Digestive Stool Test 1 Comprehensive GI Effects

Digestive Stool Test 1 Comprehensive GI Effects

The GI Effects Comprehensive Digestive Stool Test offers a comprehensive look into digestive function. It provides information on the makeup of the gastrointestinal microbial abundance and balance.  It includes good, imbalanced and potentially bad or harmful bacteria as well as looking for the presence of yeasts including candida,  and checks for parasites and worms. Additionally, the profile checks fat absorption, protein digestion, pancreatic function, intestinal inflammation, gut immunity and metabolic processes. The GI Effects can also help to provide new information to help differentiate between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

 

This stool test is at the forefront of stool testing and is one of the top 3 stool tests we now offer. We have struggled to find a front runner as all three comprehensive stool tests we now offer cover a broad range of test markers and all use the most up to date testing technology available.

The difference in stool testing quality used to be vast but now, when using reputable labs as we always do, the difference is much smaller.  As technology has improved so has access to great stool tests and we are proud to offer a range of what we see as the top available tests by accredited labs.

So how do you decide which one to do? There is still a difference in reporting style and a difference on what exactly is included  – so if you are looking for a specific “marker”, as we call them in the trade, then that may lead your decision.

Some comprehensive stool tests focus more on digestion, some on parasites and some the microbiome (bacteria and microorganisms in the gut). If you are struggling to know which is the right one for you then please do get in touch as we are happy to help.

Updated April 2023. Please note Plant Tannins will no longer be available as a botanical offering due to manufacturer discontinuation.

The GI Effects Profile checks 5 key areas of digestive health and wellness.

  1. Need for digestive support  – this section checks your ability to digest and absorb macronutrients – protein, fats and carbohydrates.
  2. Need for inflammation modulation – this section checks for inflammation in the gut which is associated with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) such as Crohn’s or colitis. It also includes markers that are associated with the health of the gut wall and immune gut function.
  3. Need for microbiome support – this section looks for levels of good, bad and imbalanced bacteria and yeasts.
  4. Need for prebiotic support – this section assesses the need for foods and supplements to support good bacteria such as fibre, prebiotics and probiotics. Good microbial balance influences many things such as immune function, bioavailability of nutrients and levels of short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) that are important for gut wall/gut mucosal integrity – linked to leaky gut and intestinal permeability.
  5. Need for antimicrobial support – this section reports on any findings that are related to infection such as any bad bacteria or potentially harmful parasites that may warrant antimicrobial support that may be pharmaceutical or herbal / plant based.

Below is an illustration of the dashboard that is included in your test results:


Your gastrointestinal microbiome – good and bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites

Commensal bacteria

The GI Effects Profile takes a detailed look at your commensal bacteria.When in balance, commensal bacteria all live happily together and some play important roles in health and or digestion. Using algorithms and data collected over the past years, the lab are able to report on various observations about your commensal bacteria such as abundance, immune v inflammatory susceptibility, diversity and balance.

Commensal bacteria form a part of your microbiome which is is made up of trillions of microorganisms along with commensals – good, bad and imbalanced bacteria, yeasts and, for some, parasites. The microbiome plays an important role in human health. The gut microbiota is diverse, varies among individuals, and can change over time, especially during developmental and life stages and with disease. The microbiome is viewed as an integral part of the body. Research has demonstrated the bacteria in the gut interact with the immune system and play an important part in immunity.

