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Getting to the Root Cause: Key Tests to Uncover the Source of GI Symptoms

Updated: Apr 22


Woman suffering from a stomach pain
"Woman suffering from a stomach pain"

If you're struggling with persistent gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, or irregular bowel movements, you know how frustrating and debilitating it can be. While it's tempting to reach for over-the-counter remedies or make broad dietary changes, these approaches often fail to address the underlying causes of your digestive distress. To truly heal your gut, it's essential to uncover the root of your symptoms through personalized testing.


Here are a few of the ways that we assess root cause at Dig Nutrition:


Functional HCl Challenge:


The Hydrochloric Acid (HCl) Challenge is a simple yet powerful test that can provide valuable insights into your digestive health and help you optimize your body's ability to break down and absorb nutrients from the foods you eat. By gradually increasing your intake of supplemental HCl and monitoring your body's response, you can determine your optimal dose and ensure that your stomach is producing enough acid to properly digest your meals. This is crucial because low stomach acid can lead to a range of digestive issues, including bloating, gas, and nutrient deficiencies. By taking the HCl Challenge, you can take control of your digestive health and unlock your body's full potential to extract the nutrients it needs from your diet. Additionally, this test is incredibly affordable and easy to perform, making it an accessible tool for anyone looking to improve their gut health and overall well-being. With the insights gained from the HCl Challenge, you can work with your healthcare practitioner to develop a personalized plan to support your digestive system and optimize your health from the inside out.


Stool Testing


1. For Infections: Comprehensive stool analysis can detect the presence of bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections that may be contributing to your GI symptoms. Identifying and addressing these infections is crucial for restoring balance to your digestive system.


2. Inflammatory markers: Elevated levels of inflammatory markers, such as calprotectin or lactoferrin as well as patterns of opportunistic bacteria can indicate the presence of intestinal inflammation. This inflammation may be a sign of conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) or food sensitivities.


3. Microbiome analysis: Assessing the balance of your gut microbiome can provide valuable information about the health of your digestive system. An imbalance in beneficial bacteria, known as dysbiosis, has been linked to various GI disorders, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).


4. Leaky gut markers: Zonulin and other markers can help determine if you have increased intestinal permeability, or "leaky gut." This condition allows partially digested food particles and toxins to enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation and immune responses that can contribute to GI symptoms.


5. Enzyme and acid production: Testing for pancreatic elastase and specific bacteria that suggest insufficient acid in the stomach as well as steatocrit which measures fat in the stool and hints at suboptimal fat digestion can help identify if your body needs a boost digesting foods. Insufficiencies in these areas can lead to nutrient malabsorption and digestive discomfort.


Food Sensitivity Testing:


Identifying specific foods that trigger an immune response can be a game-changer for those with GI symptoms. Eliminating problematic foods and creating a personalized diet plan based on your unique sensitivities can significantly reduce digestive distress.


Stay tuned for a future post on the differences between various food sensitivity tests!


While these lab markers offer a solid foundation for understanding your gut health, it's important to remember that every individual's digestive system is unique. A one-size-fits-all approach to testing and treatment rarely leads to lasting relief.


That's why working with a functional medicine practitioner or gut health specialist is so valuable. We can help you navigate the complex world of GI testing and create a personalized protocol based on your specific needs.


By combining the right tests with a tailored treatment plan, you can:


  1. Identify and address the root causes of your GI symptoms.

  2. Repair your gut and restore balance to your digestive system.

  3. Alleviate chronic symptoms like bloating, pain, and irregular bowel movements.

  4. Improve nutrient absorption and overall health.

  5. Regain control over your digestive health and quality of life.


If you're ready to get to the bottom of your GI symptoms, don't hesitate to seek out personalized testing and expert guidance. With the right approach, you can uncover the source of your digestive distress and embark on a path towards lasting relief and optimal gut health.


Remember, your gut health is the foundation for your overall well-being. By investing in personalized testing and targeted treatment, you're taking a powerful step towards reclaiming your health and vitality. So, take charge of your gut health today, and start your journey towards a happier, healthier you!


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