The gastrointestinal system is a complex system and therefore proper evaluation often requires a variety of comprehensive diagnostic tests.
Comprehensive Stool Analysis
An important tool in evaluating the gastrointenstinal tract and digestive function is stool testing. At the Nardella Clinic in Calgary we offer complete stool testing that evaluates markers such as:
- Levels of beneficial bacteria
- Detection of Abnormal Bacteria
- Yeast/fungal overgrowth
- Parasite testing
- Inflammatory and immunology markers
- Evaluation of digestive enzymes
This information is used to develop an individualized approach to healing the gut and return to digestive health.
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth
Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) is a common issue that leads to maldigestion and malabsorption. Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth has also been associated with chronic diseases such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Symptoms of SIBO may include:
- Bloating and gas
- Irregular bowel movements
- Abdominal pain and discomfort
A healthy small intestine contains far fewer bacteria than the large intestine. This simple, non-invasive breath test evaluates the hydrogen/methane gas ratio, which is an indicator of bacterial overgrowth.
Intestinal hyper-permeability, also referred to as “leaky gut”, is a condition in which the integrity of the gastrointestinal wall breaks down, allowing proteins in food to cross this barrier and enter into the bloodstream. This can cause autoimmune, allergic and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Intestinal permeability can be evaluated using the following methods:
- Zonulin levels
- Occludin levels
- Lactulose/mannitol ratio
Celiac is an autoimmune disease also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, or idiopathic sprue, and is a hereditary response to gliadin. Gliadin is a protein fraction of gluten present in the wheat grain. Similar protein fractions are found in rye and barley.
The immune reaction to the gluten protein in the gut sets off an inflammatory state that may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, distension, flatulence, weight loss and fatigue. Left untreated, celiac disease may lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, osteoporosis, depression, irritability and impaired scholastic performance in children. Long-term complications include increased risk of certain malignancies especially of the small bowel but may manifest elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract.
According to some experts, there can be as many as 300 possible symptoms of the disease, and different people will experience celiac in different ways. Often, symptoms can be confused with other disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.
Autoimmune damage causes the loss of tiny protrusions in the small intestines called villi, which are essential to the proper absorption of nutrients from food.
Testing for celiac disease with one of our naturopathic physicians in Calgary is readily available for persons experiencing mild to moderate, and even severe to extreme GI symptoms and other imbalances, that may suggest a gluten intolerance or gluten allergy reaction.
Here at Nardella Clinic in Calgary, we provide celiac testing that is more comprehensive than the standard test used in Canada. Traditional celiac blood testing measures a marker called tissue transglutaminase. Although this is useful in the diagnosis of celiac, many patients with celiac may have a result that is a false negative if only this marker is measured. Deamidated gluten protein is an additional marker, used in combination with tissue transglutaminase, that helps to identify patients who are celiac through the blood.
Comprehensive gluten testing also examines IgG, IgA and IgE reactions to gluten, which although not celiac, indicate an immune response to gluten that would result in recommended avoidance of gluten.
For patients where a blood test may want to be avoided, such as children, our clinicians can obtain these results for celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in a less invasive way with just a few drops from a fingerstick.