Digestive Health

Digestive Health

Your gut is a reflection of your overall health. It is sometimes known as the “second brain”. Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe.  Gut microbiota (gut flora) influences many things, including the body’s level of the potent neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates feelings of happiness.

Gut flora is
an essential piece of our biological puzzle. What scientists have recently come to understand is that the makeup and overall health of your flora as a whole determines whether pathogens in the gut coexist peacefully, or cause disease.

Dr. Robertson can use your detailed history, intolerance testing, numerous food modifications, food elimination, and various detox programs to help get to the underlying issues you may be experiencing.

Two of the tests she does are the Comprehensive Stool Analysis and the SIBO (
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) Test.

 

Comprehensive Stool Analysis

Gastrointestinal complaints are among the most common reasons that patients seek medical care. Symptoms associated with GI disorders include persistent diarrhea, constipation, bloating, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and malabsorption. The Comprehensive Stool Analysis can help assess digestive and absorptive functions, the presence of opportunistic pathogens and to monitor the efficacy of therapeutic remediation of GI disorders. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing to prescriptive and natural agents is also performed for appropriate bacterial and fungal species.

This test is useful for

 
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms
  • Autoimmune Disease
  • Joint Pain
  • IBD/IBS
  • Inflammation
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Nutritional Deficiencies
  • Skin Conditions (Atopic Dermatitis)
Cornerstones of good health include proper digestion of food, assimilation of nutrients, exclusion of pathogens and timely elimination of waste. To obtain benefits from food that is consumed, nutrients must be appropriately digested and then efficiently absorbed into portal circulation. Microbes, larger-sized particles of fiber, and undigested foodstuffs should remain within the intestinal lumen. Poor digestion and malabsorption of vital nutrients can contribute to degenerative diseases, compromised immune status and nutritional deficiencies. Impairment of the highly specific nutrient uptake processes, or compromised GI barrier function, as in "leaky gut syndrome," can result from a number of causes including:
 
  • Low Gastric Acid Production
  • Chronic Maldigestion
  • The Use of NSAIDs and Antibiotics
  • Food Allergen Impact on Bowel Absorption
  • Bacterial Overgrowth or Imbalances (Dysbiosis)
  • Pathogenic Bacteria, Yeast, or Parasites and Related Toxic Irritants
Impairment of intestinal functions can contribute to the development of food allergies, systemic illnesses, autoimmune disease, and toxic overload from substances that are usually kept in the confines of the bowel for elimination. Efficient remediation of GI dysfunctions incorporates a comprehensive guided approach that should include consideration of elimination of pathogens and exposure to irritants, supplementation of hydrochloric acid, pancreatic enzymes and pre- and probiotics, and repair of the mucosal barrier.

SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth)


SIBO is a common clinical condition and can develop in a variety of patient populations.

Genova's SIBO Profiles are non-invasive breath tests which capture exhaled hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) gases following patient ingestion of a lactulose solution to evaluate bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine.

When should testing for SIBO be considered?

Symptoms of SIBO are non-specific, encompassing abdominal pain/distention, diarrhea, and flatulence.

Conditions commonly associated with SIBO include:
 
  • IBS
  • IBD
  • Celiac Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rosacea
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Obesity

Risk factors for development of SIBO include structural/anatomic issues, motility disorders, organ system dysfunction, elderly age and various medications (recurrent antibiotics, PPIs) that alter the gut microflora populations.

Symptomatic patients with any underlying conditions or risk factors warrant assessment for SIBO.
In general, clinical management of the SIBO patient involves antimicrobial therapy, prokinetic agents, nutrient supplementation, dietary interventions, and treatment of conditions.