[00:00:00] Detective Ev: Hey, what is going on guys? Welcome back to another episode of the Health Detective Podcast by Functional Diagnostic Nutrition. My name is Evan Transue, AKA Detective Ev. I will be your host for today’s show on gut testing.
As you guys know maybe two months ago now, we transitioned this podcast into talking more about the FDN certification program, the FDN course. What’s been really cool is you guys have seemed to love this. I’ve been surprised actually, that some of the topics we’ve put on, maybe I didn’t expect to get nearly as many listens as they did. They’re some of the top episodes now. So, thank you for bearing with us and me while I learn what you guys really want to hear.
Remember, you can always leave a comment or direct feedback. All you have to do is go to our Podbean, that’s a podcast platform. So, search for the Health Detective Podcast on Podbean. Make a little account there. You can sign in with Google. It takes 30 seconds. Then you can actually leave us a comment about what you would like to hear.
Someone had just recently done that with wanting to hear about osteoporosis. Within weeks, I had our episode released with an expert in our core certification program on that topic. We literally will do that for you.
Now, with that said, while I don’t have anything in the lineup specifically, we will continue our health interviews and relevant topics that I believe you guys are wanting to hear.
The Nitty Gritty of Gut Testing
We had a lot of success with the episode where we talked about the five things that you can do with your FDN certification. We thought you guys would like that. It turns out you did. With this one, I want to start talking about the labs that we use. I guess I kind of already did this in our food sensitivity episode. I’m going to be breaking down the labs that we use progressively.
Now, to be clear, as FDN graduates, we actually have access to over 60 labs. So, you’ll get to use all of them once you graduate. But the one that we use for stool testing is called the GI MAP. We’ll break down what the GI MAP is in just a second and why we believe this is one of the best stool tests out there right now.
But if you wanted to hear kind of all of the labs, then don’t forget to go back to the one where we talked about food sensitivities. It was just several episodes back. That was the first one where we were really diving into the labs that we use in the course. With that said, we’re going to get into the nitty-gritty of stool testing today: why it matters, why we use it, and then what do we look at with the GI MAP? What are you going to be trained in?
The GI MAP by Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory uses a specific type of technology called PCR DNA testing. If you’re thinking, well, that sounds familiar. Didn’t I have a PCR COVID test, or didn’t a lot of people have those? That would be correct. It is the exact same technology that was used in a lot of the COVID tests.
It’s About the Gut Testing Technology
Now, I’m not saying this as a controversial statement, this has nothing to do one way or the other. So please don’t get anything in your head. A lot of people had issues with the PCR testing. Also, it was really good at finding COVID though, right? And so where can we draw the line? Why was one side saying this? Why was one side saying the other?
I don’t care what either side was saying, that’s not what this is about. What this is about is the technology. The reason some people had a problem with it is because PCR DNA testing is so good and so able to pick up on things that it was finding COVID in people that might’ve just had a very transient infection, meaning that this is just passing through them. They’re completely asymptomatic. They are never going to get sick from COVID for whatever variety of reasons that allowed them to kind of avoid that or just not get sick.
But that’s a really brilliant technology in the world of stool testing when someone knows how to interpret it. So, I would be able to make that exact same argument. This is why I will refuse to take a side with this. The PCR DNA testing is fantastic if you have a knowledgeable person analyzing the results, because this can go two ways.
The main testing that had been on the market forever was stool culture testing. A lot of naturopathic doctors use this. A lot of functional medicine doctors still use this. The main testing that had been on the market forever was stool culture testing. A lot of naturopathic doctors use this. A lot of functional medicine doctors still use this.
Gut Testing or No Gut Testing
I am not saying it’s not better than nothing, it certainly is. But there is kind of an issue with it. In many cases it can be looked at as almost this primitive technology. That’s my opinion. When we’re using a stool culture test, this is what’s happening.
We are taking someone’s stool, the lab’s taking someone’s stool and they are seeing what grows on that stool. Then they figure out, okay, well, like what happened here? What bacteria do we have, whatever? This is fine, but the issue with that (and this isn’t an exaggerated number. This is actually quite literally what the number is.), 95% of the bacteria and pathogens that live in our gut or could cause problems, when they are exposed to oxygen, they die. They cannot be detected.
When you’re waiting for something to grow on a stool culture then, it means you have a very limited window of what you’re able to actually see. You’re not going to be able to see everything out there. That’s kind of a problem.
We used this for a while at FDN, cause FDN has been around for over 20 years. That was the best technology. At the end of the day, it’s not about the lab testing. That’s very important for our training, don’t get me wrong. But a good FDN practitioner is really someone who thinks well about this stuff.
You could take away the labs from a person that’s an FDN. You could take away the supplements and they can still greatly help the person that’s in front of them. Will they be as effective as someone who thinks the exact same way and has the labs? Most likely not.
Gut Testing – Don’t Address Everything
But it’s more of a philosophy than anything, a way of thinking, a way of becoming a health detective that is actually intelligent when approaching health issues. We still use the stool culture when we could. That was fine. And now we’ve moved to the GI MAP because this is just the best technology. I mean, it’s the newest stuff. If you have a good practitioner, it makes sense to use this.
I think after hearing the explanation, you’ll understand why. As opposed to waiting for something to grow on the stool, what the PCR DNA testing is going to be able to do is find the DNA of this stuff, as the name implies. That means even if it has died, we will be able to pick it up.
You gotta be careful with stuff like this if you’re a practitioner. Because if you’re not trained properly and you’re running these tests (you will see a lot of, I’ll just say people in the space who are doing this), they run the test and they address every little thing that comes up there. They address or treat as if they’re a doctor, they treat it. They address or treat every little thing that comes up there. But that’s probably not the best idea.
Because similarly to how there was issues with the COVID stuff, just because someone shows up hot or positive for a particular thing does not actually mean it’s a problem for them. If I show up with H. pylori or you show up with H. pylori, it could be a problem for me. It might not be a problem for you. The good news about all of this is it is going to pick up a lot of stuff, it is highly accurate.
Looking at the Whole Person When Using Gut Testing
Is there any stool test out there that’s perfect yet? No, there is not. And I would be very weary and skeptical of anyone who suggests that or tells you that. That’s just not the case. We’re not there yet.
Will that happen one day? I think there’s hardly anything that humans can’t do. I’m sure we’ll get there, but there’s nothing perfect yet. That’s why we need an intelligent, knowledgeable person behind the results actually interpreting them for us.
When you show up with something on the test, what we train people to do is to actually look at that person because we’re not treating anything specifically. And if that’s the first time you heard this, what this means is that the FDN philosophy, we don’t treat anything specifically. We address everything in a non-specific fashion.
What is an example of that? If someone comes into a doctor’s office with severe stomach pain, perhaps they get treated with an antacid or Prilosec, a proton pump inhibitor, whatever. Maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. They’ve treated the symptom though none the less.
No one was ever asking, well, why is the stomach pain there? Or at best, they said, well, it’s because of an overproduction or overabundance of stomach acid leading to this issue. So, we’ll just treat the stomach acid if that’s the issue. That’s still not being a little kid.
Asking Why When Gut Testing
What I mean by being a little kid is asking those questions over and over and over again. You know how kids ask “why” continuously. We need to ask them, well, why is there an overabundance of stomach acid? And by the way, that’s very often not even a thing. It’s very hard for there to be too much stomach acid.
It’s usually it’s going in the wrong place or it’s coming out at the wrong time. That’s more likely. But then we need to ask, well, why is that happening? So, we’re continually asking “why” until we get to the bottom of things.
Commercial Break – Try the FDN Course for Free
Hey folks, it is Detective Ev here popping in really quick. If you are listening to this interview thinking, hey, you know what? I’d like to go do work like this. I wish I could help people with their health challenges. As you can see, it kind of changes the entire course of their life.
Well, now we have the ability for you to actually try the FDN course completely for free. There’s two things that I want to share with you today.
Either one, you can go to fdntraining.com/tryfdn. That’s fdntraining.com/tryfdn and that’ll allow you to actually try the first few lessons in the course completely for free. Or if you’ve been listening for a while and you know this is something you want to do, but you have to get some questions answered, go to fdntraining.com/call. That’s fdntraining.com/call.
So, if you want to try the course for free, use that first option. And if you’re ready to kind of get some more questions answered, use that second one.
When You Don’t Ask Why with Gut Testing
All right. Now we’re back to the episode.
Because of this in the world of FDN, it’s not that the stomach pain’s irrelevant per se. It’s that it’s a symptom. We know by definition; a healthy body and healthy brain should not have really any symptoms. So, we need to look deeper and go further than just the symptom.
Can we recommend something to the person to provide them with a little intelligent relief while they’re figuring out what that is? Of course, we can. We don’t want people to be suffering. That’s crazy. So, yes, we absolutely can do that.
But if we never ask why, this is the dilemma, the other side of this kind of treats things a little too fast and they might be able to provide immediate relief and that’s wonderful. But the issue is, when that’s all that you do and you don’t take it any further, you’re going to have the problem of the issue either coming back in and of itself, or another issue that looks different or disconnected. But it’s actually coming back because of the same reason that issue A came into existence for. I hope that makes sense.
This is actually a very relevant time to be recording this. It’s kind of funny, but I’m always very transparent about my health journey. I have no problem sharing anything. My health is really solid. I’ve been doing really well over the last several years, especially as someone who has been sick most of his life. But over the last month and a half, I started to have this stomach pain creep in, and it was pretty surprising.
Course Correcting with Gut Testing
I’ve had this before in my life, but it’s been so long that it happened, especially on a consistent basis, I just didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t think this was a thing that was going to happen to me ever again. But nonetheless, we’re working with it right now.
I’m someone too, that doesn’t just jump the gun on anything, because there are times where we’re under high stress and it literally could be something like that. I make sure that there’s actually something going on. But at this point, unfortunately, it’s been long enough where I’m thinking, okay, that’s probably something I want to get checked out.
So, what I’m going to be able to do is course correct, because I already do the fundamental principles that are taught in FDN. I’m really good with the lifestyle stuff. I am working a lot right now because I do a lot outside of FDN. That could trigger some things. But still, it seems to me like something has probably come out.
Rather than play a guessing game, even though I have some probably intelligent guesses about what this could be, I need to test and not guess. Then what you usually find is when you test, it’s not exactly what you thought or wasn’t as simple as you thought.
And then you have the practitioner. I always use mentors for this. I never just read my own lab results. I think that’s good to be able to read your own lab results. Obviously, I can do that.
Gut Testing with Lots of Support
But why would I not get a second set of eyes and a second wisdom, if you will, to kind of figure out the big picture? It’s always good too, to have someone that’s looking from the outside in. Because we come up with our own biases, we make excuses, generally speaking. It can be good to have someone that can put us into check for us.
So, I’m going to get that checked out. I’ll keep you guys posted, but that’s one of the amazing things that I can have faith in with this GI MAP. I know between the test itself, the training that we have, and the mentors that we have, I am going to be able to figure out what I need to work on.
I know that you guys are probably interested in certain markers and like, what is this test actually looking at? I’m going to briefly break down each category of this test, please keep in mind the whole time, you’re going to be trained in this if you go through the FDN course. You’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
I know it’s a lot, but you’ll know what to do. It’s extensive training. Of course, there’s mentorship in the course as we’ve talked about in previous podcasts. So, I’m going to go right down the line. I have some sample results here with me.
Gut Testing: Bacterial Pathogens & Parasitic Pathogens
First section is pathogens. Now this is looking at bacterial pathogens on the top. When we’re looking at that, it’s more talking about pretty serious infections. A lot of the time, if anything comes up on this, you’re going to be seeing someone that might’ve had food poisoning or a temporary infection. Most of the time if something shows up on this first section, the client or patient, if you’re a doctor, has no idea that they even had it or again, it was a stomach bug that lasted maybe 24 hours, nothing serious.
Occasionally we do get some more serious things on there and we know how to address those if need be. But thankfully, most of the time, this section is pretty clear.
After that we look at the parasitic pathogens. We look at parasites separately in another section, but again, this is the big guns we’re looking at Giardia, we’re looking at cryptosporidium. It’s not good stuff. You don’t really want to have this. Not that you want to have any of this, I guess. If someone is dealing with this, we really need to make sure that they have an intelligent protocol. They’re doing everything diligently because we don’t want this to come back up on a retest.
The stuff is tricky. Giardia, for example, can hide in the gallbladder, even when it’s getting addressed. If someone’s taking all the supplements or if they went to Western medicine and chose to address it that way (which is totally fine, we’re not dogmatic here), then it could hide other ways. These people need to realize that. The clients need to realize that so that they can make sure it all gets out.
Gut Testing: Viral Pathogens & H. Pylori
We also have viral pathogens on here. I have run a lot of these tests. I’ve actually never seen someone show up for any viral pathogens. So that’s nice.
Now the next section is for H. pylori, which is Helicobacter pylori. I’ve talked about this before on the podcast. It’s come up many times. You might’ve heard a lot of the people that we’ve interviewed say, hey, I had H. pylori on my GI MAP.
What’s really funny about H. pylori is a lot of people will say, it’s not a big deal. Not a huge thing. And generally speaking, I think if you’re asymptomatic, I tend towards believing that in clinical practice. Although ironically, I think this is probably what I’m dealing with right now, because I know H. pylori has been a thing for me in the past and I am symptomatic. So, it does matter.
Nonetheless for the sake of today what I’m getting at is H. pylori has an entire section dedicated to itself. We are also looking at these virulence factors. The virulence factors, if you do show up for them, which unfortunately I’ve showed up for them in the past, they are more associated with the problematic things that H. pylori can bring in, such as gastric cancer in the future.
If virulence factors are showing up, even if the person’s asymptomatic, that’s probably something we’re going to want to look at one way or another. Maybe it’s not, hey, let’s do it tomorrow, but let’s make sure this gets addressed. We have many, many markers that we’re looking at that for.
H. Pylori Is Higher Than Estimated
What I find fascinating about this is that this bacteria is known to have come out of the continent of Africa and in a lot of places where the world is maybe a little more underdeveloped. Although interestingly Africa has the fastest growing economy as a whole in the entire world, which is kind of cool. But still a lot of the places are not up to our standards with sanitation. It just doesn’t happen. It’s estimated that about one in two people have H. pylori in some form or fashion in Africa.
In the United States of America, which most of our listeners are in, but we have plenty of Canadians and United Kingdom listening, shout out to you guys and everywhere else around the world that’s hopping on and listening. We appreciate you guys.
FDN is available in over 50 countries around the world. By the way, we have practitioners in 50 countries right now. In America it is believed that H. pylori is a lot less. But what I find interesting is how many people that are showing up and doing the type of work that we do at FDN show up with H. pylori.
I would say out of all the GI MAPs I’ve run in my five years of being here (It wasn’t the GI MAP when I first started, it came out like three and a half, four years ago for FDN at least. I shouldn’t say came out. It was around, but we started using it.), I don’t know, 80% of people that I’ve ever run this on have shown up hot for H. pylori. That’s a lot higher than the estimated, like 20%, 30% for America.
Gut Testing: Normal Bacterial Flora & Opportunistic Bacteria
I don’t know if that’s just because we’re completely missing it because the testing hadn’t been good in the past, or if sick people just tend to have things like this more. I have no idea. I think it’s probably a bit of both with a little more of the second. But nonetheless, we’re going to check for this, figure this out, and look at that stuff.
After that comes the section for normal bacterial flora. This is flora that’s supposed to be there or bacterial strains that are supposed to be there, but maybe they’re too high or too low. That could be causing problems depending on what strain it is. We get that checked out.
After that, we have the opportunistic bacteria. These are the fun little guys that might be in there, they might not be. Either way they are opportunistic because they love to take control and grow themselves when they know that the host is weak. So, when there’s other infections or when the host is under a lot of stress, (the host is you, by the way, or me potentially as a client or a practitioner), when that’s happening, maybe it was just a bad time.
We took a bunch of antibiotics, these things. We’ll say, hey, well, we’re going to use this as an opportunity to grow. A lot of the times we need to get those back down, possibly even eliminated, ideally. They can be associated with different autoimmune diseases or a variety of different symptoms that we don’t want clients or ourselves to have.
Gut Testing: Potential Autoimmune Triggers, Fungi/Yeast, Viruses, Other Parasites, & Worms
Next is a section directly about potential autoimmune triggers. More often than not, I think most people would make the argument that there’s no reason to have these. So, we’re going to try to do our best to clear those things out, or at least keep them at a very minimal level.
After that is fungi and yeast, which of course candida is on. If you’re in this space, you’ve probably heard of candida. Candida albicans is something that all humans have. Similarly, to the opportunistic bacteria, you could consider this an opportunistic yeast.
It is going to be like, oh my goodness, great. This person took antibiotics. I’m going to grow. This person is abusing alcohol. I’m going to grow. This person is abusing carbohydrates. I’m going to grow. There’s many ways that this can happen.
