When in doubt, go with your gut

The Comprehensive Stool Analysis (CSA) is probably the most well-known functional test but how do you know when it is right for your patient and why?

Charlotte Hunter Nutrition

The Comprehensive Stool Analysis (CSA) is probably the most well-known functional test but how do you know when it is right for your patient and why? Are there any specific symptoms, conditions or clues that would suggest the need for a CSA and more importantly which test should you choose?

As practitioners we are regularly faced with patients who are plagued by digestive woes. They claim not to be able to eat this or that, they shun entire food groups and may haphazardly take supplements in a determined effort to alleviate their symptoms. Despite their best efforts they continue to suffer gut problems, ongoing health issues and feelings of despondence, disappointment and demotivation. As part of a complex medical history they may also be dealing with multiple, non-specific symptoms which can often be overwhelming to even the most experienced practitioner.

At Regenerus we believe targeted testing can assist practitioners uncover the root causes of such problems. It can help to avoid guesswork, limit unnecessarily restrictive diets and prevent the need for costly supplement regimes. A scattergun approach alongside nutrient guesswork is not the answer because patients and practitioners want, and deserve, results. Clinically, any unsupported gut issues, regardless of their extent, can make everything more difficult for the practitioner to manage and resolve. They also do not have the luxury of a crystal ball, so testing is always a better option than guessing.

Every patient has their own unique health blueprint and as we all know in field of functional medicine there is no one size fits all solution. Focussed testing can help you discover exactly what is right for your patient. Combining this diagnostic data with the patient’s nutritional, social, lifestyle, psychological and physiological history can help you to can gain a wider and more holistic understanding of what they need to do to achieve their health goals.

Theoretically everyone could potentially benefit from a CSA. What could be more fascinating than getting a snapshot of your digestive function? After all a healthy gut is the foundation of optimal wellness and longevity. Nevertheless, a CSA is particularly important for those suffering from digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, pain, constipation or diarrhoea. It may also be useful to assess non-gastrointestinal (GI) problems such as skin issues, mood disturbances, insomnia, brain fog, joint pains, sinus complaints, allergies, intolerances and weight concerns. In addition, specific conditions that may benefit from stool testing include inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis, auto-immune disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and diabetes.

Our flagship stool test is The Doctors Data Comprehensive Stool Analysis with 3 Days Parasitology. It is an extensive examination of the GI tract looking at gut flora, parasites, digestion, absorption, inflammation and immunology. The test evaluates the status of beneficial bacteria, imbalanced commensal bacteria, pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts. If pathogenic cultures are identified, a sensitivity panel is provided to facilitate the selection of pharmaceutical or natural treatment agents. The efficiency of digestion and absorption is measured via faecal elastase, fat, carbohydrate, muscle and vegetable fibres whilst the biomarkers of calprotectin, lysozyme, lactoferrin, white blood cells and mucous can be used to assess inflammation. This can help to differentiate inflammation associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) from that noted in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Humoral immune status of the gut is measured by secretory IgA (sIgA) while the assessment of short chain fatty acids reflects overall gut health and microbiome balance.

The Doctors Data CSA is an FDA approved, world class diagnostic stool test that employs MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry to identify an ever-expanding reference database of bacteria and yeast. Currently it can identify over 1400 GI microbes and 180 yeast species. Therefore, this test can ask, “what is there?” rather than simply “is it there?” In other words, it is not looking for a specific needle in a haystack, instead it is looking for everything that could possibly have been lost in the haystack!

It is easy to see how essential gut testing is in the field of functional medicine. Multiple symptomatic signposts may look confusing so it can often pay to start with the gut. The CSA is a comprehensive analysis of digestive health and offers clear, non-invasive and actionable results. It helps the practitioner understand the subtle connections found between the GI tract and other systems such as the neurological, hepatic and immune.

Regenerus have a number of stool testing options in addition to the CSA so if you are in any doubt or have any questions our clinical support team will be more than happy to help you select the right test for your patient.