Microbiome Testing

Stool Microbiome Testing

Tummy issues are the most common reasons that parents seek naturopathic care for their children.

The ability to digest and absorb nutrients from the food that we eat is the foundation of good health and wellbeing. Diagnostic testing helps us to assess whether or not food that is eaten is appropriately broken down and that the nutrients within it are effectively absorbed. A stool analysis assesses different aspects of digestive function and absorption of different food groups, while also detecting potential pathogens such as parasites, bacteria and yeast.

Is a stool analysis worthwhile?

A comprehensive stool analysis investigates tummy problems of an unknown origin. This test will help to pinpoint the causes of gastrointestinal symptoms and conditions related to gut health, and measures key markers of digestive and absorptive function to guide targeted treatment options. This removes the guesswork involved in assessing symptoms, allowing us to make informed decisions in regards to your child’s care.

What can a stool test uncover?

  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Yeast
  • Parasitic infections
  • Intestinal permeability (leaky gut)
  • Food intolerances
  • Food allergies
  • Immune issues (remember, we make 80% of our immune system in out gut!)

Testing for parasites

A comprehensive stool analysis and parasitology identifies good and bad microorganisms that are living in the gut. The test involves culturing any nasty microorganisms for sensitivities, so we find out exactly how to get rid of them. Three separate stool specimens are collected on separate days. Parasites such as pinworms do not shed and their eggs don’t always appear in stool samples. One day’s sample may show a negative result, while the following day may test positive, depending on the stage of the life cycle the parasite is in.

Leaky gut syndrome

Partially digested food and microscopic bugs that make their way into tummies need to remain within the gut. We want the gut to absorb the good stuff, and prevent the bad bits from passing into the body. When this selective absorption process is impaired, it can contribute to the development of food allergies and sensitivities. The absorption of things that are supposed to be kept confined in the gut can trigger the immune system to overreact to certain foods, causing food sensitivities and allergies.

The gut and the immune system

When digestive function is struggling, it can contribute to problems with other illnesses by decreasing immune function and causing nutritional deficiencies. The skin on our body and the lining of the gastrointestinal tract acts as the immune system’s first line of defence against infection and illness. If the gut wall is impaired, things can cross through it and be absorbed by the body. Around 70% of our immune system is actually housed in the gastrointestinal tract, so addressing tummy health can be key to supporting immune health.

Gastrointestinal inflammation

Intestinal permeability can be triggered by inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. The extent of inflammation, whether it be caused by pathogens or inflammatory diseases, can be assessed and monitored by levels of specific markers such as white blood cells, mucus and blood. Causes of excessive intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut) include low stomach acid, maldigestion, food allergies, irritated absorptive surfaces, bacterial overgrowth or imbalances, and pathogenic microbes such as bacteria, yeast or parasites.

Should you do a gut microbiome test?

Gut health is connected to so many other areas of health and wellbeing;

  • Persistent diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Gas and bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Blood or mucus in stool
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
  • Long term antibiotic use
  • Treatment resistant skin conditions
  • Multiple food sensitivities
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Behavioural and learning difficulties

Is microbiome testing worth it?

A comprehensive stool analysis removes the guesswork. It’s a non-invasive test to check functional digestive processes. We find out if there is anything nasty in the gut and how to get rid of it. We also uncover any specific areas of digestion that need support, and what kinds of supplements will help. There are so many different kinds of digestive enzymes, prebiotics and probiotics available, finding out which treatments are best indicated to support healing helps to resolve the cause. Resolving the cause is always my goal, because it means we reduce the need for any ongoing supplementation to maintain health.

Ash X

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