Unvalidated Laboratory Testing
By GAtherton

Commercial laboratories can sell their diagnostic tests directly to the public, or they can be ordered by non-NHS providers of healthcare. The reasons given can sound very persuasive about how useful those test results can be – for example, testing for organic acids in your urine to check your nutritional status or testing for mycotoxins in your urine to assess if you have been exposed to excessive airborne mould spores. Unfortunately, these results are often useless for the purpose intended.

It is important that testing is validated for clinical use for the purpose it is being used for, for example:

  • An Organic acid profile in urine is validated and used by the NHS for testing patients for very rare genetic problems that lead to an accumulation of an organic acid and a deficiency in certain cellular products. These levels are likely to be high and the result is clear and consistent from test to test. These tests are likely to be carried in in very young children who have inherited an abnormal gene. https://www.southtees.nhs.uk/services/pathology/tests/organic-acids-urine/.
  • An Organic acid profile in urine is NOT validated to run on adults who have a normal genetic profile and have no signs or symptoms of metabolic disease. The results are going to need highly specialised doctors to interpret the results. If used for the purpose of, for example, assessing the nutritional status of a patient there is no evidence that the result will tell you or your doctor anything useful. Consequently these are very unlikely to be worth the cost.

If you are tempted to purchase one of these tests it is well worth checking this website for advice https://labtestsonline.org.uk/tests/unvalidated-or-misleading-laboratory-tests

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