Benefits of Stool Testing

Functional nutrition training has taught me to always get to the root cause of what is causing my clients health problems. Most people come to me for weight loss, but once we start working together it may become apparent that there are additional health concerns that need to be addressed in order to lose weight and feel better. 

Common symptoms that often trigger people to pursue microbiome testing include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Constipation,
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diarrhea
  • Food poisoning
  • Gastritis
  • Gastroenteritis
  • GERD/heartburn/acid reflux
  • IBS and IBD
  • Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
  • Ulcer
  • Stomach pain or indigestion
  • Suspect H Pylori
  • Celiac Disease
  • Excess gas
  • Vomiting
  • Antibiotic use
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • T2DM
  • Reactive hypoglycemia

Lesser know reasons that would indicate stool testing include conditions such as:

  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Reactive arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hashimotos Thyroiditis
  • Asthma
  • Eczema and psoriasis
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Chronic UTI (can be caused or perpetuated by E. Coli)
  • Even PCOS may be rooted in dysbiosis of the gut

 

Here’s a few specifics of the GI Map test and why you may want to consider a comprehensive stool test to improve your health:

  1. Phyla- Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio and Weight
    • For those concerned with weight loss, this is an interesting marker to assess. Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes make up about 90% of all bacteria found in the gut, so this ratio is important and can influence weight (although it is not completely understood what comes first, the extra weight or the microbiome imbalance). What we do know, is that those with higher amounts of firmicutes will be very efficient at absorbing calories, and an overgrowth of these bacteria are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and difficulty losing weight. Research demonstrates those that change their microbiome in favor of more Bacteroidetes will lose more weight.
  1. Parameters for digestion & absorption: Steatocrit and Elastase-1: Nutrient Deficiencies
  • If you’re not digesting your food properly you’re not unlocking the micronutrients that attached in the proteins. For example, if you’re digestion is not optimal, you may not be breaking down protein from your food. Zinc is a micronutrient that is found in most proteins. If your stomach acid is is not breaking down the protein you won’t be absorbing zinc. For men, this can lead to a decrease in serum testosterone levels. For women (or men) a zinc deficiency can effect thyroid hormone production, leading to hypothyroid. 
  • Steatocrit tests to determine how you are digesting fat. If you are not absorbing fat well, this has implications for fat soluble vitamins such as Vitamin E. Deficiencies in vitamin E may manifest as immune dysfunction, cognitive deterioration, cardiovascular disease, and even linked to miscarriage. Additional symptoms of Vitamin E deficiency include muscle weakness, loss of muscle mass, liver and kidney problems, vision problems, and dementia. 
  • Elastase-1 tests pancreatic function. Without proper section of pancreatic enzymes you will be at risk of malnutrition and many deficiencies. Causes of low levels of elastase-1 may be: Suppressed pancreatic function, gallstones, hypochlorhydria (decreased stomach acid), especially if h. pylori present, cystic fibrosis, low levels may be found in vegetarians/vegans
    • Its important to note that the concentration of elastase-1 can be falsely decreased in liquid or semi-liquid stools.
  1. Bacteria and yeast: Chronic Health Conditions
  • This section will tell you if you have an overgrowth (or undergrowth) of bacteria or yeast. Fungal (or certain bacterial) overgrowth is a huge problem and is often at the root cause of many problematic health conditions, including chronic fatigue, bacterial vaginosis, chronic UIT’s, ear and sinus problems, PMS, fibroids, endometriosis, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, acne and anxiety to name a few! 
  1. Parasite (and other pathogens)
  • Parasites can be contracted even in developed countries. You can get one by eating undercooked meat, public swimming pools, hot tubs, drinking contaminated water such as on camping/backpacking trips, or even can contract some of them through sexual intercourse. Parasite can be a the root cause of IBS, trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, insomnia, tooth grinding, skin irritations and rashes, painful aching muscles or joints, fatigue, exhaustion, mood changes, not feeling satisfied after meals. 
  1. Detoxification Marker
  • B-Glucaronidase – High levels of fecal beta-glucuronidase can indicate unfavorable metabolic changes in the colon, especially of detoxification of estrogen. When you have high circulating estrogens (and other toxins) it will be more difficult to lose weight. High levels found in the stool may indicate hormonal imbalance, gall stones, and even colon and breast cancer. 
  1. Inflammation Marker
  • Calprotectin is a marker of inflammation in the gut. A high calprotectin indicates that white blood cells have started to infiltrate the gut because something is causing inflammation. This marker can also be used to differentiate IBD from IBS. If you have IBD (such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis) it is likely that your calprotectin will be elevated. 

This is not a comprehensive list, there are many reasons why someone would benefit from stool testing. If any of these scenarios resonate with you, contact me today to get your stool test started. 

How to prepare for stool testing

  • Most people do not need to do anything to prepare for a stool test
  • However, there are some concerns over biofilms harboring bacteria, yeast, or parasites that may not be picked up on a stool test as they matrixed within this biofilm clinging to the inside of the intestine.
  • A biofilm can be defined as a polysaccharine matrix that uses up minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. Informally, a biofilm can be thought of as a sticky or slimy film layer in which pathogenic microorganisms exist. Sort of like a kombucha scoby but with bad bacteria and yeast within the intestine. Bacteria rarely just exist on their own floating around releasing toxins. It is more likely that they exist within a biofilm. The problem is that if a pathogenic organism is protected within this layer, it may not be picked up on a stool test, and will be more difficult to get rid of.
  • Therefore I would recommend for some people to begin a biofilm disruptor such as Lauricidin two weeks – 1 month prior to stool testing.
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