A primary role of the large intestine is the absorption of about one liter of water per day. The large intestine also provides an environment for microbial fermentation of soluble fiber, starch and undigested carbohydrates. Anaerobic colonic fermentation results in production of short chain fatty acids, the main energy source for colonic epithelial cells. It is largely these SCFAs, in combination with amines derived from protein degradation, that provide buffering and create the slightly acidic pH of fecal matter.
Because the oxygen content of the colon is low, the vast majority of bacteria are anaerobes. There are, however, hundreds of varieties of anaerobic flora in vastly different concentrations, all growing very slowly. The significance of most of these flora remains largely unknown. Most researchers, therefore, utilize the aerobic flora as an indication of bacterial health.
Three frequently identified organisms, Lactobacilli, Bifidobacteria, and Escherichia coli, can be employed as indicators of eubiosis or healthy overall flora. Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria are well established as offering intrinsic benefit and aiding digestion while helping to prevent overgrowth of abnormal flora.
Bacterial cultures also identify and show potential pathogens. The term “potential pathogen” because individuals may harbor traditional pathogens and appear healthy, while others harbor weak or questionable pathogens and have gastrointestinal complaints.
While they are sometimes found linked to GI tract disturbances, some intestinal bacteria may also be involved in the etiology of various chronic or systemic problems seemingly unrelated to GI function. These include Klebsiella, Proteus, Pseudomonas, and Citrobacter. These organisms may be involved, through molecular mimicry, in various autoimmune diseases. This has been reported in diabetes mellitus, meningitis, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and systemic lupus.
Some potential pathogens may cause clinical and subclinical malabsorption of nutrients and increase bowel permeability to large macromolecules. A number of clinicians speculate that this is directly related to the etiology of food and chemical sensitivity and intolerance.
Examples of laboratories offering such services include Meridian Valley Labs and Great Smokies Diagnostic Labs and more information along with their home pages can be found
CDSA 2.0 (Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis), offered by Great Smokies is the most comprehensive GI analysis test available. It tests for parasites also.
Test for Microbiological Imbalance, Stool can help with the following
Klebsiella overgrowth, if present, can account for and may be the cause of symptoms in IBS. This organism, among others is tested for in stool analyses such as the “Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis” from Genova.
Another test, the “breath test” is able to detect elevated concentrations of hydrogen in the expired air. In presence of a SIBO, dietary carbohydrates are metabolised with production of massive amounts of hydrogen that are eliminated with the breath. Thus, the “breath test” consists in administering 50-75 grams of lactulose and assaying the concentrations of hydrogen in the expired air; if these concentrations exceed 10 to 20 part per million, the subject is suspected to have a SIBO and should be appropriately treated with antibiotics.
A microbiological assessment of bacterial populations in the GI tract is important for determining the nature of the imbalance when dysbiosis is suspected. Repeat testing should occur after treatment to ensure that the imbalance has been corrected.
The most useful test for large intestine dysbiosis is a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) which includes an evaluation of many different aspects of digestion as well as a report on bacterial growth.
Genova Labs offers a Candida Intensive Culture through licensed MD and NDs.
This test evaluates blood and stool for immune reactivity to Candida albicans, using the Yeast Culture and Candida IgG antibodies to create a comprehensive profile. It is useful for a wide array of symptoms, including irritable bowel syndrome, low energy, mood swings, and “foggy brain”.
|Likely to help|
The sugars and starches in food. Sugars are called simple carbohydrates and found in such foods as fruit and table sugar. Complex carbohydrates are composed of large numbers of sugar molecules joined together, and are found in grains, legumes, and vegetables like potatoes, squash, and corn.
Of, relating to, or being activity in which the body incurs an oxygen debt (for example weight training or resistive exercises) and does not immediately burn off a lot of calories and fat.
The part of the large intestine that extends to the rectum. The colon takes the contents of the small intestine, moving them to the rectum by contracting.
Chemical chains of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms that are part of a fat (lipid) and are the major component of triglycerides. Depending on the number and arrangement of these atoms, fatty acids are classified as either saturated, polyunsaturated, or monounsaturated. They are nutritional substances found in nature which include cholesterol, prostaglandins, and stearic, palmitic, linoleic, linolenic, eicosapentanoic (EPA), and decohexanoic acids. Important nutritional lipids include lecithin, choline, gamma-linoleic acid, and inositol.
Compounds composed of hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen present in the body and in foods that form complex combinations of amino acids. Protein is essential for life and is used for growth and repair. Foods that supply the body with protein include animal products, grains, legumes, and vegetables. Proteins from animal sources contain the essential amino acids. Proteins are changed to amino acids in the body.
A measure of an environment's acidity or alkalinity. The more acidic the solution, the lower the pH. For example, a pH of 1 is very acidic; a pH of 7 is neutral; a pH of 14 is very alkaline.
Microscopic germs. Some bacteria are "harmful" and can cause disease, while other "friendly" bacteria protect the body from harmful invading organisms.
Using oxygen. For example, aerobic exercises such as running, swimming, bicycling or playing tennis use up lots of oxygen and burn up lots of calories and fat.
Pertaining to the stomach, small and large intestines, colon, rectum, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.
Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
One of a large group of diseases in which the immune system turns against the body's own cells, tissues and organs, leading to chronic and often deadly conditions. Examples include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus, Bright's disease and diabetes.
A disease with increased blood glucose levels due to lack or ineffectiveness of insulin. Diabetes is found in two forms; insulin-dependent diabetes (juvenile-onset) and non-insulin-dependent (adult-onset). Symptoms include increased thirst; increased urination; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; fatigue; nausea; vomiting; frequent infections including bladder, vaginal, and skin; blurred vision; impotence in men; bad breath; cessation of menses; diminished skin fullness. Other symptoms include bleeding gums; ear noise/buzzing; diarrhea; depression; confusion.
Thyroid Gland: An organ with many veins. It is at the front of the neck. It is essential to normal body growth in infancy and childhood. It releases thyroid hormones - iodine-containing compounds that increase the rate of metabolism, affect body temperature, regulate protein, fat, and carbohydrate catabolism in all cells. They keep up growth hormone release, skeletal maturation, and heart rate, force, and output. They promote central nervous system growth, stimulate the making of many enzymes, and are necessary for muscle tone and vigor.
(Colitis ulcerosa): Ulceration of the colon and rectum, usually long-term and characterized by rectal bleeding or blood in the stool, frequent urgent diarrhea/bowel movements each day, abdominal pain.
Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes. It occurs in various forms, such as bacterial arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is characterized by a gradual loss of cartilage and often an overgrowth of bone at the joints.
Inflammation of one or more vertebrae.
Not manifesting characteristic clinical symptoms. Pertaining to a disease or condition.
An organism living in or on another organism.