“What tests do you recommend most often, and why?”
This is SUCH a good question, because 90% of the people that find themselves sitting with me have never had this test run.
The test I am talking about is this: the Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA). Many companies offer this test or a very close version of it, such as Genova Labs, Diagnos-Techs and Doctor’s Data. This test is available through your doctor, of course, and you can probably find online options.
But let me tell you what it is.
First of all, it is a stool sample, collected in the privacy of your own home.
What it measures gives us a functional look at your digestive health. The CDSA quantifies and qualifies your microbiome – your beneficial bacteria. It looks for a wide variety of parasites, yeast, fungus and pathogenic bacteria. Thus, the CDSA is a good test for dysbiosis, parasitic infection and candida. What it does NOT do, however is check for SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth). This is done via a breath test. Accept no substitutions 😉
In addition to looking at your good guys and screening for any bad guys, the CDSA measures the output of your pancreas. This is the body’s ability to secrete digestive enzymes to break down ingested proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Low markers here indicate supplementation is warranted with the initiation of measure to bring up digestive fire. Digestive fire is the term I use to describe the body’s ability to break down carbohydrates, fats and proteins into their building-block constituents of starch, fatty acids and amino acids through the use of digestive enzymes, acid and bile.
The test looks at other markers of digestion and absorption, like spilled fat, carbohydrate or protein, fibers and bile. The pH along with the consistency is noted, along with inflammatory markers and immune markers. Notable among inflammatory (or not) markers is the measurement of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) and their ratios, all of which play a role in energy, inflammation, integrity of the gut lining and a host of disease states.
On some tests, there is also an option to tag on food antigens (IgG), letting you know what foods you may be sensitive to. Or, at least what your body is producing antibody too. True sensitivity confirmation of IgG markers necessitates an elimination-challenge diet coupled with gut restoration.
All in all, the results from the CDSA are helpful to determine what areas to focus treatment and intervention, and to get a broader idea of what it going on in YOUR unique body.