Here, certain microbes may have adverse reactions to specific foods, exacerbating or mimicking food sensitivity symptoms. The classic example is SIBO-related intolerance to onions or garlic. Unfortunately, direct tests for these are sparse. Identifying the type of dysbiosis (e.g., bacterial, fungal, parasitic) and knowing their common food triggers is usually how this is managed clinically, in addition to directly treating said dysbiosis.

Honestly the best doctor I have gone to in my life. Why? He listens with intent, and he legit cares.

I honestly felt like I was seeing a real doctor for the first time—someone who was genuinely interested in optimizing my health.