Health Biomarkers Series: Complete Digestive Stool Analysis

Posted on 10/3/2013 by Dr. Adrian den Boe
Categories: gut flora, Health biomarker, immune system

As a favored test amongst functional medicine doctors, the Complete Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA) accurately tests all aspects of gut function. Although this test examines the patient’s stool, it provides a much broader picture of health.
After all, our gut, or “second brain,” comprises 70% of our immune system, and is a major component of overall health. The CDSA measures a whole host of indicators of gut health, including inflammatory markers, the amount of good bacteria and bad bacteria, parasites, completeness of digestion and absorption, as well as pancreatic, liver, and stomach function.
When I have patients do a CDSA, I consider it a more complete gut analysis than sending someone to a sophisticated testing center like the Mayo Clinic or Cleveland Clinic. This is because the CDSA doesn’t just test for disease, but function of the gut. 
Because the gut, or the “second brain,” is so connected to the brain via the gut-brain axis, this test can also bring to light behavioral and neurological issues. For instance, when I see autistic patients, one of the first things I do is order a CDSA. Out of the hundreds of autistic kids I have treated, I have yet to find one that had a normal CDSA.
This important marker is a great tie-in to this upcoming cold season, too! Abnormal gut function means abnormal immune function, which is not a good way to head into winter.
Ways to Boost Gut and Immune Health

1) Probiotics
One of the best ways to boost gut and immune health is by taking probiotics this time of the year, since it drastically reduces cold and flu incidents (Leyer, Li, Mubasher, Reifer, Ouwehand, 2009).

2) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is absolutely critical, and it works in very important ways for gut function because it affects gut wall health immensely (Abreu, 2004).
3) Digestive Enzymes
If you’ve had gut issues for a long time, it’s a sure bet that your digestive enzymes are deficient. This can be accurately measured by stool analysis, and based on these results, I recommend patients to supplement with digestive enzymes to ensure the complete breakdown of food. If I don’t have the test results from the CDSA and the patient is over 50, I recommend Metagest to make up for lost stomach function. I also recommend this product for anyone with heartburn. 
While it gets more sophisticated, these are the basics for improving and maintaining gut and immune health to beat the cold season! For more information on how to improve gut health, see my post here
Leyer, G, Li, S, Mubasher, M, Reifer, C, Ouwehand, A. (2009). Probiotic effects on cold and influenza-like symptom incidence and duration in children. American Academy of Pediatrics. 
Abreu, MT, Kantorovich, V, Vasiliauskas, EA, Gruntmanis, U, Matuk, R, Daigle, K, Chen, S, Zehnder, D, Lin, Y-C, Yang, H, Hewison, M, Adams, JS. (2004). Measurement of vitamin D levels in inflammatory bowel disease patients reveals a subset of Crohn’s disease patients with elevated 1,25 – dihydroxyvitamin D and low bone mineral density. British Medical Journal.
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