Gastrointestinal function is critical for good health. Emerging evidence in the scientific literature has associated gut microbiome status with a wide variety of common illnesses.
What is the GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile?
Primarily focusing on the “G” in the DIG format, our GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile is a targeted stool test, offering the ability to detect and identify parasites, as well as providing valuable assessment of gut microbiota via 24 Commensal Bacteria targets.
- Commensal bacteria — the composition, diversity, and relative abundance of gut organisms, all of which are linked to both gastrointestinal and general health
- More than 95% of commensal gut organisms are anaerobic and are difficult to recover by traditional (aerobic) culture techniques; molecular DNA techniques are now considered the standard for anaerobic bacteria assessment in research, permitting identification and quantification of multiple organisms with a single specimen.
- The Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methodology can identify bacterial populations at any level of taxonomy, as broadly as phylum and as narrowly as species. This ability permits analysis of the gut microbiome at a desired degree of complexity.
- GI Effects assesses a key set of 24 clinically relevant genera/species that map to 7 major phyla
- Bacterial and mycological culture — the presence of specific beneficial and pathological organisms
- Traditional bacterial culture complements DNA-based tests to provide an expanded survey of a patient's gut microbiota, beyond the specific organisms targeted by PCR.
- GI Effects provides microscopic examination of fecal specimens for ova and parasites (O&P), the gold standard of diagnosis for many parasites.
- Enzyme immunoassay (EIA), widely recognized for its diagnostic utility in the detection of pathogenic antigens, is used for the identification of Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica, and Giardia lamblia.
- Additional Biomarkers Available:
- Clostridium difficile
- Escherichia coli
- Fecal Lactoferrin
- Helicobacter pylori
- Macro Exam for Worms
- Stool Zonulin
- KOH Preparation for Yeast
When Should the GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile Be Considered?
The GI Effects® Microbial Ecology Profile is a focused clinical tool in the management of patients with symptoms related to pathogenic organism and/or microbial imbalance. Such imbalances have been associated in the scientific literature with a wide variety of common illnesses.
The GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile is particularly helpful in monitoring changes to microbiota as targeted therapeutics are implemented.
What Advantage does Microbial Ecology Profile Stool Testing Offer Compared to Other Diagnostics?
GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile represents the best technical platform available to assess the status of the gut ecosystem, combining an optimized PCR molecular assay for anaerobic bacteria, Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) technology for identification of cultivable species, and gold standard O&P (ova & parasites) for parasite detection.
The test report is organized so that the clinician may move through results in a logical order that enhances clinical utility, starting with the Interpretation At-a-Glance pages that are comprised of the following:
- Functional Pillars – Using evidence-based rules and weighted algorithms, this page synthesizes patient test results into Functional Pillars of clinical significance (Infection and Imbalance) and provides a directional indication of potential therapeutic next steps in patient management.
- Commensal Balance – this infographic has been designed to provide a more precise view of an individual patients' commensal bacteria (PCR) results relative to a healthy cohort. It is composite of two measures:
- The Healthy-Pattern Continuum (formerly known as the Diversity Association Index) is a progressive ranking scale based on a Genova proprietary algorithm that differentiates healthy and unhealthy commensal patterns. This algorithm is applied to an individual patient's GI Effects commensal bacteria (PCR) findings, and produces a numeric result ranging from 0 to 10 and is denoted by the 'y' axis of the Commensal Balance infographic.
- The Reference Variance Score reflects the total number of an individual patient's commensal bacteria (PCR) results that are out of reference range. This number ranges from zero to 24, and is denoted by the 'x' axis of the Commensal Balance infographic.
- Relative Abundance – this infographic represents the proportional levels of select phyla in an individual's microbiome and is represented relative to similar measures derived from a healthy cohort of individuals.
- Commensal Clinical Associations Chart – to create this chart, Genova utilized the GI Effects test-results database which allowed comparison of commensal results in patients with self-reported clinical conditons (IBD, Metabolic Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, Autoimmune dysfunction, Type 2 Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Mood Disorders and ROME III criteria (IBS)) to those found in a healthy cohort. In addition, the chart feature patient results marked as high (H) or low (L) compared to the reference range for each commensal bacteria.
What Can Clinicians and Patients Expect from GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile Stool Testing?
The results of the GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile may effectively provide insight into the root cause(s) of gut symptoms originating from a disturbed gut ecosystem. Results can help to guide focused treatments designed to get patients back to good health. As identified functional imbalances in the gut microbiome become more normalized through targeted dietary, lifestyle, and supplementation therapeutics, intractable symptoms often improve for many patients.
Each biomarker is associated with specific pertinent therapies, but general therapeutic considerations include:
- Discerning general evidence of bowel inflammation and providing intestinal mucosal and anti-inflammatory support
- Addressing any identified infection with appropriate pharmacological and botanical treatments
- Supporting commensal bacteria with pre/probiotic supplements and dietary changes
A targeted diagnostic panel, like the GI Effects Microbial Ecology Profile, is particularly helpful in monitoring changes to microbiota as individualized therapeutics are implemented. It also provides enhanced clinical accuracy in determining which patients may need more comprehensive stool testing.