At Aspire Regenerative, we know that good health starts from within. The GI tract and digestive system play a key role in maintaining optimal wellness, but all too often, things like diet, stress or illness can throw things off balance. Since the gut is home to trillions of microorganisms that keep us healthy, when something impacts this system, it can have far-reaching effects that increase our risk of illness or disease. But how can you tell what’s going on inside of your digestive tract?
Fortunately, there is a way to analyze your gut health with GI-map testing. This tool provides a quick, easy way to assess your intestinal flora and identify any harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or pathogens that are causing problems. Whether you’re looking to improve your overall wellness or discover the root cause of chronic illnesses, GI-map testing provides a glimpse of your gut’s microbiome and helps our experts develop a holistic, integrated treatment plan for navigating or resolving your health concerns.
The Importance of Good Gut Health
Your GI tract does much more than help digest food and nutrients. A healthy gut is home to a thriving microbiome of beneficial bacteria and immune cells that perform a number of specialized functions, such as warding off infection, communicating with the brain, providing energy and regulating hormone levels. Our body has an important, symbiotic relationship with these microorganisms, but maintaining the right balance is crucial for optimal wellness.
That’s because both good and bad bacteria are present in the gut. Good bacteria feed on fiber in our diet, while bad bacteria help break down simple sugars and processed foods. Normally, the good bacteria keep others in check, but certain factors such as stress, diet, lifestyle and/or infection can disrupt this equilibrium and favor harmful pathogens that make us sick. In addition to the balance of bacteria, our gut health can also be affected by infection, viruses, parasites, or fungi.
The gut microbiome is so important to our overall health that some experts consider it to be another organ, despite being made up of distinct and varied microorganisms. And like any other organ, it has the ability to make us feel unwell if not properly nurtured or cared for. GI-map testing can help you better understand and analyze your gut health so you can take charge of your health and get to the bottom of unwanted symptoms.
What is the GI-Map Test Used For?
GI-map testing is used to determine if harmful pathogens or microbes are present in your GI tract and affecting your overall health. It works by analyzing a stool sample and measuring intestinal flora DNA with advanced, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) technology. Gut health assessments can help chronically ill patients get a diagnosis or better understand their symptoms, but they can also be used in healthy individuals to achieve optimal wellness. Some common conditions that can benefit from GI-map testing include:
- Digestive problems, including chronic constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, bloating, stomach pain, leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and more.
- Fatigue, especially when it occurs with other digestive symptoms.
- Mood disorders like anxiety or depression, which can be highly influenced by gut microbiota that secrete neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin and acetylcholine.
- Autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammation, as gut flora helps to strengthen and maintain balance in the immune system.
- Inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema or dermatitis.
- Hormonal imbalances, since poor gut health can affect hormonal regulation.
The GI-map test is helpful in determining if the microbes in your gut are acting as autoimmune triggers and causing issues such as illness, inflammation, malabsorption and more. It identifies both good and bad bacteria, as well as the presence of parasites, viruses, fungi and opportunistic pathogens. Your results provide an in-depth look at your gut flora and can shed light on some of your biggest health concerns so you can start feeling your best again.
What Else Can the GI-Map Test Assess?
In addition to testing for harmful pathogens, normal flora and other microorganisms, GI-map testing also examines all relevant markers of good gut health, including:
- Elastase — Enzyme that helps break down fats, proteins and carbs.
- Steatocrit — Helps measure how effectively fat is absorbed
- Calprotectin — Measures the level of inflammation in the gut
- Zonulin (GI-MAP add on test) — Indicates impaired gut barrier function (leaky gut)
- Anti-gliadin SlgA and SIgA — Antibodies that can help detect food intolerances
- Beta-glucuronidase — An enzyme that can cause toxins to recirculate
- Occult blood — Detects hidden blood in stool
By evaluating these markers, the GI-map test provides more comprehensive results that give your doctor deeper insight and understanding of your overall gut health. This makes it one of the most effective stool tests available for our La Jolla area patients interested in a better approach to enhancing their wellness and improving the symptoms of digestive, metabolic, autoimmune and inflammatory illnesses or diseases.
How Does GI-Map Testing Work?
The first step to better gut health is to determine if you’re a good candidate for GI-map testing. This can be achieved through a consultation with one of our experienced practitioners. Then, a test kit will be delivered to your home, where you’ll collect and submit a stool sample as instructed. Our providers may also advise that you stop taking certain supplements that could interfere with your results, such as probiotics, antacids or digestive enzymes.
Once a sample has been collected, it will be sent to a lab for analysis. The findings will then be compiled and reported back within a few weeks. Your GI-map test results will serve as a roadmap that helps our doctors develop a personalized holistic treatment plan for improving your gut health and addressing the root cause of your digestive symptoms.
Schedule a Consultation
Gut health is important for everyone, helping to keep the mind and body functioning optimally. If you aren’t feeling your best or want to identify the cause of unwanted symptoms like bloating, inflammation or fatigue, GI-map testing can help you figure out what’s going on and improve your general sense of well-being. If you’re interested in learning more, book a consultation at Aspire Regenerative in San Diego and take charge of your health.