Get to the Bottom of Your Health Issues: A Testing Guide

Hi friends,

Below you will find a list of tests that I recommend, when attempting to address both SIBO and your overall health.

Remember that SIBO is a symptom, and you must find, address and heal your root cause, if you want to better your chances of never seeing SIBO again!

I highly recommend working with a naturopath or doctor who will take the time to go over your medical history, in an attempt to piece together what might have caused your SIBO.

Once you have some hints, it will be much easier to decide on what tests to run – as I know they can be quite costly and not everyone can afford to run every test available.

Personally, I did the Organic Acids test, hair test (HTMA), a full thyroid panel, lactulose breath test, IGG/IGE test, low stomach acid test (using the HCL method), and mold home inspection.

I found valuable information in each of these tests that helped me tailor my treatment plans. I will show the results of some of my tests, and some of the things I altered in my treatment plan according to the results, in my upcoming blog post.

I plan to do another breath test (just to ensure I am still SIBO negative a year post my last negative breath test), another thyroid panel to ensure my Reverse T3 has gone down to optimal levels, a GI Map test to see if there is anything funky going on with my bacteria, and lastly another OAT test. I found this test very informative and insightful, and revealed quite a lot of issues with protein absorption/utilization, which affected many things (dopamine production, energy, and mood).

I have been taking Amino Replete, and I believe since the SIBO/dysbiosis is cleared, I am hopefully better able to digest protein now. It has been a year since the first OAT test, so it will be very interesting to see how things have changed (hopefully all for the better, but if anything is less than optimal, at least I will know how to go about improving it!)

I hope you will see the value in the tests you decide to do as well. I also hope you realize that your root cause and symptoms that you experience are not always clear-cut. You may have to do some (or a lot of) research, to figure out what’s going on. You may need to do more tests, or take supplements you would not have guessed you needed! Personally, I have been surprised at some of the test and physical results (such as issues with protein as I eat a lot of meat, and finding huge improvements in my digestion and nausea using Ox Bile) I have received during this process!

Unfortunately when it comes to SIBO (and even most health issues), the root cause is not always obvious, but usually always requires a multi-faceted, holistic approach to healing!

I hope the below list gives you a good starting point, informs you of tests you didn't previously know existed, and helps to explain their purposes and how it might help improve your specific case 🙂

Stay tuned for my next blog post on supplements you might be interested in considering, and their functions!

Suggested Tests

Test name

Intestinal Permeability/Leaky gut test

What it Does and How it Helps

1 – Lactulose/Mannitol Test

Measures the ability of lactulose and mannitol (two non-digestible sugars) to pass through the intestinal (gut) lining. The patient drinks a solution containing lactulose and mannitol and provides a urine sample after six hours; the amounts of lactulose and mannitol are measured to determine the presence and degree
of leaky gut. This test is available from Genova Diagnostics.

2 – The Zonulin Test

Measures levels of the zonulin protein present in the stool or blood to indicate the presence and degree of intestinal hyperpermeability. This test may be requested as part of a Food Inflammation Test (FIT) and requires a blood draw; it is available from KBMO Diagnostics.

Zonulin is a protein that opens the spaces between the cells of the intestinal lining. When an individual’s zonulin level increases, the seal (the tight junctions) between the intestinal cells deteriorates, leading to intestinal hyperpermeability, or leaky gut.

By avoiding wheat and gluten, you can ensure your levels of zonulin stay low, and decrease your chances of causing a leaky gut.

For more information on Leaky gut, check out my article https://hindsighthealth.com/can-i-heal-a-leaky-gut-with-sibo/#more-154

Where to get it

GenovaDiagnostics

Truehealthlabs

Test Name

Gi Map test

What it Does and How it Helps

The GI-MAP (Microbial Assay Plus) is unique in the field of comprehensive stool testing. It relies exclusively on quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) technology to detect parasites, bacteria, fungi, and more, by targeting the specific DNA of the organisms tested. Checks for bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens.

