GUT / DIGESTIVE HEALTH TEST
With a Comprehensive Profile of Markers and using Advanced Technology – this is a Pioneering Functional Medicine Assessment into Gut/Digestive Function
- Digestive Health Test to Assess the Functional Blueprint of your Gut.
- Identify Pathogenic organisms (bacteria, parasites, fungi, yeast, viruses) in your digestive tract.
- Measure the levels of ‘Beneficial’ Flora.
- Find out your Digestive Capacity (ability to breakdown food).
- Feedback to complement your Medical Practitioner’s allopathic testing.
- Enhance your understanding of your body’s function.
- Learn how to apply nutrition, lifestyle and therapeutic steps to create optimal digestive health.
- Get in touch to run your own Functional Gut Digestive Health Test
DNA Technology – Digestive Health Stool Testing method of choice
The first step for my clients is to book an Initial Consultation and in some cases it is essential to run a Gut / Digestive Health Test to accompany it. There are all kinds of reasons why assessing the Gut is a priority at this early stage.
Equipped with a test report like this we can identify bacterial/parasite infections, look to understand your health challenges, link to the health of other systems/tissues/organs in the body, fine-tune your nutrition, strengthen the immune system, enhance your digestive power and nutrient status, repair gastrointestinal tissue, design gut healing protocols, tweak lifestyle and identify the role that stress plays in your digestive health.
Take a look at all the information on this page to see just how valuable and expansive the test really is and how it’s about much more than just looking for one or two bugs.
Comprehensive Profile – At A Glance
I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s a very the digestive health test has a very detailed profile. In fact, depending on the results that you get, the findings can actually provide enough detail to require up to 6 months of therapeutic steps. Of course, the sooner you return to optimal health the better, this just indicates the potential power in the results.
Below you can see the many pathogens that tested for. There are Bacteria, Parasites and Viruses. All of which are ‘bad bugs’ and can be causing immune stress, inflammation, damage, toxicity and neurotransmitter imbalances in the GastroIntestinal Tract.
The Helicobacter pylori section is expanded to include something called a ‘Virulence Factor’. This adds more in-depth knowledge about the strain of H. pylori that is present. This can have a major impact on how influential or significant the ‘infection’ could be.
Opportunistic Imbalances – Bacteria, Fungi/Yeast, Parasites, Worms, Viral.
Beyond the above predominantly Pathogenic Organisms, there are many other microbes that are part of the Gut Biome. The Gut is just another ecosystem!
What makes this section so insightful to you and useful to the Practitioner is how some of these organisms can indeed be another piece of the health-challenge-puzzle.
Dysbiotic Opportunistic Bacteria
The Lab state that; “Many bacteria measured on the GI-MAP are considered opportunistic pathogens, as they only cause disease and illness in some individuals, particularly the immune-compromised. Many individuals come into contact with opportunistic bacteria and experience no symptoms.” So it’s essential to consider the individual (you) as part of the interpretation of these test results.
The Lab go on to say; “Most sources consider these microbes to be normal in the stool. However, they can cause gastroenteritis and inflammation at high levels in vulnerable patients. Symptoms may include diarrhea, loose stools, abdominal pain, or even constipation. Overgrowth and excessive colonization by opportunistic bacteria may occur when the commensal bacteria are impaired by poor diet, antibiotic use, parasitic infection, or a weakened immune system. When intestinal permeability is present (see zonulin), these microbes could escape the lumen of the gut and infect extraintestinal sites.”
An example of an organism that we frequently see in High numbers is Streptococcus spp. “These can colonize skin and mucous membranes throughout the body. High levels in the intestine may result from low stomach acid, PPI use, reduced digestive capacity, SIBO or constipation; Elevated levels may also be indicative of intestinal inflammatory activity, and may cause loose stools.”
Opportunistic Bacteria as a Trigger for Autoimmunity
Some opportunistic bacteria can also initiate autoimmune mechanisms (thyroiditis or inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis). Although the Gastrointestinal symptoms are less likely from elevated levels of these bacteria, when intestinal permeability is present they can leave the gut (pass through the lumen) and infect extra-intestinal areas.
For Example – we sometimes see High Klebsiella spp. levels come back on the reports, which has been associated with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ankylosing spondylitis, and other spondyloarthropathies (which include psoriatic arthritis and reactive arthritis).
