Digestive Function Tests

Digestion is the Foundational Cornerstone for Optimal Health

 

Proper Digestion is the Cornerstone for optimal health. A healthy functioning digestive system allows for proper digestion of food in a timely manner. This process encompasses the spectrum of enzymatic breakdown to the assimilation of vital micronutrients so that they are bio-available to support all biological, cellular and organ absorption functions while simultaneously removing and clearing residual waste products from the system. Each day our bodies turn over up to 6 Billion cells through its constant process of auto-renewal and we want to ensure that the proper nutritional absorption and assimilation parameters are in place to assure proper turn over.

We offer several diagnostic tests to determine the overall digestive functions, enzymatic performances, pathogenic overgrowth factors, gastro-intestinal inflammation and levels of healthy gut bacteria (flora), and intestinal permeability.

Assessing Digestive Function

 Gastrointestinal and digestive complaints and their subsequent their aftermath are among the most common reasons patients seek care. 


There can be a wide array of symptoms associated with gastrointestinal disorders ranging from:

 diarrhea, 

constipation or alternating with diarrhrea,

 gas & bloating, 

indigestion, 

malabsorption and undigested particulate in the stools, 

irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), 

inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), 

disruption of the human microbiome

leaky gut syndromes and bacterial deviations in the normal bacterial commensal or flora.  


Our digestive functions change as we develop from infants to children and continue to change throughout our lifetime.


Food introduction schedules are important to build a healthy foundation, to build our immune systems and to feed out minds and physical bodies, and to stimulate our metabolic processes.


As we age, we naturally begin to lose our digestive enzymes and our systems get strained.


It is important to support our digestion through all our phases of life from in-utero development through to our elderly days.

Comprehensive Stool Analysis & Parasitology

Poor digestion and malabsorption of essential nutrients can contribute to a large array of chronic problems ranging from 


  • degenerative diseases, 
  • compromised immune status, 
  • nutritional deficiencies and 
  • pathogenic overgrowths of opportunistic microbes.  


There are a multitude of reasons for why maldigestion and malabsorption can occur. 


These causal factors need to be diagnosed and addressed in order to prevent nutritional deficiencies that create alterations in metabolic pathways and begin to shift the expressions of our DNA, creating abberations and epigenetic changes and expression of genetic susceptibilities.  


Reasons for maldigestion or malaborption can be caused from the overuse of antibiotics, low stomach acids, low pancreatic enzymes, stress, celiac disease, intestinal bacterial dysbiosis and the overgrowth of opportunistic pathogens such as H. pylori, yeast, bacteria or parasites can begin to flourish in an imbalanced milieu or dysbiotic terrain. 


This in turn can lead to further health issues such as the development of leaky gut syndrome, food allergies, systemic illnesses, autoimmune diseases, and toxic burden overload.  

Understanding Digestion Disturbances

Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis Test:


  • This test measures the comprehensive parameters of digestion and enzymatic functions in order to evaluate the absorption of fats, cholesterols, carbohydrates, meats and vegetables.
  • It assesses the dysbiosis index; measuring the balance between healthy bacteria (pre and probiotics) and unhealthy bacteria that wreak havoc on the system
  • In assesses the gut pH, and overall intestinal functioning
  • This test is viable for those with irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, malabsorption and other gastro-intestinal related problems.

Add-ons are available to assess for; lactose intolerance, inflammatory markers for inflammatory bowel diseases, acute bowel changes, and yeast detection. 

How Gastrointestinal Imbalances Impact Health:


  • Lactose Intolerance can lead to gas, bloating, cramping, and diarrhea
  • Excess intestinal bacterial enzyme activity can promote hormonal imbalances and gastrointestinal irritation
  • Short chain fatty acid inadequacy is linked to an increased incidence of colon cancer and ulcerative colitis
  • Bacterial and yeast overgrowth underlie gastrointestinal symptoms, chronic fatigue syndromes, mood shifts and weakened immune function
  • Increased toxic burden, bacteria overgrowth and severe inflammation can lead to chronic degenerative conditions.

The presence of parasites (Parasitology Add-On):

 Chronic digestive dysfunction can set the stage for the development of intestinal permeability otherwise known as leaky gut syndrome, food allergies, toxic stress and systemic autoimmune reactions. 


It is a great diagnostic tool for travelers and those with lowered immune status.


