The gut contains trillions of microorganisms weighing up to 2kg and is as unique to you as your fingerprint. Your microbiome has many useful functions which include absorbing and producing nutrients, maintaining the gut lining to keep out toxins and inhibit unwelcome microorganisms, providing immunity, and producing mood regulating hormones such as serotonin. The microbiome can be disrupted by a number of lifestyle and environmental factors including medications and antibiotics, chronic constipation, stress and diet. Refer to our blog - The forgotten organ, the thriving population that lives in your gut - for more information.
Dysbiosis is an unhealthy imbalance in the gut microbiome which not only affects bowel function (causing irritable bowel symptoms), but can also lead to inflammatory and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and even mental health problems. This PCR based microbiome test will analyse the DNA of your gut bacteria and show you if you have an undergrowth or overgrowth in specific gut microbes.
If you'd like a nutritional review and assessment of your test results by our Clinical Nutritionist, consider adding on a Nutrition Assessment.
Diversity is a measure of the number of bacterial species that lives in your gut. A diverse microbiome can perform a broader range of tasks that regulate and compensate, making the whole system more stable. Factors such as poor diet or antibiotics can cause key species to disappear. When there is a wide range of bacteria, other species take over these missing functions, but if the community lacks diversity, this compensation mechanism may be compromised and cause dysbiosis - a precursor for disease.
Your microbiome is organised into one of three types that have been established by analysing thousands of samples from around the world. Large-scale metagenomic studies have identified "enterotypes": stable combinations of bacteria co-existing in communities. Each person's microbiome falls into one of these three groups, which correspond with different styles of nutrition. Your microbiome type can change should you significantly modify your diet or be subjected to external factors.
Probiotics and beneficial bacteria level
Potential for fibre metabolism
A number of bacteria that inhabit our gut are considered to be indicators of health. They are found in people with a healthy digestive system and low levels of systemic inflammation. These include "probiotics" - microorganisms found in cultured foods that have been shown to improve health indicators. Probiotics are positively correlated with healthy immune system function, metabolism and digestion.
Probiotics and beneficial bacteria level
Our gut bacteria can be divided into ‘bad’ and ‘good’. The good ones for the most part benefit us, whreas the bad 'pathogenic' ones can cause disease. Pathogens are usually present in small quantities in the microbiome, however in excessive amounts they can have adverse effects on the body. The beneficial bacteria of the microbiome have a protective function against colonisation by pathogenic bacteria.
Gut bacteria are involved in the body's metabolic and inflammatory processes. So far, research has identified microbiome traits and characteristics associated with various diseases. If your microbiome doesn't have these traits, it means your level of protection is high and vice versa.
The human body can only metabolise a few types of complex carbohydrates, such as vegetable starches and animal glycogen. Yet, food contains dozens of these compounds. Bacteria convert them into digestible substances such as butyrate in the colon.
Dietary fibre is a major energy source for commensal bacteria. It normalises the digestive transit time and helps prevent constipation. Dietary fibre also has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system, reducing blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and disease risks for several illnesses.
Vitamins constitute coenzymes that participate in many biochemical reactions. They are present in food and also synthesised by the microbiome. When certain bacteria are more represented in your gut, they improve the likelihood of producing sufficient vitamin concentrations.
Butyrate is an essential short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) that is produced from dietary fibre by bacteria in the gut. Short-chain fatty acids provide 15% of the body's energy needs.
Butyrate maintains the gut lining by stimulating the growth of villi (microscopic extrusions on the intestinal wall) that are responsible for absorbing nutrients. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and helps reduce the risk of cancer by preventing the overgrowth of opportunistic bacteria, thus regulating the composition of the microbiome. Bacteria make butyrate from dietary fibre that is found in complex carbohydrates (e.g., fruit, vegetables, whole grains), which the body couldn't otherwise digest.
Your microbiome's potential for butyrate synthesis.
Your stool test kit and all instructions are posted directly to you, and there is no need to visit a collection centre.
Mail your sample back to the lab using the prepaid envelope and packaging.
Results for this test available in 2 weeks and will be published in your online dashboard.