The GI Effects Comprehensive Stool test from Genova Diagnostics is one of the best tests out there for assessing the health of your gut. It uses PCR analysis and culturing from the samples you provide to give you deep insights into the current state of your gut health.
The test includes an assessment of:
- how well you are breaking down your food
- inflammation levels
- the balance of good and bad bacteria in your intestines
- how well these bacteria are producing short chain fatty acids
- infections like parasites and other baddies
- Optional extras include H.Pylori testing, Zonulin for leaky gut and a few others. It’s a pity that at least these 2 add on’s are not included as standard like Invivo’s GI Ecologix product as they are really good biomarkers to check for.
The GI Effects profile is not cheap. It retails at £355 plus courier fees which if you live outside the UK, are £23 each way for DHL, so it all adds up. If you add in extra tests like Zonulin (£40) or H. Pylori (£85), the total costs can level out at around £520 – so not a cheap option but saying that I believe it is worth it.
Stool testing like this is the best way to determine the state of your gut health at a microbial level. Physically, endoscopies and colonoscopies are a great way to test for structural health as the gastroenterologist can visibly see peptic ulcers, tissue scarring and inflammation in GI tract with the scope camera and can take biopsies from the stomach lining to determine the presence of H. Pylori for example. So both options have their value.
While the cost of scopes can be mostly covered under private health insurance, only Irish Life health provide cover for consultations with Nutritionists currently, I expect this to be adopted by other insurance companies soon.
The test itself is fairly straightforward. Day 1 and 2 are exactly the same process, once you have collected your sample, you add some stool to the test tubes with the green caps and fill up to the red line. That’s it. Day 3 is a little more involved but you do the same thing with 4 vials, each with a different colour cap. There is one additional vial, the fecal swap to perform on Day 3 and that simply involves using the long handled ear bud type collector, twisting the ear bud in the stool until you it is evenly coated and then storing it in the appropriate vial.
Once each of the vials has been filled, everything goes back into the box that it all came in and into a DHL envelope for courier pickup.
The turnaround time is approximately 15-20 calendar days and the results will be available on the Genova clinician portal for review by your Nutritionist.
In conclusion, while the entire topic of stool testing may gross you out, it is an important diagnostic option if you are suffering from poor digestive or gut health. What goes in must come out, and through testing like this, we can understand better the internal digestive process and where things may be going wrong.
For further information or to organise a stool test and consultation, reach out on the Contact form.