GA Map dysbiosis: analyse your patients’ microbiota in three simple steps
What is dysbiosis and why test for it?
Dysbiosis is an imbalance of the microbiota in the gut compared to a normal and healthy reference microbiome. Identifying and quantifying the severity of dysbiosis is a very useful tool across a wide range of diseases, particularly for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and also to direct treatment or help weight loss.
What will we learn from having a dysbiosis test?
The GA-Map Dysbiosis Test provides you and your patient with a full overview of what’s going on in their gut. Learning which bacteria are the major players, and whether these are health-promoting or health-inhibiting microbes, really helps patients to fully engage with proposed changes to their diet and lifestyle. This can also help direct patient-specific therapies, for example, GA-Map technology has been used to predict the success of traditional IBS treatments and low-FODMAP diets, and there is evidence to suggest that it can be helpful to monitor the microbial diversity of patients on long-term antibiotic regimens. Gut microbiome analysis can also determine whether an individual’s microbial composition is frustrating their weight loss efforts; research has shown a strong link between obesity and dysbiosis. Some bacteria extract more calories from food than their counterparts so, for example, patients with a Firmicutes-heavy microbiome may find it much harder to lose weight.
Why is this test better?
Traditionally, the identification of dysbiosis has been based on breath-testing methods and small bowel culture techniques, but these methods don’t provide a really thorough picture of the gut microbiota, and they are not well validated. Instead, testing your patients’ stool samples using a gut microbiota DNA analysis tool, such as the GA-Map® Dysbiosis Test, identifies and characterises dysbiosis, giving you a far clearer picture of what’s really going on in your patient’s gut. GA-Map technology significantly increases the number of bacteria species that can be found in a stool sample and reduces detection time compared to conventional techniques. Combined with the clinical picture and history, this can help to unveil the underlying cause of symptoms, and measure incremental effects of treatment or relapse of disease over time.
Testing in three simple steps
The beauty of this test is how simple it is:
- Order the test kit
You can complete a test request form online and order the kit to be sent directly to the patient. The kit includes full instructions and equipment for extracting and packaging the stool sample in the comfort of the patient’s own home; a courier will then deliver the sample to our laboratory for analysis.
- Standardised and consistent microbial analysis
The main benefit of using GA-Map technology over other options is in the standardisation and consistency of results, thanks to GA-Map Analyzer software.
- A full overview report in 2-4 weeks.
Results are presented in an easy-to-read format and include a comprehensive profile of the patient’s microbiota. The report also provides an indication of the severity of dysbiosis, based on the relative abundance of individual bacteria compared to a healthy (control) population. Re-testing and comparisons with baseline or preceding results can help guide treatment that aims to normalise gut health, using probiotics or changes in the diet.
If you prefer to perform your own analyses, our experts will bring the technology to you, with all the support you need to establish a successful dysbiosis testing service.
The future of microbiota testing and treatment
As interest and knowledge in our microbiomes grow, further uses for dysbiosis testing continually emerge. For example, dysbiosis has been linked as a key contributor to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; the unbalanced bacterial make-up in the gut throws off the stability of bile acids, which in turn leads to damage to the liver. Measuring the severity of dysbiosis (as well as faecal bile acids) could help to flag which patients are at risk of developing liver disease.
Another emerging field of interest is the role our microbiome has in the development of type 2 diabetes. There is undoubtedly more to learn, however, several studies have confirmed that there are specific bacterial species that appear to be either helpful or harmful when it comes to developing diabetes. For diabetes – and, in fact, many other diseases – dysbiosis testing is definitely a watch-this-space area of compelling interest.
GA-Map technology can make a real difference to your patients or research project. Click here to find out more.