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Joseph Sunny Jr MD
175 SW 7th Street Suite 1600, Miami, FL 33130

Dr. Joseph K. Sunny, Jr. MD. Gastroenterologist in Miami, Florida.

Microbiome Testing

Microbiome testing is available after a clinic visit. The test kit can be delivered to your home. Below are some information on the bacteria in your gut and their functions. The information is from GDX Diagnostics.

The production of butyrate is a well-studied function of the gut microbiome. This 'metabolite' is named as one of the primary fuel sources for gut cells and has been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body and help regulate appetite. A similar or high level to produce butyrate is beneficial for your gut microbiome and helps to maintain a healthy environment in the gut. Foods rich in resistant starch (e.g. lentils, peas, beans, and rolled oats) will encourage microbes in your gut to produce butyrate.

Hexa-lipopolysaccharide (hexa-LPS) is a pro-inflammatory molecule and a component of the cell wall in some bacteria. When these bacteria die, hexa-LPS is released into the gut. Diets high in fat, especially saturated fat, allow hexa-LPS to cross the intestinal barrier and eventually enter the bloodstream. High levels of hexa-LPS in the blood have been observed in individuals with heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you have a high potential to produce hexa-LPS, you may wish to avoid excessive consumption of saturated fat. Dietary sources of saturated fat include butter, coconut oil, cheese, processed meats, chocolate, ice cream, cakes and biscuits.

Fiber-degrading bacteria are responsible for producing important by-products such as short chain fatty acids which play a critical role in keeping your gut healthy. Specific prebiotic fibers‚ detailed in your food suggestions‚ will promote the growth of your beneficial, fiber-degrading bacteria. A similar or high proportion of species that can break down fiber compared to the healthy group is considered beneficial.

Everyone's microbiome contains species that can break down protein into a variety of compounds, including some compounds that promote inflammation. Having a high proportion of these species may reflect an insufficient amount of fiber in the diet or an excessive intake of protein. A high proportion of protein-degrading bacteria suggests that not enough fiber is reaching the lower colon to feed the bacteria that specialize in eating fiber.

BCAAs play an important role in building muscles and in helping regulate fat and sugar metabolism. However, a high potential to produce BCAAs by your gut microbiome may not be a good thing as high levels of bacterially produced BCAAs have been observed in individuals with obesity and insulin resistance. Having a low or similar potential to produce branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) compared to the healthy group is generally considered beneficial. Maintaining muscle mass through regular resistance exercise could help regulate BCAA blood levels.

A similar or low potential to produce trimethylamine compared to the healthy group is generally considered beneficial. Trimethylamine can be converted by the human liver into trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) which has been linked to cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease. Diets high in animal protein and low in fiber have been associated with increased trimethylamine production by gut microbes while plant chemicals known as indoles have been shown to reduce the production of TMAO.

IPA is a strong antioxidant produced by our gut bacteria that performs many important functions in our gut. It can protect nerve cells from damage, suppress inflammation and may protect against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Consuming foods high in fiber and in particular rye, has been correlated to increased IPA production in the gut. A similar or high potential to produce indolepropionic acid (IPA) compared to the healthy group is considered beneficial.

The gut microbiome of individuals who suffer from frequent kidney stones often have a low potential to degrade oxalate. Oxalate is one of the main components of calcium oxalate kidney stones. If you are prone to kidney stones, you may wish to discuss trialling a low oxalate diet with a health care professional. However, if you do not suffer from kidney stones then your potential to degrade oxalate is not of concern. A similar or high potential to break down oxalate compared to the healthy group is generally considered beneficial.

As the microbes in your gut digest different fuel sources, such as fiber, protein, mucus and even bile acids, they produce different types of gases as a by-product. Flatulence is primarily made up of odorless gases such as nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. However, a small percent of flatulence can be made up of the gas hydrogen sulfide, which gives flatulence the characteristic rotten eggs smell. A small amount of hydrogen sulfide gas has been found to be protective of the gut, however a high potential to produce hydrogen sulfide has been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and impaired gut barrier function. Research has found that the production of hydrogen sulfide by gut bacteria can be inhibited by consuming foods high in the prebiotic fibers resistant starch (RS) and fructooligosaccharides (FOS).

Folate plays an important role in cell replication and repair. Deficiencies can result in an increased risk of heart disease, anaemia, and stroke in adults. We cannot produce folate on our own and it is primarily obtained from plants in our diet (e.g. dark green leafy vegetables, fruits and legumes) and bacteria living in our gut. This bacterial production can supplement your body's folate requirements. A similar or high potential to produce folate compared to the healthy group is generally considered beneficial.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please schedule an appointment. Virtual Visits can be scheduled to discuss at home testing across the state of Florida.