Additional Microbiology & Parasitology Add-on Tests:

  • H. Pylori Antigen
  • C. Difficile
  • Campylobacter & Shiga-Like Toxin
  • Entamoeba Histolytica
  • Giardia
  • Worms

Intestinal Permeability & Leaky Gut Syndrome

Intestinal Permeability Assessment

 The Gastro-Intestinal (GI) system is a crucial component to health and vitality yet is often overlooked during routine health assessments. Not only does the GI system regulate digestive functions, it is also a key player in building immunity.


It is within this very system where nutrients are broken down and absorbed while waste products are separated for elimination. 


Proper nutritional metabolism and assimilation is required for nutritive energy and cellular functions so the body can convert this nutritive energy into defensive energy (Wei Qi) with over 70% of the immune system being located within the GALT (gut associated lymphatic tissue).  


A healthy digestive tract has a balanced level of beneficial bacteria (probiotics regulating intestinal microflora) in the upper and lower intestinal tracts and produces and secretes the proper amount of digestive enzymes to absorb, assimilate and make use of the bio-available nutrients for all organ functions.

A Gut Feeling that Something is Wrong:

 Listen to your gut. Trust your gut feeling. This is the seat of your instincts. 


Improper digestive functioning can lead to putrefaction, gas & bloating, indigestion, unexplained diarrhea or constipation, delayed bowel transit times with the re-absorption of toxins, microflora imbalances, chronic dysbiosis and pathogenic overgrowths of micro-organisms, abdominal pain, maldigestion, malabsorption and intestinal permeability.


Maldigestion and malabsorption of vital nutrients eventually contributes to degenerative diseases, compromised immune status and nutritional deficiencies. This can be caused by many factors including Celiac.

Intestinal Permeability, “Leaky Gut Syndrome” & the Auto-Immune Connection


Chronic digestive dysfunction can set the stage for the development of intestinal inflammation, shortening of the intestinal villi, and alterations in the integrity of the gut wall lining. 


These alterations contribute to an increase in gut permeability, “leaky gut syndrome”, which can further perpetuate food allergies, toxigenic stress and overload and lead to systemic autoimmune reactions.


When this balance is disrupted, opportunistic bacteria can flourish and wreak havoc on immune health and lead to further health challenges and disease states that can manifest in virtually any organ system as particulate migrate through increasing enlarged tight junctions in the intestinal lining and become increasingly permeable to substances that should not otherwise pass through. 

Link Between Leaky Gut & Chronic Disease

 

Strong correlations of increased gut permeability have been linked to a multitude of chronic diseases such as:

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Auto-Immune Disease: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Scleroderma
  • H. Pylori, gastric & duodenal ulcers 
  • GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder & Heartburn)
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Dermatological Conditions: Eczema, Psoriasis
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia
  • Cancer predisposition 

Immune Complexes

 

Intestinal Permeability & Leaky Gut Syndrome


An overload of antibody-allergen complexes or inflammatory mediators can cause inflammation in the lining of the gut as well as other tissues.


Changes in gut health and gut permeability facilitate further antibody-allergen complexes to permeate into surrounding tissues perpetuating and provoking further allergic reactions.


In order to balance and treat this vicious cycle, anyone with leaky gut should be tested for food allergies and anyone with significant food allergies may need to be treated for leaky gut.


This will be determined during your naturopathic work-up.  

Indican Test for Gut Health

A healthy digestive tract has a balanced level of beneficial bacteria (probiotics regulating intestinal microflora) in the upper and lower intestinal tracts and produces and secretes the proper amount of digestive enzymes to absorb, assimilate and make use of the bio-available nutrients for all organ functions.



Digestive Health Function Tests

Indican - OberMeyer’s Test:


This non-invasive test measures specific compounds in the urine to help evaluate digestive function and to assess levels of bowel toxicity. 

Naturopathic Treatment Options

Healing the digestive system can be complex and a multi-layered approach to treatment is often indicated. This may take several months to fully heal.


Of primary importance is the identification of offending and pathogenic agents. Assessing the root causal factors of the imbalances is the direct measure to commence a sequential treatment plan that can be applied for the healthy remediation of gastrointestinal functions.


The Naturopathic treatment plan incorporates the following phases of healing in order to reset the stage for health and vitality through proper enzymatic supplementation, pathogenic overgrowth eradication, corrective probiotic strain recolonization and gut mucosal wall barrier rebuilding. The terrain must be cleared and rebalanced for proper health to ensue.


At Evolve Naturopathic Vitality Centre, we offer many variations and add-ons for a tailored Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis. A Naturopathic assessment with Dr. Cheryl D’Costa, BPHE, ND, R.Ac will help to clarify which test is most appropriate for you based on your individual health concerns and history.


For further information please call the clinic to schedule an appointment. Contact Us today.