I have been working on my gut for years, ten to be exact. My efforts started around the time I quit my job to study dietetics and figure out what the heck was wrong with me. And there was a lot wrong with me including digestive and hormonal issues, skin rashes, autoimmunity, and brain fog.
After learning about Celiac disease and the impact of the microbiome, I concluded that my symptoms were all stemming from my gut. It had clearly been wrecked from years of living on processed foods (aka. energy bars) and taking birth control and antibiotics. Upon removing gluten and adopting a Paleo style diet, I saw almost immediate relief of several of my symptoms. Over time, and with continued healing, my bigger health problems resolved as well.
Which is why I was so surprised earlier this month when I received the results of my GI Effects Stool test. They were not as stellar as I had anticipated. But before I get into that, let me explain why I love this test and recommend that anyone with systemic inflammation, food sensitivities, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and/or other digestive issues take it before beginning a gut repair program with me.
Our gut is an incredibly complex place that is home to trillions of microbes. All those microbial cells are quite active, impacting the health of our gut lining, nutritional uptake, hormone balance, immune system, and neurotransmitter production. Poor gut health has been linked to such a wide variety of diseases and ailments, that one can only be in awe of Hippocrates insight over 2,000 years ago upon stating, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Genova’s GI Effects Stool test gives us a wealth of knowledge about our gut microbiome, the health of our GI tract, and how well we are digesting food and absorbing essential nutrients. This information is extremely valuable when trying to address GI complaints or get to the bottom of inflammation or poor immune function. For instance, if you have Candida (yeast) overgrowth, then you will want to take different measures to improve your gut health than you would if you have a parasite or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). By testing, you can identity the problem and address it head on, achieving optimal results.
The image below depicts the areas of gut health for which the test assesses:
I decided to take the test myself, even though I have no digestive complaints. I fully believe in the importance of a healthy gut and was curious to see if I had any areas for improvement. Turns out that I do!
The biggest takeaway was that I presented with high levels of beta-glucuronidase. This is an enzyme that breaks the bond between toxins and glucuronic acid. They get packaged together by the liver and sent for elimination through the digestive tract. This enzymatic break-down prevents detoxification as the free toxins get reabsorbed back into the body through the intestinal lining. The same thing happens to degraded hormones packaged with glucuronic acid.
Research shows that individuals with high levels of beta-glucuronidase are at an elevated risk of cancer, particularly breast cancer. This is particularly troublesome in my case, since both my mother and grandmother had breast cancer. This is real, tangible information, that I can do something with that will have a direct impact on my health and potentially, lifespan.
The second takeaway was that although my microbiome is undoubtedly better than it once was, I still have work to do. I tested a 7 out of 10 for dysbiosis. Yikes! This means that I need to work on correcting the ratio of good to bad bacteria in my gut. There are several steps that I can take to bring this score down, such as taking probiotics, eating fermented foods, adding resistant starch to my diet, and working on my meal timing. These are all steps that I have started to take. I plan to retest in 6 months to see if I have moved the needle in the right direction.
We are so lucky to now have access to functional lab tests, such as the GI Effects Comprehensive Stool test. These tests are relatively new, but there is such a need for them. They allow us to get to the root cause of our health problems and avoid medications and unnecessary procedures that only address symptoms.
If you are interested in completing a GI Effects Stool test or curious to learn more about it, let me know. When you order through me, you get a follow-up consult included in the price. In that session, we review your results and discuss appropriate interventions designed to improve your scores, bringing them within a normal range over time.
You can contact me through the contact page on this site or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.