Some of the jobs gut bacteria do are:

  • Producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)
  • Helping digestion
  • Influencing the immune system
  • Modulating GI hormone production
  • Maintaining gut barrier function and motility – associated with leaky gut
  • Modulating oxidative responses
  • Producing vitamins (e.g. biotin, vitamin K)
  • Metabolising xenobiotics and phytochemicals – removing toxins
  • Preventing colonisation by potential pathogens

The GI Effects tests your microbiome – good and bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites, via:

  1. PCR testing
    The most up to date way of testing bacteria is a process called PCR, in which the lab is looking at the DNA of bacteria as this is more up to date than trying to culture bacteria (grow them in a petri dish). This is especially important as many bacteria are anaerobic, meaning they do not live in oxygen and therefore die soon after they have left the body. This makes culturing many bacteria impossible.
  2.  Culture
    The process of culturing means that the lab checks for the presence of good, bad and imbalanced bacteria and yeasts by trying to grow them in a petri dish. If they manage to grow any bacteria or yeasts such as candida, they then treat them with pharmaceutical and natural antimicrobial agents to see which are sensitive, meaning which are reduced or killed off by the agent.
  3. Bacteria and mycology sensitivity
    In the ever-expanding world of microbial resistance, the sensitivity panel is a valuable tool to help inform which antimicrobial drugs or plant based antimicrobials may be most effective in addressing any imbalances and /or pathogens.
  4. Microscopy
    Highly skilled lab technicians check for eggs and parasites and yeast with a microscope.

Please see the comparison table to see exactly which good and bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites are checked for on the GI effects.  Or check out the sample report at the bottom of the page. 

Digestion and absorption

This part of the test gives information about how well you are digesting and absorbing your food,  ultimately indicating how well your GI tract is performing its basic digestive functions.  It includes the following markers:

Pancreatic Elastase-1

A check to see how well the pancreas is playing its part in the digestion of protein fat and carbohydrate. Pancreatic elastase is secreted exclusively by the pancreas and provides insight into the production of the digestive enzymes amylase, lipase and trypsin.

Products of Protein Breakdown (Total)

A check to see how well you are digesting protein. Dietary protein that is not digested in the small intestine may be fermented by colonic bacteria resulting in undigested proteins which then move on to the colon. An imbalanced microbiome, termed dysbiosis, can result in unbalanced levels of these metabolites.

Faecal Fats

A check to see how well you are digesting and absorbing fats, which can impact absorption of the essential fats and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Indigestion after eating fatty meals and pale, floating stools can be signs of suboptimal fat digestion or absorption.

Gut inflammation and immunology

This part of the test checks for immune function in the gut and gut inflammation.

Calprotectin
Calprotectin is a simple measure that checks for inflammation in the gut. Calprotectin can be useful for distinguishing between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).  Levels can vary with age, and children under 10 have higher levels.

Eosinophil Protein X (EPX)
Another marker for inflammation along with calprotectin. EPX checks for eosinophil (white blood cell) – driven inflammation and may also be raised in response to allergies ( which is more common in children). Elevated levels may also be from food sensitivities related to IgG reactions. Parasites and infections can also cause raised levels.

Faecal Secretory IgA
SigA is secreted by the mucosal tissue of the GI tract. Mucosal tissue is strategically located in areas where external pathogens enter the body. It helps to form the protective lining/barrier of the digestive tract to protect us against pathogens and bad bugs and toxins.

Metabolic markers

This part of the test looks at markers that are impacted by bacteria and also play an important part in the health of the gut wall and the way we use energy.

Short chain fatty acids (SCFA)
These are produced by the fermentation of dietary fibre and resistant starch by the gut bacteria and play an important role in the health of the gastrointestinal tract as well as protecting against intestinal dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria). SCFAs maintain barrier functionprovide fuel for the colon cells (colonocytes), regulate absorption of water and electrolytesuse up unabsorbed carbohydrates, support beneficial bacteria and balance anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity. They also play a role in decreasing inflammation, stimulate healing and contribute to normal cell metabolism and differentiation. 

Beta-glucuronidase
One of the ways that toxins are removed from the body is via the stool – the toxins  are bound to a molecule that allows them to be removed. Beta-glucuronidase can uncouple these toxins resulting in them being recirculated. Beta-glucoronidase can also break down carbohydrates and helps absorption of some plant polyphenols and or nutrients.