Fungal and Yeast Opportunistic Overgrowths
There is a great deal of confusion regarding fungal and yeast overgrowths. At one extreme they are rarely assessed carefully and considered and at the other extreme organisms like Candida are blamed for all symptoms and chased around the body as if it’s the only thing to consider.
As usual – the answer is somewhere in the middle………. and Individual.
The Lab explain that; “Fungal organisms are commonly found in the human digestive tract, but fungal overgrowth can cause illness in susceptible individuals. Fungal growth may be localized in the body. For instance, Candida spp. may be high in the large intestine but normal in the small intestine, and vice versa.”
Intestinal Health Markers
Take a look at the bottom section of this page on ‘Intestinal Health’. It’s the most fascinating section of the whole digestive health test!
Now that the previous pages of the test have established identification of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bugs – this section of the gut health test will explain more about:
- Why you feel the way you feel.
- What you can do about it.
And in doing so………. Creating Clarity where there is Confusion and Mastery where there is Mystery!
Here we can understand Digestive Capacity through Digestive Enzyme production and ability to breakdown and absorb essential macronutrients such as fat. Dysfunction here will often be explained by carefully looking at your timeline and health history for the causes. Any pathogenic digestive infections will typically help explain any challenges here too.
There can be a myriad of impacts on health and function here, but from a digestive point of view there will likely be congestion, irregular bowel movements, bloating and discomfort, along with nutrient deficiencies.
Understanding these digestive capacity markers will help us decide what steps to put in place and just as importantly, what not to do (contraindications).
This section also has more feedback on your Immune Function (sIgA), Toxicity in the Gut (B-Glucuronidase), Intestinal Tissue Damage (Fecal Occult Blood) and Inflammation Levels (Calprotectin).
Each one informing the healing process of the priority steps to put in place and ensuring that careful, safe and effective strategies are implemented.
Above all – the clarity gained in this section alone usually greatly explains why the person has not ‘bounced-back’ from their health challenges. Furthermore, why some of the steps, long lists of supplements, various one-size-fits-all diets and overall confusing and stressful situation has not worked so far. And in many cases created more problems than solutions.
Used correctly – this will be the most empowering section of your Test!
Check out this Case Study demonstrating the huge value of the Digestive Health Test in Practice
- Find out how the Gut Health Test guided the healing steps to restore health and vitality over 6 months.
- See the key finding of the H pylori Bacterial Infection marker.
- How much inflammation did the Gut Health Test measure?
- Case Study Focussing on Gut Health and Chronic Ear infections.
- See the how many of these complex health challenges Fiona solved and alleviated.
- Read the whole Case Study here.
How do you know if you need a Gut Health Stool Test?
The body is an interlinked system-of-systems, so arguably any health challenge or symptom that you have could be related to your gut health! When you understand some basics of anatomy and physiology its easy to understand and appreciate this. For example, all of my clients who have had UTIs or skin issues have also had very significant findings on their stool test, as do those with challenges to mood, sleep, libido and energy.
Whilst that’s important to appreciate it doesn’t always mean that you must run the test. Sometimes an in-depth analysis of your health history and goals are required to identify which testing is to be run, but let’s start with some more common sense and obvious reasons why you would run a Digestive Health Test:
- Classic digestive dysfunction symptoms such as bloating, heartburn, acid reflux, abdominal pain, food sensitivities, constipation, diarrhoea, excessive gas and belching and nausea.
- You have symptoms 'outside' the gut, but could be related to digestive health such as fatigue, brain fog, headaches, skin issues, poor sleep, low libido, menstrual cycle irregularities and nutritional deficiencies.
- You've been diagnosed with IBS and you want to know more and understand the causes.
- To learn more about your digestive enzyme production, inflammation levels, first line of immune defence and immune response to gliadin (gluten). Other conventional testing has come back negative.
- To assess markers unavailable with old-school testing and labs.
How did the Digestive Health Test help me?
A few years ago, although I considered myself in 'good health' there were actually some significant symptoms and challenges that I had been experiencing even since childhood that I'd almost accepted as normal. My Drs hadn't had provided much insight or any solutions, so I thought that was that and maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle would be the extent of improving my health further.
I wanted more insight and that is what drove me to learn all about Functional Medicine and my investigations began in the gut. On and Off, about twice a year I'd been experiencing bouts of right side abdominal pain that would steadily build over 24hours and accompany drenching sweat at night. The next day it would subside and appear to leave without a trace.
