How Can I Test for Gut Dysbiosis?

Greetings. It’s Eric Bakker, naturopath from New Zealand and author of Candida Crusher. Thanks for checking out my video. Let’s look at the testing for dysbiosis today.

There are many different tests to determine if you’ve got dysbiosis and also what level you’ve got dysbiosis, like how good it is, how bad it is, how severe it is, so I like testing. Not because I test everybody, but testing with patients if they’re chronic and particularly if I haven’t seen them before will set a benchmark. It will give me an indication of where that patient really is, what their starting point is. It’s a bit like if you’re coming to me for weight loss. It pays to measure yourself and weigh yourself and then file that away and then dump your scales, get rid of them. I don’t like people weighing themselves every five minutes. And then let’s just have a look three or six months down the track to see what kind of changes have occurred. And it’s the same with testing. I’m not a big fan of testing all the time, but I like doing one good stool test upfront to give me a bit of a ballpark on where my patient is. It’s quite clever.

So what kind of tests can you do to determine if you’ve got dysbiosis? What’s a clever thing to do? My favorite test is the stool test. I’ve spoken about this on other videos before, but a CDSA x 3, including parasitology, comprehensive digestive stool analysis x 3, so it’s three samples, including parasites, is the gold standard for testing. These tests can vary between $300 and $500. They’re not cheap, but having crappy health long term is not cheap either. It’s going to wreck your life. You’re better off doing a really good test upfront and then getting an expert to go through the test results with you to give you an idea on what’s going on. I’m not an expert by any means. I’ve done stool testing now for 23 years. I think that I’ve got a reasonably good level of proficiency, but there are people out there that are way more expert than I am. But I’m certainly happy to interpret test results for you for a consultation fee. This is what I’ve done for a long time now. Stool tests give me a ton of information about your gut function, a ton. It’s like hooking up a modern car to a computer and analyzing the gases and the compression ratios and all these things. A good technician will get a printout and know exactly what’s happening with that car. And that’s why I like the stool test because I’ve gotten lots of very useful information. I can put it all together and come up with a very powerful protocol for dysbiosis or Candida or IBS or SIBO or whatever gut problem you’ve got.

Let’s have a look at dysbiosis and the stool test. What are we going to find? We’re often going to find low levels of beneficial bacteria. So a good stool panel will have the beneficials, the commensals, and the bad guys. Good people, bad people or ISIS, or telebomber if you want to call them, and I call them the politicians in the middle. Guys that will go either way depending on where the majority go. Not all politicians are like that. I’m not into politics. But from what I gather from politics, a political party can one day go left or one day go right depending on the majority.

I’m going to look in your stool test for three or four plus on the beneficial species. Many patients I see have got one plus and even NG, which is no growth. That is no good. You want to have lots of beneficial bacteria. If you’ve got lots of commensals or E.coli that have shifted from good into maybe not so good and low levels of beneficials, you’re going to have a likelihood of quite major SIBO on your hands and dysbiosis. The further we go down the panel, we start looking at Candida culture. Candida we look at with microscopy in the stool and also we culture the stool. If we can grow yeast from the stool, it’s bad. You shouldn’t pass out live yeast from the stool.

And then we go further. We look at another marker that I look at for SIGA or circulatory IgA. This is the body’s most abundant immunoglobulin or antibody. Your body makes up to a gram of this stuff per day in the bowel, mainly to bind with pathogens like parasites or bad cell fragments or all sorts of crap that wants to get out of the body. If you’ve got very high levels or it’s upregulated and very low levels if it’s downregulated, that gives me a lot of very important information on the kind of SIBO or dysbiosis you have.

I look at lysozyme, which is a marker for inflammation. I check mucous and red blood cells in the markers. There is a whole lot of stuff I can look at. I look at another panel at the back of the report we call short chain fatty acids, and these are a result of fermentation of beneficial bacteria. So if their levels are high or low, it tells me a lot about the colonic health. We can look at amylase or various kinds of enzymes in the stool to see how well the pancreas and other digestive organs are functioning. You can see, this is just giving you a snapshot of the complexity of the test and how much information we can get to determine where you are with your gut and how bad your dysbiosis may be.

What about the hydrogen breath test? This is another interesting test that will tell me a lot about you. They don’t do this one so much as they used to and it’s a shame because it’s a really good test. You drink this small amount lactulose, like a sugar, it’s not so bad for the gut. And then if you’ve got a lot of bacteria in your gut that will ferment this, you breathe into a tube, and we can measure a lot of hydrogen, we know you’ve got bad SIBO, small intestinal bowel overgrowth. We can also do an organic acids test. If you’ve got bad bacteria or Candida, for example, we’re going to find certain types of by-products of microbial metabolism, particularly things we call tartaric acid and arabinose. If they’re showing high amounts, we know you’ve got pretty bad Candida.

Leaky gut test is another test that they don’t do so much anymore. You drink two sugars, lactulose and mannitol, and then we can tell by what you urinate out how leaky your gut really is. There are tons of different tests we can do. But I think the stool test is about the best one you can do. It’s quite an interesting test and it’s one I would do all the time with patients from all around the world. It’s certainly the gold standard. I hope that’s given you a bit of information on testing.

Don’t expect your medical doctor to take you seriously when you talk often about SIBO or leaky gut or dysbiosis because they may just do a tiny little stool test for parasites and say, “Look, there’s nothing there.” Or they may even say to you something like, “If you’re not feeling good, we’ll put you on some antibiotics,” which is crazy. Because that’s only going to increase your amount of dysbiosis.

Functional testing to me is much more relevant if you want to determine the functional state of your gut than pathological testing that will purely look at parasites and diseases itself. And by then, it’s usually too late. You need to pick up stuff before then.

I hope that gives you a bit of useful information on testing for dysbiosis. Thanks for tuning in.

PO Box 8739, HaveLock North, 4157
New Zealand
No content on this site may be reused in any fashion without written permision of Dr. Bakker.
The information and facts are intended to help and support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor.