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Gut Health.

Think twice about your “Second Brain.”

The health of your gastrointestinal system is extremely important to your overall well-being. Largely responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems, beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention your overall mental health

Often referred to as your body’s “Second Brain,” gut health management is important in order to maintain proper balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria.  Imbalance results in gut dysbiosis which can be linked to directly to GI irritation and bowel disorders, but also indirectly and less obviously to autoimmune diseases, mental issues such as depression and anxiety, and symptoms like headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and immune system weakness.

Gut Health Details.

What is gut health?

Living inside of your gut are 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria containing nearly 2 million genes. Paired with other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi, they make what’s known as the microbiota, or the microbiome.

Like a fingerprint, each person’s microbiota is unique: The mix of bacteria in your body is different from everyone else’s mix. It’s determined partly by your mother’s microbiota — the environment that you’re exposed to at birth — and partly from your diet and lifestyle.

Why is gut health important?

Gut microbes are codependent with one another and with their human host, and the health of one affects the other. A sizeable volume of research associates a dysbiotic, or imbalanced gut microbiome with multiple disease states both within and outside of the GI tract.  The diverse metabolic activities of the microbiome ultimately impact the human host, and the activities of the human host ultimately affect the health of their microbiome.

The health of your gastrointestinal system is extremely important to your overall well-being. Largely responsible for the critical functions of the body’s digestive and immune systems, beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, digestion, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention your overall mental health.  For example, more than 90% of our body’s serotonin – an important neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sleep, memory, temperature regulation, appetite, sex drive, and more – is produced in our gut.

What do I test for with the gut health program?

Through our lab partners Genova Diagnostics, under the gut health program, we will provide a comprehensive assessment of complete GI health, assessing the root cause of most gut complaints. Results will be reported across the following four pillars:

  • Infection -This pillar is where common infectious microorganisms are reported and includes pathogenic bacteria and intestinal parasites.
  • Inflammation -This pillar is where biomarkers that indicate inflammatory changes in the GI tract are reported.  Biomarkers of GI inflammation and immunology provide information about the GI tract’s interactions with, and responses to, the outside world. They indicate how well the GI tract is maintaining its role as a barrier, as well as whether the GI tract is undergoing pathological responses to external or internal challenges.
  • Insufficiency – This pillar is where biomarkers that indicate digestive function are noted. Biomarkers of digestion and absorption provide information about nutrient breakdown and entry into the circulation. They ultimately indicate how well the GI tract is performing its basic digestive functions.
  • Imbalance – This pillar is where imbalances in the population of GI organisms (i.e., dysbiosis) is noted. Biomarkers of the GI Microbiome provide information about the health, function, and abundance of the trillions of microbial cells in the GI tract. They indicate how well the microbiome is performing its shared metabolic functions with the human host. Abnormal results in this pillar may be associated with a large number of conditions and symptoms.

How are these tests performed?

Via a small stool sample, the laboratory uses a combination of PCR, culture, and microscopic methods to ensure any and all relevant organisms are identified and measured.  Your  live organisms (yeast and bacteria) are recovered for susceptibility testing and improved treatment options, and the metabolomics within your gut are measured to asses the interaction between the microbiome and its host.

What can I do with this information?

In addition to the breakdown of your microbiome across the above four pillars, you will get a Commensal Balance score designed to provide a more precise view of an individual patient’s commensal bacteria (PCR) results relative to a healthy gut.

You will also get a Clinical Associations chart which compares the results of your test to a GI Effects test-results database in patients with self-reported clinical conditions to indicate your relative gut health as associated with the following conditions:
  • Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Auto-Immune Dysfunction
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Mood Disorders
With this information, you and our medical practitioners will tailor further workups, treatment programs and/or diet and lifestyle changes to bring your gut health into balance and help address your health conditions.

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