The epitome of good heath is the body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrient from the foods and drinks we partake. For maximum benefit from our diet, it is imperative that appropriate digestion and efficient absorption into the bloodstream takes place. This digestive system also ensures that the extra parts of our diets that are not absorbed into circulation as well as unwanted elements are removed from the system.
When poor digestion and nutrient mal-absorption happens, the body is likely to experiences a load of ailments. The most common ailments can include nutritional deficiencies, compromised immune systems and degenerative diseases. These impairments can be due to gastrointestinal ecosystem tract impairment. Among other things, this impairment can result from bacterial overgrowth, low stomach acid, presence of pathogenic microorganisms and toxic irritants in the gut as well as food intolerance.
Granted, every once in a while, we all experience temporary stomach upsets when we take something that our stomachs are not used to. While most of these discomforts may not necessarily be serious, you may need to seek medical attention if these issues persist. One of the most common ways to determine the cause of gastrointestinal tract impairment is getting a comprehensive stool DNA test. So, when should you get a comprehensive stool analysis test? Here are some pointers.
Persistent diarrhoea or the stool is too loose
Constant bouts of indigestion, constipation and bloating/gas
Increased sensitivities to certain food items and antibiotics
Chronic sinus as well as hypersensitivity
Presence of blood or mucus in your stool
Persistent skin conditions, foul breath and joint pain
Fluctuating moods, anxiety and insomnia
Constant fatigue and brain fog
Indications of autoimmune diseases
Fluctuating body weight
These symptoms are usually indications of serious underlying issues that can be detected with colon screening, some of which are related to the gut’s functionality. With a comprehensive non-invasive stool test analysis test, your health practitioner will be in a position to point out the real causes of some of the ailments as well as recommend appropriate remedies.
This is a non-invasive assessment that allows clinical evaluation Colonoscopy of the status and balance of microbiome in the gut. This invaluable diagnostic assessment shows the presence and functionality of the good bacteria as well as any other pathogens such as parasites, fungi, viruses and harmful bacteria present in the gut. Precise identification of the microorganisms that are present in the gut is essential in selecting the appropriate treatment options.
Testing and Treatment Options
An effective treatment plan for any ailment is dependent on the accuracy of the diagnosis. As such, comprehensive stool analysis is essential in treating gastrointestinal tract ailments and diseases. There are 3 common testing approaches when it comes to comprehensive stool analysis. These are:
Culture based tests
Polymer chain reaction tests
Gene sequencing tests
Each of these options is available for use depending on preferred targeted results. It is important to note, right from the start, that using a combination of these tests will bring out more detailed results. This is because each of these approaches has a definite species of microorganisms that they thoroughly test, and others they cannot pick up on. Without further ado, lest look at what each of these options present.
This is one of the most common options when it comes to comprehensive stool analysis. This approach involves culturing a stool sample then staining to make the microbiome visible under the microscope. Culturing simply refers to accelerating the growth of certain elements in the sample to make them easier to detect. This acceleration is done with the help of a growth medium.
Traditionally, culture testing was very thorough in identifying aerobic microbes. However, it wasn’t as effective with anaerobic microbes. This led to misleading results as there were false negatives for anaerobic microorganisms.
Technological advancements have, however, have pushed this approach to improve on the accuracy of the results given. The most significant improvement is the ability to identify more than 1,4000 microbe species, both aerobic and anaerobic, rapidly and accurately. The improved culture based testing also made identification of species possible without having to isolate and purify samples.
Culturing a sample promotes rapid growth of the microorganisms present. However, since there are different species present in the sample, their rate of rapid multiplication also differs. As such, it becomes difficult to quantify the abundance of each microorganism in the sample. After all, the rate at which a specific species multiplies when cultured does not accurately indicate their abundance in the gut.
Culturing involves the use of different techniques in order to identify differing groups of microorganisms in a sample. There are more than 70 techniques that are used in culture testing. However, you’ll find that most clinics use only a few of these techniques, sometimes only 5. This restricts the number of species of microorganisms that can be identified.
Polymer Chain Reaction Stool Analysis Tests
PCR tests comprehensively identify a good number of microbes in the sample as it uses their molecular structure. These tests are commonly available in 2 options namely:
Targeted PCR involves amplification of a microbe’s DNA using a primer. This is how it works; the primer captures the DNA of the microbe then amplifies it. Since DNA is very specific, this test is deemed pretty accurate in identifying the microorganisms present in the sample.
Here is how it works; each microbe’s DNA responds to specific primers. As such, it is important to carefully choose the range of primers that will accurately amplify as many abundant microbes in a sample as possible.
