Individualized Testing

Gets the Best Results

Reneé S. Barasch, LDHS

As the founder of Digestive Health Solutions, in Highland Park, Reneé Barasch is committed to helping clients naturally achieve nutritional balance and enhance their quality of life through proper digestion. When the body isn’t breaking down food properly, it can lead to a number of issues, including gas, bloating irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, acid reflux, Crohn’s disease, headaches, chronic fatigue, inflammation and fibromyalgia. Faulty digestion also manifests in other known ways such as skin rashes, runny nose, poor sleep and irritability. “Taking steps to protect the gut can eliminate allergies, improve absorption, take unneeded stress off the organs and make you feel better overall,” says Barasch, who is a certified digestive health, detoxification and purification specialist.

        One of the tools Barasch uses to check digestion is a comprehensive 24-hour urinalysis, which requires collection of all urine produced in a normal day. “The 24-hour urinalysis gives me a snapshot into how the body is or isn’t breaking down food. I get a thorough look at digestion, absorption and detoxification,” she says. 

        One key insight of the test is a basic breakdown of how the body is digesting fats, carbohydrates and proteins. It also looks for calcium oxalates, which are precursors to kidney stones. “Whereas a stool sample looks at pathogenic bacteria, parasites and other possible infections, 24-hour urinalysis shows what the body is using and absorbing. I check for calcium, magnesium, chlorides, vitamin C and candida, or yeast overgrowth, and am able to detect vitamin deficiencies or surpluses,” says Barasch.

        The test also shows more visibly obvious markers such as gravity and color change. “If the urine is cloudy or has a more orange tone to it, there could be an issue with medication or even something in the environment that the body isn’t breaking down properly,” says Barasch. High or low gravity could mean that the lymphatic system is congested. The test checks the pH to see if the body has the right acid balance to properly digest food.

        Barasch usually recommends that clients collect the samples at home and then send to the lab. Then she gets the results in less than a week. “After collecting and analyzing results, I am able to start clients on a digestive support regimen that’s right for them. This may include diet changes or the addition of enzymes, but I like to focus on making exchanges, so that clients don’t feel deprived. For example, I might suggest they try lemon juice with olive oil instead of vinegar as a salad dressing. Vinegar is high in histamine and can trigger digestive issues,” she says. With the test results as a road map, Barasch is able to tailor a treatment and maintenance plan that is individually suited for each client’s body and helps them feel balanced, vibrant and healthy. 

Carrie Jackson is an Evanston-based writer and frequent contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine. Connect at



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