What is the GI-MAP test?
If you’ve ever heard that the gut is like the second brain, then you probably know that our gut health impacts our overall health, especially for fertility. Research has found that the gut microbiome impacts our digestion, immunity, metabolic and neuroendocrine functions, sleep, stress and so much more.
The GI MAP is a functional lab test that does a comprehensive analysis of your gut health. It looks at parasites, bacteria, fungi, inflammation markers, digestive enzymes and much more, and does so by targeting specific DNA of the organisms it tests.
The test looks at the DNA of pathogenic organisms like bacteria and viruses, but also the beneficial organisms (ie good bacteria) and the opportunistic bacteria as well.
The test looks at the specific genomes of these organisms that reside in the intestinal ecology. It’s a “Quantitate DNA test” – or real time test – which differentiates this test from other tests on the market.
The GI-MAP will actually measure how much of each strain exists in the gut, rather than just looking at a percentage.
Some Functional Markers in the GI MAP Test:
- Calprotectin– a measure of inflammation in the gut. Can be a sign of Crohn’s disease or IBD.
- Pancreatic elastase– the level of enzyme activity- how good are your levels of enzymes that digest protein, fat, carbs and fiber.
- Secretory IgA– a marker of the ‘reactivity’ of your gut immune layer. It represents the first line of immune defense of the gut. This is important when evaluating food intolerances
- Zonulin– a marker of leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
- B-glucoronidase- a measure of re-circulating toxins between the gut and the liver. You’ll see this marker elevated with excess estrogen and in people with poor liver detoxification.
- Steatocrit- amount of fat in the stool- measures fat absorption
- Gliadin IgA– an excellent measure of gluten intolerance
Why Not Order a Cheaper Gut Health Test?
Many of the consumer facing microbiome tests don’t actually give you a full picture of what’s happening in the gut – they don’t count bacteria or parasites present.
In fact, I’ve taken one of those tests in the past and just felt like I didn’t have any more answers to my questions.
The GI MAP is used by clinicians and provides the most comprehensive analysis of the gut microbiome compared to any other gut health test on the market. If you’re looking for real answers – test, don’t guess.
Why You Might Need a GI-MAP Stool Test for Gut Health and Fertility
Some conditions that could benefit from taking a GI Map stool test would be someone with:
- Autoimmune disease
- Digestive complaints like diarrhea or constipation
- Brain fog, fatigue
- Joint pain
- Skin problems, like acne, rashes, hives or psoarisis
- Mood disorders, depression, anxiety
- Diabetes and weight loss issues
- Food intolerances
Why is Gut Health Important for Fertility?
I’ll be spending the next few weeks talking about how gut health impacts fertility, but there are a few high level concepts when it comes to the connection between fertility and gut health:
1. Hormone Balance- your gut directly plays a role in balancing the levels of estrogen in your body. If you suspect you have estrogen dominance, taking a comprehensive stool test would be a good place to start investigating.
2. Inflammation- your gut can cause some serious inflammation in the rest of your body. I love that the GI MAP can test for Zonulin, which is a marker of intestinal permeability or “leaky gut.” When toxins from the GI tract can leak into the bloodstream, this causes an immune response by the body, and triggers inflammation. When we work on fertility issues, the broad goal is to reduce overall inflammation so the body can prioritize reproductive health.
3. Insulin Resistance – A 2012 study found that dysbiosis and intestinal permeability impacted insulin levels, which then affected egg and sperm development.
The researchers also found that leaky gut and inflammation was a common cause of PCOS, and that insulin disruption was the most common cause for menstrual disruption and problems with ovulation.
How to Order the GI MAP Test
The test needs to be ordered by a qualified practitioner, such as myself. Interpreting the results requires understanding of gut bacteria, functional gastrointestinal health and experience dealing with dysbiosis or microbiome imbalances.
Interested to learn more? Book a free discovery call with me here to learn how we can use functional lab testing to address fertility.
If you suspect leaky gut or experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, we can discuss some options for you and work on your nutrition and lifestyle together to improve your microbiome.
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- Tremellen, K and Pearce, K (2012). Dysbiosis of Gut Microbiota (DOGMA) – A novel theory for the development of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Med Hyspotheses’ 79, 1, 104-12.