Testing Your Microbiome and Intestinal Health
Hippocrates is famously quoted as saying that ‘All disease begins in the gut.’ While this may be somewhat of an overstatement, medical science is now finding that many chronic diseases are, in fact, strongly linked to gut health.
Our digestive tract is home to trillions of microbes including bacteria, viruses, parasites, and yeasts. The specific types and amounts of microbial species that we harbor play a vital role in maintaining optimal health. Beneficial microbes provide us with protective nutrients, while harmful microbes produce toxins, cause inflammation, and damage the intestinal lining. Imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, allergies, inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, colon cancer, mood disorders, and other diseases. In addition, digestive problems such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, nausea, cramping, and indigestion can occur.
The GI-Microbial Assay Plus™ (GI-MAP™) test utilizes the most advanced DNA detection techniques available for analyzing the composition of the microbiome. Far superior than a traditional stool culture which can only detect a few types of microbes, the GI-MAP™ test identifies microbial DNA, so all microbes of interest can be readily detected and accurately quantified. In addition, this test also measures several other markers that are important for normal intestinal function and can help diagnose additional problems that may be present.
The GI-Microbial Assay Plus™ test analyzes over 80 different parameters in stool that affect health and disease, including the following:
- Normal flora – adequate levels of beneficial bacteria help to prevent diseases
- Pathogenic bacteria – infectious bacteria can cause severe illness and diarrhea
- Overgrowth bacteria – a common cause of bloating, indigestion, gas, and bowel irregularity
- Autoimmune triggers – these bacteria may activate the immune system to trigger a variety of autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis
- H. pylori – a stomach bacteria that can cause ulcers, stomach inflammation, or stomach cancer
- Viruses – can cause diarrhea, colitis, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, and other symptoms
- Parasites – including protozoa and worms
- Fungi/Yeast – dangerous if immunity is weak
- Digestive enzymes – assesses your ability to adequately digest dietary proteins and fats
- β-Glucuronidase – indicates unfavorable metabolic function and impaired detoxification capacity of the colon
- Fecal Immunochemical Testing – uses antibodies to detect trace amounts of blood in the stool
- Fecal Secretory IgA – assesses immune function of the digestive tract lining
- Anti-Gliadin IgA – demonstrates an immune reaction to gluten, indicating gluten intolerance
- Calprotectin – a marker of inflammation of the colon wall, levels are elevated in colitis
- Zonulin – a marker of intestinal permeability, can determine if “leaky gut” is present