Additional results also on the GI effects

Faecal occult blood
The term “occult” in this context simply means blood not evident to the naked eye; that is, blood present in microscopic quantities only. Normally, stools should be entirely free of blood. A positive occult blood indicates the presence of free haemoglobin found in the stool, which is released when red blood cells are broken down.

Colour
Stool colour is primarily associated with diet and medication use, though it may also be an indicator of various digestive health conditions.

Consistency
Stool consistency may vary from significantly hard to watery. This is self-reported by the patients upon submission of the stool sample.

White blood cells
These indicate an immune response that can be seen in infectious conditions or in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. WBCs can also occur with bacterial and parasitic infections and mucosal irritation.

Charcot-Leyden crystals
This is a breakdown product of white blood cells (eosinophils) and is present in patients with tissue-invading parasites and allergic conditions.

 

 

 

Campylobacter
Clostridium difficile (not available for patients <2 years old)
Escherichia coli
Helicobacter pylori
Faecal lactoferrin
Macroscopic exam for worms
Zonulin family peptide
KOH preparation for yeast

Zonulin family peptide
Zonulin has been identified as a protein that regulates the tight junctions between the epithelial cells lining the digestive tract, acting somewhat like a shoelace to pull the cells together. When zonulin is elevated, it has been found to be associated with other markers that all together can indicate the presence of intestinal permeability or “leaky gut”.

Macroscopy for worms – See Worms – Macroscopic test details . This test needs to be ordered separately.

Most nematodes (roundworms), trematodes (flukes), and, to a lesser degree, cestodes (tapeworms), are primarily diagnosed by ova in the stool during the microscopic O&P exam which is included as standard on this test. The macroscopy for worms add on is an examination of the entire specimen to look for macroscopic evidence of proglottids (tapeworm segments) or whole worms prior to doing the microscopic examination.

If a patient sees worms in the stool, they should remove the worm from the stool and place it in the vial clean of any stool, or in a separate container for transport to the lab.

Stool samples collected over 3 days.

If a patient sees worms in the stool, they should remove the worm from the stool and place it in the vial clean of any stool, or in a separate container for transport to the lab.

Women should not collect samples while menstruating.

Do not collect if you have bleeding from haemorrhoids.

4 weeks before your test:

Wait 4 weeks from having a colonoscopy or barium enema before starting the test.

2 weeks before your test:

Wait until you have finished any course of antibiotics, antiparasitics, antifungals, probiotic supplements (acidophilus, etc.) or consuming food products containing beneficial flora (e.g. Activia®).

2 days before your test:

Refrain from taking digestive enzymes, antacids and aspirin for two days prior to specimen collection, unless otherwise instructed by your GP or practitioner.

Lactoferrin supplements: whilst these will not have a direct impact on the test results, they can have an indirect influence owing to the support they provide to the gut wall. Lactoferrin is good for permeability and the overall health of the gut wall. You may like to consider waiting for 72 hours after taking lactoferrin supplements before completing your test samples.

Never discontinue prescription medications without consulting your GP or practitioner provider first.

 

There are no age limits for this test but the reference ranges set by the lab are for children over the age of 5.

Some reference ranges for stool markers are different for children. For example, the normal range for calprotectin in children is higher than that of adults, and the microbiome of babies if delivered naturally is largely influenced by the mother’s vaginal microbiome and takes a few years to mature. If you are aware of the above factors and work with a practitioner to help you to understand the results, testing babies and toddles can still provide valuable information.

 

Please return via a next day service Monday – Thursday only. The samples must be stored in the fridge prior to returning.

A courier option is sent with your test kit. You pay the laboratory directly for this test and also the return courier if you use the service. You can also make your own arrangements for returning your samples via a next day service.

 

17 – 21 working days.

Your GI Effects comprehensive digestive stool test results will be emailed to you.

Your Gastrointestinal Microbiome – Good and bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites.

