GI Map: Why This Stool Test is So Critical - Nikki Yelton RD

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GI Map: Why This Stool Test is So Critical

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The GI Map is a full-proof way to get an accurate idea of what’s going on inside your gut so that we aren’t just guessing. It detects microbes that may be disturbing your gut balance, contributing to illness, and triggering symptoms.

functional medicine dietitian nutritionist

Reading Time: 7 minutes

What is a GI Map and why is it so important when it comes to gut health?

These days, the term “gut health” has become a buzzword in the health world. Every functional practitioner, Instagram influencer, and health coach is talking about the importance of a healthy gut. So, is a healthy gut worth all the hype? 

The short answer: yes. As Hippocrates said, “All health starts in the gut.” In other words, the state of your gut affects the rest of your body from head-to-toe, including your heart, lungs, immunity, skin, and more. That being said, it’s extremely challenging to improve your gut health when you don’t have a starting point. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as taking a daily probiotic. The gastrointestinal system is complex, which calls for intentional and specific protocols. 

Enter: the GI Map stool test.  

WHAT IS THE GI MAP? 

The GI Map test does exactly what it sounds like— it maps out exactly what’s going on inside your gut! This stool test by Diagnostic Solutions Lab uses a sample of your stool to analyze the state of your gastrointestinal tract by detecting your harmful versus healthy bacteria balance and identifying any harmful infections, pathogens, parasites, active viruses, and more. It does this by actually measuring the DNA of the microbes in your GI tract. Pretty cool, right? 

The GI Map is a full-proof way to get an accurate idea of what’s going on inside your gut so that we aren’t just guessing at what is going on. It detects microbes that may be disturbing your gut balance, contributing to illness, and triggering symptoms such as poor digestion, absorption, immune function, and inflammation. This makes all the difference so you don’t continue to spin your wheels, look up your symptoms on the internet, and wonder what to do next. Basically, it gives you a starting point (or a baseline) to begin identifying the root cause of your symptoms and improve your overall health.  

WHAT DOES THE GI MAP TEST FOR? 

The GI Map test is very comprehensive. This is one of the main reasons I use this test with most (if not all) of my clients! It provides an in-depth look at your gut microbiome, which is key to healing. There’s not much that this test leaves out! 

What does the G.I. map test for

The GI Map stool test by Diagnostic Solutions reveals the presence and amount of:

Pathogens

The GI Map identifies pathogens that often lead to intestinal gastroenteritis, which is an intestinal infection marked by symptoms such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Bacterial: Think E.coli, salmonella, C.diff 
  • Parasitic: Think pathogens like giardia
  • Viral: Think adenovirus or norovirus
H. Pylori

H. pylori is a type of bacteria that attacks the stomach lining. It’s important to note that most people with the infection do not show any clear signs or symptoms and diagnosis can be difficult. Most people with the infection have it for several years, which eventually leads to chronic inflammation. Recent studies have shown that nearly 50% of the world’s population may harbor H. pylori. 

Opportunistic Bacteria (SIBO patterns) 

In other words— bad bacteria. This includes bacteria that cause gut dysbiosis and are autoimmune triggers. They trigger illness and frustrating symptoms, especially in the immune-compromised. It is normal to have these microbes in manageable and balanced amounts, however at high levels they are very problematic to the gut and overall health. These microbes can also lead to leaky gut, infecting other areas of your body and causing inflammation. 

Normal Bacterial Flora

The GI Map not only tests for harmful bacteria, but the good microbes as well! There are trillions of microorganisms in your GI tract that make up a complex ecosystem. We want to make sure you have plenty of good bacteria because their jobs are to extract nutrients and energy from food, maintain gut barrier function, produce vitamins, and fight and protect against harmful microbes.

Fungi/Yeast

Similarly to bacteria, fungus and yeast is normal in the gut microbiome at low levels. The trouble arises with fungal and yeast overgrowth. The GI Map tests for yeast levels of common strains that plague the GI tract with overgrowth such as Candida albicans

Viruses 

The GI Map detects any opportunistic viruses that may be lying dormant such as the Epstein Barr virus. These viruses can trigger further damage by causing illnesses. For example, the Epstein Barr virus causes the infectious mononucleosis (AKA “mono”). 

