Which stool test is best to use first on a patient, the Microbial Ecology Profile (#2105/MEP) or the Gastrointestinal Function Profile (#2100/GI Effects)?
Clinicians ask me this question from time to time. My answer is always the same: for a first assessment, run the larger panel which we call the GI Effects (Gastrointestinal Function Profile), test 2100. The reasons are many!
Ordering the GI Effects test means you have no add-ons. It is as comprehensive as the science gets, offering state-of-the-art stool testing.
The major difference between the two tests is simply that “only” the anaerobic bacteria, E coli, any opportunistic bacteria, pathogens, fungi, and parasites are measured on the 2105. It also includes the Adiposity Index and the Drug Resistance Genes. The 2105 is centered around the bugs, hence its name, Microbial Ecology Profile! This test is pages 1 and 2 of the larger 2100! So, you get this whole line-up when you order the 2100 GI Effects test.
The GI Effects 2100 panel has all the markers listed above PLUS the valuable information we call the chemistries, which include most everything you might want to know regarding gut function. This comprehensive panel includes markers such as Short Chain Fatty Acids, sIgA, anti-gliadin sIgA, lactoferrin, and digestion and absorption indicators along with the all-important microbial populations.
While it may seem like overkill, I can assure you that many of the chemistry parameters which are not on the MEP have substantial bearing on a patient’s ability to overcome countless complaints, digestive or otherwise. As functional and integrative clinicians know, it is crucial to view the patient as a whole individual. Likewise, it is important to see the GI tract as a whole entity operating in cahoots with other organs and systems of the body, if you will. So in trying to heal the gut, more information is always better. If I see a low secretory IgA, for example, it gives me rationale to remind the clinician about the patient’s cortisol or state of anxiety or long history of gut problems. Resolution of these issues is necessary for restoring sIgA as the first responder in the gut for the enteric immune system. Clinicians appreciate the added support that these chemistry markers provide.
Ordering the 2100 first also means that follow-up testing on a patient can be selective (and less expensive) for those areas needing the most attention. For example, if the initial GI Effects panel showed abnormal fungi or parasites needing treatment, then either of these may be re-assessed separately by ordering Mycology Profile (2110) for fungal overgrowth, or Parasitology Profile (2115) to recheck for parasites.
By now I have personally consulted on more than 3,000 stool tests, including both the 2100 and the 2105. On most 2105 consults, I will have a question regarding a patient’s sIgA or butyrate or fat malabsorption or some other non-microbial parameter that seems relevant to the case. The question goes unanswered because the comprehensive 2100 panel had not been ordered, and therefore was not in our files for that patient. At least I know I have helped the clinician with another clue…but now the patient may need to do another stool collection that might have been unnecessary if the larger panel had initially been ordered.
With cost to the patient in mind, however, we also offer a stool test we call the Chemistries Profile (2120 giving the patient the testing option for just functional parameters (no microbes). For those patients who cannot afford to do the 2100 at first, this option gives them a chance to have the virtual comprehensive panel done in two separate stool collections and allows them to spread the cost accordingly. The 2120 arose because of feedback from fantastic clients like you!
Thank you for continued dialog with us!
Terry Arden Pollock, MS
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