Testing Number Twos – How a test can help your bloating, constipation or other gut symptoms

If bloating, constipation and smelly gas are a part of your daily life, I can guarantee you are
desperately looking for some relief and support.

Do you know that these symptoms often show me, as a naturopath, that there are deeper
issues happening in your gut which are actually related to your gut bacteria? For this reason,
getting to the underlying problem requires an understanding of the relationship between
you and the trillions of microorganisms living in your digestive tract – your microbiome – or,
as I love to call it, your gut ecosystem.

You may have heard of gut health or microbiome testing. Perhaps you have already done a
test through your GP or specialist. As naturopaths, we have access to some pretty amazing
gut health testing.

Modern technology has made it possible for you to get to know your gut ecosystem,
allowing you to find out the number, type and function of the microorganisms that live in

Gut health is unique; there is not one ecosystem that will ever present the same as another.
For this reason, microbiome testing helps you discover how your unique ecosystem relates
to your symptoms and provides me – your gut health naturopath – with high quality
information to help you improve your health.

‘Just as a road map helps you find the quickest route to your
destination, a detailed “map” of your microbiome can show you the
best way to a healthy gut.’

— Metagenics

Types of testing
Government – Faecal blood screen (blood in stool)

  • Marker for colon cancer
  • Not looking at microbiome
  • Important, all people over 50 should do this

Cell culture testing (growing it over agar)

  • For Complete Digestive Stool Analysis
  • Only a small number of organisms will grow in culture
  • This test only looks at certain types of bacteria – not all types – meaning lots of
    beneficial bacteria are often not reported on and therefore cannot be assessed.
  • Pathogens seen quite clearly as they can grow in an oxygen rich environment

PCR /16-sequencing

  • Used to look at a single gene in bacteria
  • New standard in 80s/90s
  • Looks at less than 2,000 types of bacterial genomes
  • Still involves a lot of guess work

Shotgun metagenomics (many genomes)

  • Samples all organisms at the same time
  • Identifies species found plus their function
  • Provides a more complete picture
  • Upcoming area: Looking at viruses that might attack your population of bacteria
    (newest area and still growing) and how this relates to healthy and unhealthy

Benefits of information gained from testing

  • Individual picture of your unique ecosystem
  • Shows us a bigger picture
  • We know what to treat, nurture or remove
  • Allows us to focus on the function of bacteria
  • Helps health improvement quicker
  • We know what dietary approaches to implement

Gut health and microbiome testing are not perfect and over the coming years more
information will be emerging to help advance these technologies. We do currently have the
best technology available to help determine some of the underlying causes for your chronic
gut health symptoms. This makes me super excited and I love seeing how far we get with
clients after doing microbiome testing.

If you would like to know more about microbiome testing and would like to finally take
steps to resolving your digestive discomfort, book your complimentary gut health call here.

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