Gut microbiota consists of a complex ecosystem of microorganisms – gut bacteria and fungi, creating a complex system in the digestive system. It is inhabited by over 1000 different species of bacteria that have a significant impact on the body’s functioning. The bacterial flora of the digestive tract has a beneficial effect on fat metabolism, improves the absorption of minerals, and electrolytes. Imbalance in gut microbiota leads to numerous diseases.
Genetic testing of gut microbiota composition allows checking its state. Through diagnostics, it is possible to precisely determine the quantity of bacteria present in the intestines – both those necessary for the proper functioning of the body and those that are pathogenic.
For which Patients is the test intended?
The test is aimed at patients struggling with functional disorders of the digestive tract, where the etiology considers disturbances in the axis interaction of the brain-gut-microbiota (including irritable bowel syndrome). The examination also plays a significant role in diagnosing gastrointestinal diseases, the course of which may depend on gut dysbiosis (e.g., IBD).
Patients with risk factors for developing dysbiosis should also undergo this test, such as a history of antibiotic therapy, use of NSAIDs, proton pump inhibitors, and also individuals suffering from mental disorders such as depression, mood disorders, or insomnia.
In summary, the FloraGEN test is performed by patients who want to check their gut bacterial profile, suspecting a state of dysbiosis, or wishing to rule it out.
What is Gut Dysbiosis and What Does it Lead to?
Dysbiosis is an abnormal, transient, or permanent change in the gut’s bacterial profile.
Diet has a significant influence on dysbiosis – a diet rich in fats, carbohydrates, and poor in fiber does not contribute to our health. Stress, environmental pollution, food, alcohol, and certain medications also negatively affect the microbiota.
Chronic and untreated dysbiosis leads to the growth, colonization, and increased permeability of potentially harmful bacteria in the intestines. As a result, it may lead to intestinal inflammation.
As scientific research shows, dysbiosis can affect the development of dysfunction in the immune system of the gut and can initiate many diseases, not only of the gastrointestinal tract.
FloraGen Genetic Test
FloraGEN GA-map is a test that we perform in dysbiosis diagnostics. It uses bacterial DNA markers, detecting variable regions of genes of the 16S bacterial rRNA subunit. The advantages of this test are:
- Easy collection of the material for testing – without the need for endoscopy.
- Focus on previously selected (48) dysbiosis markers – over 300 bacteria.
Test Result – What Does the Patient Receive?
With the test, we can determine whether the patient has healthy intestines or has dysbiosis and its level. We can also monitor its degree during therapy. The test determines the bacterial profile through semi-quantitative analysis of the bacteria’s occurrence level compared to the reference population.
Step-by-Step Guide to Performing the Gut Microflora Test
The test can be purchased at Lumedic or performed during gastroenterological or endocrinological consultations.
Then, you need to prepare a sample for analysis and send or deliver it in a container for stool to the ALAB Laboratory. The tested material is a stool sample collected into a special tube with a buffer.
After receiving the test result, it is necessary to schedule a follow-up consultation with a gastroenterologist at Lumedic, taking the test result into account.
What Does the Kit Contain?
- Clear instructions inside the package + a video describing the sampling procedure.
- COPAN eNAT™ – a tube with a buffer that prevents bacterial growth and protects sequences from degradation.
- Bag – Rigid safety bag®.
- Toilet seat cover.
- Disposable gloves.
The test result includes its descriptive interpretation in the form of a Report, consisting of 3 parts:
- Dysbiosis Index – answers whether the Patient has dysbiosis,
- Gut Bacteria profiles,
- Quantitative composition of bacteria.
Part 1 – Dysbiosis Index (ID for short)
It is a patented algorithm of GA-map® bacteria mapping that combines information from all genetic probes into one value – the dysbiosis index.
This index is measured on a 5-degree scale from 1 (no dysbiosis) to 5 (severe dysbiosis), where ID values >2 indicate the presence of dysbiosis.
ID 1-2: NO DYSBIOSIS (HEALTHY STATE)
The bacterial composition in the sample does not differ from the norm for a healthy control population. Clinical studies have shown that about 30% of patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and non-specific inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have a microbiota profile that does not differ from the profile found in healthy individuals (Casen et al., 2015).
ID 3: MILD DYSBIOSIS
Dysbiosis index = 3 is found in approximately 50% of patients with IBS and 30-35% of patients with IBD. Mild dysbiosis is also observed in 17% of healthy individuals.
ID 4-5: DYSBIOSIS
Dysbiosis index > 3 indicates potentially clinically significant abnormalities in the microbiota composition. Gut microbiota studies have shown that dysbiosis occurs in about 70% of patients with IBS and IBD.
Part 2 – Gut Bacteria Profiles
The gut microbiota bacteria perform several important functions: protective for the mucous membrane, anti-inflammatory, building the intestinal barrier, or pro-inflammatory.
The second part of the result indicates which group of bacteria, and consequently, the gut function, functions correctly or deviates from the norm. Results marked in green indicate that the bacterial profile does not deviate from the norm defined for the reference population. Results marked in red indicate that the bacterial profile deviates from the norm.
Part 3 – Quantitative Composition of Bacteria
The last part of the report presents the result for 48 key bacterial markers. Some of them are specific to one selected bacterial species (e.g., Akkermansia muciniphila), while others cover a larger group of bacteria, such as a type or phylum (e.g., Proteobacteria).
Each bacterial marker has its unique identification number (for example: 701 – Akkermansia muciniphila). All bacteria included in the panel have a beneficial effect on the body, and their role in gastrointestinal disorders is confirmed by both laboratory and clinical research.
The possible detection range for each bacterium is given in dark blue shaded fields. Gray fields indicate levels outside the detection range for each bacterium.