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.
Digestion and absorption
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.
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.
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.