What is GI-MAP Testing: A Glance into the Details!
The GI-MAP is a stool sample test taken in the comfort of your own home and then shipped directly to the lab (via a pre-paid FedEx label).
The testing is used to assess the status of your gut microbiome (the ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and more) as well as looking at sections of your digestive system and immune function (personally, one of my favorite sections of the entire test)!
This type of testing has benefits over traditional stool testing because it is highly sensitive and provides specific information about not just whether a microbe is present, but how much of that microbe is present.
The test is designed to detect microbes that may be contributing to inflammatory symptoms, illness, as well as indicators of digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune function. Many clients come to me with abdominal pain, gas, bloating, “IBS” symptoms, fatigue, weight gain, and more and can’t get to the root cause… until this type of testing is done!
What’s included in a GI-MAP stool test? Let’s take a deep dive into the main sections:
H. pylori is a common bacteria; research states 60%+ of the population is infected with this as it is easily transmitted through saliva. It has a spiral shaped tail which it uses to burrow itself into the lining of the stomach. By doing so, it damages the cells that secrete stomach acid.
When our stomach acid levels become too low, due to the H. pylori infection, we can’t protect ourselves from pathogens, we have trouble with digestion, our microbiome can become imbalanced, and absorption of important nutrients can be compromised (B12 is an example).
Symptoms can look like the following: frequent burping, heartburn or acid reflux, uncomfortable gnawing feeling in the stomach when hungry, B12 or iron deficiencies (despite dietary intake), trouble digesting animal proteins, low digestive enzyme output.
Normal Bacteria (aka the good guys)
The next section on the GI Map reviews important commensal or “good” gut bacteria. These microbes are critical to our digestive health, metabolism, the health of our intestinal lining, mood, anxiety and more! We need all of these in proper range to feel our best.
When they are low, there is an opportunity for the “bad guys” to overgrow. And it also plays a role in ‘leaky gut’ aka intestinal permeability.
For more information on 'leaky gut', check this post out & this post!
This client was eating a typical amount of fiber, however, they were on a steroid for medical reasons months prior that completely whipped out their good gut bacteria causing a lot of joint pain. Once we added in very specific pre and probiotics for 3 months, her joint pain went away.
Opportunistic Bacteria (aka the not so good guys)
As mentioned above, when our good gut bacteria is not at an optimal number, the bad guys have the opportunity (opportunistic bacteria) to grow.
Overgrowth in these species can cause a lot of inflammation, gas, bloating, distention. Remember: there is always a reason why they are over growing (for example, low stomach acid from an H. Pylori infection).
The GI Map will help us get to the root cause of why they are over growing and then with diet/herbs/lifestyle changes we will rebalance the population properly (and symptoms go away)!
This client has a thyroid autoimmune condition and is on thyroid medication. Motility and constipation is something we worked on together, because as you see here, these bacteria take the opportunity to over grow on anything that sits in the colon for too long. Which caused her a lot of abdominal pain and bloating.
Yeast can overgrow due to antibiotic use, high intake of sugar, starches, and dietary fungi (beer, bread, nuts, cheese, corn), low stomach acid, impaired immune function, and an imbalance of our good/bad gut bacteria.
GI symptoms: Gas, bloating, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
To learn more about Candida, check out my posts here and here.
This client was experiencing a lot of bloating, some vomiting and sugar cravings (all classic signs of candida over growth).
The GI-MAP tests for pathogenic parasites most commonly occurring in the GI tract.
Symptoms: abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, iron deficiency anemia (IDA), and loss of appetite.
This client had entamoeba show up, but after a 3 month protocol, we retested and it was <dl (below detectable limits). Now she is in a maintenance phase to make sure her body can fight these infections off naturally with her own stomach acid.
Intestinal Health Markers
This section takes a deep dive into how your digestion is functioning. We can see if you are able to break down fats, carbs, and proteins properly, overall gut immune function, if your immune system is reacting to gluten, and more!
This client's immune response was extremely high (SIgA at 2207) as it was responding and fighting off a few different types of bacteria that showed up, and gluten (anti-gliadin is high, which is her immune response to gluten).
I'm currently accepting new clients into my Gut & Metabolism Reset Method. We will determine if the GI-Map is necessary to get to the root cause of your symptoms (with a very specific protocol based on your results to get you feeling your very best). Check out my program here or fill out my application here!