Tummy feeling a bit so-so? Got some tummy pain that comes and goes or seems to be worse after eating? You may also be suffering terrible bloating, gas, heartburn and pain but not sure what is causing it.
You may find that your tummy troubles are aggravated by literally everything you eat and by the end of the day, you feel like you need to go up a clothes size or at least undo the top button around your waist!
Perhaps you've already seen doctor and they haven't quite been able to get you to where you want to be or you feel that your tummy discomfort is worse since you went on medication or had a gastro episode.
You may even have had some bloods tests done and in some cases more invasive investigations such as a colonoscopy have been done but everything has come back normal and you're still feeling lousy. So what do you do?
It's likely to have something to do you with your gut microbiome which is now becoming known for its role in metabolism, immune defense, menatl health and behaviour
The trillion or so bacteria living in the gut manufacture amino acids, vitamins and other chemicals which are used by the body to maintain health 24 hours each and every day. This ecosystem needs to be maintained in a happy, balanced state. If not, there can be a marked alteration in metabolites (the things produced by the bacteria), and the production of amino acids and vitamins leading to unpleasant symptoms and reduction of wellbeing. Alterations to short chain fatty acids (SCFA)'s or amino acid availability due to altered bacterial distributions and metabolism can lead to a compromised mucosal integrity.
"Intestinal dysbiosis" which is another word for the alterations to the distribution of microflora in the gut, can lead to symptoms in body organs due to the to altered amino acid production and increased amounts of harmful chemicals released as metabolites by the bacteria.
Part of a gut healing treatment protocol is to restore the gut microflora to a normal pattern whilst regulating mucosal immunity to improve intestinal barrier function. This is also called healing "leaky" gut where the gap junctions of the intestinal walls are wider than they should be allowing molecules to move through into the blood stream that then set off an inflammatory response.
Intestinal dysbiosis symptoms can be a key contributing factor in chronic pain & fatigue disorders including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism, ADHD; and of course, gastrointestinal disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Coeliac Disease.
"The trillion (and one!) microflora in the large bowel form the largest metabolic organ in the body which contributes a significant amount to basal metabolic requirements through production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA) and glutamine metabolism".
There's so much research being done in this area that I could go on forever, but the key take home message is that if your health is suffering, if your tummy is troubling you then reach out for a consultation and let's get you back feeling amazing.
So how do you do this and what's my treatment approach?
I look at the contributing factors such as possible medication, anti-biotic exposure, stress levels, lifestyle, health history, family history and I track what you're eating. I also can request a gut microbiome test for analysis to then determine the potential impact your gut bacteria is having on your overall health as well as whether there's an imbalance between the beneficial and non beneficial bacteria.
My approach can be summarised as follows and whilst everyone is a unique individual, there are some basic steps that we will take together to help assess what needs to be done and how, to get you back on track to wellness.
Your health history and when did this all start?
What has been tested so far?
Pathology - do we have enough pathology information t make an informed decision a to what is the best way to move forward?
At this point I may recommend you do a stool test to anaylse the gut microbiome - an ana- both beneficial and other bacteria that may be overgrown or a SIBO breath test - Small Intestinal Bacteria Overgrowth)
Nutrition - we discuss what types of foods may be best avoided- this is only for a period of time.
Prescription to address symptoms and provide relief
A note about stool testing analysis.
There are a range of stool tests I use in my clinic.
All tests are available as a home kit and then returned to the lab for analysis. The results are then returned to me by the lab for interpretation and a follow up discussion with you - the patient.
The labs and tests I choose to use for testing the gut microbiome include
Bioscreen: Faecal Microbial Analysis and parasite screening
Metabiome: Metagenomic (or whole genome) sequencing of the gut microbiome. The MetaBiome™ utilises a comprehensive and up to date microbiome assessment technology, providing a complete picture of the bacteria within the gut and their functional potential. By sequencing the whole genome, the test can identify individual genes in the bacteria that may contribute to the function of that bacteria and the related influence on microbial and functional health.
Nutripath GI Mapping: The Complete Microbiome Mapping Test was designed to assess a patient’s microbiome from a single stool sample, with particular attention to microbes that cause disease or that disrupt normal microbial balance and contribute to perturbations in the GI flora and contribute to illness. The panel is a comprehensive collection of microbial targets as well as immune and digestive markers. It screens for pathogenic bacteria, commensal bacteria, opportunistic pathogens, fungi, viruses, and parasites.
The analysis and interpretation
The results from your sample are sent to me, It's my job then to analyse and interpret the information and and provide you with an appropriate treatment plan.
This includes the 4 pillars of treatment:
Using a course of antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral or anti parasitic therapies in cases where organisms are present. It may also be necessary to remove offending foods, gluten, or medication that may be acting as antagonists.
In cases of maldigestion or malabsorption, it may be necessary to restore proper digestion by supplementing with digestive enzymes.
Recolonisation with healthy, beneficial bacteria. Supplementation with probiotics, along with the use of prebiotics helps re-establish the proper microbial balance.
Repair and Rebalance
Restore the integrity of the gut mucosa by giving support to healthy mucosal cells, as well as immune support. Address whole body health and lifestyle factors so as to prevent future GI dysfunction.
To achieve the best outcome both dietary measures and healing medicine are used alongside positive lifestyle changes.
To find out what's best for you, contact me for your introductory phone call.
And let's restore your health.
This is for information purposes and it not intended to be used as medical advice.
READING AND RESOURCES
Kits for testing will be available for purchase online soon,