Cutting Through The Confusion Of Blood, Urine, & Stool Testing To Measure Gut Health, Toxins, Amino Acids, Fatty Acids, & Much More With The Genova Diagnostics Team.

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Interpreting health testing with Genova Diagnostics
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Welcome to today's episode, where we plunge into the cutting-edge world of precision health testing with Genova Diagnostics.

Join me as I share my personal experience and results from the Metabolomix+ and GI Effects tests, both renowned for their insights far surpassing those of conventional blood tests. They are also tests I require of each of my VIP coaching clients.

The Metabolomix+ is an all-inclusive nutritional test offering analysis of critical nutritional biomarkers. This test uses a simple first-morning void (FMV) urine collection and provides an optional add-on bloodspot finger stick and buccal swab for assessment. It effectively identifies your functional need for antioxidants, B vitamins, minerals, digestive support, fatty acids, and amino acids, enabling incredibly targeted nutritional therapies.

Next up is the GI Effects test. This is your go-to for a complete assessment of gut health. It's designed to uncover the root cause of most GI complaints using a combination of PCR, culture, and microscopic testing methods. The test ensures the identification of all relevant organisms, from yeast and parasites to markers of gut inflammation and bacterial imbalances.

Both these tests are the creation of Genova Diagnostics, a leading clinical laboratory renowned for its work in diagnosing, treating, and preventing complex chronic diseases. They offer specialized testing services in gut health, nutritional status, immune function, hormonal health, and specialty testing. Most recently, they've launched Genova Connect aimed at athletes, high performers, and fitness enthusiasts.

Joining me for this enlightening conversation are three esteemed members of the Genova team:

Meet Jeffrey Ledford, Patricia Devers, and Michael Chapman, who bring a wealth of experience and innovation to the table.

Jeffrey Ledford, CEO of Genova Diagnostics since 1999, has an illustrious career encompassing numerous product launches, problem-solving unique market needs, and managing high-complexity, large-volume laboratories. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Jeff holds an MBA from the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Patricia Devers, DO, the Chief Clinical Officer at Genova, is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician specializing in Hospitalist Medicine. With over 20 years of clinical experience and functional medicine training, she's a respected lecturer nationally and internationally. Dr. Devers also contributes as a Medical Affairs content writer and co-hosts the Genova Diagnostics podcast, The Lab Report.

Michael Chapman, ND, the Director of Product Innovation, boasts a doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University. Besides his education and consulting roles, he is responsible for creating new test profiles at Genova. Michael also contributed to the latest edition of The Textbook of Natural Medicine by Joe Pizzorno & Michael Murray, and co-hosts The Lab Report.

So, gear up for a deep dive into the importance of these tests, a detailed interpretation of my results, and an insightful conversation about the future of personalized health.

During our discussion, you'll discover:

-Genova Diagnostics…07:10

  • Nutreval is an analysis of a whole bunch of key nutritional biomarkers 
  • GI Effects test is the gold standard test for the gut – tests for:
    • Yeast
    • Parasites and fungus
    • Gut inflammation
    • Bacterial imbalances
  • These tests are available from Genova Diagnostics 
  • Ben used Methylene blue before starting the podcast
  • Guests on this podcast:
    • Michael Chapman – Director of Products
    • Patricia Devers – Chief Clinical Officer
    • Jeff Ledford – CEO
  • What sets Genova Diagnostics apart from other clinical laboratories
  • Key tests are for GI effects and nutrition but also have what are called Specialty tests
  • The gold standard tests:

What actually happens when you take your blood and urine to the lab…13:56

  • The Metabolomix test is both blood and urine
  • Metabolomix looks at 135 markers
  • How the test is analyzed – machines and robotics involved
  • MALDI-TOF (Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization – Time Of Flight) mass spectrometry
  • Lab techs handling samples 

