If you have a digestive/gut-related condition, you may be overwhelmed by the different testing options out there. There are ones you can get your medical doctor to run, and there are others through naturopathic doctors and nutritionists that can be quite costly, but also give you a lot of key information. Here are some key tests that you may have heard of.
This is a comprehensive test that tests for bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens. This DNA-based test means that the results look at the levels of "pathogenic strains carrying the toxic genes not the levels of any toxins that may be produced" (1).
Here is what is tests for (1):
C. difficile Toxin A
C. difficile Toxin B
Enterohemorrhagic E. coli
E. coli O157
Enteroinvasive E. coli/Shigella
Enterotoxigenic E. coli LT/ST
Shiga-like Toxin E. coli stx1
Shiga-like Toxin E. coli stx2
Check out this sample report here!
Food Sensitivity Test
For the purpose of this blog, I am going to focus on the Rocky Mountain Analytical IgG Food Sensitivity test as it tends to be one of the most common ones out there. This test is commonly ordered for individuals experiencing digestive upset. Some other reasons the test may be ordered is if someone is experiencing an autoimmune condition, poor skin health, even headaches, achy joints and muscles and more.
The difference between a food sensitivity and a food allergy is that a food allergy is am immediate reaction caused by IgE antibodies whereas food sensitivities are delayed and caused by IgG antibodies in specific foods (2).
This test requires bloodwork. When you get your results back you will have a form that organizes foods based on whether they have normal, borderline or elevated ranges. From there a health care practitioner may put you on a protocol to help support gut health and remove elevated foods for a period of time.
If you are curious about what the test results look like, click here!
Comprehensive Stool Analysis
According to The Great Plains Laboratory, Inc., a Comprehensive Stool Analysis: "...detects the presence of pathogenic microorganisms such as yeast, parasites, and bacteria that contribute to chronic illness and neurological dysfunction. It provides helpful information about prescription and natural products effective against specific strains detected in the sample. The test also evaluates beneficial bacteria levels, intestinal immune function, overall intestinal health, and inflammation markers (3)".
The test includes (1):
parameters for digestion & absorption
Cultures for bacteria and yeast
Stool metabolic markers
Methane/Hydrogen Breath Test
These breath tests are typically run when a health care practitioner believes the patient may have SIBO, or if it's believed that the patient is having a hard time digesting sugars like lactose and fructose. What happens is that bacteria produce hydrogen when there is undigested foods, sugars, and carbohydrates.
H. Pylori Test
According to HealthLink BC, these are the following ways you can test for H. Pylori (4):
Blood antibody test is a blood test that looks for antibodies that were made to H. Pylori bacteria
Urea breath test is used to see if H. Pylori bacteria is in your stomach
Stool antigen test is a stool sample that looks to see if there are substances in your fees that trigger the immune system to fight H. pylori.
Stomach biopsy is when a small sample is taken from stomach and small intestine
Organic Acids Test
This test is a urine sample that measures organic acids which are: "...are chemical compounds excreted in the urine of mammals that are products of metabolism... (5). This test evaluates intestinal yeast and bacteria as well as nutritional deficiencies, fatty acid metabolism and more (5).