Our digestive tracts are like a garden. We need good soil (lining of our intestines), good seeds/flowers (healthy bacteria), and the right amount of water and kinds of food to keep it healthy.
Stool studies have long helped medical professionals to have insight into digestive problems, parasites, infections, and absorption issues. However, GI map, and stool studies like it, offer a much wider picture of GI and overall health.
What is GI mapping?
GI-MAP assesses stool for the bad guys (bacteria/viruses/fungi/parasites) as well as the good guys (good bacteria/digestive enzymes). It quantifies bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites using qPCR technology and provides levels, not just positive or negative values. These levels help to determine the right therapies, which could include herbal, vitamins, food, and lifestyle changes.
The Garden of Your Gut Analogy
The primary goal of doing a GI map with your provider is to help you feel better. Thinking of your gut as a garden, we want to heal your gut (the garden), increase good bacteria (the flowers), and decrease the bad bacteria (weeds). We accomplish this by supporting you and your gut (the garden), having good soil (decreasing inflammation to help the gut lining be in tip-top shape), and planting/feeding the good stuff (flowers). We may need to "weed" from time to time, but starting slow and making sure your body is tolerating everything helps us to know which intervention is helping you feel better!
Would I be a good candidate for this?
If you have GI issues such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, this test can definitely help you understand what is causing your issues and how to resolve them.
Inflammatory issues: If you have an inflammatory condition, such as arthritis, GI map might give you answers. High levels, or overgrowth, of bacteria, as well as not having enough good bacteria could contribute to arthritis symptoms. Looking at inflammatory markers and reactions to foods like gluten might also help to piece together the complex puzzle when it comes to inflammatory conditions.
Food intolerance: GI map measures the IgA level, which can be an indicator of gluten sensitivity/intolerance. Celiac testing and blood tests can miss gluten intolerance, and GI mapping may provide more insight into intolerances of gluten. Low levels of commensal bacteria such as lactobifida may be why you don't feel so good after eating ice cream or milk products. By getting you on the right eating plan and supplement protocol, you could start to feel better.
Vita Nutrition Services partners with Diagnostic Solutions to offer our clients GI map testing. If you are interested in setting this up, please talk to your dietitian and we would be happy to help you.
Post by Stephanie Long, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator