LABORATORY TESTS FOR INDIGESTION
Think of your body as a finely tuned engine, and food as its fuel. If you aren’t completely digesting foods and absorbing nutrients, you aren’t adequately fuelling
your body. The lack of adequate fuel or the inability to use it properly can lead to a variety of health problems. Poor digestion or imbalances in your intestinal flora can result in many illnesses, from annoying gastrointestinal complaints such as chronic constipation and abdominal pain to more serious illnesses which may appear to be unrelated to digestion, such as asthma or migraines.
We provide various specialised tests at the naturopathic clinic in order to diagnose your correctly. Some of these tests include, and are not limited to:
- Comprehensive digestive stool analysis to examine the stool for the presence of blood, to check your dietary fibre intake, to look at the digestion of food molecules and absorption of nutrients, abnormally increased levels of fat (steatorrhea), or the presence of Giardia lamblia, yeast (Candida) overgrowth, Blastocystis hominis, D. fragilis, among other parasites and to check if the individual has adequate amounts of good bacteria in the intestines.
Various blood tests to rule out anemias and other parameters related to digestion. The blood work will be carried out a medical laboratory – Gamma Dynacare, which is located on site.
- A lactose tolerance test, during which patients are provided with a test dose of lactose by mouth. After receiving the test dose, those with lactose intolerance may soon develop abdominal discomfort, diarrhoea, and excessive flatulence. Breath or blood samples are obtained during the test to confirm the presence of lactose intolerance.
- Conventional skin testing and RAST tests measuring IgE-mediated reactions cannot guide physicians as to the potential for delayed, non-IgE-mediated reactions. In one study, researchers surmised that because an IgG subclass was involved in late-onset reactions, patients exhibiting delayed bronchial allergic reactions failed to show positive skin test reactions or RAST results to a specific allergen. A recent study by Jahn-Schmid et al, demonstrated the increased sensitivity of ELISA testing in detecting food allergies when compared with RAST testing.
- Food intolerance and allergy tests - A detailed and comprehensive analysis is crucial to make accurate and precise diagnosis of food and environmental allergies. With the Allergy Antibody Assessment provided at our naturopathic clinic, specific allergy antibodies called IgE and IgG levels are assessed using an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). This advanced immunological procedure uses an enzyme binding process to detect antibody levels, and has been hailed as a "safe, economical, and highly sensitive test" that helps identify and quantify antibodies associated with food intolerances and allergies.
Because the ELISA method identifies antibodies associated with both immediate and late-onset, delayed reactions, it offers a clear advantage over other conventional food antibody assessments. (Adapted from the GSDL allergy assessments). The IgG antibody test measures the number of units of allergy. Once your food allergies and intolerances are identified, steps can be taken to develop an appropriate diet plan and treatment plan to heal the digestive tract and improve the body’s response to the food.
- Gastro tests for finding out if there is over or under secretion of stomach acid.
Once we identify what exactly is causing indigestion, we treat it using the appropriate natural therapy. Most times other health conditions improve when the diet and digestion are corrected.
- The elimination diet and food challenge test - to identify food allergies. The elimination diet involves removing specific foods or ingredients from your diet that you and your doctor suspect may be causing your allergy symptoms. (Common allergy-causing foods include milk, eggs, nuts, citrus, wheat and soy.) Your doctor will supervise this diet over a few weeks.
You will need to carefully record any symptoms that occur when you eat each of these foods. If your symptoms return after eating the food, the diagnosis can usually be confirmed. You will be asked once again to eliminate the foods that have been identified as causing symptoms to see if the symptoms clear up. You will also need to keep a food diary to record the foods you are eating. If you remove a certain food and the symptoms go away while following this diet, your doctor can usually identify that food as the cause of your problems.
After following the elimination diet, your doctor will ask you to gradually reintroduce the foods you were avoiding into your diet, one at a time. This process helps link symptoms to specific foods.
This is not a foolproof method. Psychological and physical factors can affect the diet's results. For example, if you think you're sensitive to a food, a response could occur that may not be a true allergic one.
Before making significant changes in your diet, always seek the advice of your doctor. If you randomly remove foods from your diet, you may not have a balanced diet -- and a lack of some nutrients can cause other health problems. You may also become frustrated because it may seem that everything you eat is causing a reaction. If you've had a severe (anaphylactic) reaction to certain foods, this method can't be used.