Checks for: bacterial, parasitic and viral pathogens

Gives you information on normal bacterial species, and fungal species, and their relative abundance.

You also get information on bacteria that act as potential autoimmune triggers.

It can check for common parasites and worms.

It can tell you whether you have H.pylori, a bug that can cause ulcers, gastritis, and stomach cancers, if left untreated.

It can also test for leaky gut, how well you are digesting your food, gut sensitivity to gluten, and your levels of gut inflammation

 

Where to Get it

DiagnosticSolutions

Test Name

Comprehensive Stool Analysis

What it Does and How it Helps

The Comprehensive Stool Analysis detects the presence of pathogenic microorganisms such as yeast, parasites, and bacteria that contribute to chronic illness and neurological dysfunction. The test also evaluates beneficial bacteria levels, intestinal immune function, overall intestinal health, and inflammation markers.

The main difference between this test and the GI Map is the sensitivity. GI Map is a lot more sensitive, and catches the smallest DNA fragments. Meanwhile the Stool test typically requires a certain amount of bacteria to culture out. The GI Map also includes more detail and information on H.Pylori.

Where to Get it

GreatPlains

Test Name

Organic Acids test (OAT)

What it Does and How it Helps

This is a urine test that is highly valuable (but sometimes pricey). The test offers a comprehensive metabolic snapshot of a patient's overall health with 76 markers. It provides an accurate evaluation of intestinal yeast and bacteria.  Many people with chronic illnesses and neurological disorders (such as lack of dopamine production) often excrete several abnormal organic acids in their urine.

Personally, my OAT test revealed several issues caused by B vitamin deficiencies (despite eating plenty of meat/animal protein), such as lack of dopamine production (which explains my anxiety and depression), as well as high  levels of ethylmalonate, which can cause multiple adverse effects on many organ systems, and can lead to acidosis.

Where to Get it

GreatPlains

Test Name

Saliva (4 point) test

What it Does and How it Helps

Patients can conduct a saliva cortisol test to assess adrenal hormones. This involves collecting four non-invasive samples over the course of one day, from which the lab is able to generate results with a diurnal cortisol curve. This four-point graph reveals cortisol levels throughout the day and allows health care providers to pinpoint issues with adrenal gland function.

Can help understand adrenal fatigue, thyroid disorders, and know which herbs or products to use to adjust your cortisol patterns. For example, if you learn that your cortisol is high at night, you can take holy basil or ashwagandha to lower it.

Important considerations before doing this test if you want it to be as accurate as possible!. Please read this for more information:

I also highly recommend joining the below Facebook page, especially once you have the results of your test. Their amazing Admins can help interpret your test and give you advice on where to go next

Where to Get it

HealthConfirm

CanaryClub

Test Name

Transit/Gastric emptying test

What it Does and How it Helps

Tests for motility – a common issue associated with sibo. Slow motility can cause SIBO, and can make healing difficult if not resolved.

Checking your motility or gastric emptying can also help diagnose Gastroparesis (occurs when the stomach takes too long to empty its contents).

Ways to check your motility:

1 – Wireless Motility Capsule

The capsule gathers data about your gastric emptying time. Our gastroenterologists use it to evaluate:

Your pH level, pressure and temperature throughout your gastrointestinal tract

Gastric emptying time, the time it takes for your stomach to empty its contents

Whole gut transit time, the time it takes for your food to be swallowed, digested, absorbed and excreted

Combined small-large bowel transit time, the time it takes for food to travel through the small and large intestines

2 – Sesame seeds

This test is obviously less comprehensive than the previous, but if you do not have access to that test (it can be costly), this is another option.
Here are some instructions and how it works!

Where to Get it

Various hospitals around the U.S and Canada do this test. Work with your practitioner to try and locate a facility where they run this test.

For reference

Test Name

Low stomach acid/Ph

What it Does and How it Helps

There are a few options for this one!

