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The Gastrointestinal tract  


The health of the digestive system is crucial to the health and functioning of the whole body.


A healthy digestive system transforms the foods you eat into the vitamins, minerals nutrients and energy your body requires to function properly.


Any chronic disruption to the smooth functioning of the digestive system can lead to compromised function and ill-health in the body.


Efficient gastrointestinal tract function is imperative for adequate nutritional status and changes in its function can impact on any system in the body.



The load on the Gastrointestinal tract


Over the course of a lifetime, the gastrointestinal tract (GUT) processes more than 25 tons of food. This represents the largest antigenic and xenobiotic load confronting the human body.


These xenobiotics include artificial food additives, drugs, medications, pesticides, herbicides, hormonal medications, antibiotics, environmental toxins, hazardous chemicals etc.


The human body has developed complex enzymatic mechanisms to detoxify these substances.   However these mechanisms vary significantly from person to person and are affected by diet, environment, lifestyle, and genetic influences.





The human GUT is a detoxification organ.  About 25% of detoxification and removal of toxins occurs in the intestines, which is significant not only in the amount of activity but also because once toxins are deactivated in the intestines they never enter the body.


The scientific literature suggests an association between impaired detoxification and certain diseases, including cancer, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, immune dysfunction and autoimmunity.


The digestive system’s ability to efficiently detoxify and remove xenobiotics can affect these and other chronic disease processes.





Normal human bacterial microflora in the small and large intestines maintain a delicate balance and their metabolic and enzymatic activity is critical in the metabolism and biotransformation of nutrients.  When microbial balance is disturbed this activity can be severely impaired.


Dysbiosis is a state of imbalance of intestinal microbial flora that has harmful effects and is implicated in the genesis of a number of inflammatory diseases within the bowel or involving skin and connective tissue. Many people harbour bacterial overgrowth and dysbiosis without symptoms.


The intestinal environment may be disturbed by stress, infection, diarrhoea, antibiotics, medication, bleeding, obstruction, ulcers, viral infections, bacteria, fungi, parasites, xenobiotics and drugs.


Dysbiosis can lead to the breakdown of mucosal integrity (leaky gut syndrome) contributing to increased permeability and compromised detoxification by the liver.


Intestinal dysbiosis is a disease promoting mechanism in people with chronic gastrointestinal, inflammatory or immune disorders, food allergy and intolerance, breast and colon cancer and unexplained fatigue, malnutrition or neuropsychiatric symptoms.



The GUT directly effects the health of the


*   Cardiovascular system

*   Detoxification system

*   Hormonal balance in the body

*   Immune system

*   Inflammation in the body

*   Liver function

*   Nervous system

*   Nutritional status



Gastrointestinal tract testing


Gastrointestinal tract testing is a functional pathology test that provides an overview of the components of digestion, absorption, intestinal function and microbial flora, as well as identifying pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeasts.


Gastrointestinal tract testing provides valuable information in understanding the role of poor digestive function in disease states.


Poor digestion and impaired gut flora can lead to a number of health conditions. Symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, flatulence, bloating, abdominal discomfort and bad breath are all indications of poor GUT function.



Indications for gastrointestinal tract testing


*   ADHD  

*   Ageing and degenerative diseases  

*   Cancer  

*   Chronic disease  

*   Chronic inflammation  

*   Food sensitivities


*   Gut disorders





        Gastro-oesophageal reflux


        Irritable Bowel Syndrome

        Malabsorption syndromes

        Non ulcer dyspepsia


*   Hormone/neuroendocrine disorders 

*   Immune disorders 

*   Improve/optimise health  

*   Infertility  

*   Liver dysfunction  

*   Nutrient insufficiencies  

*   Psychiatric and neuropsychiatric disorders 

*   Toxicity syndromes



The importance of GUT health


The central role of the GUT in health highlights the importance of understanding the underlying causes of disease and utilising diagnostic tests such as gastrointestinal tract testing to investigate the possible causes of ill-health and make an exact diagnosis.


Therapeutic treatment is determined by diagnostic accuracy. Gastrointestinal tract testing is a powerful diagnostic tool which provides baseline diagnostic information upon which current and future GUT health can be assessed.





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