The Gastrointestinal Health Panel

The Gastrointestinal Health Panel

The human gastrointestinal tract, or GI tract, is an organ system responsible for consuming and digesting foodstuffs, absorbing nutrients, and expelling waste. The GI tract consists of the stomach and (small and large) intestines, and is divided into the upper and lower gastrointestinal tracts. (Wikipedia).

As food enters the body through the gastrointestinal tract, many different types of enzymes and peptides are secreted throughout the entire GI tract in order to break down food into nutrients for absorption, assimilation and distribution throughout the entire body, so that healthy cells can be created and vibrant health can occur.

Pathogenic Organisms Found in Food and Elsewhere

Normally, food does not need to be sterilized – we only need to ensure it is clean and wholesome. However, the risk of being infected through food is rising.   This is due to several reasons: immigration, frequent oversees travel, importation of fruits and vegetables, outdoor and wilderness excursions, agricultural pollution, pets at home, lack of screening food handlers for transmissible pathogens, etc.

Pathogens are organisms causing, or capable of causing, disease. They include bacteria, fungi, yeast and various parasites. Although pathogens found in foods may seem rare, World Health Organization studies indicated that about ½ billion individuals are infected annually by specific types of parasites (e.g., giardia).

The predominant method of transmission of parasites is the fecal-oral route through hand contact with infected individuals, or via contaminated water and food. However, pets can often be a source of parasitic transmission. Raw foods, including sushi, are also sources of parasitic infection if left out too long, or not properly prepared. In addition, overutilization of antibiotics renders the GI tract more susceptible to chronic overgrowth of harmful organisms. People with suppressed immune systems are also vulnerable to infections with GI pathogens.

Bodily Functions Affected by GI Pathogens

Pathogenic organisms in the GI tract can affect the entire function of your digestive system. The tissues of the GI tract can become irritated and inflamed. Symptoms can include gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and so forth. A person can have pathogenic organisms and experience no symptoms at all; however, if left undetected, chronic ill-health can occur as immune system function may also become affected.

Healthy Digestive and Immune System Function

The key to a healthy GI tract is having healthy digestive function. When the stomach secretes enough peptides and hydrochloric acid, often pathogenic organisms are killed at that point. The large intestine also plays a role in keeping the GI tract healthy as good types of bacteria live there, and these good bacteria can help to keep pathogenic organisms under control.

The pancreas releases several types of enzymes into the small intestine which play a role in the proper digestion, absorption and assimilation of food. When food is transformed through these enzymes properly, nutrients can be distributed throughout the body and healthy cells can be created, including cells for strong immune system function. The immune system defends us against all types of invading organisms.

Testing for GI Health

The GI Health Panel is a non-invasive screen of the gastrointestinal tract and its function. It includes at least 15-22 markers of GI health. The panel includes screening for bacteria, fungi, yeast, and various parasites. It also screens for several types of digestive enzyme levels, as well as markers for intolerances to foods. In addition, it screens for markers related to irritation and inflammation, as well as for markers that indicate the overall status of gut immunity and integrity. Stool and saliva samples are collected in the convenience of your home.

Nutrition Programs and Consultations

A nutritional consultation will determine whether or not this test will be needed to bring the body back into nutritional balance. If this test is recommended, a test kit will be provided. The test kit contains full instructions, as well as everything needed to do the test, including prepaid postage for returning the stool and saliva collected to the lab for testing.

Once the results are received by me, a nutritional program is then tailored to your specific nutritional and dietary needs to improve the health of the entire GI tract, including digestive function and immune system function. Diet, supplementation, and other nutritional and lifestyle considerations are important for maintaining GI health, including healthy digestive and immune system function, and will help bring the body back into balance. Our programs help to correct nutritional deficiencies, and in doing so, overall health is improved.

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