Gut Health Testing is a popular option for many people, but the truth is that it is only sometimes helpful. While it can benefit many people with various conditions, it can also be unhelpful and fraudulent. Here’s what you should know about gut health testing.
Help Diagnose IBD
If you suspect you have IBD, your doctor may recommend the gut health test to determine your type of condition. The doctor will also examine your abdomen to assess the presence of inflammation. While these tests cannot confirm that you have IBD, they can rule out other conditions that may cause similar symptoms. The results are typically available within one to two days.
A CT scan is an X-ray series of your internal organs. The test is painless and involves little or no bleeding. This helps to rule out complications associated with IBD, such as fistulas and intra-abdominal abscesses.
It Can Be Expensive
A stool test is a standard diagnostic test for gut health. It’s sometimes recommended by a doctor and often performed on the NHS. These tests generally detect specific pathologies and confirm the presence of certain bacteria or parasites. Private gut health tests, however, can reveal more about the balance of microbes in the gut. This information may help determine whether a patient has a healthy gut microbiome, which is essential for balancing inflammation and synthesizing specific vitamins. In addition, a healthy gut microbiome can synthesize short-chain fatty acids from the indigestible fiber.
Gut health testing is becoming more affordable with the development of new sequencing technologies. Until recently, getting a test performed at a lab would have required a visit to a doctor’s office. The cost of such tests is typically only a few hundred dollars. Moreover, you can take the results of these tests to your doctor at the same time as your GI visit so that you can discuss your results with them.
Microbiome Testing is Not Recommended By The NHS in The UK.
While some evidence supports the benefits of microbiome testing, NHS providers do not recommend it. While the NHS does not offer the test, it is a private service that most GPs can offer. The results will tell you the overall health of your microbiome and highlight potential pathogen overgrowth and inflammatory profiles. However, it is essential to note that microbiome profiles constantly change and may not reflect what’s happening in your body. The results will typically identify a species or genera of bacteria and rarely individual strains.
The reports will also advise you on which foods and supplements to eat to support a healthy microbiome. For example, high-fiber foods will encourage the growth of ‘good’ bacteria, while sugary, processed, and fermented foods will promote the development of ‘bad’ bacteria. In addition, probiotic supplements can help balance the levels of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ microbes in the gut.
Unhelpful or Even Fraudulent
Gut health testing can be helpful, but it is essential to remember that some tests are inaccurate or fraudulent. The most common way of viewing gut health is with stool tests, which can provide a broad overview of gut bacteria. Another type of gut health test is whole genome sequencing, or “shotgun sequencing” for short. This type of testing is more comprehensive and can detect parasites, fungi, viruses, and yeast cells.
Currently, gut health testing methods lack accuracy, but scientists are still trying to learn how to best interpret the results. As a result, two companies using the same sample may come up with two reports. This is because each company uses other methods for analyzing a model and has different “genomic libraries,” which are libraries of fragments of DNA from various microorganisms.
Help Control Blood Sugar Levels And Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, you should know about your gut health. Gut health is critical for controlling blood sugar levels and preventing other conditions related to the disease. You can check your stories by getting a blood sugar test. It is a highly accurate test that measures average blood sugar levels over some time. It is important to remember that your blood sugar level should not exceed 100 mg/dL. If your results are higher than this, you might be pre-diabetic.
An unmanaged gut microbiome can raise blood sugar levels and worsen insulin resistance. It can also hurt your hunger signals. This can result in bingeing and weight gain.