If you are someone with extraordinary sugar cravings, like I’m going to get up in the middle of the night and go get this stuff. You could have a candida overgrowth. There’s other reasons that it can happen, but it can happen with that.
We look at viruses, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus. These are things that do come up every now and then, especially the Epstein-Barr. That’s associated with mono. For some people, this could still be chilling in decent amounts in the body. If it’s activated, could lead to different symptoms.
After that, we’re looking at other parasites. A really common one that’s going to show up here is Blastocystis hominis. It’s with hominis at the end because it could occur in animals. It’s very common in like farm animals, dogs, unfortunately can happen in all of those things. And it could be transferred to humans.
By the way, there’s a section for worms, but I don’t find that usually shows much.
Gut Testing: Intestinal Health – Digestion & GI Markers
At the end, there’s a section for intestinal health and we get to look at digestion. We get to look at liver function here, believe it or not, which does have to do with certain parts of intestinal health. There’s a marker called beta glucuronidase and that’s associated with liver function.
There’s also an occult blood that’s definitely necessary. This might show up in very small amounts sometimes. This is actual blood, not digested blood. It’ll show up in small amounts sometimes with women who are cycling. It’ll happen with men or women who are maybe dealing with hemorrhoids.
So, we have to use some intelligence here and wisdom figuring out just those words are coming up, obviously a lot, but that’s what we kind of are training our practitioners in, is to be intelligent about this stuff and use an amount of wisdom when analyzing these results.
With that occult blood, if it’s low and there’s other things like the cycling going on or the hemorrhoids, okay. Maybe not the biggest deal. But if this is high, we’re always going to refer out to a GI specialist to figure out what else is going on there.
Gut Testing: Intestinal Health – Immune Response & Inflammation
After that, we’re able to see the immune function. We’re able to look at secretory IgA, which is a very strong, very needed line of immune defense that is going to occur in the gut. We also have oral secretory IgA. So that occurs obviously, as it sounds in the saliva.
Then there’s anti-gliadin IgA, which is an immune marker approaching in gluten. It’s not going to cover everything or every way that you can be sensitive to gluten, not even close. But it is a way that many people are sensitive to it.
There’s also a marker for calprotectin, which is a general gut inflammatory response. It’s kind of interesting as a practitioner, I’ve seen over the years, this doesn’t get high in some people when you totally expect it to be high. Then in others, the rest of their GI MAP could look kind of clean and yet their calprotectin is really high. I haven’t figured that one out yet, but it does happen. And it’s relevant because if we know that that response is super high, there’s many things that we can do to help chill out the gut in that moment.
Gut Testing: Antibiotic Resistant Genes
A last little section on the GI MAP is antibiotic resistant genes. You actually could use this very helpfully for your client. If they choose a Western medicine route based on the results that they get, then they could take this to their doctor and figure out a more intelligent route of treatment for things like H. pylori. Pretty cool stuff.
Now, with that said, I think that covers just about everything I wanted to cover today. That is what we use for our gut testing. We use the GI MAP. Could that evolve in the future? Absolutely it could. Do we have access to more gut tests as practitioners? Yes, we do, but this is the main one that is taught in the course.
And, oh my goodness. Not only are you going to learn more about leaky gut than you ever wanted to learn, just how the digestive track actually works, and how it’s relevant to our mental and physical health. But I think we are some of the best, if not the best trained people in intelligent protocols for actually addressing the bacteria, parasites, or anything else that can show up on the GI MAP.
If your client chooses to take a natural route, I will say, as someone who’s been doing this for five years, I have never once had a client that chose the Western medicine route. Will it happen sometimes? Yes. Is that okay if it does? Absolutely. Let your client do that. They have the right to do that. But most of them want to take a more natural approach and we leave you fully equipped, that is for sure, with anything that could possibly show up on there.
I hope you guys enjoyed this episode. If you are kind of liking learning more about what we do in the course or the labs that we use, definitely leave me a comment or leave a five-star review and leave that in the review. Then I can give you more episodes on what you want. I am here to talk about the things that you guys want to talk about.
And if you just like the content in general, we’d greatly appreciate a five-star review. We try to do our best to make this free. We don’t have external sponsorships generally speaking. So, we would really appreciate if you guys could help us get this information out there to the people who actually need it.
I am looking forward to talking to you guys again soon. I’ll be back next time with another interview, but until then, take care.