New test can reveal your gut secrets
It’s estimated almost half of Australians suffer gut health issues – but new technology has the potential to make digestive problems a thing of the past.
In an Australian-first innovation, a simple home DNA test will allow people to put their gut health under a microscope.
The test uses metagenomic sequencing to get a comprehensive picture of a person’s microbiome – the bacteria and micro-organisms living in the gut – from a faecal sample.
Scientists have discovered links between the gut microbiome and health, including immunity, mental wellbeing and cardiovascular disease.
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The test, developed by biotech firm Microba with the University of Queensland in a venture headed by cervical vaccine pioneer Professor Ian Frazer, identifies which bacteria and micro-organisms live in the gut, and their known health associations.
Its creators say the results will allow people to learn more about possible gut-related issues and work with their health professionals to make informed lifestyle changes.
“This technology is crucial for understanding the role that the gut microbiome can play in treating disease and improving patient outcomes,” says Microba CEO Blake Wills.
They say the $349 test – available directly to consumer – is significantly more accurate and comprehensive than existing methods of DNA testing for gut bacteria.
According to The Gut Foundation, in any year half of Australians complain of digestive issues.
Lifestyle links to gut health
Inadequate rest is linked to a number of health ailments, including gut health problems.
Recently, a study found shift workers with irregular sleeping patterns were prone to digestive issues because their biological clocks and hormone levels had been affected by poor sleep.
- Related story: Why being a night owl is bad for your health
When it comes to gut health, the saying ‘you are what you eat’ rings especially true.
A balanced diet, with a focus on ‘good bacteria’ foods like Greek yoghurt in addition to a good probiotic supplement, can help gut issues.
You might be suffering from undiagnosed food intolerance so ensure you’re tested and eliminate that food group from your diet if necessary.
The gut is a sensitive organ and stress can be all it takes to throw it out of whack.
Eliminate as much stress as possible to help keep your gut happy. Meditation and breathing techniques can also help reduce stress and lower cortisol levels, which has the flow-on effect of benefiting your gut.
Watch David Jivan discusses how an imbalance in your gut can impact your health on House of Wellness TV
Written by Charlotte Brundrett