How to Solve Mystery Symptoms, Even When “Your Labs Are Normal”

“Ahh, that’s just part of getting older.”

When’s the last time you said (or thought) that to yourself? 

It’s something I hear allll the time from friends, family & patients, and it makes me sad!

The unfortunate reality is that most of us begin to accept all kinds of unwanted symptoms as we age, when there’s SO much we can do to reverse them, naturally. 

And, I don’t mean popping more medications to “mask” your symptoms. I mean figuring out what the heck is causing them in the first place so you can help your body return to its natural state of health. 

So today, I want to talk about how you can finally get to the bottom of your “mystery” symptoms, even if you’ve been told, “everything looks normal”. 

Are you ready to finally feel better? 

Let’s jump in!

“Your Labs Are Normal”

This is what soooo many people hear from their doctor when they finally decide it’s time to get something checked out. 

It goes a little something like this:

  • You describe your symptoms
  • Your doctor does a quick check-up
  • Your doctor orders some lab tests 

The following week, you get a call saying “your labs are normal”, often accompanied by a prescription for some anxiety meds, Zyrtec, steroid cream, Miralax, or whatever else. 

The problem here is that those prescriptions are oftentimes covering up a deeper problem. In my practice, we view symptoms as important messengers, rather than annoying problems that need to be covered up ASAP. 

In other words, your body is trying to tell you something, and it’s our job to find out what that is.

So, how do we find out? 

We Dig Deeper. 

If you read my last article, you already know I’m a fan of Functional Medicine principles because they help us get to the root cause and focus on prevention, rather than simply treating disease. 

One of the best ways to dig deeper is by using “functional lab testing”

“So… how are functional labs different from the labs I get at my annual physical??”

I’m so glad you asked! 

Conventional Labs

Conventional labs focus on diagnosing disease. 

The important thing to understand about the results is that essentially your doctor is comparing you to the average American (if you live in the U.S.), and when they say “your labs are normal”, all that really means is that you’re within range for the average American. 

Sadly, that’s a pretty low bar. 😬

Functional Labs

Functional labs focus on preventing disease.

These lab tests:

  • Use more narrow ranges based on optimal health
  • Show patterns + trends toward diseases 
  • Help identify the “why” behind your symptoms

These are the tests I use in my own practice because quite frankly, my goal is not just to help you stay as healthy as the average American. It’s to help you look + feel your absolute best!

So, which of these functional tests do I recommend? 

My Favorite Functional Labs.

A Functional Health Practitioner can help you determine which specific lab tests will be most beneficial for you, butttt I want to give you a sense of what’s available, so I’ve included three of my favorites right here. 

Hormones → DUTCH Test 

Hormone imbalances lead to all kinds of health symptoms. 

The Dried Urine Test for Comprehensive Hormones (DUTCH) provides insight into hormone levels, helping to support energy levels, improve mood, optimize sleep, and so much more. 

This test can be completed at home by collecting several urine samples over a 24-hour period and mailed in for testing. 

Minerals → HTMA Test 

Did you know your hair is chock full of valuable health information?

The Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) gives us information on your essential mineral and electrolyte levels, including magnesium, calcium potassium & sodium. It also tests for toxic metals such as lead, arsenic, aluminum & mercury, which can be the culprit for all kinds of pesky health symptoms. 

The HTMA test requires only a few snips of hair, which can be collected at home and mailed in for testing. 

Gut Health → GI-Map Test

Trust me when I say, gut health is critical to overall health. 

Almost everyone can benefit from a GI-MAP gut health assessment, which helps us get to the root cause of chronic illness and unwanted health conditions. It tests for parasites, yeast, and bacteria in your large intestine, as well as biomarkers for digestion and inflammation. 

The GI-MAP is a stool test that can be completed in the comfort of your own home, and mailed in for testing. 

There are SO many more incredible tests available, but hopefully, this gives you a sense of how we can use data to get to the bottom of your symptoms, and completely uplevel your health. 

Get Started With Functional Labs.

If you’re ready to look beyond conventional healthcare, I’d love to help you! 

If you’re local, give us a call to book your initial appointment today. 

If you’re not local, go here to find a functional health practitioner in your area. 




Patient Testimonials

Dr Don Sharnowski is a doctor who is above and beyond all other doctors! Probably his most outstanding quality is that he LISTENS to what his patients say. He is willing to explain things to his patients in terms they can understand. Dr Don treats his patients with wisdom, understanding, gentleness, care, encouragement and he is willing to "go the extra mile" to give his patients the proper treatment they need. He does not treat patients like they were on an assembly line or like he is rushing them out the door. Dr Don has fixed many of the problems I had at my first visit, one of which I had endured for 3 years. Dr Don was able to fix that problem in 2 weeks when others had not. Dr Don has also helped me loose 40 lbs so far. My total recovery is still an ongoing process, but should be a cinch with Dr Don's expert help! Thank you, Dr Don! You are an awesome answer to prayers!

Karen G.

Super Awesome Doctor in Overland Park, Kansas!! He really knows his stuff love his Holistic approach. Wish I lived closer so I could see him on the regular, at least we can chat on the regular! Very informative in all aspects of health! Five years ago this man took our health and turned it around 360 degrees. My son got ear infections very often. Both my boys have respiratory issues. My husband asthma and overweight. Myself aches and pains, specifically on my left side and joints. Well needless to say no more ear infections respiratory not nearly as often my husband is 80lbs less and never uses his inhaler . My sons ear infections...What ear infections...They are no longer! Thanks Dr. Don for all you do and have done!!

Lots of Love from The Stevens

Dr Don Sharnowski is truly an amazing Doctor. He listens to his patients and treats in a very complete way. He is very knowledgeable because he never stops learning. He is a great communicator and will help you learn better ways to be healthy if you will actually do what he teaches.

Cassie N.

Don (Dr Sharnowski) is truly one of a kind. He is warm, inviting and incredibly generous with his time, but also really knowledgeable about the body and everything within. You won't find crystal balls here. You'll find a super nice guy in sneakers who also sells farm fresh eggs at the counter. I went in expecting to get adjusted (and was scared, because I'd never seen a chiro before). Instead, what I experienced was someone who actually sat down and listened to my history, connected the dots between several ailments (instead of jumping to prescribe one drug apiece to treat each one), and explained things that no one had ever taken the time to do. I was there about my back specifically, but we talked about my whole health. Instead of just prescribing an anti inflammatory (which is what my other doc did), he explained why we get inflammation in our bodies, and how to help reduce it with what we eat. I've also been on thyroid medication for over 10 years, and he actually explained what the thyroid is, and what the drug I take is, and what it does. But not in a defensive or overly crunchy way. He just openly explained in a way that I could understand it. I highly recommend Don to anyone with a body who wants to feel better. His approach is approachably holistic. Just common sense, whole body-centered treatment.

Megh K.

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