All About the GI-MAP™: A Comprehensive Guide to a Powerful Gut Health Test
You’ve visited a dozen doctors and specialists. They’ve run multiple tests, and the results are coming back normal.
But your symptoms – abdominal pain, cramping, constipation or diarrhea, bloating, and gas – definitely don’t seem normal.
It can be so disheartening and frustrating to endure these unexplained symptoms without answers.
While I’m sure your well-meaning doctors want to provide you relief, it’s difficult to implement a “plan of action” when the tests they’re running can’t diagnose your problem…
Or maybe you were diagnosed with Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but you weren’t given specific reasons why you received this diagnosis backed by testing. You also weren’t given instructions on what to do after the diagnosis. It can be a struggle.
But what if there was a test your healthcare providers probably never thought to run? And, what if this test could provide you the answers you’ve been looking for?
Enter: The GI-MAP™ Test. It’s the go-to test that’s given answers for the majority of my patients, and I want to share all the details about it.
I believe that you’re the expert on your body, and I’m here to get you answers. So let’s get to the root cause of your symptoms by understanding this comprehensive test.
What is the GI-MAP™ test?
The GI-MAP™ test is also known as the GI Microbial Assay Plus test. It’s a comprehensive stool analysis and molecular test that looks at the DNA and genes of specific organisms in your gut. The test was developed by Diagnostics Solutions Laboratory and is a quantitative, real-time polymerase chase reaction test (PCR test). Yup, the same PCR that you’ve been hearing about when it comes to COVID-19 tests.
In plain English, the GI-MAP™ test gives you a comprehensive overview of your gut health.
This is crucial because this information can reveal the root cause of specific symptoms you’re having. It can give you a whole list of pathogenic, beneficial, and opportunistic organisms in a stool sample.
Here are some specific microbes that the GI-MAP™ tests for:
- H. Pylori
- Normal Bacteria Flora
- Opportunistic Microbes - associated with SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth)
- Fungi and Yeast
- Antibiotic-Resistant Genes
The GI-MAP™ is different from other stool tests because it doesn’t just identify specific microbes – it also gives quantitative data on how many microbes are present in a sample. This is important because you can see if treatment against a certain parasite or pathogenic organism is effective.
Other information and benefits of the GI-MAP™ test include:
- Tells you how you’re digesting and absorbing your food: Certain markers are measured to determine if your body’s performing its digestive functions. The test measures fat breakdown and digestive enzyme secretion to ensure you’re breaking down your food and properly absorbing key nutrients.
- Provides a big picture of your gut immune system: Approximately 80% of your immune system is in your gut. This test can provide helpful information on your general immune system and insight behind potential drivers of autoimmune disease.
- Tests for inflammation: Active inflammation from leaky gut, food sensitivities, or other gut issues can be studied through this test. For example, if you are dealing with SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) you’ll want to eat foods that reduce your inflammation and bacterial overgrowth. The GI-MAP™ may help with this.
Lastly, the GI-MAP™ test is extremely sensitive, which means that it can measure small quantities of microbes present in a sample compared to other stool tests. It’s a precise test that looks at the DNA of microbes and provides a holistic map of your GI health.
No wonder it’s the go-to test for a majority of functional medicine practitioners – myself included!
Why is the GI-MAP™ test important and what results can you get from it?
Understanding your gut health can increase your quality of life, and I’m a big proponent of this! Your gut is powerful and holds the key to your overall health and wellness. This is why the GI-MAP™ test is so valuable. It helps us understand your overall gut health. It’ll tell you if you have beneficial bacteria (the “good guys”) in your gut or harmful bacteria – and it’ll tell you how much of each type of bacteria is present in your gut.
My favorite aspect of the GI-MAP™ test is that it gives a comprehensive view of many microbes in your gut instead of just testing for one particular microbe. Your gut is the epicentre of your health and communicates messages to different organs and parts of your body, so it’s crucial to look at health from a holistic viewpoint.
Each of the microbes that the GI-MAP™ tests for can cause different reactions and symptoms.
For example, the GI-MAP™ test can give you information on foods that you’re sensitive to. It can detect pseudomonas, a bacteria that can overgrow in your upper small intestine which causes inflammation. This inflammation not only causes IBS symptoms, but makes it really hard to digest gluten and could be contributing to food sensitivity or allergy.
And this is just one example of all the incredible insights the GI-MAP™ test can provide.
Where can I get the GI-MAP™ test done?
While the GI-MAP™ test is one-of-a-kind and easy to take (no pricks needed: just a stool sample from you), you can’t order it for yourself online like other tests. It can only be ordered through a practitioner. If you’re interested in taking the test, you should talk with your doctor to see if it’s the right test for you.
I currently recommend the GI-MAP™ test in my practice. You can schedule a free consultation call to see if the GI-MAP™ will provide you the information you need to get to the root cause of your symptoms. Click here to schedule your complimentary call.
What can the GI-MAP™ test help diagnose?
While the GI-MAP™ is an excellent test, it’s important that you don’t overinterpret your test results. Your naturopathic doctor can help you decide what markers would be best to look for. This test has helped doctors treat a number of diagnoses including:
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Leaky Gut
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Thyroid Diseases
- Parasitic Infections
- Crohn’s Disease
- Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO)
After you get your test results back, your doctor will help you come up with an individualized treatment plan that you can implement.
Test, don’t guess
I’ve seen a number of patients who’ve suffered from their symptoms for years. Maybe you’re like them. You’ve tried to get down to the root cause of your diagnoses, but specialists weren’t able to understand why you’re feeling your specific symptoms.
Or maybe a specialist gave you an IBS diagnosis and told you there’s nothing they can do to help you, but you could take a probiotic and some fiber and you’ll feel better. (And when most of my patients with SIBO do this, intaking more fiber actually hurts them and amplifies their symptoms.)
I’m here to listen to you because I believe there’s always a cause for your symptoms. The cause may be complex, but I’m here to help you discover what it is.
So, don’t give up just yet.
Many times I’ll run a GI-MAP test for my patients to get to the root cause of their symptoms. If you’re tired of guessing what’s wrong with you and want to understand why you’re feeling a certain way, schedule a free consultation call with me. Let’s partner together to determine why you’re feeling this way and co-create a health protocol that will give you the relief and validation you deserve.
I believe in you!
Dr. Laura Brass
Leave a comment