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Gut microbe testing

DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,599
edited July 2019 in The cake stop
This is something that has made the news in recent years - the idea that stuff like weight loss, inflammation etc is linked to the diversity of microbes in your gut.

Has anyone got any experience either as a customer or professionally of these companies that offer a test and recommendations based on that?

A quick google suggests it's about the price of a bike fit - though I must admit I've never paid for a bike fit - but one of my daughters suffers a bit with fatigue and digestive issues - before someone says see a medical professional she already has - but given the cost isn't huge in the scheme of things I wondered if one of these tests might be worth a punt.

Also wondered if the claims of being useful in weight loss are substantiated?
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  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I've read an awful lot about this recently; partly because I'm a biologist and find it fascinating, and partly because our eldest son's guts have been all over the place since childhood and he's now 30. Medical professionals haven't been able to help so far.

    My concern would be what if she does a test and the results come back saying she's lacking diversity in her gut microbes or the 'wrong' sort are dominant? Do these tests come with any practical advice? And since this is a rapidly evolving field, is the list of 'desirable' microbes likely to keep changing?

    As I understand it you can try to manipulate / diversify / improve your gut microbes by taking probiotics, ie foods with active microbes in them, or by eating prebiotics, which are foods which support / encourage the growth of certain microbes. Some things like unpasteurised cheese and yoghurt, and fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut are conceivably both.

    And / or you can try the nuclear option and consider a faecal transplant. Unlikely to be available via the NHS.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,209
    if you look at the peer reviewed research, it tends to be more nuanced/conservative that what ends up reported by the media (let alone manufacturers of pre/probiotics, plus of course the snake oil sellers and lunatic fringe)

    there's a review paper here https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3427212/

    test services can be found with a search, for instance https://ubiome.com/consumer/explorer/

    has she had a referral to dietician/similar?
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  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,213
    OP, have the Medical professionals done thorough blood and pathology tests?
    Ben

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  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,599
    Ben6899 wrote:
    OP, have the Medical professionals done thorough blood and pathology tests?


    Yes she did have some sort of blood test/ stool sample test - not exactly sure what as she's away at uni and she sorts it herself - they said she had some inflammation but they said it was post infection or something and she didn't have Crohns which is what she was worried about. She does suffer with stomach cramps etc but not constantly but what she thinks is more than normal. She does have an slightly underactive thyroid she is on medication for - pretty much the lowest dose and she does get regular checks to make sure it's right - and also I think she does too much and is generally too highly strung - she is extremely hard working and organised and probably needs to chill out a bit tbh.

    It was partly general interest though - I mean I was going to suggest it to her if people thought it was worth it but I didn't mean it to be a thread about her more the topic in general.
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  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 24,244
    Test or no test, increasing the amount of foliage and inuline containing vegetables can only be a good thing to promote a healthy gut population...

    So cooked onions and leeks, artichokes above all, but then also lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbages and pak choi.
    And of course avoid alcohol and limit the consumption of processed food.


    If you think about it, it's the NHS advice in a nutshell without even mentioning "gut bacteria"
  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,213
    Ben6899 wrote:
    OP, have the Medical professionals done thorough blood and pathology tests?


    Yes she did have some sort of blood test/ stool sample test - not exactly sure what as she's away at uni and she sorts it herself - they said she had some inflammation but they said it was post infection or something and she didn't have Crohns which is what she was worried about.

    No biopsies? If they detect inflammation again, she should ask them to take biopsies.

    I am with Ugo that eating the foods he mentions is a good thing regardless. Onions (other alums too?) are good prebiotics.
    Ben

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  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,599
    No pretty sure they haven't taken a biopsy. They did test her a couple of times - forget why - I'd ask her but she's away clubbing this weekend but I will bare it in mind.

    Re things that are good to eat - I was thinking more about the science in onions may be good for you and Ugo but maybe not for me - stuff like that. I you eat loads of berries you might feel super energised and win the Tour but I might end up putting on 3 stone and getting arthritis. That seemed to be the way the science was heading - I assume it's not quite that simple but some kind of recommendation on what is good for you as an individual rather than population level recommendations.
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  • Ben6899Ben6899 Posts: 7,213
    I see what you mean.

    Well - seeing as we're on onions... I love onions and a cooked one causes me no issues whatsoever, and they are prebiotic. Saying that, onions sometimes cause my better half to have an upset stomach so yeh, probiotics are probiotics and prebiotics are prebiotics, but if a certain pre/probiotic food causes you discomfort...
    Ben

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  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    Listening to the list of things which upset my son, alliums included, it sounds like he'd benefit from a low FODMAP diet. But getting a 30 year old with a full time teaching job and a hectic social life to try it is near impossible.
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