As you have read, the gastrointestinal tract is complex, and is a vital part of the immune system. Many functions of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract can be measured, with special reference to the Immune System, these tests are listed as follows.
1. Complete blood count—thistest includes evaluation of the number and appearance of lymphocytes in your blood, cells vital in the development of immunity, as well as infighting new infections. Peyer’s Patches, found in the lining of the small intestine,play a major role in the production of lymphocytes.
2. C- Reactive Protein (CRP) is a frequently ordered blood test used as an indicator of inflammation, although it is not site specific.
Tests related to GI tract and immunity
3. Indican—produced by bacterial action on tryptophan in the large intestine and primarily excreted in the feces. In bacterial, overgrow and high protein diets, increased levels of urinary indican are found. It is used as an indicator of bacterial overgrowth in the GI tract, as well as an indicator of a leaky gut.
4. Candida antibodies—yeast antibodies found in the blood, useful in the detection of overgrowth of candida in the intestines.
5. Helicobacter pylori—a bacterium found in the lining of the stomach, often the cause of gastric ulcers, and successfully treated by antibacterial agents including erythromycin and Pepto-Bismol. This bacterium can be detected and quantitated by measuring antibodies in the blood.
6. Nutrition Panel—a panel of tests chosen by the physicians at Riordan Clinic, composed of most of the essential vitamins, minerals and amino acids required for optimal human health. The nutrients measured are individually and collectively important because of the extensive biochemical interplay between them, without which optimal health cannot be obtained.
In summary, the seven tests listed above, and briefly described, are useful in assessing the balance of the GI tract and the Immune System. Many other measurements of GI Tract integrity and function have not been discussed. It is well to keep in mind that only through the GI Tract can we obtain our essential nutrients: good nutrition exists only through proper intake of food (and supplements), digestion, absorption, utilization and excretion.
Call to schedule your lab appointment on-site or to receive test kits through the mail 316-682-3100 or 1-800-447-7276.