I wanted to let patients know there is a stool test that is available at Parallel Wellness now. Rocky Mountain Analytical labs is doing the testing in Alberta. This “Gut Well” test provides information on the function of the gastrointestinal tract. Reports go into multiple aspects of digestive health including digestion and absorption capacity, gut ecology which looks at pancreatic exocrine function and fecal fat, inflammation, immune function and pathogens present such as bacteria or parasites. Why would you want to do this testing? If you were suffering from unresolved stomach pain, bloating, nausea or vomiting, weight loss, experience fatty or foul smelling stools, have come back from a vacation with GI symptoms such as diarrhea and are wondering if you picked up a bug.
Stool testing can also be useful to look at short chain fatty acid status which are biomarkers of overall colon health. Butyrate, for instance, is a short chain fatty acid that is a preferred food source of colonic cells. If you have lower butyrate levels you may have a slow transit time in your gut. Levels of butyrate can influence gut integrity and barrier function which is critical in treating autoimmune disease. Butyrate may also have anti-inflammatory potential that can influence overall gut ecology. Doing stool testing may be wise if you have colon cancer in your family history. Colon cancer risk is influenced by the balance between microbial production of health promoting metabolites such as butyrate and potentially carcinogenic metabolites such as secondary bile acids.
Secretory IgA is our first line of defence against entry of enteric toxins and pathogenic bacteria. It is a good marker of barrier integrity. Stool testing looks at amount of Secretory IgA.
For more information on the Gut Well stool test, please see Dr. Vinge at Parallel Wellness.