1 – The most comprehensive (but expensive) one is the Heidelberg Stomach Acid Test. It involves using a small capsule with a specific wireless electronic transmitter that records the pH of the stomach as you drink a solution with small amounts of baking soda.

The baking soda will naturally neutralize the HCL in the stomach.  If the acid does not return to normal after the baking soda is swallowed than that is a positive test for hypochlorhydria.

This test is also useful for determining if you have too much acid production (hyperchlorhydria), too little or none at all, called achlorhydria.

2 – There are several other methods for testing your stomach acid levels. Dr. Jockers has a great article that explains them all.. Personally I like the HCL method!

Where to Get it

Various hospitals around the U.S and Canada do the Heidelberg Stomach Acid test. Work with your practitioner to try and locate a facility where they run this test.

Test Name

Thyroid panel

What it Does and How it Helps

Ruling out/diagnosing hypo/hyper thyroid-ism.

The thyroid can be affected during illness (especially Reverse T3 as this one goes up with inflammation), and can also cause SIBO, as thyroid issues are associated with low stomach acid (remember low stomach acid can be a root cause to SIBO).

It is important to insist on having a full thyroid panel done, not just one or two components as doctors often like to do!

Make sure to check: Total + Free T3, Total + Free T4, THS, Reverse T3, T3 Uptake, Free Thyroxine Index, Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody and Thyroglobulin Antibody.

Where to Get it

MCSSL

Test Name

Breath test

What it Does and How it Helps

Lactulose or Glucose breath test to diagnose SIBO.

If you have any symptoms associated with SIBO or IBS, it is highly recommended to have a breath test done.

Where to Get it

Please go to the “Where To Order Breath Tests Online” section

Test Name

Liver panel blood test

What it Does and How it Helps

Liver and gallbladder issues seem to go hand in hand with SIBO – either caused by SIBO or SIBO caused the issues. If you have symptoms related to liver and gallbladder issues, I would recommend testing.

AST (SGOT), ALT (SGPT). These tests measure enzyme levels that rise when the liver is damaged

Where to Get it

Ask your doctor or naturopath for a referral for a blood test or order the test online

Test Name

Hair test (HTMA)

What it Does and How it Helps

This test is best for diagnosing heavy metal toxicities (NOT urine or blood! Stay away from provoked or challenge tests – these are dangerous and can make you sicker).

Heavy metal toxicity is much more prevalent nowadays than ever before, but unfortunately often goes undiagnosed or missed by health care professionals.

Interpretation of the test is very important, yet not straight-forward. Most doctors will not read this test accurately. For example, mercury toxicity will not always show as “positive” or “High” on the test, unless it was a recent exposure.

The best way to determine if you have mercury toxicity is to check for “counting rules” – it’s an assessment to determine the probability of metal toxicity, including mercury by assessing the mineral section of this profile (deranged mineral transport).


I would highly recommend posting your results to the Andy Cutler Facebook group, where the highly knowledgeable Admins will interpret the test for you!

Test can also show if you are deficient in key minerals/vitamin, electrolytes, or  have adrenal issues

Where to Get it

HolisticHeal

Test Name

Mold blood test + mold inspection in the home

What it Does and How it Helps

A mold allergy is caused by exposure to mold spores that make the immune system respond with symptoms. Symptoms can include but not limited to::

Dry cough
Runny nose
Headaches
Fatigue/Lethargy
Anxiety
Poor memory


Mold toxicity is caused by mycotoxins, which are  poisons produced by mold.

It is suggested to do both a urine test that checks for mycotoxins, as well as have a certified company who tests for mold, come into your home and check the air quality.

Unfortunately many people have mold in their homes, even if you can’t see it!

EMRI testing is appears to be the gold standard in terms of accurate testing. However, I suggest contacting your local mold inspectors for the best methods that they offer.

