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GI-MAP Result Interpretation 101: A Guide for Healthcare Practitioners

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GI-MAP Result Interpretation 101: A Guide for Healthcare Practitioners

A dysbiotic gut lies at the core of numerous chronic illnesses, underscoring the critical importance of gut health. In this comprehensive guide, we dive into GI-MAP testing—a powerful tool designed to pinpoint a patient's gut microbiome's peculiarities. 

Whether you're a healthcare practitioner looking to incorporate GI-MAP testing into your practice or wishing to deepen your understanding of GI-MAP testing, you will be able to navigate the intricacies of this powerful diagnostic tool within this guide. 


What is the GI-MAP Test?

The GI-MAP, or Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus, test is a diagnostic tool that utilizes quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) technology to assess the microbial composition of the gastrointestinal tract. 

A GI-MAP test can detect pathogenic microorganisms responsible for infections and acute gastrointestinal illnesses. By analyzing a stool sample, the test can detect and quantify various microorganisms and offers several benefits for diagnosing and managing gastrointestinal complaints. 

In addition, the test assesses the abundance and diversity of commensal bacteria, enabling the identification of dysbiosis. Having a dysbiotic gut microbiome, which is an imbalance in the gut bacteria or microbiome, is often associated with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome

Furthermore, the GI-MAP test identifies opportunistic pathogens, which are usually harmless but can contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms under certain circumstances. This information provides insights into potential sources of chronic gastrointestinal issues.

Why Order a GI-MAP Test?

Ordering a GI-MAP test can provide significant benefits for healthcare professionals because of its diagnostic value and potential for personalization. This comprehensive analysis enables the identification of pathogens that might otherwise go undetected, leading to a more accurate assessment of the gut microbiome.

The GI-MAP test is an important component of functional medicine that allows treatment strategies to be tailored according to the microbiome profile of each individual. Individual gut microbiomes are unique, and imbalances or dysbiosis can result in digestive disorders.

The information gained from this test enables the development of personalized treatment plans, taking into account the individual patient's microbiome characteristics. For example, if the test reveals an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria, targeted antimicrobial therapy can be prescribed to address the specific infection. 

On the other hand, if commensal bacteria are found to be imbalanced or depleted, recommendations for probiotic supplementation or dietary modifications can be made to restore a healthier microbiome.

When to Order a GI-MAP Test for Your Patients

One indication for testing is when patients present with persistent or recurrent digestive complaints, such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation, and other diagnostic investigations have been inconclusive. Ordering a GI-MAP test can help identify potential microbial imbalances or infections that may be contributing to their symptoms. 

Another scenario is suspected gastrointestinal infections, such as food poisoning or parasitic infections. The GI-MAP test can provide valuable information about the presence of pathogens responsible for the infection, aiding in accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment planning.

Additionally, patients with known chronic conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, or autoimmune disorders, may benefit from regular assessment of their gut health. The GI-MAP test can provide insights into the microbial composition and identify any imbalances that may be contributing to the progression or management of their illness.

Ordering a GI-MAP test can help assess the microbial composition, identify dysbiosis patterns, and guide management strategies to optimize treatment outcomes in patients with autoimmune conditions. 

In addition to the initial diagnostic value, the GI-MAP test can play a role in follow-up assessments. By retesting after a course of treatment, healthcare professionals can evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and make informed decisions regarding adjustments to the treatment plan. 

This could involve confirming the eradication of specific pathogens after targeted antimicrobial therapy or assessing changes in the abundance of beneficial bacteria or overall microbial diversity following interventions such as probiotic supplementation or dietary modifications.

How to Order a GI-MAP Test Through Rupa Health

It only takes a few minutes to order specialty lab tests through Rupa Health.

Set up an Account: Visit the Rupa Health website to create an account

Log In: Once your account is created, log in to the Rupa Health platform using your credentials.

Navigate to the Lab Test Catalog: Within the platform, locate the Lab Test Catalog. There you’ll find a catalog of all tests offered through Rupa Health.

Search for the GI-MAP Test: Use the search function or browse through the available tests to find the GI-MAP test. Click on the test to access more details.

Add the GI-MAP Test to Cart: Click the "Add to Cart" to include it in your order.

Provide Patient Information: Fill in the required patient information for whom the GI-MAP test is being ordered. Ensure that the information is accurate and complete.

Review Order Summary: Before proceeding to checkout, review the order summary to ensure that the correct test, or tests, and patient information are selected.

Interpreting GI-MAP Results

The GI-MAP results report provides a comprehensive analysis of various components related to gastrointestinal health. 

Understanding the Results Report 

The microbial flora analysis section provides valuable information about the presence and quantity of bacterial, parasitic, and viral pathogens that are known to cause intestinal gastroenteritis. The report will indicate whether any pathogens were detected and provide their respective quantities.

Specific bacterial pathogens that were identified are listed in the bacterial pathogens section. Examples include Campylobacter, C. difficile Toxin A and B, Enterohemorrhagic E. coli, Salmonella, and more. These pathogens have the potential to cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms and infections.

The parasitic pathogens section focuses on the detection of parasites such as Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia. These parasites can lead to gastrointestinal issues and may require specific treatment.

The report also identifies viral pathogens found in the stool, such as Adenovirus and Norovirus. These viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis and contribute to gastrointestinal symptoms.

The presence or absence of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium associated with ulcers, chronic gastritis, stomach cancer, and gastrointestinal symptoms, is indicated in a specific section. Additionally, the report may analyze the genetic potential of a specific H. pylori strain to cause pathology.

Assessing the levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut is an important aspect covered in the results. Beneficial bacteria play a crucial role in maintaining gut health, nutrient absorption, immune function, and protection against potential pathogens.

