Category Archives: Testing

Test Your Gut Part 3: Stool Test

Imaged used under Creative Commons License, Flickr user Iqbal Osman.

Imaged used under Creative Commons License, Flickr user Iqbal Osman.

Fair warning, this final week is going to be gross. Keeping that in mind, let’s proceed.

I love stool testing because it tells me so much about a patient and how to get their health back.  I have been told I am a little abnormal.  Today’s topic is to some, “creepy,” because I am going to talk about the critters that could be harboring in your gut, literally building condo complexes because you are such a tasty host.

The stool test I want to focus on is parasite testing.  I speak from experience, I had parasites in me for 23 years before I developed symptoms. Yes, they can live off us taking our nutrients and insidiously depleting us before we get symptoms. It took a stressor in my life for them to exhaust my immune system and to cause symptoms. My stress was working full-time and completing a doctorate degree.

Symptoms of parasites can be a runny nose, night time restlessness and blisters on the lower lip inside the mouth.  They can cause allergies, anemia, fuzzy thinking, headaches, mineral imbalances, teeth grinding and havoc with your blood sugars.  There are also gut related symptoms that one may develop.  Those symptoms could be abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, gas or bloating, rash or itching, feeling tired, weight loss, fever, mucous in stools, listlessness and generally not feeling well.

My symptoms were fatigue and constipation. I had to give up long distance running.  Also, my stool tests with my medical insurance were negative. So I had to try a variety of labs to identify the culprits.  I picked these critters up in either the South Pacific or in Asia on travel. I had three parasites in me Cyrptosporidium, Giardia and Entamoeba Histolytica.

There are two classes of parasites protozoan (amoebas) and metazoan (worms or helminths).  We have been lead to believe these infections only occur in third world countries. That is incorrect, because now we are one big connected family traveling back and forth and sharing what we have.  Like the military personnel who keep traveling back and forth from each deployment.

So how do we know if we have a parasite and what can we do about it?  Find a medical professional who knows a reputable lab and works with parasite infections.

Prevention begins now  by washing all of your produce, vegetables and fruit, with 3% hydrogen peroxide in 1/2 gallon of reverse osmosis water or distilled water for 15 minutes to remove the microscopic parasites that reside on our food from the night soil used as an agricultural practice in countries outside of the United States.  Night soil is the use of human feces for the fertilization of crops.

To Your Health,

Dr. Dana

Remnant Health Center

 

 

Testing Your Gut Part 2: Serum Test


There is another amazing biological reality in your body to ensure you are safe and secure and your health can prosper.  Tight junctions between the cells that line the small intestines are a necessary protection against the outside world becoming a part of your inside world.  I call the protein that holds the cells together a type of glue because when the cells do not adhere to one another the gut lining can become permeable or open.   The glue that binds cells to cells at the gut barrier is called Zonulin.

Zonulin is a protein in your body when over produced signals channels to open at the gut barrier allowing large molecules to pass directly into the blood stream.  On some level it is like the Panama Channel in your gut but in multiple locations which should never occur.

When the gut barrier becomes “leaky” allergies can develop to foods and autoimmune conditions can develop over time like celiac disease, insulin dependent diabetes, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.  The long term results are inflammation that can occur at the gut lining and/or at a distant site.  Both neurological disorders and cancer are also a result of high Zonulin levels.

The top reasons why high levels of Zonulin can occur are:

  •          Overgrowth of unwanted organisms, for example parasites in the intestine
  •          Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) so an imbalance of good/bad bacteria
  •          Fungal over growth or Candidia overgrowth
  •          Allergic reaction to gluten containing foods (Gliadin in the diet)

Repairing the damage and refurbishing the gut barrier is the job of a clinician in tandem with you the patient. The actions your clinician will take will be based on your test results, your history, lifestyle and dietary habits and how your current state of health is today.

Identifying the offending organisms will be of great value. If there is an unwanted parasite a remedy will be put in place to treat that critter. If bacterial overgrowth is present a probiotic/prebiotic will be used to repopulate your gut with good flora. If an overgrowth of fungus is present an antifungal will be given whether pharmaceutical or herbal. Lastly, if you have a food sensitivity or allergy to gluten containing foods elimination of this food will be highly recommended.

Zonulin is a simple serum or blood test. This will have to be drawn and submitted to a unique lab that specializes in this gut marker.  Your clinician needs an account with the lab as well. Traditional doctors routinely do not know about this marker and do not have an account with this specialized lab unless they do functional or integrative medicine.

You may have to educate him or her about this marker and its value to understanding your health challenges more comprehensively.  I will continue to encourage you to become your own health advocate and at some level your own doctor.

To your health,

Dr. Dana

Remnant Health Center

Testing Your Gut Part 1: Saliva Test

Photo from amherstpediatrics.net

Each of us has a remarkable immune paint that coats the surface of the gut barrier so foreign substances cannot enter. This remarkable paint is secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA).  Secretory IgA is the most abundant class of antibodies found in the intestines of humans.  This immune paint exists on all body surfaces that come into direct contact with the outside world from your nose to your anus, your tear ducts and nipples to the tube you pee out of.  Secretory IgA is an amazing protection; it is our first line of defense.

Its’ defense is against viruses, parasites, bacteria and fungus.  This barrier paint also protects against toxins such as heavy metals (mercury, lead, etc.) and unwanted chemicals like pesticides and herbicides.  Secretory IgA and mucous creates a protective slime that sticks to the gut lining and creates a wall of protection.

So why does this matter, and what can you do about this?

Well you need a health professional who knows about this immune paint, also known as a marker. That could be your doctor, a physician assistant or nurse practitioner. They can order a simple saliva test that you collect in the comfort of your own home.  This test will reveal if your immune paint is working or not. If it is not you are susceptible to infection.

To fix this issue I prescribe a pill or powder used in the medical community, known as L-Glutamine that will restore your immune paint over time.  I prefer the powder because the body has less stress in absorbing a powder.  It will take at minimum 3 months to fix this issue.

It is rare that an individual has an adequate secretory IgA level in today’s high stress society.   If you have lower levels it could be related to high stress in your life, a disruption in your sleep wake cycles and the presence of food allergies. Because it is so rare to have enough of the secretory IgA in your body it is more important now than ever that people know about this test and ask for it!

Tune in next week for part two of the “Testing Your Gut” miniseries!

To your health,

Dr. Dana