Where to Get it

GreatPlains

EmLab

Test Name

Heavy Metals Water Test

What it Does and How it Helps

There are various at-home water testing kits that claim to test for heavy metals, chemicals such as chlorine, and hard water such as from magnesium and calcium..

I cannot speak to the accuracy of all of these available tests available online, but I try to go based on reviews and data the company provides from their own testing.

If you want to be entirely sure that the water you drink from your tap is clean, and not spend money on these testing kits, I recommend the AquaTru. It may seem expensive, but if you are buying plastic bottled water (which is terrible for the environment, not to mention where their water comes from is questionable and unethical) then it will pay off in the long run!

According to their website, for a 16.9 oz water bottle, it costs you/AquaTru 2.9 cents to produce, meanwhile $1.99 in bottled water.

The website also says it's certified to NSF standards to remove 82 contaminants, including Lead, Chlorine, Fluoride, Nitrate, PFAS and many more.

I noticed the difference in taste (or lack thereof) in my water since using this, and I will never go back!

Where to Get it

Amazon

AquaTru

Test Name

IgG food sensitivity test

What it Does and How it Helps

IGGs are antibodies that the immune system will produce when eating certain foods that cause an allergic reaction. These are considered a type 3 allergy, as the symptoms are not immediate, but rather can show up up to 3-4 days after consumption of a trigger food.

The issue with this is that it can lead to inflammatory processes in the body.

Note: The accuracy of this test is debatable. If you have leaky gut, you may have inaccurate results, as leaky gut can make your body react to several food items that you normally would not be sensitive to.

Your IGG antibodies will be raised and react more severely if you have a leaky gut.

Personally, when I did an IgG+IgE test, I had quite a few food items that were in the red, but I also knew I had a leaky gut due to having an autoimmune illness (Ulcerative colitis). Overall, the test, for me, was a waste of money and didn’t reveal anything valuable to me.

If you do not have a leaky gut (confirmed by a test), then the test might be more accurate and therefore more of value to you!

Since it can take days to receive symptoms from an inflammatory or trigger food, the test is a great shortcut to a full-on elimination diet such as Paleo AIP.

Where to Get it

GreatPlains

HealthLinkPartners

Test Name

IgE food allergy test

What it Does and How it Helps

IGEs are antibodies that the immune system will produce when eating certain foods that cause an allergic reaction. These are considered a type 1 allergy, as the symptoms are usually immediate.

Depending on the allergy source, can produce symptoms such as swelling, breathing difficulties, rash, itching skin.

Most people will know when they have a type 1 allergy to a food since the symptoms are quite obvious and immediate, however some use the test to confirm.

Where to Get it

HeathLinkPartners

GenovaDiagnostics

Test Name

FoodMarble

What it Does and How it Helps

The FoodMarble is a portable breath test (Hydrogen only at this time – I emailed the company and they are working on expanding it to include methane as well) that helps measure how your body digests food in real time

‎You can view how your breath scores and symptoms vary over time and discover what is triggering issues for you. You can also track your sleep and stress. ‎

Where to Get it

FoodMarble

Test Name

Lyme Antibody test

What it Does and How it Helps

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. B. burgdorferi is transmitted to humans by a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick.

The first sign of infection varies, but the most obvious would be: a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bull's-eye anywhere on your body

Unfortunately, we don’t always know if we have been infected with Lyme.

Because untreated Lyme can lead to more serious health issues, including but not limited to SIBO, testing to verify or rule out Lyme is important!

The current gold standard for Lyme testing is the Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test.

TickPlex is another option for testing. It expands on the ELISA test by containing a new antigen for round bodies/persister forms of Borreli.

Where to Get it

ArminLabs
ELISA blood test: Make an appointment with your health care professional, to request this test

There you have it, folks! I hope I have provided a comprehensive list of valuable tests to consider taking, when trying to get your health back on track!

As always, if you have any questions at all, feel free to leave a comment and I will do my best to help you!

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