The bacterial phyla ratio section reports the ratio between two major groups of bacteria in the gut, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. An abnormal ratio may indicate an imbalance in the microbiome, which has been associated with weight gain, decreased insulin sensitivity, and inflammation.

The report also identifies opportunistic bacteria that are typically harmless in small amounts but can cause problems if overgrown, especially in individuals with compromised immune systems or leaky gut. These bacteria may be linked to symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.

Detection of fungal organisms and yeast, including Candida species, is covered in the fungi/yeast section. Overgrowth of these organisms can lead to problems, particularly in individuals with leaky gut or impaired intestinal lining.

Lastly, the report identifies both pathogenic and non-pathogenic parasites, such as protozoa (e.g., Blastocystis hominis) and worms (e.g., Ascaris lumbricoides). The detection of these parasites may indicate the need for specific treatment.

Clinical Correlations

Healthcare practitioners can gain a more comprehensive understanding of a patient's gut health by integrating GI-MAP results with the patient's presenting symptoms and additional diagnostic tests. Identifying patterns or associations between specific microbial imbalances, pathogen presence, or dysbiosis markers and the patient's symptoms provides valuable insights. 

For example, if a patient reports chronic diarrhea and the GI-MAP report reveals high levels of Clostridium difficile, it suggests a potential infection contributing to their symptoms.

If the patient has elevated inflammatory markers and the GI-MAP report indicates increased levels of pathogenic bacteria, it may suggest an inflammatory bowel disease or an infection requiring targeted treatment.

Additionally, assessing the patient's response to previous or ongoing treatments and interventions is another important aspect. 

Monitoring whether there has been improvement or resolution of symptoms after targeted treatments for specific pathogens identified in the GI-MAP report can help validate the relevance of the findings and guide further treatment decisions.

It is also essential to consider the patient's individual context, including their medical history, current medications, dietary habits, and lifestyle factors. These factors can influence the gut microbiome and impact the interpretation of GI-MAP results. 

For example, certain medications, such as proton pump inhibitors, can alter the gut microbiota composition, leading to potential imbalances that may be reflected in the GI-MAP report.

Read Some Real Case Examples: 

Integrating GI-MAP Results into Patient Care

The results of the GI-MAP test provide helpful information that can inform decisions regarding dietary recommendations, probiotics, antimicrobials, or other targeted therapies. 

Treatment Implications 

One significant implication of GI-MAP results is the identification of potential food sensitivities or intolerances. By analyzing the levels of antibodies against specific components like gliadin, which is found in gluten, the test can suggest a gluten sensitivity

In such cases, healthcare providers may recommend a gluten-free diet to alleviate symptoms and promote healing of the gut. Similarly, if the results reveal imbalances in certain bacteria, dietary modifications such as reducing sugar intake or increasing fiber consumption may be advised to support a healthier gut microbiome.

The GI-MAP results also play a crucial role in guiding the selection of probiotics for microbiome restoration. The choice of probiotics can be tailored based on the specific strains identified in the GI-MAP results, ensuring a targeted approach to gut health.

In cases where the GI-MAP identifies pathogenic bacteria, parasites, or fungal overgrowth, targeted antimicrobial therapy may be necessary. The test results help in selecting appropriate antimicrobial agents that specifically target the identified pathogens. 

Furthermore, the GI-MAP results may suggest the need for other targeted therapies. For instance, if the test indicates high levels of markers associated with inflammation, healthcare providers may consider anti-inflammatory interventions or immune-modulating therapies. 

Additionally, if specific markers related to digestion or absorption issues are identified, targeted interventions such as digestive enzyme supplementation or therapies to support pancreatic function may be recommended.


Key Takeaways

  • The GI-MAP test is a powerful diagnostic tool that can detect pathogenic microorganisms responsible for infections and acute gastrointestinal illnesses, as well as assess the abundance and diversity of commensal bacteria to identify dysbiosis.
  • Ordering a GI-MAP test can benefit healthcare professionals by enabling a more accurate gut microbiome assessment and tailoring treatment plans accordingly. 
  • The test can be ordered through the Rupa Health platform, which provides a convenient and streamlined process for healthcare practitioners.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
Learn More

Lab Tests in This Article

Cloyd, Jaime. “5 Lab Tests You Need to Know about If You Want to Test for Gluten Sensitivity.” Rupa Health, 21 Mar. 2023, Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

“Understanding the Gut Bacteria Clostridium: What Does High and Low Levels Mean: How to Test and Treat.” Rupa Health, 23 May 2023,

Davey, Julie Ann. “Julianna’s Battle with IBS, Weight Gain, and the Common Pathogen Helicobacter Pylori: A Case Study.” Rupa Health, 1 Aug. 2023, Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

DeCesaris, Laura. “What Is Gut Dysbiosis? 7 Signs to Watch For.” Rupa Health, 6 June 2022,

“GI-MAP by Diagnostic Solutions.” Rupa Health,

Greenan, Shawn. “A Functional Medicine Approach to IBS.” Rupa Health, 5 Nov. 2021,

Henry, Eve. “Stool Testing 101: A Complete Guide to the Top 4 Gut Health Tests.”,

“Https://” Rupa Health, Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

Missimer, Arianna. “A Case Study of Unlocking the Gut-Brain Connection in Mast Cell Activation and Dysautonomia.” Rupa Health, 19 Oct. 2023, Accessed 26 Apr. 2024.

Teeter, Lauren Ann. “4 Lab Test That Can Help You Explore the Connection between Inflammation and Your Patients Metabolic Health.” Rupa Health, 18 May 2023,

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