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Reference Guide


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The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states that 60 to 70 million people are impacted by some type of digestive disease. Running from the mouth to the anus, an adult gastrointestinal (GI) tract is about 30 feet long, with the longest portion being the small intestine at 22 feet, and many health issues can hide in or arise from it.

Gastrointestinal health ranks prominently in many chronic disease conditions. According to a large-scale multinational study based on internet surveys by Rome Foundation has shown that over 40% of people suffer from gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In Integrative and Functional Medicine, testing for gastrointestinal health is a key starting point to improving health with disorders such as allergies, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases. 

Gastrointestinal symptoms can reflect a variety of causes, some of which can be severe such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or GI bleeds. Some common gastrointestinal symptoms experienced include:

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Indigestion and heartburn
  • Bloating and gas
  • Blood in stool or vomiting blood
  • Pain
  • Pain or Difficulty in swallowing
  • Changes in appetite
  • Unintentional Weight loss

What do gastrointestinal tests measure?

Many gastrointestinal tests involve a comprehensive analysis of stool samples to assess digestive function, determine state of microbiome, presence of inflammation, and identify organisms such as parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Gastrointestinal tests also analyze blood, urine, and breath samples.

Here are some of gastrointestinal tests:

  • Diagnostic Solutions' GI-MAP + Zonulin: A stool sample is analyzed for parasites, bacteria, fungi and more to provide information to enable personalized treatment for gut dysfunction. This test also measures Zonulin which is a marker for leaky gut.
  • Doctor's Data's Comprehensive Stool Analysis + Parasitology: A stool sample is evaluated for bacteria and yeast, infectious pathogens and parasites, tested for antimicrobial susceptibility to prescription and natural agents, and key markers of digestion, absorption, and inflammation are identified. This information can help determine causes for gastrointestinal symptoms and chronic conditions.
  • Gemelli Biotech's trio-smart SIBO Breath Test: The levels of hydrogen, methane, and hydrogen sulfide are measured in a breath sample with elevated levels deemed abnormal. This test helps identify small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, intestinal methanogenic overgrowth, and excess hydrogen sulfide.
  • Mosaic Diagnostics' Microbial Organic Acis (MOAT):  A urine sample is analyzed for markers of beneficial and harmful bacteria, Clostridia species, Candida species, yeast and fungal metabolites, and dysbiosis. This test is useful in identifying specific abnormalities, monitoring gut imbalances and assessing treatment effectiveness. 

Along with gastrointestinal health tests, a physical examination, laboratory blood work, a health history, a history of symptoms and a food diary can be helpful. Depending on the symptoms and results, additional testing with medical imaging or endoscopy might be needed.  

Treatment Plans

The health of the gut is important to maintaining overall health and wellness. Supporting and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome can help in alleviating and treating gut disorders and certain chronic conditions. 

Some common treatment plans can include:

  • Lifestyle changes to include exercise, diet changes, stress reduction.
  • Supplements that improve gut and barrier functioning, reduce inflammation, and build a healthy microbiome such as digestive enzymes, L-glutamine, probiotics.
  • Consuming a diet rich in fiber and probiotics, limiting processed foods, reducing complex carbohydrates, and including anti-inflammatory foods
  • Reducing or eliminating foods or fluids that aggravate or compound gastrointestinal symptoms such as foods high in sugar, alcohol, and processed foods.


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