When’s the last time you experienced issues like stomach upset, unintentional weight changes, sleeplessness, constant fatigue, skin irritations, food intolerance, constipation, diarrhea, mood disorders, poor concentration, and acne?
If your answer is ‘almost every day,’ then chances are high that your gut is unhealthy. The above-mentioned are actually symptoms of an unhealthy gut. And, as you can see, they can affect every sphere of your life; talk about family life, productivity at your workplace, social interactions—name it!
What’s The Solution?
As such, the need for a healthy gut can’t be overemphasized. The first step you should take is carrying out a test to determine the exact status of your gut health. There are several ways to test gut health, including, but not limited to. the following:
- Lactulose breath test: This is especially useful for those with severe bloating and small intestine bacterial overgrowth. Replace your normal diet with sugary drinks for 24 hours. The amount of hydrogen and/or methane gas in your breath indicates the level of bad bacteria in your gut.
- The beet test: This makes use of beetroot traces in stool to analyze how long food stays in your gut before it passes out. Eat raw beetroot and observe how long it takes for your stool to be stained in red or purple color. If the measured time is significantly above or below 24-48 hours, then, there’s an imbalance of your gut microbiota, which is known to make digestion either sluggish or too fast.
- Blood Test: This is mostly used to measure the level of IgE antibody in your blood against specific foods. Higher levels of this antibody are an indicator of food allergy.
- Stool Analysis: This is the most popular and effective method of determining your gut health. It deserves an entire subsection to help you understand how it works. Here you go!
Using DNA Tests To Determine Gut Health
Stool analysis is further divided into two:
- 16S DNA sequencing: This gives you a quick overview of your gut microbiota
- Whole genome sequencing: This is more comprehensive than the 16S DNA sequencing. In addition to revealing the bacterial makeup of your gut, it’s able to detect:
- Fungi, parasites, yeast cells, and viruses present in your digestive tract
- Candida overgrowth
- The genus, species, and strain of a particular microbe
You can obtain both genetic sequencing services from companies like My Psomagen.
Typical DNA Testing Process
Once you identify your best genome sequencing company, you can proceed with the gut health test, which typically involves four main steps:
- Placing your order: You first have to purchase a specific DNA test kit from the company. The price will depend on how comprehensive you want the test results to be.
- Collecting your sample: You’ll be provided with some toilet paper or a cotton swab feces catcher on which to smear your stool sample. Some tests may also require you to provide saliva samples. Place these samples in individual tubes and seal them properly in readiness for mailing.
- Register the kit: Before sending the samples to the DNA testing company, you need to record your personal details and answer other health-related questions, usually on an online portal, so as to give the lab attendants an easy time to identify which samples belong to you. Doing so would also enable them to write a clear report.
- Read the report: About a month after submitting your samples, you should be able to receive a detailed report on your gut health.
How To Read And Use The Report
The genome sequence report contains most or all of the following information:
- Types of good bacteria present in your gut
- Types of bad bacteria hurting your gut health
- Ratio of good to bad bacteria
- Viruses, parasites, and fungi that have invaded your gastrointestinal tract
- Genetic diseases you’re likely to suffer from since they run in your family
- Recommendations on how to improve your gut health
It’s now upon you to seriously act on the doctor’s recommendations so as to achieve a healthy gut. You may need to change your diet, cut foods known to destroy gut health, implement healthy lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, quitting smoking and drinking alcohol, sleeping enough, and living stress-free, among others.
How Will You Benefit?
Having a healthy gut will help you reap various health benefits, such as:
- Improved metabolism
- Better nutrient absorption
- Stronger immune system
- Increased skin health and beauty
- Healthy weight
- Good mood most of the time
- Better sleep quality
- Stronger bones
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced risk of heart disease and other autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, etc.
- Smoother toilet habits
That’s a whole lot of incredible health benefits you won’t want to miss.