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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Varriale

8 things your poo can tell you about your health

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

All disease begins in the gut apparently, and I would certainly agree. But what's the link between gut health and fatigue?

Studies show that both IBS and SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) are common in CFS - in one study 90% of people with ME/CFS had IBS (1), and another showed 81% had SIBO(2).

Research also shows that the gut microbiome in people with ME/CFS - that is, the sum of all the microbes in our gut - is less diverse with fewer anti-inflammatory species compared to healthy people (3,4)

Infections and in particular viral infections are a common contributing factor in ME/CFS and it's worth remembering that around 70% of our immune system is housed in the gut, so a healthy gut = a healthy immune system. Read more about post-viral fatigue here.

And when it comes to thyroid health, 20% of the conversion of inactive T4 to active T3 takes place in the gut and a whopping 60% in the liver (which is part of the digestive system), so digestive issues may impair this process and reduce levels of T3, and contribute to fatigue. Read more about thyroid health and fatigue here.

But the gut isn't like Las Vegas - what starts in the gut doesn’t necessarily stay in the gut. When the gut barrier integrity is compromised by inflammation, toxins, microbes or food, the tight junctions of the gut lining can break open. This is known as intestinal permeability, or "leaky gut".

Normally only digested food particles pass into the bloodstream but when there is leaky gut, harmful substances can also pass through to which the immune system (quite rightly) mounts a response. This can lead to inflammation and symptoms and conditions such headaches and migraines (5), eczema and psoriasis (6) and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto's (7).

When there is inflammation and/or infection, the immune system is activated. Along with the brain and muscles, the immune system is one of the big 3 energy consumers in the body. What's more, our gut bacteria also regulate sleep via the microbiome-gut-brain axis. (8)

8 things your poo can you tell you:

  1. Are you digesting and absorbing your food properly? This is crucial to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need to make energy (all 22 of them!) and for all your other bodily functions

  2. Is there inflammation present? About 70% of our immune system is housed in our gut so if you have any kind of inflammatory condition, it’s good to know what’s going on in there

  3. What types of gut bacteria do you have and how many?

  4. What are your levels of beneficial and non beneficial bacteria?

  5. Is there dysbiosis, or imbalance of gut bacteria?

  6. How does your gut microbiome compare to those of healthy people?

  7. Are there any infections or overgrowth of problematic microbes such as bacteria, parasites or yeast that could be contributing to your symptoms?

  8. Are there indications you may have SIBO?

Test don’t guess

Whilst a thorough analysis of someone’s symptoms and health history may give an indication of what might be going on in the gut, with testing we can know for sure. I now use a stool test that only requires 1 sample as opposed to 3 to make the whole process even easier for my clients.

It’s also possible to improve gut health without testing with functional foods and targeted supplements but it may take longer to see results, and if chronic gut infections are suspected, it's important to know what they are so the right gut healing protocol can be put in to place. As a general rule, testing is only recommended if it can provide further insight to inform your personalised health plan.

Is stool testing right for you? Why not book a FREE discovery call to find out more?

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The content on this webpage is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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