The Latest Advancement in Improving Digestion: Specialty Stool Analysis
When we treat the cause we can fix the problem. This statment is useful in many areas of life but especially in digestive problems. How do you know what the cause is unless you get a great picture of what is happening in your digestive tract?
Stool samples sent to specialty laboratories give us the best that science has to offer in understanding what is happening in your digestive tract. Information can be gathered regarding enzyme production and how well you digest your food, how balanced are the gut microflora, yeast and other microbes and much more. These tests combined with our clinical assessment are the best that science has to offer in truly understanding the cause of your digestive symptoms and directing how to create a plan to improve them.
These tests are helpful for patients who suffer from the following non-exhaustive list:
- gas or bloating
- diarrhea or constipation
- irritable bowel syndrome
- inflammatory bowel disease
- GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder)
- gall bladder problems
The most comprehensive test in stool analysis:
Comprehensive Stool Analysis w/Parasitology x3 from Doctor’s Data
This test is from the most reliable and consistent lab in stool studies that Dr. John had found over the years called Doctor’s Data.
The following information is taken from Doctor’s Data website, it gives a brief explanation of this test.
The Comprehensive Stool Analysis with Parasitology x 3 is an invaluable non-invasive diagnostic assessment that permits practitioners to objectively evaluate the status of beneficial and imbalanced commensal bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, yeast/fungus and parasites. Precise identification of pathogenic species and susceptibility testing greatly facilitates selection of the most appropriate pharmaceutical or natural treatment agents. Important information regarding the efficiency of digestion and absorption can be gleaned from the measurement of the fecal levels of elastase (pancreatic exocrine sufficiency), fat, muscle and vegetable fibers, and carbohydrates.
Inflammation can significantly increase intestinal permeability and compromise assimilation of nutrients. The extent of inflammation, whether caused by pathogens or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), can be assessed and monitored by examination of the levels of biomarkers such as lysozyme, lactoferrin, white blood cells and mucus. These markers can be used to differentiate between inflammation associated with potentially life-threatening inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which requires lifelong treatment, and less severe inflammation that can be associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) which is frequently due to the presence of enteroinvasive pathogens. Lactoferrin is only markedly elevated prior to and during the active phases of IBD, but not with IBS. Monitoring fecal lactoferrin levels in patients with IBD can therefore facilitate timely treatment of IBD, and the test can be ordered separately.
The Comprehensive Parasitology component is an important tool for identifying imbalances in intestinal microflora. It includes comprehensive bacteriology and yeast cultures to identify the presence of beneficial flora, imbalanced flora including Clostridium species, and dysbiotic flora, as well as detection of infectious pathogens and evaluation for the presence of parasites. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing to prescriptive and natural agents is also performed for appropriate bacterial and fungal species at no additional charge.This provides the clinician with useful clinical information to help plan an appropriate treatment protocol.
More than just parasites are tested:
- Good and Bad Bacteria
- Infectious pathogens
Parasitology According to Dr. Hermann R. Bueno of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in London, “parasites are the missing diagnosis in the genesis of many chronic health problems, including diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and endocrine system.” While parasitic infection may be an underlying etiological factor in several chronic disease processes, doctors often do not consider the potential for parasitic involvement because signs and symptoms of parasitic infection often resemble those of other diseases. However, it has been shown that parasite testing is a reasonable approach to the detection of causative agents for chronic gastrointestinal disorders. Most Americans are inclined to believe that parasitic infection is a rare and exotic occurrence, limited to those who have traveled to distant, tropical lands. However, for a number of reasons, there has been an increase in the incidence of parasitic infection in this country.
Since the vast majority of secretory IgA (sIgA) is normally present in the GI tract, where it prevents binding of pathogens and antigens to the mucosal membrane, it is essential to know the status of sIgA in the gut. sIgA is the only bona fide marker of humoral immune status in the GI tract.
Cornerstones of good health include proper digestion of food, assimilation of nutrients, exclusion of pathogens and timely elimination of waste. To obtain benefits from food that is consumed, nutrients must be appropriately digested and then efficiently absorbed into portal circulation. Microbes, larger-sized particles of fiber, and undigested foodstuffs should remain within the intestinal lumen. Poor digestion and malabsorption of vital nutrients can contribute to degenerative diseases, compromised immune status and nutritional deficiencies. Impairment of the highly specific nutrient uptake processes, or compromised GI barrier function, as in “leaky gut syndrome,” can result from a number of causes including:
- Low gastric acid production
- Chronic maldigestion
- Food allergen impact on bowel absorptive surfaces
- Bacterial overgrowth or imbalances (dysbiosis)
- Pathogenic bacteria, yeast or parasites and related toxic irritants
Why Use Stool Analysis?
When we get to the root cause and understand the problem it gives us a clear path to follow and it is usually it is only a matter of time before we see the change.
“Gastrointestinal function is important for general health. The intestinal tract contains significant amounts of bacteria; some beneficial, some neutral, and some harmful. Balancing beneficial microbial flora in the gut is key to proper digestion, efficient nutrient usage, and ridding the body of waste and pathogens. Poor digestion and malabsorption can lead to immune dysfunction, nutritional insufficiencies, mental/emotional disorders, and autoimmune diseases. “- Metametrix GI Profile
We mainly use Doctor’s Data Laboratory to do our stool analysis but have used another lab called Metametrix for some specialty testing as well.
Related Testing for GI Disorders