‘You are not what you eat, you are what you absorb’
Might not sound as catchy, but you can have a great diet and make good choices, but if you are not digesting and absorbing your nutrients correctly, then your good diet will not benefit your health.
In clinic, we always discuss digestion with our patients, and though our patients present with a wide range of health issues and concerns, optimising their digestion is often a key focus of our protocol. For optimal fertility for example, there are numerous studies to show that certain minerals and vitamins are essential for egg and sperm quality or quantity. We carry out comprehensive nutritional blood tests to assess deficiencies and correct these by making dietary and supplement recommendations. However, if there is a fundamental digestion or absorption issue, the deficiency may not be rectified or indeed, may only be rectified while you are supplementing. Getting to the root cause of nutritional deficiencies is critical to restoring optimal nutritional status in the long-term.
When to consider a digestive test
The list of potential symptoms of digestive dysfunction is long and can include bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, pain, burning, belching, feelings of fullness and discomfort. You may have lots of symptoms or just one or two, digestion is complex and different for everyone. For some people, there are few symptoms in their gut but they may experience fatigue, skin problems or depression when their gut is out of balance. We have a wide number of tests that can assess gut function, inflammation in the digestive tract, bacterial balance, and detect yeasts, parasites and other pathogenic bacteria amongst others.
Amongst our other comprehensive digestive tests, Glenville Nutrition is proud to say that we are the only clinic in Ireland who now offer the MapMyGut analysis.
Speaking with the team at Glenville Nutrition, Michelle Beaumont PhD, microbiologist for MapMyGut explains why MapMyGut is different: ‘This is exciting because it is the first test that looks at all the bacteria in the gut by using DNA analysis instead of unreliable culture techniques. It also links with the research that has been published on the effects of the particular bacteria and its function in the gut.’ Michelle carries out extensive research of the literature to help practitioners provide guidance to their patients on their gut inhabitants and how to improve this. Michelle also explains that diversity is really the key. ‘The more diverse your microbiome, that is the more different types of bacteria you have, the lower your risk for certain conditions such as obesity, heart disease and so on.’
Ciara Wright PhD from Glenville Nutrition knows that high fibre foods and lots of variety is the route to increasing bacterial diversity. Fibre feeds your bacteria and the more diverse your food range is, plenty of different types of fruits and vegetables for example, the more diverse the bacteria will be that are feeding off this.
In addition, when you are not eating enough fibre, there is less for your bacteria to eat. Certain mucin-degrading bacteria will degrade mucin faster when there is less fibre around, a mucin layer that is there to protect your gut lining. This can lead to inflammation, leaky gut, food intolerances and much more. So aim for 7-10 portions of vegetables and fruit a day to keep your bacteria happy, or they may just turn on you!
If you have queries about this test, or our other digestive tests, please contact us on 01-4020777 or drop us an email at email@example.com and one of our nutritionists will be happy to call you back.