Functional Gut Testing - where science meets holistic health
Functional testing is a type of testing that is used to assess the function of an organ, system or pathway. Functional testing differs from your standard forms of testing as these focus on screening and diagnosing conditions. For example blood tests or colonoscopies are great for diagnosing coeliac disease or ulcerative colitis, but not necessarily the presence of digestive enzymes or your gut’s microbiome. Functional testing is helpful for individuals with diagnosed gut health conditions such as diverticulitis or crohn’s disease and for those with digestive symptoms yet have had all of their tests come back as normal. If you are someone who does not have a diagnosis or all of your tests considered normal, you may find answers in functional testing as your issue may be an issue of function rather than disease. An example of functional testing is comprehensive stool testing in assessing your microbiome. From a stool sample we are able to understand the types and levels of bacteria, parasites, worms and yeasts present as well as digestive function, immune response and metabolic makers within the gut.
How functional gut testing can help you
• We can refine our understanding of what’s happening in your gut. This is especially helpful when symptoms have multiple causes. For example bloating can be caused by bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections as well as low digestive capacity. By testing, we can get clear on these issues and where your gut needs help.
• We are able to narrow down treatment options and avoid unnecessary treatments. For example, we can avoid using digestive enzymes if your stool tests show you are producing healthy levels of pancreatic enzymes.
• We can monitor and assess the efficacy of treatment. By testing at the start of treatment and repeating after a few months, we can understand if the current treatment approach is working and adjust accordingly.
What types of gut tests are available?
There are many tests available that include:
Comprehensive stool tests which can assess bacteria, parasites, worms, digestive markers, metabolic markers and immune function
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) breath test
Intestinal permeability (leaky gut) test
Organic acid test which is the most accurate test for fungal and yeast overgrowths
Helicobacter pylori tests
Sugar / FODMAP malabsorption breath test
Gluten sensitivity panel
Food allergy and sensitivity panels assessing IgG, IgA and IgE immune responses
Other tests that are not gut specific but are often used alongside digestive issue include:
Mold and mycotoxin panel
Genetic SNPs testing
Complete thyroid panel
Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene test
DUTCH complete hormonal profile to assess sex and adrenal hormones
Heavy metal assessment
There are more functional tests available, so please ask if there is something specific you would like tested.
How much does functional testing cost?
The cost of functional testing varies significantly, ranging from $100 to $650 depending on the test. The costs of these are charged directly from the functional pathology companies and are a separate cost to any appointment. Functional tests are not covered by insurance or Medicare.
How do I access these tests?
Functional tests are ordered by me, a trained and qualified practitioner, after an initial consultation through specific functional pathology companies. The tests are sent to your preferred delivery address to be completed in the comfort of your own home.
How do I know what tests to order?
After an initial consultation, where there is a thorough discussion of health status and health history, we are able to narrow down the tests that would be most helpful in understanding your health. Often more than one test is needed during our time together. These tests could be ordered at the beginning, or as treatment progresses and we need more information.