Quantitative PCR, much like targeted PCR, involves amplifying the DNA of microbes with the help of primers. This approach, however, is faster than the aforementioned. Additionally, it is more accurate and extremely sensitive. Since results are generated in real time, this test can identify even the slightest changes, which may not be captured by targeted PCR. This is a pretty affordable and accurate option when it comes to comprehensive stool analysis
Gene Sequencing Stool Analysis Tests
There are several stool analysis approaches that take advantage of microbes’ genes to help in identification. We’ll look at three of the most common of gene tests.
16s ribosomal RNA gene sequencing test
16s ribosomal RNA gene sequencing test is used to accurately identify a number of the most abundant microbes today. The ribosomal RNA gene is easily identified by its hyper-variable and conserved regions. The difference in the regions is a plus; the conserved region is used in developing appropriate, fast acting primers. Once RNA genes on various microbes are identified and amplified, they are compared against the database of the fully sequenced rRNA genes for identification. This method is pretty accurate in identifying both the species and its relative abundance in a sample.
Ribosomal RNA gene sequencing accurately identifies the bacteria present in a sample. However, it is not as thorough with other microbes. For starters, it may not effectively identify pathogens such as fungi or parasites. As such, you may need to use another test to accurately identify all other microbes present in the sample apart from bacteria. However, if you are looking for an accurate bacteria profile, this is one of the most accurate clinical tests.
These techniques are high output, and provide the entire gene expression of the tract microbiome. This approach works by showing the microbiome present, their exact species as well as their metabolic activities! This option is mostly used for research purposes as it is broad enough to provide information for learning purposes.
While metabolomics is quite accurate in identifying species present in a sample, it is not readily used for clinical purposes. However, when used in conjunction with other affordable, clinically relevant options, metabolomics can be quite useful in comprehensive stool analysis tests.
Like metabolomics, metagenomics provides information on the genetic make-up of species. Additionally, this technique accurately determines the relative abundance as well as the functional capabilities of the each species of the gut microbiome. This technique is considered more accurate RNA gene sequencing.
Since it is quite thorough, metagenomics can be expensive and not as easily accessible as other stool analysis techniques. Additionally, the information provided by these tests is more useful in research as opposed to clinical situations.
Metagenomics is advisable for people who have persistent blood sugar dysregulation. This is because the test can accurately predict how the body will react to certain foods, and the resulting blood sugar levels. Additionally, this technique is recommended to people who have persistent chronic gut problems that have not been diagnosed by other stool analysis tests. This is because metagenomics easily and accurately identifies all possible potentially pathogenic microbes. Therefore, regardless of whether the issue is caused by fungi, virus, bacteria or parasite, metagenomics will accurately identify the causative agent.
Which Tests Should I Go For?
Well, for starters, getting the tests right is the first step to healing gastrointestinal ailments and all other resultant diseases. This is because the test results are used to inform treatment plans. A slight inaccuracy in test results can misinform a treatment plan, which will not solve the underlying issues. As such, it is important to point out that each of these tests is accurate in its own targeted area. However, none can be used by themselves to provide comprehensive stool analysis results in the clinical set up.
As you may have already noticed, each of these testing techniques has specific characteristics that help identify varying microbial organisms in a sample. Therefore, you can use two or more of these techniques to test a sample. This will ascertain that the tests are as comprehensive as they need to be so that the resulting treatment plan is accurate and effective.
Treatment Options for Gastrointestinal Tract Issues
In most cases, these problems are mild and are easily treated when the causative pathogens are inhibited in time. Once the test results show the actual pathogens that could be causing gut issues, the health practitioner gives you a treatment plan. This treatment plan is based on tests done to assess the response of the pathogens to varying medication. The best medication is then prescribed to eliminate the pathogen. There are two main treatment options for gut ailments.
This is the use of natural means to heal gastrointestinal tract illnesses. In naturopathy, the general belief is that most gut illnesses can be effectively treated by natural remedies such as the right diet, exercise and massage. Granted, most of the issues are caused by poor diet and eating habits, and can be consequently be corrected by better habits and choices.
Naturopathy is a highly personalized treatment option. This means that before any recommendation is given, proper tests are carried out. The results are then used to come up with a diet and exercise plan that suits your condition and needs. The diet may include nutritional elements that may have been missing in your previous food choices, and eliminate food items that irritate your gut. Naturopathy is a good choice if you are looking for an option that will help you improve your body’s general health and wellness.
These are also dependent on the test results. There are a variety of prescription antibiotics and antifungal medication available today. Your doctor can take you through the options available to you depending on any existing drug allergies. Most bacterial issues may clear in a few days if they were caught early enough. However, if the problem persists, you may need to change your medication, lifestyle choices as well as take another test.
It is important to note that depending on the type of test you go for, there are some pathogens that may be present but remain undetected. As such, if you are continuously experiencing the same ailment and the medication prescribed does not help, it is time to change the test technique. There have been a few cases of undetected pathogens causing havoc and were only detected by superior stool analysis tests. Be sure to read up on all the options available to you.
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