Genova’s GI Effects Stool Test is the Best

I’m sold on Genova Lab’s GI Effects Stool Test.  It really is the best …and I’ll tell you why.

I’ve been using this lab for over 30 years now, if you can believe that.  They’ve really made great strides in staying up-to-date by including state-of the-art testing options in this test. I started using GI Effects profile a lot recently and find it to be extremely informative.

In previous years, their stool tests that  I ran for my patients were cultures only. Now they make use of PCR testing as well. You see anaerobic organisms don’t grow in culture, so having DNA testing is far more accurate.

What is PCR testing?

DNA Sequencing used in GI Effects Stool test
PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction.

It is used to amplify selected sections of DNA or RNA for analysis. Previously, this procedure required cloning of the segments of interest into vectors for expression in bacteria. It took weeks.

But now, PCR is done in test tubes. It only takes a few hours. This means that this advanced stool test is able to provide immediate, actionable clinical information.

It helps in evaluating the course of action needed to manage various types of gut conditions like irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS, Crohns, Colitis IBD and other Malabsorption Disorders

Their PCR molecular assay is optimized for stool testing. It assesses 24 commensal bacteria associated in scientific literature with health and disease. It gives us valuable insight into the human microbiome.

I’m also very impressed by the enhanced test reporting that they do. On the very first page there’s an overview that you can understand at a glance. It highlights biomarkers in three main areas of gut health: Infection, Inflammation, and Metabolic Imbalance. This makes it very easy for lay people to understand and to see what areas need attention.

I also like that the GI Effects Comprehensive Profile includes very important markers:

(a) Calprotectin.
This is an invaluable biomarker that can effectively differentiate between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

(b) Ova & Parasite Detection.
They use the gold standard for parasite identification.

You can choose as to whether you want a 1 or 3 day collection, based on how likely there is an issue relating to parasitic infection.

If low or no suspicion of parasites, then a one day sample is adequate.

Only if there is a high likelihood of parasites that a 3-day sample collection is needed.

Add-On Options to GI Effects Stool Test

I like the way they make certain valuable add-ons available.

Some pathogenic bacteria testing can be extremely expensive. So, by excluding them in the original test, but offering them as ‘add-on’s’ is a great idea.

The specific bacteria add-on tests that can be run are:

  • Clostridium difficile,
  • Campylobacter,
  • Escherichia coli EIA,
  • Helicobacter pylori EIA and
  • Fecal Lactoferrin.

Zonulin Tests for Intestinal Permeability

Their most recent add-on is Zonulin.

Zonulin is a protein modulator of intestinal tight junctions that is used to assess intestinal permeability.

Up until now, the only way we could test for intestinal permeability was by using a stand alone test … another expense and not a very pleasant procedure.

We had to drink pre-measured amounts of lactulose and mannitol and then evaluate the degree of intestinal permeability or malabsorption that was reflected in the levels of the two sugars recovered in a urine sample that needed to be collected over the next 6 hours.

We know from recent peer-reviewed literature about the significant role that intestinal permeability plays in many chronic gut problems, particularly Leaky Gut with symptoms like bloating, gas and cramps.

Intestinal Permeability will also have an impact on IBS, food sensitivities, joint pains, skin rashes and auto immune conditions.

Then there’s added problems associated with intestinal permeability for Cardio-metabolic diseases like type 1 and 2 diabetes, obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and even insulin resistance.

Being able to add the Zonulin test on to the GI Effects Profile is a win. One less test, added financial savings and less hassle.

 

5 Reasons to Take Prebiotics

Our gut health is the cornerstone of a strong healthy body, immune system and optimal brain function. Supplementing our diet with probiotics is good for keeping our bacteria in balance. We want an abundance of good bacteria to crowd out the bad bacteria. Prebiotics are the best way to feed to your good bacteria.

While it’s very important to take prebiotics to feed our probiotics, there’s compelling new research showing that prebiotics benefit our systems in many other ways.

Prebiotics have now become an important consideration in maintaining gut health.