Commensal Bacteria

The GI Effects Profile takes a detailed look at your commensal bacteria – When in balance commensal bacteria all live happily together and some play important roles in health and or digestion. Using algorithms and data collected over the past years the lab are able to report on various observations about your commensal bacteria – such as abundance, immune v inflammatory susceptibility, diversity and balance.

Commensal bacteria form a part of what makes up your microbiome which is is made up of trillions of microorganisms along with commensals your microbiome is made up of good, bad and imbalanced bacteria, yeasts and for some also parasites. Your microbiome plays an important role in human health. The gut microbiota is diverse, varies among individuals, and can change over time, especially during developmental and life stages and with disease. The microbiome is viewed as an integral part of the body. Research has demonstrated the bacteria in the gut interact with the immune system and play an important part in immunity.

Some of the jobs gut bacteria do are;

  • Producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs)
  • Helping digestion
  • influencing the immune system
  • Modulating GI hormone production
  • Maintaining gut barrier function and motility – associated with leaky gut.
  • Modulating oxidative responses
  • Producing vitamins (e.g. biotin, vitamin K)
  • Metabolising xenobiotics and phytochemicals – removing toxins
  • Preventing colonisation by potential pathogens

The GI Effects tests your microbiome – good and bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites  via;

  1. PCR Testing
    The most up to date way of testing bacteria is to use a process called PCR – it means that the lab is looking at the DNA of bacteria which is more up to date than trying to culture bacteria – grow them in a petri dish. This is especially important as many bacteria are anaerobic – meaning they do not live in oxygen and therefore die soon after they have left the body. This makes culturing many bacteria impossible.
  2.  Culture
    The process of culturing means that the lab checks for the presence of good, bad and imbalanced bacteria and yeasts by trying to grow them in a petri dish. If they manage to grow any bacteria or yeasts such as candida, they then treat them with pharmaceutical and natural antimicrobial agents to see which are sensitive – meaning which are reduced or killed off by the agent.
    Bacteria and Mycology Sensitivity
    In the ever expanding world of microbial resistance, the sensitivity panel is a valuable tool to help inform which antimicrobial drugs or plant based antimicrobials may be most effective in addressing any imbalances and /or pathogens.
  3. Microscopy
    Highly skilled lab technicians check for eggs and parasites and yeast with a microscope.

Please see the comparison table here (coming any day now) to see exactly which good and bad bacteria, yeasts and parasites are checked for on the GI effects.  Or check out the sample report at the bottom of the page. 

Digestion and Absorption

This part of the test gives information about how well you are digesting and absorbing your food. Ultimately indicating how well your GI tract is performing its basic digestive functions.  It includes the following markers.

Pancreatic Elastase-1

A check to see how well the pancreas is playing its part in the digestion of protein fat and carbohydrate. Pancreatic elastase is secreted exclusively by the pancreas and provides insight into the production of the digestive enzymes amylase, lipase and trypsin.

Products of Protein Breakdown (Total)

A check to see how well you are digesting protein. Dietary protein that is not digested in the small intestine may be fermented by colonic bacteria resulting in undigested proteins which then move on to the colon. An imbalanced microbiome, termed dysbiosis, can result in unbalanced levels of these metabolites.

Fecal Fats

A check to see how well you are digesting and absorbing fats – this can impact on absorption of the essential fats and fat soluble vitamins Vitamin A, D, E and K. Indigestion after eating fatty meals and pale, floating stools can be signs of suboptimal fat digestion or absorption.

Gut Inflammation and Immunology

This part of the test is checking for immune function in the gut and gut inflammation.

Calprotectin
Calprotectin is a simple measure that checks for inflammation in the gut. Calprotectin can be useful for distinguishing between Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).  Levels can vary with age and children under 10 have higher levels.

