All Disease Begins in the Gut
Much of the body’s immune response depends upon a healthy balance of the gastrointestinal microbiome, which is home to over 100 trillion bacteria. These bacteria interact with the body by sending chemical messages on molecules carried in the blood. They also interact with the nervous system through the enteric nervous system (based in the gut) and the central nervous system, which communicates with the brain. (1)
The best way to support your patients microbiome is to perform GI lab test to create a personalized therapeutic plan to address underlying inflammation.
How Does the Gut Become Inflamed?
Inflammation is part of the body’s normal defense mechanism. It is the process by which the immune system recognizes and tries to remove harmful stimuli to begin the healing process. But when your body has to attack a foreign stimulus continuously, i.e processed foods, chronic systemic inflammation kicks in. (3) The gut becomes unbalanced; a condition called dysbiosis and the body eventually develops food sensitivities as a defense mechanism to fight off the inflammation, ultimately leading to a host of other chronic ailments.
Therefore controlling gut inflammation is vital to patient care no matter what your specialty is. Below are three types of GI lab tests you can start incorporating today for every patient.
GI Health Test Overview
One of the best ways to get an overview of what is going on in the gut is performing a GI health stool test. GI health tests are a comprehensive microbiome analysis that gives practitioners a lot of information for just one test.
These test narrow down dysbiosis and screen for bacterial pathogens, worms, parasites, yeast, viruses, digestion, absorption, inflammation, metabolic health, antibiotic resistance, and immune function.
With such detailed results, practitioners can create personalized nutrition, probiotics, and supplement protocols to address gut dysfunction. Most of these tests offer follow-up tests based on results that would be useful for confirming other diagnoses.
If you had to chose just one type of GI lab test to get a whole lot of information, this would be a good place to start.
Top 3 GI Health Test Ordered by Rupa Health Practitioners
- Gut Zoomer by Vibrant Wellness
- GI MAP by Diagnostics Solutions
- GI Effects by Genova Diagnostics
Food sensitivities create an inflammatory response where the body attacks antigens in foods. If left untreated, this inflammatory response can weaken the gut lining, disrupt the good bacteria, and cause long-term health issues. The good news is once you have identified and removed the trigger foods, patients start to heal very quickly.
Food sensitivities are very common today due to processed and GMO foods, additives, and fillers. The body sees these as foreign invaders and starts attacking not only the inflammatory components but also everyday foods in the diet with similar chemical elements.
Common symptoms associated with food sensitivities are leaky gut, unexplained loose stools or constipation, gas, cramps, and bloating. Skin conditions including eczema, acne, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Headaches, brain fog, joint pain, vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Top 3 Food Sensitivity Test Ordered by Rupa Health Practitioners
- Vibrant Wellness Food Sensitivity 1 + Food Sensitivity 2 + Wheat Zoomer
- Ayumetrix Basic Food Sensitivity Panel
- Alletess Medical Laboratory IgG Food Sensitivity Pane
While not every practitioner tests for micronutrients, I like to address how important it is to see how well your patients are able to absorb these vital nutrients. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals needed by the body, and their impact on a body’s health is critical. They perform various functions, including enabling the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances needed for normal growth and development.
Micronutrient deficiencies symptoms can affect a patient’s everyday life leading to insomnia, abnormal heart rhythms, mood disorders, and reductions in energy level and mental clarity.
Many of these deficiencies are preventable through nutrition education, consuming a healthy diet containing diverse foods, and food fortification and supplementation. Still, if you have patients who are having GI complaints and inflammation in their digestive tract, chances are they aren’t absorbing these nutrients as well as they should be able too. (4)
Top 3 Micronutrient Test Ordered by Rupa Health Practitioners
- Micronutrient Test by SpectraCell Laboratories
- Micronutrient Test by Vibrant America
- Cellular Micronutrient Assay by Cell Science Systems
The bottom line is gut health is vital to overall health. No matter if you are just getting started with functional medicine or maybe just updating your current knowledge, GI lab test are an easy way to get to know a lot about your patients current condition.
Hopefully this article helped you feel a little more confident in the basics of gut health functional medicine labs. If you have any questions, always feel free to reach out, and keep checking back for more articles, case studies, and live classes.