The Gut and its Inhabitants
The gut houses literally trillions of bacterial cells, which play an essential role in many aspects of human health. These bacterial cells are so numerous that they literally outnumber our human cells by a factor of ten to one. They are estimated to weigh approximately 2 kg. Collectively, these bacteria are referred to as the ‘gut microbiome’ and our health depends on them. The gut microbiome helps us effectively break down food, produces vitamins, neurotransmitters and other essential chemical messengers. It protects our gut against invasion by foreign pathogens and communicates directly with the immune system. The microbiome is easily damaged by a modern diet, drugs, alcohol, stress and other toxins. When this happens it causes low-grade inflammation that can trigger leaky gut.
What is Leaky Gut?
Leaky gut is a poorly recognised but extremely common problem. It is caused by a range of factors, particularly imbalance in the colonies of bacteria living in the gut, which is called ‘dysbiosis’. This causes low-grade inflammation in the gut, irritating the pores through which we usually absorb nutrients. The two phenomenon go hand in hand. The gut is considered ‘leaky’ when the lining of the intestines becomes hyper-permeable, which allows microscopic particles of undigested food, toxins and bacteria into the system.
The body recognises these particles as foreign and launches an immune mediated inflammatory response that causes a range of systemic symptoms that you wouldn’t automatically associate with gut problems. This can also cause significant problems with nutrient absorption and the elimination of wastes. Once dysbiosis and leaky gut are established, our resistance to pathogens such as parasites and bacteria weakens and we become more prone to gut infections. Dysbiosis and leaky gut are thought to play a role in many diseases.
We provide access to a range of comprehensive tests to assess the health of your gut so we can provide you with the best personalised advice.
Smart DNA Gut Microbiome Test
This by far our most advanced gut test available. It tests the DNA of all bacteria excreted in the stool and is able to detect even the smallest level of bacteria. It is able to provide detailed information of the health of the gut, the state of the microbiome and how it may be affecting your health.
This test is ideal for people who have had chronic, unexplained gut problems, autoimmune disease or chronic disease. It is important to note however that currently this test does not screen for parasites, however hopefully it will do in the future.
Comprehensive Stool and Digestive Function Analysis
This is out gold standard general stool test, it gives us a wide range of information including:
- Digestive enzyme function
- Pancreatic enzyme activity
- Indicates liver, bile and gall bladder dysfunction
- Markers of inflammation
- Short chain fatty acids – markers of gut wall health
- Screens for all pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts
- Measures levels of important commensal (friendly) bacteria
- Reports on level of dysbiosis, which is indicative of leaky gut
Gut Permeability Test
This is a urine test that is performed by a functional pathology lab. It assesses the degree of gut permeability by measuring the how much test substance is absorbed across the gut membranes and excreted in the urine. This literally gives us a measurement of how ‘leaky’ the gut is.
Functional Testing Vs Standard Medical Stool Testing
Standard stool tests identify a limited number of major bacterial infections in the gut such as salmonella, shigella and campylobacter, these types of tests are very useful when identifying food poisoning. The tests we use will also identify these types of more serious infections as well as screening for other bacteria and parasites that may not necessarily be reported on standard testing.
Rebalancing the Gut
Anyone who has had chronic gut problems will tell you that it can ruin their life. Bloating, constipation, loose bowels, abdominal distension, indigestion and being unsure about what foods might set off the next round of gut problems can significantly impact on quality of life.
We have treatment programs to help you restore healthy gut function. We can help you improve your digestion, banish bloating and regulate your bowels. We give you guidance on a nutritious, fresh eating plan and help you regain your energy and digestive health.
If you would like to change your gut health contact us today.