Five Reasons You Should be Taking Prebiotics

  • Reduces Food Cravings
  • Intestinal Health – prebiotics increase bulk in stools & shorten the transit time in the intestines
  • Reduces Inflammation – encourages the growth of good gut bacteria which reduces symptoms associated with IBS, Crohn’s and IBD
  • Lowers Cholesterol – aids in the break down of cholesterol in the GI tract.
  • Strengthens Immune System – provides food for probiotics which increases good gut bugs.

Let’s talk about the benefit that prebiotics help with food cravings.

Recently Dr. Oz interviewed Dr. Frank Lipman who told us much more about this and how it actually works.

Dr. Lipman is considered a pioneer in functional and integrative medicine who has helped thousands of people increase their energy by combining modern medicine with alternative medicine.

Dr. Lipman is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City and an author of many New York Times-bestselling books.

Dr. Frank Lipman on why you should take prebioticsThere is an exciting new body of research from a 2016 study done by the University of Glasgow which shows that chemicals produced in the colon when eating fiber effect food cravings. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) produced through fermentation of non-digestible carbohydrates in the gut have a positive metabolic impact on our appetite. 

This study shows how fiber can help with the most common barrier to weight loss..food cravings! Click Here to see the full interview.

Just as all probiotics are not the same, not all prebiotics are the same. The prebiotic that we like the best is PHGG. That stands for Partially Hydrolyzed Guar Gum.

Why PHGG

This prebiotic fiber is unique in comparison to other non galactomannan based fibers.

A prebiotic fiber is one that produces “short chain fatty acids” (SCFA) in the gut. The rate of production of SCFA’s is very important. They are produced via a fermentation process. If the fermentation happens rapidly (like inulin and others) the result is a lot of physically uncomfortable bloating and socially uncomfortable flatulence.

The fermentation process of PHGG is extremely slow in comparison to other fibers, so there is much more time to produce a higher total amount of SCFA’s and they are produced slowly, so there is much less gas and discomfort.

In a twelve week study done by The Department of Gastroenterology, Sapir Medical Center, Kfar-Saba, Israel in 2016  the results showed that PHGG helps Irritable Bowel Syndrome, with increases in the concentration of bifidobacterium and lactobacilli species and increases short-chain fatty acids in the colon. It also showed to have a positive effect on reducing blood cholesterol, controlling blood sugar levels and reducing acute diarrhea.

More about Short Chain Fatty Acids

There are basically three main types of Short Chain Fatty Acids – SCFA.

They are Acetates, Propionates, and Butyrates.

Of the 3 types of SCFA, the acetates and propionates are beneficial, but they tend to transfer through the walls of the intestine and get metabolized in muscle or liver.

Its only the Butyrates that remain in the digestive system and act as a food, energy source for the beneficial microflora.

If you are looking for a prebiotic derived from PHGG try taking Perfect Pass Prebiotic. It’s the best way to insure you are getting the most out of your probiotics. Right now take 15% off PerfectPass Probiotic when you buy it together with PerfectPass Prebiotic

 

At Home Testing for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

How do You Know if You Have Irritable Bowel Syndrome IBS or other Chronic Digestion Issues?

At home diagnostic testing can help you uncover the cause of poor digestion. If you have problems with bloating, constipation, stomach cramps and irregular bowel movements this is a red flag!

Your body is telling you that something is off with your digestion. We know that our digestion is the key to good health both physical and mental.

So, what should you do when you experience symptoms?

Do you have Irritable Bowel Syndrome?Diagnostic testing should be the first step towards addressing what is at the root of your imbalance.

Just recently, a study led by Frederik-Jan van Schooten, PhD, found that a breath test had an 89.4% success rate in predicting IBS on a group of 170 subjects.

“Now we know which chemicals in breath have diagnostic information that we can use to develop noninvasive tools to follow the disease and to steer therapeutic interventions. The article said that testing can make a huge difference in the quality of life for those suffering with gastrointestinal disorders. 

Home Testing for Irritable Bowel Syndrome

At home tests are non-invasive and simple to use; most require urine, saliva or stool samples. A few do require you to have blood drawn and that should be done at a clinic. These tests are a great way to gain knowledge and empower yourself to treat the cause of what is out of balance.

Once you learn of your imbalances and make the necessary changes you can monitor your own progress to keep yourself in optimal health.

 

Crohn’s Disease vs. IBS

Crohn’s disease affects more than half a million people in the United States, while anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the population has irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The two conditions are very different, although they affect the same area of the body.

