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5 Types of Digestive Health Assessments You Should Know About

Feb 5, 2016 4:00:00 PM / by Grossman Wellness Staff

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Several tests are useful to assess your digestive system. We prefer functional tests, because these reveal how well your digestive tract works or functions rather than imaging studies such as X rays or CT scans, which only reveal anatomy.  
A breath test for methane can determine whether you are lactose intolerant, in which case, you can either avoid dairy products or take lactase supplements, which will reduce symptoms whenever dairy products are consumed. You exhale into a balloon and the exhaled gas is then examined for the presence of methane, which is only found if bacteria in your bowel have access to undigested lactose.

A leaky gut syndrome test involves drinking small amounts of two sugars, lactulose and mannitol, and collecting a urine sample some hours later. Normally, very little lactulose is absorbed by a healthy small intestine, while mannitol, is very readily absorbed. A relatively high level of lactulose compared to mannitol is an indicator that the lactulose entered the bloodstream because of leaky gut syndrome.

Hair mineral analysis can reveal more than your mineral levels. To absorb minerals from the food you eat, you need adequate amounts of stomach acid. Many people have hypochlorhydria or decreased stomach acid, which can lead to mineral malabsorption and result in low levels of minerals in the hair analysis. It can also cause symptoms such as chronic fatigue or frequent infections.

A Comprehensive Digestive and Stool Analysis (CDSA) provides a wealth of information including digestion, absorption, metabolic markers and colonic bacteria.

Problems with digestion may be the result of improper chewing, inadequate amounts of amylase in your saliva or hypochlorhydria. The absorption part of the CDSA test measures how well your digested food is absorbed through the walls of the small intestine. Proper liver, gallbladder, pancreas and small intestine function are assessed through this analysis.

Metabolic markers include tests of colon health and risk factors for colon cancer. Many people have intestinal dysbiosis, the overgrowth in the colon of abnormal bacteria or yeast. Treatment includes restoration of normal bacteria through the use of a probiotic supplement, as well as an herbal product designed to kill the abnormal organisms. Performing a CDSA can provide vital and life-saving information, because as Hippocrates observed centuries ago, "Death begins in the colon."

These tests can be done at home because they don't require blood sampling. They utilize kits available from our office and, after the results are back, we can help you correct any abnormalities found with alternative treatments. Your digestive health will be back on track in no time!

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