Did we pass?
Sometimes to get to the bottoms of things, you have to start from… the bottom. When our Director of Sales, Vanessa Lee, told registered dietitian Sarah Greenfield that ongoing bloat stumped her, Sarah proposed a unique solution: stool testing. Read on to learn more, or watch the video recap above!
What Is A Stool Test?
“It helps show what’s going on in the body,” Sarah tell us. “We can look at inflammation, we can look at malabsorption, we look for parasites, infection… All of these things are so crucial to your well-being. While it may sound kind of disgusting to test your poop, it gives so much insight into your overall health.”
Who might benefit from stool testing? People who are suffering from digestive issues that they just can’t seem to figure out. “If you’ve modified your diet, changed your lifestyle, and still aren’t seeing movement or change in your discomfort, then examining your poop is a really good place to start,” says Sarah. “Your poop doesn’t lie!”
How Does It Work?
You get a box with everything you need to collect your sample at home—including, yes, a pair of gloves. A specimen is dispersed between four different containers that are closed, packed back into the box, sealed up, and shipped to a lab. The results come back two weeks later.
“It wasn’t as gross as I expected,” Vanessa says after trying the process herself. “The weirdest part was it riding in my front seat in the FedEx bag and then handing it over to ship.”
Vanessa’s Stool-Test Results
The first page of Vanessa’s test results gives a summary of the overall results. She comes up clear of any digestive infections, inflammation, or insufficiency. “Her digestive enzymes and pancreatic elastase all look great,” says Sarah. Because Vanessa is such a big fan of Flatter Me, these results come as no surprise. But then what could be causing her discomfort?
You’ll notice that in the imbalance category there are some flagged concerns. We’ll get to those in a bit. For now, we also learn that Vanessa has a lower diversity of bacteria strains in her gut. The results even share a visual comparison of relative abundance compared to that of a healthy population.
Now, we can start to look more closely at the flagged imbalances. We learn that Vanessa is low in short-chain fatty acids that are the main source of nutrition for the cells in your colon. Butyrate concentration is also low, which is a type of short-chain fatty acid.
“It makes sense because good bacteria in your gut produces short-chain fatty acids,” says Sarah. “We’ve already seen that Vanessa has a low diversity of bacteria strains. So it would follow that she’s low in short-chain fatty acids and butyrate. One way to increase that is to eat more fiber.”
Next, we take a closer look at the levels of different bacterial strains in Vanessa’s gut. “I like to see these right down the middle,” advises Sarah. “You can see these are all really high.”
The next page looks more closely at bacteria culture. “There’s a couple here that are culturing out into a concerning area showing that these might be pathogenic,” Sarah indicates.
What Affects These Bacteria Levels In the Gut?
It’s really connected to lifestyle. “There’s always good bacteria and bad bacteria in the gut,” Sarah tells us. “Perhaps you take antibiotics and the bad bacteria grow and you never rebalance it. Alternatively, stress can cause bad bacteria to multiply. Furthermore, if your diet is highly processed, unbalanced, or high in sugar, bad bacteria can overgrow.”
What Should Vanessa Do With This Information?
“The reason why we did this test is to try and understand what’s going on with Vanessa’s digestion,” Sarah explains. “Now that we can see there’s all this weird bacteria in her gut, it could really be the missing link we were looking for.”
Vanessa might look into antimicrobial and antifungal herbal blend to gently clear out some of the bad bacteria. She can then repopulate good bacteria by using quality probiotics like Gut Instinct. In terms of diet, Sarah suggests that Vanessa should increase her fiber intake with cooked vegetables and to limit dairy, alcohol, and sugar.