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of the digestive system and can affect any area of the GI track, from the mouth to the anus, although it most often affects the end of the small intestine and the start of the colon. Crohn’s disease is included in a group of conditions collectively known as inflammatory bowel disease.

Symptoms of active Crohn’s disease include diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloody stool, fever, and fatigue. Reduced appetite and weight loss are also symptoms of Crohn’s disease, which can only be diagnosed by a doctor. Research is mixed, but there may be a link between Crohn’s disease and later development of colorectal cancer.

Complications from Crohn’s disease may include ulcers on the walls of the intestine, holes in the bowel, abscess in the abdomen, pelvis or anal area, or even a narrowing of the intestine caused by scarring. Individuals with Crohn’s disease may not absorb nutrients properly.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is not the same as irritable bowel disease, IBD, which is the category of conditions into which Crohn’s disease falls. IBS does not cause inflammation, but does involve a change in bowel function.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, or some combination of the two. Many individuals can control IBS with medication and changes in diet. Stress and hormones may trigger episodes of IBS. This chronic condition does not increase one’s risk for colorectal cancer or cause changes in bowel tissue, unlike Crohn’s disease and related conditions.

Doctors can determine whether the symptoms one is experiencing are from IBS or Crohn’s disease and develop a treatment plan that helps a patient to control his or her symptoms.

Does Salmonella Cause IBS?

salmonella and ibs
ibs

If you’re struggling with bothersome IBS symptoms, you’re not alone. Estimates show that 10 to 20 percent of the Western population has IBS symptoms at any given time. IBS is also responsible for 10 percent of primary care doctor visits, and 25 to 50 percent of gastroenterology referrals.

IBS Bug?

IBS is classified as a functional disorder, meaning that it is not caused by a structural abnormality in the gut. While factors such as stress and poor diet can contribute to a flare of IBS symptoms, they are also not causative factors.

Instead, a body of research dating back to the 1950s has observed the onset of IBS symptoms after food-borne illness caused by salmonella, or “food poisoning.” If you’ve ever suffered the misery of fever, diarrhea, and vomiting after ingesting questionable food, chances are salmonella was the culprit.

Studies estimate that 7-31 percent of people who have experienced bacterial or viral gastroenteritis (sometimes known as “stomach flu”) go on to develop IBS.

Furthermore, eight studies published between 1950 and 2005 found a positive relationship between gastrointestinal infection and the onset of IBS symptoms in six of the eight studies analyzed.

IBS Mechanisms

Although the exact mechanism isn’t known, there is evidence to suggest that changes in the gut flora could be to blame for IBS. Bacterial infections such as salmonella can damage gut flora and change the delicate balance between “friendly” bacteria and harmful bacteria. This chain of events can pave the way for the development of post-infectious IBS.

Antibiotic treatment for intestinal bacterial infections can also alter the gut flora, leading to antibiotic-induced diarrhea and cramping. These symptoms arise because the antibiotic kills all bacteria in the digestive tract, including the healthy bacteria our bodies need to fight off viral and bacterial infections.

Risk Factors

However, not everyone who has experienced gastrointestinal infections will go on to develop post-infectious IBS. Researchers have isolated several common risk factors in the development of post-infectious IBS:

  • Severity and duration of the infection
  • Whether or not the person had bloody stools
  • Whether or not the person is female

Treatment of IBS

Treatment strategies have traditionally involved anti-spasmodic drugs, fiber supplements, and pain medications. However, these strategies don’t address the underlying cause of the IBS symptoms: alterations or damage to the gut flora.

The most effective treatment for IBS involves adopting a healthy diet rich in whole foods and supplementing with both prebiotic and probiotic formulas. By combining healthy foods and supplements, your body will get the nutritional support it needs to replenish damaged gut flora and to restore normal bowel function.

While IBS can be a consequence of the Western lifestyle, culprits such as salmonella can also bring about IBS symptoms by altering or damaging the delicate gut flora.

By adopting a healthy diet and supplementing with high-quality prebiotic and probiotic formulas, you can reduce or eliminate IBS symptoms altogether. Even with a history of salmonella infection, IBS need not be an inevitable consequence, especially with the right interventions and lifestyle adjustments at hand.