Parasites

This includes protozoa and worms that most commonly occur in the GI tract. If these organisms are found to be parasitic, they feed on the host organism at the expense of the host (that’s you!). 

Intestinal Health Markers 

The GI Map also tests for markers that determine your intestinal health such as digestion, immune response, inflammation, and GI markers. We want to make sure all of your levels are in tip top shape! 

Antibiotic Resistant Genes

The GI Map can detect antibiotic resistant genes in your gut microbiome, meaning that certain antibiotics will not work in treating a bacterial infection. It can detect genes that are resistant to commonly prescribed antibiotics such as Amoxicillen, Clarithromycin, Fluroquinolines, and Tetracycline. This is vital information if an antibiotic protocol is needed. 

I wasn’t kidding when I said this test is comprehensive. As you can see, the measured markers are invaluable. Without this stool test, we’re left to play a guessing game. Again, you don’t want to guess when it comes to your health. It’s as simple as that. 

WHAT MAKES THE GI MAP DIFFERENT? 

While there are many functional tests available, the GI Map is different for many reasons. For one, it shows consistently accurate quantitative levels of pathogenic and beneficial bacteria in the gut microbiome. It also is the only test to use advanced qPCR technology to effectively analyze stool samples, due to its quantification, specificity, and sensitivity.

What makes the G.I. map different

Let’s break this down…

The GI Map provides quantitative results: 

The GI Map offers quantitative results, which means it not only shows you what resides in your gut, but also how much. qPCR offers a much more accurate way to detect and quantify microbes than standard methods. Accurately assessing how much of an organism’s DNA is in your stool is essential to determine the whether that organism is making a significant impact on your health or contributing to dysbiosis. 

The GI Map is consistently accurate:

Diagnostic Solutions is the only laboratory in the United States exclusively using qPCR technology for stool testing like the GI Map. This technology is typically used in clinical and academic research because it provides highly-accurate quantification and high levels of sensitivity and specificity. Standard technology doesn’t offer as accurate of results.

The GI Map is consistently reproducible:

The GI MAP also provides consistently reproducible results. Reproducibility is super important to functional practitioners in order to provide consistent guidance to patients. Diagnostic Solutions performs rigorous quality control to exceed FDA standards so that practitioners and patients can confidently rely on the effectiveness of the the stool test. 

Needless to say, this comprehensive test is the one I trust to provide accurate results for myself and clients. Unlike other tests, a GI Map stool test will show you exactly what is in your gut microbiome. And until you know this key information, you’ll likely be spinning your wheels without gaining any traction. With GI Map results, you and your practitioner can create a highly custom and intentional protocol to treat the imbalances in your gut. You’ll no longer have to guess and hope for progress.

WHO SHOULD GET A GI MAP TEST?

If you know me at all, you know my stance on functional testing. I firmly believe it’s critical to test, not guess when it comes to health. In fact, I’m so passionate about functional testing that it’s step ONE in my seven step healing protocol.  As the first step, it’s arguably the most important. As stated before, without a baseline, it’s hard to know where to start, much less track any progress.

Signs you should get a G.I. map test

Most people can benefit from a GI Map assessment, however for those with active symptoms it is most critical. I highly recommend doing a this stool test if any of the following symptoms are present:

  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Bloating or gas
  • Diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Skin rashes or eczema
  • Autoimmunity
  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • ADHD or ADD
  • Nausea
  • Weight issues
  • Depression or anxiety

Unfortunately, functional testing is often the step that most people miss or skip over when getting to the root of their digestive issues and autoimmune conditions. But, I’m here to tell you that functional testing is an essential step in healing your gut!

what happens when you heal your gut
WRAPPING IT ALL UP 

So you get tested— now what? It’s one thing to get your test results… it’s another thing to know what to do with them. 

In regards to your health, it’s always wise to work with a functional practitioner who can look at the big picture— especially when it comes to functional testing. You want to work with a trusted professional who can help you interpret the results of your test and create a custom protocol for you.

With that in mind, I have over a decade of experience interpreting stool testing and helping clients experience real results. My Microbiome Makeover program takes on the “test don’t guess” approach that I live by. In this program we go over your stool test results and other key functional medicine data to customize a protocol that is right for you. Click here to get started with the Microbiome Makeover program and test don’t guess!

Why the G.I. map stool test is so critical
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"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."

-Nikki Yelton, RD

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