A gut microbiome test informs you what bacteria live in your gut, how many they are, and what effect they have on your body. This is important because you can start eating what is best for your body. Get a gut microbiome test from Susan A. Baker, M.D., to learn which “good or “bad” bacteria live in your gut.   

What Are Microbiome Tests?

A gut microbiome test involves examining a stool sample for gut flora, including types of bacteria, parasites, and viruses in the gastrointestinal tract. Most tests use genetic sequencing technologies to offer information about the DNA of your gut bacteria and analyze your bacteria. There are different types of gut microbiome tests, each offering various analyses- some may give a broad overview of your gut bacteria. In contrast, others provide a deeper analysis of multiple subtypes of bacteria. Gut microbiome analysis offers detailed information that helps doctors assess, improve, and monitor patients’ gut health and understand their problems. 

What Is a Gut Microbiome?

The gut microbiome includes all the bacteria in your digestive system, which has various functions when fed well through nutritious foods. Your stomach, intestines, colon, and esophagus are essential parts of your gastrointestinal tract. They all contain bacteria that play a part in the digestive process, affect your nervous system, and boost your immunity. Gut bacteria play a crucial role in the overall health of our bodies. There is a link between the type of bacteria existing in your gut and the risk of illnesses. 

The type of foods you eat can benefit the health of your gut microbiome. Gut microbes consist of healthy and harmful strains of bacteria, including viruses and fungi. These microorganisms collectively make up the gut flora. There should be an optimal balance between the beneficial and harmful bacteria in your gut. According to research, this might contribute to weight loss or maintenance. 

Microbiome help converts food into various compounds that benefit the whole body. Additionally, gut bacteria ferment fiber and convert it into short-chain fatty acids that reduce inflammation, produce various vitamins, and synthesize hormones. The makeup of our microbiome is influenced by foods, beverages, drugs, environment, and genes. Gut microbiome imbalance can cause symptoms such as heartburn, bloating, constipation, flatulence, difficulty sleeping, craving sugar, fatigue, food intolerances, and stool changes. It may also lead to the following diagnoses:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Skin disorders, such as eczema
  • Mood swings and other mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety 
  • Oral health problems like tooth decay
  • Obesity
  • Inflammation
  • Kidney disease
  • Prediabetes 
  • Diabetes
  • Cancers
  • Liver diseases

Every person’s gut microbiome is unique. Some gut microbes may be beneficial to some people while harmful to others. Lifestyle and dietary changes significantly improve gut health, promote gut microbiome diversity, and promote the gut’s protective barriers. To improve your gut health, you can: 

  • Eat a plant-based diet rich in fiber, colorful fruits, and vegetables 
  • Eat fermented foods such as kimchi, yogurt, or kombucha
  • Get plenty of sleep and rest 
  • Manage your stress levels 
  • Avoid alcohol intake
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Take probiotic supplements
  • Limit your sugar intake 
  • Exercise regularly 

When Can I See a Doctor About Gut Microbiome?

You should make an appointment to see a doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms: 

  • Bloody stool
  • Chronic constipation, bloating, or gas
  • Persistent diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Episodes of choking
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loss of appetite

Who Can Get Gut Microbiome Testing?

You can get microbiome testing if you:

  • Have been experiencing chronic gut symptoms such as diarrhea or bloating
  • Have chronic gut conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Are experiencing no symptoms but want to monitor your gut microbiome for screen testing or are curious about the composition of your gut microbiome composition
  • You want to improve the overall health of your gut if you are on a wellness journey

Who Is Not a Suitable Candidate for A Gut Microbiome Test?

You may not benefit from a gut microbiome test if:

  • You are actively being treated for conditions like cancer
  • You are on medications that can affect your gut microbiomes, such as steroids or antibiotics
  • You want to use the gut microbiome test as a diagnostic tool
  • You have digestive symptoms that a doctor has not yet checked out

What Can Gut Microbiome Test Results Tell Me?

Once the results are out, there will be a better understanding of the balance of harmful and beneficial bacteria that may contribute to the symptoms you are experiencing and which bacteria live in your gut. The results will also tell if specific pathogens may make you ill and if there are risk factors related to the gut microbiome, such as obesity. You will also know if you have a balanced microbiome community or need to make diet changes and how your gut bacteria affect your body. You can also get recommendations to help you achieve a balanced gut microbiome environment.

Benefits of Gut Microbiome Testing

  • You can discover the potential of your gut microbiome to break down nutrients such as protein, sugars, fiber, and fats. 
  • You can have an insight into the composition and diversity of microorganisms living in your gut
  • You will get a comprehensive list of all the various bacteria present in your gut
  • You can discover the gene potential of your microbiome to produce substances related to health, like folate
  • Your healthcare professional team can help you get a better understanding of your results, what is going on in your gut, and a tailored list of food suggestions that can heal or improve your gut health
  • Your doctor can visualize the continual progress of your dietary and lifestyle modifications and if they are working or not

If you are interested in discovering the composition of your gut microbiome, the Susan A. Baker M.D. team can help. Please request a consultation, or call us today. We are glad to help.