Have you heard of the GI MAP test? This test looks at many things, including the numbers and types of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites in your GI tract; intestinal barrier disruption (leaky gut); gluten-intolerance; and antibiotic resistance. I mostly use it to ensure proper numbers and types of bacteria in the gastrointestinal system and to ensure that there isn't anything pathogenic hanging out in there.
If there is an imbalance in any of these areas, then we can recommend specific probiotics, nutrients for gut repair, make specific nutrition changes, and/or use herbs for the intestinal barrier when needed.
Chemotherapy, radiation, other medications, and surgery can all have an influence on your gut microflora. In difficult cases of gastrointestinal distress after cancer treatment, it's definitely worth testing to get to the root cause, faster! Also, using the GI MAP to investigate your GI health can be a fantastic way to PREVENT colon cancer and help manage symptoms of IBD and IBS.
Why do we talk about gut health so much? Because your digestion is linked to:
1) Your immune system - 70% of your immune system resides in and around your gastrointestinal system
2) Your mental health - 70% of your serotonin (happy neurotransmitter) is made in your intestines and the rest is made in your brain
3) Your sleep and antioxidant production - melatonin is mostly produced in your brain, but also produced in your gut! Melatonin helps you to feel tired, as well as has a lesser known function as an antioxidant
4) Your ability to prevent and fight cancer - your immune system is responsible for finding and getting rid of mutated cells before they become cancer, as well as killing and removing already cancerous cells. There is a HUGE link between. your digestion and your immune system
5) Inflammation - the bacteria and other microorganisms in your gut can release signals that cause your immune system to release chemical messengers, such as cytokines, which can either stimulate or resolve inflammation.
Also, we know that the microbiome has been linked to the development and progression of many types of cancers, such as colorectal, liver, gallbladder, and breast cancer! So focus on your gut! Eat healthy vegetables (full of fibre and antioxidants for cell repair), steer away from irritating foods (such as processed meats, saturated fats, and sugar), drink your water (to plump up those intestinal cells and flush waste out of your system), try fermented foods (get some good bacteria growing strong in your gut!), and stress less (decrease inflammation and encourage health bacteria to grow).
I'd LOVE to know...what are you doing for your gut health?
More info on GI MAP (including sample reports): https://www.diagnosticsolutionslab.com/tests/gi-map