Eosinophil Protein X (EPX)
Another marker for inflammation along with calprotectin. EPX checks for eosinophil (white blood cell) – driven inflammation and may also be raised in response to allergies ( more common in children). Elevated levels may also be from food sensitivities related to IgG reactions. Parasites and infections can also cause raised levels.

Fecal Secretory IgA
SigA is secreted by the mucosal tissue of the GI tract. Mucosal tissue are strategically located in areas where external pathogens enter the body and it helps to form the protective lining/barrier of the digestive tract to protect us against pathogens and bad bugs and toxins

Metabolic Markers

This part of the test is looking at markers that are impacted on by bacteria and also play an important part in the health of the gut wall and the way we use energy.

Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA)
These are produced by the fermentation of dietary fibre and resistant starch by the gut bacteria and play an important role in the health of the gastrointestinal tract as well as protecting against intestinal dysbiosis – imbalances in gut bacteria. SCFA’s maintain barrier functionprovide fuel for the colon cells (colonocytes), regulate absorption of water and electrolytesuse up unabsorbed carbohydrates, support beneficial bacteria and balance anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activity. They also play a role in decreasing inflammation, stimulate healing, and contribute to normal cell metabolism and differentiation. 

Beta-glucuronidase
One of the ways that toxins are removed from the body is via the stool – the toxins  are bound to a molecule that allows them to be removed. Beta-glucuronidase can uncouple these toxins resulting in them being recirculated. Betaglucoronidase can also break down carbohydrates and helps absorption of some plant polyphenols and or nutrients.

Additional Results also on the GI effects

Faecal Occult Blood
The term “occult” in this context simply means blood not evident to the naked eye, that is, blood present in microscopic quantities only. Normally, stools should be entirely free of blood. A positive occult blood indicates the presence of free haemoglobin found in the stool, which is released when red blood cells are broken down.

Colour
Stool colour is primarily associated with diet and medication use, though it may also be an indicator of various digestive health conditions.

Consistency
Stool consistency may vary from significantly hard to watery. This is self-reported by the patients upon submission of the stool sample.

White Blood Cells
These indicate an immune response that can be seen in infectious conditions or in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. WBCs can also occur with bacterial and parasitic infections and mucosal irritation

Charcot-Leyden Crystals
This is a breakdown product of white blood cells (eosinophils) and is present in patients with tissue-invading parasites and allergic conditions.

Possible Add Ons

At the check out you will soon be able to add on the following should you wish

Zonulin Family Peptide
Zonulin has been identified as a protein that regulates the tight junctions between the epithelial cells lining the digestive tract  – it acts somewhat like a shoelace to pull the cells together. When zonulin is elevated it has been found to be associated with other markers that all together can indicate the presence of intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’.

H.Pylori
Camplylobacter
Clostridium difficile
Shiga toxin
E.coli
Lactoferrin
KOH for yeast

Please get in touch if you would like to add one of the above add ons – out new site, coming soon will allow this at checkout

Macroscopy for worms – See Worms – Macroscopic test details . This test needs to be ordered separately.
Most nematodes (roundworms), trematodes (flukes), and cestodes (tapeworms) to a lesser degree, are primarily diagnosed by ova in the stool during the microscopic O&P exam which is included as standard on this test. The macroscopy for worms add on is an examination of the entire specimen to look for macroscopic evidence of proglottids (tapeworm segments) or whole worms prior to doing the microscopic examination.

If a patient sees worms in the stool, they should remove the worm from the stool and place it in the vial clean of any stool, or in a separate container for transport to the lab.

Digestive Stool Test 1 Comprehensive GI Effects

related tests

Leaky Gut – AIBA Advanced Intestinal Barrier Assessment

£349.00

SIBO Test UK – Small Intestine Bacteria Overgrowth

£140.00

MOAT Microbial Organic Acids Test

£270.00

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Please do not return samples to the laboratories that may arrive after Wednesday 27th March and up to and including Monday 2nd April.

The laboratories are closed from the 28th March – 2nd April for the Easter Holiday.