Comprehensive Stool Testing in Functional Medicine

Everything starts in the gut!

Our immune system is located in the gut, well, approximately 70 to 80% of it, and the gut is where we manufacture most of our serotonin. Scientific research shows a gut-brain and a gut-immune connection, so understanding the intricacies of our gut functionality is essential to our total wellness of mind and body and a matter of urgency for our overall health.

A comprehensive stool test measures biomarkers to evaluate for intestinal dysbiotic patterns, intestinal inflammation, and intestinal permeability that may influence gut and skin barrier function.

Research consistently demonstrates that gut health is a crucial determinant of overall health. For instance, individuals with atopic dermatitis, the most prevalent form of eczema, tend to have a less diverse gut microbiome. The gut microbiome’s influence extends beyond skin health, affecting digestion, immunity, metabolism, and brain and neuroendocrine health. This underscores the far-reaching implications of maintaining a healthy gut.

Check out this research on Diversity of the gut microbiota and eczema in early life at

Gut – Skin Link

Eczema, a chronic condition prone to flare-ups, can be better managed with the knowledge of its triggers. Regular testing using functional labs empowers practitioners to identify these triggers, leading to personalized and effective management strategies. 

An imbalance in the microbiome can stimulate an immune response and inflammation, leading to skin disturbances and potentially leading to dermatological conditions like eczema. The comprehensive stool test evaluates the microbiome’s Diversity, analyzing more than 300 microorganisms. It effectively detects pathogens and dysbiosis, essential factors influencing the microbiome’s overall well-being. 

Another significant research is the Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis, where they explain that the gut and skin are densely vascularized and are organs that have vital immune and neuroendocrine factors uniquely related in function (O’Neill et al., 2016). Certain gut microbes and metabolites – retinoic acid, polysaccharide A from Bacteroides fragilis, Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, and bacteria belonging to Clostridium cluster IV and XI promote the accumulation of regulatory T cells. These lymphocytes facilitate anti-inflammatory responses (Forbes et al., 2015). Th17 cells are abundant in the skin and intestine, as both organs contact the external environment (Weaver et al., 2013). These cells and their pro-inflammatory cytokines are thought to directly contribute to the pathogenesis of several chronic inflammatory dermatoses, including psoriasis.

Understanding and managing food allergies is crucial to managing eczema. Common allergens that can worsen eczema symptoms include dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold. Children with eczema often display higher IgG-mediated reactions to food sensitivities, with dairy, gluten, and eggs being the most commonly reactive foods. This knowledge empowers individuals to make informed dietary choices for managing eczema.

The stool test focuses on five key areas: maldigestion, inflammation, dysbiosis, infection, and metabolic imbalances. 

Why are these important? 

A breakdown or imbalance in these five systems can lead to nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, digestive issues, and autoimmune diseases. 

Comprehensive Stool analysis is an invaluable test offering insight into the intricate workings of the human body. Examining the composition of the gut microbiome, assessing digestive function, and detecting potential pathogens is crucial to gaining insight into one’s health. 

This testing evaluates the gut microbiome, assesses digestive function, quantifies immune function and inflammation, and identifies pathogens in the digestive tract. This test identifies underlying causes of gastrointestinal symptoms, chronic inflammation, and systemic health issues. 

The gut microbiome collects trillions of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 

This amazing relationship between our bodies and the microbiome is central to gut health and paramount for total wellness. Our gut microbiome influences everything from digestion, absorption, immune function, metabolism, and nervous system activity.

In digestion, our microbiome aids in breaking down complex carbohydrates, fiber, and any indigestible compounds that our enzymes cannot process, producing SCFAs, short-chain fatty acids, and other beneficial byproducts. Our microbiome also assists in the absorption and breakdown of nutrients, which include minerals, vitamins, and some amino acids. Digestion of food affects energy balance and influences metabolic health. 

The gut microbiome profoundly influences immune function, interacts with immune cells, and helps regulate immune responses. Imbalances in our microbiome, known as dysbiosis, are linked to various health issues related to a dysregulated immune system, including gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, and autoimmune diseases.

Second Brain

Our gut, the second brain, communicates bi-directionally with the central nervous system through the gut-brain axis, which influences our cognitive function and mental health. This gut-brain connection has been scientifically proven and has links to gut-brain-mental health connections. Research proves gut health implications for cardiovascular, endocrine, skin, and musculoskeletal systems.

As humans provide a home for gut microbes, these microorganisms evolved to return the favor and establish mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationships with their hosts. Digesting our food provides energy, nutrients, and neuroactive functioning of neurotransmitters and their precursors. 

These neurotransmitters signal molecules to the brain, and the brain translates these signals, sending chemical messages to the nervous system,  inflammation responses, and bodily processes.

Gut – Brain Link

Our gut microbes produce 90% of our body’s serotonin and other metabolites and neurotransmitters that influence cognitive health. They also interact with our nervous system and minds in many different ways.

Digesting dietary proteins in the small intestine releases tryptophan, which is absorbed through the intestinal wall and enters the bloodstream. Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin and a building block to melatonin and vitamin B3, essential in sleep and brain function.

Our gut bacteria and brain produce and respond to neurochemicals such as GABA, acetylcholine, dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and melatonin (a byproduct of serotonin), which affect mood and cognition. Impaired food absorption and breakdown reduce our ability to build serotonin.

The gut-brain axis is an established communication channel between the central and enteric nervous systems. This communication links stress responses and intestinal functions commonly associated with that “gut feeling.” 

Many people have not heard about the vagus nerve, which extends from the brainstem through the neck to the abdomen. This nerve is vital to transporting communication from the brain to the gut and the gut to the brain.

Bidirectional communication from the gut to the brain occurs when microorganisms produce and assimilate neuroactive compounds, modulate inflammation, and interact with the vagus nerve.

Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are microbial metabolites from the fiber. In contrast, proteins such as branched-chain amino acids and peptidoglycans are components of the bacterial cell wall, and they break down. These serve as signaling molecules that impact various processes in the body.

Inflammation in the gut plays a role in psychiatry, and studies have established a link between higher inflammatory markers and depression.

Microbes produce metabolites that enter the circulation and alter the inflammatory markers in the gut, periphery, and central nervous system. These metabolites signal to the immune cells in the brain, and the vagus nerve has been shown to modulate brain immune responses. It’s all connected and seems to start in the gut!

Assessing for gut dysbiosis and digestive health is imperative to establish a baseline to work on a healthy microbiome. The goal is to balance one’s mood with a healthy gut-brain connection. 

The comprehensive stool lab test offers a complete look at one’s gut health and gut-brain axis by measuring pathogens and analyzing digestion functioning, nutrient absorption, inflammation markers, and immune function.

Your gut is like a central command center for your health. It impacts so much more than digestion—from energy levels to your skin’s radiance and your body’s ability to detoxify harmful substances. By understanding your gut better, you’re taking a proactive step towards a healthier, more vibrant life.

Getting tested is easy. 

You are here for a reason, with a purpose and a passion for sharing with the work. To do that, you must feel your best!



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