Your Gut is FUBAR…Now What?

Its starting to sink in. You have read “12 Signs Your Flora is F*cked” and “5 Tell Tale Signs You Need to Get Your Shit Together” and noticed your head nodding back and fourth.  It’s ok, I’ve been there. The amazing thing to think about is that there are many of us who have recovered. I might  have done it the most ass backwards way possible, but some how I’m getting there. I’m here to tell you don’t make the same mistakes that I did. These are the best tips I can pass along to dial in to see what exactly is going on.

Don’t Shotgun Supplements

Being a stubborn bastard, I thought I knew what the problem was. I read WebMd, which granted me to be a certifiable Dr. of the Interwebz.

Scouring blogs, forums, and research articles, I was surrounded with tons of pieces but no picture to guide me how the pieces come together. I once thought I had kidney stones, malfunctioning gallbladder, and biofilm covering my whole digestive tract. Thus the introduction and elimination of a carousel of supplements. Hopping onto the reviews of these supplements, it reassured me that I was honing in on the root cause.

Hey if these people shared these same symptoms, and it worked for them, why not me?

This made UPS and Amazon pleased with my constant patronage, but in the end it was futile.

Months of shotgunning supplements, no noticeable changes happened. I was just as lost as I started. The worst part about it, outside of the internet, there was nowhere I could turn to to find help. Modern medicine would have done inconclusive testing while pushing a prescription packed a multitude of side effects. Where was my gut savior?!

I did find that savior, in turning to Dr. Grace’s blog and following the 7-steps.

The most important of precursor to the 7-steps is to GET TESTED.

While you got all the indicator lights flashing on your dashboard, its IMPERATIVE to get the diagnostics. This must be the biggest factor I have to preach. You might miraculously find your miracle supplement, but most of the time you will be wasting your TIME and MONEY.

What type of Testing?

With American Gut and UBiome leading the charge with the “Send us your Poo” movement, these guys are key to getting the mainstream public aware of the microbiome.

Money not being a factor, the optimal way to get a clearer picture of your microbiome is to get a stool and urine test.

The stool test might be off putting for some, but for those looking for the window into the gut, there isn’t better way (YET). Get that plastic wrap and do your due diligence. Certain microbes live in different locations along the colon.  For the most accurate picture, make sure to do your best Bob Marley impersonation and “Stir It Up.”

Nasty, yes. Necessary, YES.

Urine test is ideal to see if you have an excess amount of by-products being produced by overgrowths of certain types of microbes. The stool test doesn’t allow you to see what is going on in the small intestines, which makes the urine test the perfect compliment with the stool test. From these by-products we now know which microbes secrete certain types of organic acids.

Urine and stool tests aren’t the end all be all, but they are certainly better than just doing guess work. Having the proper tools to better diagnose our ailments is essential in a fast and painless recovery.

Still having lingering issues, I’m going to be doing these tests in the near future. We will be talking about my results in coming episodes on the Gut Guardians Podcast.

If I could do it all over again, I would have actively sought out a Dr. who could have ordered a stool analysis test and an urine organics test.

Recommended Testing:

GDX: GI Effects Stool Profiles

GDX: Organix® Dysbiosis Profile – Urine

Find a Doctor in your Area who can order these tests

 

  • Joe L

    Great post Matt. I can totally relate to your experience with researching your symptoms online and shotgunning supplements. I also thought I had malfunctioning gallbladder at one point, and immediately ordered various supplements which had no effect. In the end I realised the pain in my rib cage was just trapped gas…

    Like you, I found Dr. Grace’s blog and her 7-steps, and it’s given a lot of structure to my efforts to resolve my digestive issues, and my supplement bills have gone down 🙂

    I’m based in the UK, and it looks like the GDX tests are available here too, there’s a handful of registered naturopaths and nutritionists who can order GDX tests for their patients. My only reservation about spending the money on the tests is getting the results translated into actionable steps for me. I’ve seen the sample GDX reports and they’re quite technical, and the naturopaths and nutritionists here in the UK who offer the testing don’t seem to be specialists in microbiota / gut health etc.

    Do you have any suggestions for how someone with test results could go about getting them translated (e.g. any recommended specialist practitioners in the US)?

  • Thanks Joe! I think the best course of action is to ask around and see if there are any doctors in the UK who would be able to give you a full breakdown of your results. Somebody who is highly specialized in this area might be a bit costly, but for those with extreme gut issues its well worth it. I know there are always these online communities where you can post up your results if you feel open sharing that sort of information on the internet. As for US options, I don’t have a list of doctors I could recommend yet.

