Microbiome testing can help you get to the root cause of your bloating, constipation, diarrhoea and cramping, all without the guess work. 

Microbiome testing could give you the insight you’re looking for to help you discover the underlying cause to your ongoing digestive symptoms.

From detecting the microbial diversity of your gut ecosystem, the presence of leaky gut syndrome, to understanding how well your microbiome can breakdown fibre, fat and protein it leaves no stone unturned.

Through microbiome testing, you can learn how healthy your digestive system really is, and take some specific and tailored steps towards a healthier digestive system.

The Insights of Microbiome Testing

1. Microbial diversity – how many types of good bacteria do you have?

Microbiome testing, can assess the diversity of bacteria that are living in your digestive system. The goal is to have a high diversity of microorganisms in your digestive system for long term gut health as well as healthy ageing.

Centenarians have been shown to have a microbial diversity of a 30 year old, compared to the general aging population, showing that there is a possible link between digestive health and longevity.

The higher your microbial diversity, the more resilient your digestive system is to bad bacteria (dysbiotic bacteria) that can create inflammation and havoc in your digestive system.

Both Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)  and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) are associated with gut microbiota changes towards higher levels of bad bacteria and lower diversity of beneficial bacteria. (1)

2. How well do you break down carbohydrates, fat, fibre and protein?

Have you ever felt like you can’t digest red meat, eggs or fatty foods very well? How about raw, fibrous salads? Certain foods might make you feel nauseous or uneasy just thinking about it.

The reason for this aversion could be down to the microbes that you have inhabiting your digestive system. Certain species of bacteria are responsible for breaking down protein, fat and fibre.

Microbiome testing can also provide markers on pancreatic elastase and steatocrit assessing your ability to breakdown carbohydrates, fibrous foods and fat.

If your pancreatic elastase levels are too low, or your steatocrit is too high (poor fat absorption) it can lead to symptoms such as bloating, excess gas production, or diarrhoea.

Having insights into the type of microbes that live in your digestive system as well as the quality of your digestion, can really help to better understand your digestive health and guide your practitioner to a tailored treatment plan to resolve your unwanted digestive symptoms.


3. Do you have leaky gut syndrome? 

Leaky gut syndrome is where the lining of the gut mucosal lining starts to break down, allowing undigested food particles, bacteria and toxins to cross the wall of the gut lining into the blood stream.

Leaky gut syndrome has been associated with a number of health conditions such as:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Allergies, Asthma and Eczema
  • Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and Celiac Disease
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Autoimmune diseases: IBD, Psoriasis, SLE, Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis

A marker of leaky gut syndrome called zonulin can be tested through a complete microbiome map to determine if leaky gut syndrome is present or not.

4. Markers associated with bloating, IBS and constipation

If you’re experiencing constant bloating or irregular bowel motions such as alternating constipation and diarrhoea, understanding key negative markers that can impact your digestive health will help to direct your gut treatment.

For example excess production of hydrogen sulfide, a type of gas produced by specific microbes such as Bilophila wadsworthia, is associated with significant bloating and pain.

Another metabolite called methane is associated with constipation and poor gut motility.

Hexa lipopolysaccharide is another parameter that can be tested via microbiome testing which is a potent toxin produced by gram negative bacteria. If elevated, lipopolysaccharide can cause mucosal inflammation, leaky gut syndrome, and has been linked to type 2 diabetes, low mood, anxiety as well as cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Your ability to produce Butyrate an anti-inflammatory compound

Did you know that your bacteria living in your large intestine produce protective compounds when they break down fibre?

When you eat adequate amounts of fibre, your microbes will ferment this fibre producing a compound called short chain fatty acids which provide great benefits to your digestive health and wellness.

One of the most well researched short chain fatty acids is a compound called butyrate. Butyrate has been shown to provide the following health benefits:

  • Reduce inflammation in the gut mucosal lining.
  • Maintain the health of your gut barrier, and reducing the risk of leaky gut syndrome.
  • Increase your immune defences against infection.
  • Maintaining healthy glucose/blood sugar levels, reducing your incidence of diabetes.

If you aren’t eating adequate amounts of fibre and prebiotic rich foods, you won’t be feeding your beneficial bacteria which means you won’t reap the benefits of short chain fatty acids like butyrate.

For long term digestive health, it’s really important to ensure you are eating a wide variety of fibre rich foods and prebiotic foods to enhance your butyrate production.

Can’t tolerate high fibre foods or raw salads?

If you find that eating higher fibre foods and raw vegetables makes you feel uncomfortable and bloated, you may want to check out this article to understand the common causes to abdominal bloating, to have a better understanding of why that is the case.

For long term digestive health it’s important to be able to eat a variety of vegetables without the bloat, so getting to the underlying cause is important so that you can increase your plant diversity.

Improve your gut health 

Your microbiome is constantly changing depending on the food you eat, stress levels, medications such as antibiotics, sleep quality and even exercise.

Once you have a baseline of your microbiome health through testing, you can make positive steps that will influence your microbes in a positive way, increasing microbial diversity and shifting it towards a better state of balance.

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