As a nutritionist, I’m big on poop. I want to talk about it for sure. And I might want you to do a stool test. Why?
Your poop can tell me a lot about 2 things: the health of your GI tract as well as clues for overall health.
Your pooh is a BIG puzzle piece in terms of connecting the dots & optimizing your health. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gas, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation (or all of the above!) and you were my patient, I would definitely recommend a stool test for you.
If you had anxiety, depression, fatigue, joint pain, or moodiness I might still recommend a stool test! Keep reading!
You may have heard about how important the gut is for health.
#1 The GI Tract (gut) is our barrier to the outside world. Meaning we eat food but it should stay INSIDE your GI tract and not spill through the cell walls. Your gut comes into contact with all kinds of things: foods, chemicals, bacteria, fungi, viruses, junk food, heavy metals, and medications just to name a few things! If the cell walls DO become permeable, then Houston, we have a problem! And a stool test is the first step in figuring this out.
#2 The GI Tract isn’t just our protection from the outside world. It is also responsible for absorption of nutrients and thus it has a major role in our health! As we eat, the GI tract helps us break our food down into smaller molecules and then absorb these molecules to produce energy so we can raise our arm, repair tissue, build muscle, create new white and red blood cells, and/or make neurotransmitters. Life doesn’t exist without ATP – the fuel that the body produces as a result of the food we eat. (PS – It’s why food really is medicine! It’s hard to make neurotransmitters or strong muscles with french fries or chips & soda!)
#3 The gut also helps the body eliminate waste via bile produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. Without the technical details, you should just know that your stool is one of the five ways we excrete the toxins of the world!
As you can now see, gut health is critical to optimal health!
A Leaky Gut = all sorts of health problems since food isn’t supposed to circulate our body.
(A leaky gut also opens the door to auto immune conditions.)
Without optimal absorption, our body doesn’t have the raw materials to do its’ jobs.
If we sacrifice one of the 5 ways we detoxify, we’re probably accumulating toxins.
A common scenario I see in my practice is that my patients have an imbalance in their gut flora and then he/she presents with fatigue, brain fog, joint pain, hypothyroidism (T4 converts to T3 in a healthy gut), mental health conditions since neurotransmitters are largely made in the gut, IBS, skin issues, or on the extreme end of the spectrum it can manifest as one or more auto immune diseases.
How so? Our microflora “talks” to other organ systems, including our immune system. Our microflora tell our immune system whether they should be on high alert, or stand down. And if everyone is mad, it creates inflammation so think of your angry neighbor barking at you 24/7!
What influences our microflora you ask? Some aren’t vaginally born for a variety of reasons and so didn’t get mom’s beneficial microflora. Or, maybe mom didn’t have optimal microflora and so you inherited a weak foot to start on. Maybe we didn’t get breast fed which also helps colonize the microflora. Or maybe we had a lot of ear (or other) infections and have been on a lot of antibiotics which wreak havoc on our microflora. And let’s not even start on the effects of chlorinated water and steroids on gut flora! Lots of things in life influence our microflora for better or worse.
In any scenario, dysbiosis can be a result and it can have multiple, downstream effects!
Many symptoms caused by dysbiosis are not directly due to the bacteria, but are a result of the body’s immune response and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines that may, in turn, lead to alterations in neuro-psychological and endocrine functions. In simple terms, that means you don’t feel well – from head to toe! Remember I said I might do a stool test on you even if you complain of depression or anxiety? Neurotransmitters are made in the GI tract so your emotional well being depends on the health of your gut!
It’s really why, as “just” a nutritionist, I can help so many people! If I fix someone’s gut, multiple health conditions improve!
The stool test that I use in my functional medicine practice is the GI Effects (GIfx). It is a cutting-edge test that tells me about the good bugs, the bad bugs, whether there is inflammation present or not, and digestive capabilities. Simply put, it tells me about your GI function! With a simple DIY-at-home- stool collection, we will get the answers I need to get my patients feeling better, fast.
The GI Effects profile helps me get to the bottom of these common symptoms and illnesses:
- Abdominal pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Food sensitivities
If you saw your western trained provider for any of these conditions, he/she may have recommended a colonoscopy or an endoscopy. These exams use a camera to look around the GI tract for ulcers, polyps, inflammation, and other damage to the gut. These tests are necessary to rule out conditions like Crohns, Ulcerative Colitis and such, but low-grade, chronic GI symptoms don’t always show up. That’s where my kind of testing can really shine!
The GIfx will tell us what is going on inside your gut without having to go in for invasive procedures. It’s just a DIY poop test, performed in the privacy of your own home! I’d like to clarify that depending on your signs and symptoms, it can be paramount to rule in or rule out the above mentioned acute conditions. But when you’ve expired all your options to no avail, a test like the GIfx can really get to the root cause of your health conditions. GI Effects Sample Report
Let’s meet a former patient who had a plethora of health conditions and it made sense to do a stool test for her, among other things. The results indicated Susan had a +3 yeast overgrowth which then creates inflammation and contributes to that leaky gut I alluded to. Leaky guts play a role in auto immune diseases and in fact, Susan did have at least one known auto immune disease and we both suspected a 2nd. After we reviewed the test results together, I developed a treatment plan to get Susan on the road to recovery. I use a combination of “killers” (aka anti-microbial herbs) and a low-sugar diet to reduce the ability for yeast to live. Today, Susan is healthy and happy. Read Susan’s story here.
Typically, when we optimize gut health, we optimize overall health. It’s that important! Patients report improved energy, skin tone, mental clarity, and they sleep better too. At times, it lowers their need for prescription meds as well.
Remember, the gut is the CORNERSTONE of overall, optimal health!
Bottom line? The GI Effects takes the guesswork out of GI issues!
Need help with YOUR health? Let’s do a Get Acquainted session!
Wishing you optimal health,