  • Ana

    Hi Joe, I had the exact same thing happen to me. I saved up all this money to get an organic acids, and TWO stool tests (Genova and health scope) – it was recommended by Steve from SCD lifestyle. I had organised an appointment with them at the time. I’m in Austrlalia though, so I had to locate a naturopath here that was able to order the tests for me. I found one and had the tests done (along with other hormonal tests). I was so proactive and felt I was finally on the right track and feeling positive about it.

    Anyways, to cut a long story short, when I went back to my Nat to discuss the results, she basically just brushed over all of my stool and organic acids tests, saying “they were all fine”, instead insisting we focus on the hormones. I had mixed feelings about this, because I know now hormones are just as important, but the digestive issues were really what was troubling me at the time, anyways I just went with her and followed a adrenal healing protocol for a while. It helped with wellbeing and energy, but the digestive issues were still firmly rooted, and we’re still effecting my life.

    This was still early on in my “gut IQ” days (as Grace would put it!) so my test results didn’t make much sense to me at the time.

    A year went by, and I was still not progressing, I was frustrated and pulled out my results to look deeper. Both stool tests revealed no parasites or fungal overgrowths (phew) but the health scope stated, under the “Culture” panel, that I had a Dysbiosis factor of of 10. It also stated that I had NILL Bifidobacterium sp and Lactobacilli. My Nat didn’t even look over this, or point it out to me – but I know Grace and Matt would think something of this! So then I pulled out my organic acids, which is quite complex indeed, but I picked up on a finding in the “Bacterial General” section that “Hippurate” and “Tricarballylate” were stated as High, even stating “Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth”, recommending probiotics. Again, I was really frustrated this was overlooked. When I brought this up with my Nat, she said,oh but the stool tests didn’t pick up on anything so your fine. I know now, through education, thanks to sites like this and Grace, that this is probably indicating SIBO. So I pushed this notion with my Nat, and she was hesitant, so more months pass, and I was about to “fire” her in my last appointment, because I was explaining to her my symptoms still have not improved, she must of sensed my frustration and then ordered me the SIBO breath test, which was more money, but I felt that’s was moving in the right direction…..well turns out that I am one of the minute less than 5% of the population that are low hydrogen and methane producers, thus my test was inconclusive. Here we go again, I said to myself!

    Surprisingly, my Nat said, let’s just begin treatment and see what happens (which I was happy about) so nearly two years later, I am finally treating SIBO with antimicrobials and low Fodmaps. However, since discovering all of Graces fantastic work, as well as this site, I am following the 7steps. I have incorporated all of Graces probiotic recommendations successfully, trying to eat the recommended safe starches, and recently just started Graces Bionic Fibre Mix.

    I’ve always been scared to add fibre, but ironically I feel my VLC and low fibre days is what got me here in the first place. I do tend to feel quite bloated still with the fibre and some starches, but not as bad as before. I am always still questioning if I am doing the right thing. I have to get over the frustration of my Naturopath and spending all that money on tests that were just overlooked. I guess it’s made me educate myself more.

    Matt, may I ask, do you think I am on the right track? Do you have any opinions about my test results?

    Also, do you think the bloating is a bad sign with the fibre? Or should I persist and wait for the gut to “recalibrate”

    …sometimes you just need a little reassurance 🙂

    Thanks very much!

    • Ana, thanks for sharing your story! I know how frustrating it can be getting mixed signals from doctors and what your body is telling you. I tend to always err on the side of listening to our bodies and using the best information out there + testing.

      I think you are on the right track. Bloating can sometimes be the shifting of the gut microbes. By keeping a slow dosage and monitoring your progress is the best approach. As long as the bloating isn’t painful and just minor discomfort, play with the dosage that works for you.

      Have you tried white rice as a starch? or sweet potatoes? Those are generally safe when adding starches back into the diet. Once you are able to tolerate those, I’d begin to introduce lentils + beans (small amounts at first).

      Please let us know about your progress!

  • Bev Byrnes

    Hi Matt,
    Really enjoying your podcasts! Glad to see this one on the tests needed before starting Dr. Grace’s 7-steps. I had found the Dr’s 7-steps posts months ago, then saw the caution about checking out what’s populating your microbiome, then ordered the uBiome test as a start. Got the results about a month ago but I have no idea what I’m looking at in the results, no idea which of those are “good” and “bad”. I started googling each and every gut-bug name, but that got me nowhere fast. So my question is — once you get yourself tested, how do you figure out if your microbiota are the ones you want in there so that Dr. Grace’s 7-step program will be boosting the good guys and not the bad ones?

  • wolf

    so what’s the update to edit into this article or link to it 3 years later after your testing?

    i appreciate doctors who openly show you what 3 tests to take before contacting them or that will be ordered up after your initial consult. helpful to bridge the gap and cater to DIYers who need more guidance than they may think. i less like when doctors require you to also order a consult to get the tests ordered through them.