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The Microbes in the Gut
Trillions of bacteria call the gastrointestinal tract their home. These bacterial cells are collectively known as the gut microbiome. They all play an important role in our overall health and well-being.
Intestinal bacteria have essential functions in many of our body processes. For example, they all play a part in digestion by breaking down food. They help in the production of neurotransmitters, vitamins, and other chemicals needed inside the body. Furthermore, the gut microbiome plays an important part in enhancing the function of the immune system.
There should be a balance between beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria. This is needed for the gut microbiome to remain healthy. When this balance is disturbed, dysbiosis happens – and this is when health problems start to happen.
We reviewed the top 5 microbiome test kits for testing your gut health. Read Now.
What is Leaky Gut?
The debate on whether leaky gut syndrome is indeed a medical condition is still ongoing. Experts from the medical community cannot seem to agree on one thing. However, leaky gut is a common problem, and some people are experiencing signs and symptoms. The truth of its existence, therefore, cannot be denied.
Leaky gut syndrome results from dysbiosis. It is an imbalance in the bacterial colonies that live in the human gut. The imbalance is caused by bacterial overgrowth that triggers an inflammatory process. It irritates the intestinal lining where nutrient absorption takes place.
As a result, the lining and the tight junctions of the intestines become hyper-permeable.
Increased intestinal permeability allows microscopic particles of bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream. These particles should not be in the bloodstream and are thus considered "foreign" by the body.
The immune system attacks foreign particles that enter the bloodstream as protection from ‘foreign invasion.’ When this happens, signs and symptoms of systemic inflammation are produced anywhere in the body. This explains why some symptoms of leaky gut syndrome are not digestive in nature.
A leaky gut can be diagnosed using a leaky gut syndrome test kit. Thryve is one of the leaders in the industry. With their reasonably-priced gut health test, you will get valuable information on the state of your microbiome.
How Do You Know If You Have A Leaky Gut?
The signs and symptoms of leaky gut syndrome have been associated with the signs and symptoms of other digestive conditions. These include irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
The most common symptoms are gastrointestinal tract-related. This is because leaky gut happens in the digestive tract. You’ll be experiencing bloating, abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and constipation.
Aside from digestive symptoms, here are other tell-tale signs that will tell you that you have a leaky gut:
- Being diagnosed with autoimmune disorders (Celiac disease or Coeliac disease, Psoriasis, Lupus, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis)
- Brain fog
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Food allergies, food intolerances, and food sensitivities
- Irregular periods
- Joint pain
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Skin disorders such as acne, eczema, or rosacea
Can a Stool Test Detect Leaky Gut?
Yes. Most leaky gut syndrome test kits make use of a stool sample to detect leaky gut. This is the most common method of intestinal permeability assessment.
Another way to conduct a leaky gut assessment or intestinal barrier function is through a Zonulin test. Blood or stool is used to determine zonulin and zonulin levels, which indicates that leaky gut is present.
Additionally, other tests make use of a urine sample as a specimen. This is called the lactulose mannitol test. Lactulose and mannitol are sugar molecules, and their presence is tested in urine. Lactulose normally represents gut damage, while mannitol measures small intestine function.
The good news is, you don’t have to see a doctor or go to a lab to get tested. With the use of a leaky gut test kit, you can take a test from the comfort of home.
Top 5 Leaky Gut Syndrome Test Kits
Thryve’s Gut Health Test is an excellent choice for budget-conscious people who want value for their money. The test provides one of the most accurate and comprehensive pictures of the gut microbiome among its competitors.
The test analyses bacterial activity and its effects on gut health. Thryve tops the list when it comes to patient privacy. It provides personalized recommendations based on test results.
- Using a stool specimen, Thryve’s Gut Health Test works by targeting both good and bad bacteria in the gut to determine the root cause of symptoms.
- The digital health report is easy to understand. It comes with detailed explanations of the significance of the test result.
- Test results, a digital health report, and a personalized food plan are delivered via its app.
