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Digestive and Intestinal Health

Screening Digestion and Intestinal Health

The saying “Death begins in the colon” has long been bandied around and is ascribed to either Nobel laureate Elie Metchnikoff (who won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work on intestinal milieu) or  the chiropractor Bernard Jensen, D.C., the ‘Father of Colonics’ but recognition of bowel health and its importance to health can be dated back to Hippocrates who told us 2000 years ago that “bad digestion is the root of all evil.”

Digestion begins in the mouth with chewing (which triggers the production of stomach acid, digestive enzymes movement in the gut ) and the production of saliva with its own enzymes. Swallowed food is then churned up with acid in the stomach and passes into the small intestine to be acted upon by digestive enzymes made in the pancreas and also bile from the liver.

The bowel bacteria in both the small and large intestine break food down which releases essential nutrients, provides particular vitamins such as B12, absorbs and destroys toxins. Some specific bacteria species stick to the bowel wall creating a protective barrier.

Without all these different aspects bowel health deteriorates and we risk running into deficiencies, inflammatory bowel conditions, the leaky gut syndrome (increased intestinal permeability), food allergy and intolerances, irregular bowel movements – constipation and/or frequent movements.

The gut has a very important role in immunity generally and the ‘gut-brain axis’ controls to a great extent our emotional well-being.

Recognition of abnormalities in our gut can lead to lifestyle and dietetic changes and guide us to optimal supplementation to ensure that digestion, this most important of processes, works as smoothly as possible.

Recommended Home Tests

  1. Salivary VEGF testing for stomach acid production assessment (£175)

Salivary vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a simple saliva test. VEGF correlates with the production of stomach acid, which is often a cause of digestive issues, reflux and Gastro oesophageal reflux disease (GORD). Low levels can lead to sub optimal digestive and therefore deficiencies.

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  1. Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (£325)

This extensive test measures, inflammatory markers, levels of good bowel bacteria, the presence of bad bacteria, yeasts, fungi and parasites and gives indication of both acid production, digestive enzyme levels and many other useful parameters in understanding how the gut works.

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 3.  Stool for Calprotectin (£102)

Calprotectin is a conventional test of a protein found in stool when a gut is inflamed. It is recommended by NICE as a non-invasive investigation to distinguish between inflammatory disease such as Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, and even cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome

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4.  Stool test for Eosinophil Protein X (EPX) to identify possible food allergy (an add-on to the above calprotectin test). (£127)

Eosinophils are white blood cells that increasing number and become active in the presence of allergy. EPX is a non-invasive stool test that clinical research indicates has a significant correlation to those who have food allergy.

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5.  Leaky Gut Syndrome (£164)

The test for a leaky gut (increased intestinal permeability) is very simple to perform. You are sent a solution of inert (indigestible and unusable) molecules which you drink after emptying your bladder. You are sent a suitable container in which you collect all urine that you pass over the next 6 hours. After this time you give the urine a gentle swill in the container to ensure a good mix and then pour a portion of the collected urine into a supplied specimen pot. This you then return in the SAE to the lab. There it is analysed for the presence of two non-metabolized sugars, lactulose and mannitol or an indigestible plastic, PEG. If any is found over and above an expected amount this is indicative of a leaky gut.

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FHS test info

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