There could be several explanations, but until I tested I was only guessing. You can see from the below stool test result that I discovered some really interesting Parasites that were a big piece of the puzzle and I ran this test alongside my GPs stool test which came up with nothing! There are three markers to explain here. The 'Parasite present, taxonomy available' is typically a non-pathogenic finding and just an organism that is transient or passing through. The 'Enterobius vermicularis' is the common Pinworm and something that is pretty straight forward to eradicate. The most powerful finding was the 'Entamoeba sp.'!
Although we didn't identify exactly which species of Entamoeba this was, a few things stacked up. In particular certain species of this organism have been linked with liver problems, which related to my right-side discomfort and night sweats. In short, I followed some additional nutrition and lifestyle steps and applied functional medicine protocols to enhance the function of my gut and balance the micro biome and thankfully have alleviated these symptoms too.
Naturally, I was also pleased to confirm the eradication of the two important parasite findings, as you can see from the post-test result.
PRE-TEST Take a look at my first Functional Gut Test run through a private lab in the US:
POST-TEST And here are my results from the same Functional Lab after eradication steps:
Better than Conventional Testing?
There are pros and cons with all testing methods, but it really does seem that the conventional stool testing that is available through conventional methods is out-dated and lagging behind the developments in technology and research. Actually I'm sure that soon there will be a dramatic change in our health care system's availability and options for advanced technology functional laboratory tests.
In the meantime, its the private functional labs that are driving forward and developing pioneering fantastic resources for us to run and apply when we desire a holistic and functional approach to health and vitality.
In fact, the digestive health stool testing is just scratching the surface of what you can test for and discover through functional lab testing (e.g. Adrenal, Thyroid, Energy Production, Detoxification, Toxicity etc) - but that's for another discussion!
List of Comprehensive Digestive Stool Test Markers
The researchers and technicians at the Functional Medicine Lab are adding new markers all the time! Here's the latest list of stool test markers (June 2020):
- C. difficile - Toxin A
- C. difficile - Toxin B
- Enterohemorrhagic E. coli
- E. coli O157
- Enteroinvasive E. coli/Shigella
- Enterotoxigenic E. coli LT/ST
- Shiga-like Toxin E. coli stx1
- Shiga-like Toxin E. coli stx2
- Vibrio cholera
- Yersinia enterocolitica
- Entamoeba histolytica
- Adenovirus 40/41
- Norovirus GI/II
- H. pylori
- H. pylori Virulence Factor babA
- H. pylori Virulence Factor cagA
- H. pylori Virulence Factor dupA
- H. pylori Virulence Factor iceA
- H. pylori Virulence Factor opiA
- H. pylori Virulence Factor vacA
- H. pylori Virulence Factor virB
- H. pylori Virulence Factor virD
Normal Bacterial Flora
- Bacteroides fragilis
- Bifidobacterium spp.
- Enterococcus spp.
- Escherichia spp.
- Lactobacillus spp.
- Clostridium (class)
- Enterobacter spp.
- Akkermansia mucinophilia
- Faecalbacterium prausnitzii
Normal Bacterial Phyla Microbiota
- Firmicutes:Bacteroidetes Ratio
Opportunistic Bacteria/Dysbiotic Bacteria
- Bacillus spp.
- Enterococcus faecalis
- Enterococcus faecium
- Morganella spp.
- Pseudomonas spp.
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Staphylococcus spp.
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Streptococcus spp.
- Methanobacteriaceae (family)
Opportunistic Bacteria/Potential Autoimmune Triggers
- Citrobacter spp.
- Citrobacter freundii
- Klebsiella spp.
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis
- Prevotella copri
- Proteus spp.
- Proteus mirabilis
- Fusobacterium spp.
- Candida spp.
- Candida albicans
- Geotrichum spp.
- Microsporidium spp.
- Rodotorula spp.
- CMV - Cytomegalovirus
- EBV - Epstein Barr Virus
- Blastocystis hominis
- Chilomastix mesnelli
- Cyclospora spp.
- Dientomoeba fragilis
- Endolimax nana
- Entamoeba coli
- Pentatrichomonas hominis
- Ancyclostoma duodenale
- Ascaris lumbricoides
- Necator americanis
- Trichuris trichiura
- Taenia spp.
GI Health Markers
- Fecal Occult Blood
- Secretory IgA (sIgA)
- Anti-Gliadin IgA
- [Zonulin - is an additional marker on request]
- Antibiotic Resistance Genes