Verisana’s Leaky Gut Complete test kit is specially made to test for leaky gut syndrome. It is considered a comprehensive stool analysis tool. It tests for numerous factors that affect the health of the gut microbiome.
Using a stool sample, the Verisana Leaky Gut Complete test kit checks for intestinal permeability. It also analyzes gut flora and detects the presence of IgA and Zonulin. Plus, it tests for Candida albicans and helps determine the overall health of the gut flora.
- The test is specific for leaky gut but also covers other important aspects of the gut microbiome.
- It is very simple to do. It has detailed instructions on sample collection and how to send it back to the laboratory.
- A laboratory report and a scientific analysis of the report are sent via email. These are already included in the price.
Viome’s At-Home Gut Microbiome test kit offers an accurate gut analysis. It tells you more information about the health of your microbiome.
It uses artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art metatranscriptomic technology that can analyze the activity of yeast, fungi, viruses, molds, and bacteria present in the gut.
- It comes with a nutrition recommendation, so you’ll know what foods to take and what to avoid to maximize gut health.
- It offers personalized food and supplement recommendations based on the results of your test.
- Results are easily accessible online and via their mobile app.
Thorne’s Gut Microbiome test provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the gut flora. It comes with a personalized plan that focuses on relieving gastrointestinal discomfort and optimizing overall health and wellness.
The test makes use of state-of-the-art sequencing technology. It is recommended for people experiencing symptoms such as:
- abdominal pain
- excessive gas
- The test measures intestinal permeability, gut dysbiosis, inflammatory levels, microbiome imbalances, gut flora diversity, pathogen presence, and many more.
- Ease of access to your personal microbiome report. This is done through an easy-to-navigate dashboard with detailed descriptions of the results.
- It comes with customized recommendations for lifestyle changes, dietary modifications, and supplement needs tailored to your unique results.
GutBiome+ is recommended for people who want to improve their overall health and digestive well-being. It processes a stool sample using whole metagenome sequencing.
The test analyzes the microorganisms found in the gut with information on the gut type and microbe profile.
- The report comes with metabolism information, lifestyle status, and nutrition utility.
- It comes with a comprehensive probiotics profile.
- It offers customized dietary recommendations based on the results of your microbiome and metabolism profiles.
What foods should you avoid if you have leaky gut syndrome?
One of the many ways to ensure gut health is to have a healthy diet. A poor diet will always result in poor gut health, depriving the body of essential nutrients. An unhealthy diet will lead to nutritional deficiency, which could lead to the development of health problems.
We now know that dietary factors play a huge part in gut health. Here are some foods that you should avoid if you have leaky gut syndrome:
Like sugar, alcohol causes an imbalance in the gut. Research studies have shown that drinking in moderation may have health benefits, but excessive alcohol intake is never good.
Avoid consuming ice cream, cheese, and milk, especially in high amounts.
People with leaky gut syndrome often experience gluten sensitivity. This is why a gluten-free diet is recommended. Stay away from barley, bulgur, oats, rye, seitan, and triticale.
High-fiber foods would make great substitutes. Choose those rich in soluble fiber like apples, citrus fruits, peas, potatoes, and strawberries.
This includes foods like bacon, cold cuts, deli meats, hotdogs, and many more.
Excessive sugar intake can alter the normal balance in the gut microbiome. Avoid foods rich in sugar, such as cakes, cookies, sugary cereals, and candy bars. This also includes foods with artificial sweeteners.
If you think you have a food allergy but couldn’t seem to pin it down on a specific food, use the elimination diet. Do this until you figure out the cause of your allergy. Avoid trigger foods at all costs and then work on looking for healthier, safer alternatives.
Remember not to overdo elimination diets because doing so may do more harm than good.
Aside from avoiding unhealthy food and having a well-balanced diet, taking probiotic supplements each day could help boost your gut health, too.
The Ultimate Guide for a Healthy Gut. Read our 2021 Guide.