A patient’s gut might not be the most obvious place to look for the origins of mental health disorders, immune dysfunction, or chronic inflammation. More and more research, however, is pointing to the fact that gut health can have a profound influence over a person’s mental and
physical health. So, how can you get an accurate picture of your patients’ gut health? That’s where gut health testing comes in. In this article, we’ll be exploring how these specialized tests can provide personalized information that will help support your patients’ longevity. Here’s
what you need to know.
What is the gut-brain connection?
Gut health is a foundational piece of functional medicine that impacts every other part of the body, even the brain. In fact, the lining of the gut is often called “the second brain” because it communicates back and forth with the actual brain via chemicals like hormones and neurotransmitters. The chemical messages that pass between the gut and the brain can be affected by the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live in the gut, known as the “gut microbiome.” Every person’s gut contains a mix of beneficial bacteria, harmless bacteria, and harmful bacteria. A healthy gut that is flourishing with good bacteria has the potential to improve mental and physical well-being, while an out of balance gut that is overrun with bad bacteria can open the door for developing mental and physical health issues.
What causes imbalances in the gut?
When working properly, the gut has many roles. It aids in digesting food, absorbing nutrients, eliminating toxins, fighting pathogens, managing inflammation, and producing neurotransmitters. Aspects of modern living, however, such as stress, medications, and processed food, can disrupt the microbiome’s balance, causing the gut to become overrun with harmful microbes.
Using genetic testing to gain personalized information
Thankfully, specialized testing exists that can help you gain an accurate picture of what’s going on in your patients’ guts. Using the information gained from GI-Map, a test offered by Nordic Laboratories, you can create personalized protocols to address gut dysfunction based on infections that need to be urgently treated, which areas of the gut are already optimized, and which areas should be addressed after an infection is resolved. This test can also be used as a guide to access the effectiveness of a treatment, as retesting can demonstrate things like the resolution of a parasite or the improvement of dysbiosis, for example.
Other genetic tests can be completed in tandem with GI-Map to gain even more information about your patients’ health. For example, DNA Health can help you determine the optimal nutritional plan to support a patient’s gut and overall health, while DNA Mind can help you determine optimal treatment strategies for those with mental health issues. These tests work synergistically, enabling you to create the most effective protocols for your patients’ needs.
Creating and implementing a plan for longevity
Areas of research such as nutrigenomics have opened the door to personalized medicine, allowing practitioners to create protocols that are optimized for each individual patient. Knowing the exact make-up of a patient’s gut and genes, and how they process different compounds, provides incredible insight that enables you to prescribe precise lifestyle and nutrition recommendations and make informed decisions about different treatment options. With this information at your fingertips, you can best support their health and longevity—a win for both your patients and your practice.
The bottom line
With tests like GI-MAP, GI Mind, and DNA Health, practitioners can gain information and insight into what their patients may be experiencing, as well as how to best support their health and longevity. If you’re ready to use tools that help your patients live the long, healthy lives they deserve, get started with Nordic Laboratories today.