-Do you have to go through your doctor for genetic testing?…18:06

  • Two approaches to ordering genetic testing
    • Work with your practitioner to bill to insurance
    • Work directly through Genova Connect – 100% out of pocket
  • It's always best to check with your insurance provider in advance of ordering the test if you're going to choose that process

-What is Metabolomix?…23:46

  • Metabolomix is mostly a urine test and a finger stick test
  • Very similar to Neutreval
  • The most optimal complete at-home nutritional evaluation
  • Identifying your current cellular health
    • Oxidative stress
    • Mitochondrial dysfunction
    • Inflammation
    • Toxic exposure
  • Measures organic acids and amino acids, fatty acids, like omega threes
  • Illustrating Metabolomix testing using Ben’s results 
  • Ben’s results look good but would consider providing support for oxidative stress

-What are you looking at for oxidative stress? And for mitochondrial health?…26:42

  • Oxidative damage means free radical damage from toxins in our environment
  • Oxidative stress also comes from internal stress
  • One of the markers from Ben’s test – lipid peroxides, which is a marker for fat damage, damage to fat molecules
  • High levels of lipid peroxides are common in athletes and fit individuals
  • Does this indicate that potentially that person is still not getting enough antioxidants
  • Antioxidant support in the body 
    • Glutathione (use code BEN to save 5%)
    • Polyphenols
    • If you're doing a lot of plant flavonoids, or phenols, those are actually creating a degree of oxidative stress that your body then compensates for, so you know that redox balance is super important
  • No pain, no gain –  like with any exercise, breaking something down to stimulate an additional growth or repair mechanism of the entire system
  • There's no one diet for every person

-What does the Genova Diagnostics team recommend to Ben based on these results?…33:06 

  • Recommendation: increase plant-based antioxidants and upregulate endogenous production of antioxidants
  • Methylene blue detoxification
  • Ben’s current diet – plant-based, wild-caught fish, Mediterranean diet
  • Toxic exposure to petrochemicals and plastics
  • Water filtration and its role in toxic exposure

-What can you do even if you’re living a clean lifestyle in this industrial era?…37:00 

  • Living a clean lifestyle and avoiding toxins
    • Invest in water filtration system
    • Drink only from glass containers
    • Don’t drink coffee from styrofoam containers
    • Be careful when handling receipts (carbon printed)
  • Low urinary levels of toxins and microplastics – would that indicate that they're not detoxifying them properly?
  • With the results – water-soluble elements tend to have shorter half-lives and be processed in the body so more likely to be picked up
    • Lead
    • Arsenic
    • Mercury 
  • “If you're not excreting them, though, likely, we often see it play out some other place, like mitochondrial dysfunction, we'll see that the toxin exposure has affected some of the parts of cellular health.”

-What are the other areas of Metabolomix that you want to highlight from the results?…41:39 

  • Toxic exposure as seen from high urinary arsenic levels
  • Some foods with high levels of arsenic content 
    • Rice
    • Fish
    • Chicken
  • Some bio remediates
    • Mushrooms
    • Lettuce
  • Cannabis is also bioremediation for arsenic
  • Issues with traveling – we don’t have access to “clean” foods as we used to at home
  • From Ben's result, 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid is seen as elevated
  • Overall symptomatically, Ben is doing great, as long as we have a good explanation of why that's occurring
  • Not every abnormal test result requires an intervention

-Are there protocols or eradication systems for toxins or metals that are effective?…46:03

  • No specific detoxification protocol for toxins or metals
  • Daily or weekly detoxification strategies for toxins
  • Sweat, breathe, urinate, and pass bowels effectively in a way that supports the body's natural detoxification processes
  • Main takeaways from the Metabolomix report – amazing results, fatty acid breakdown, Omega-3s, and inflammation
  • A lot of people cannot digest and absorb or effectively utilize the amino acids that they're getting in the system
  • Metabolomix can track how much protein is coming in through diet, from animal sources (chicken, turkey, fish)
    • Get a sense of what people are eating then identify how much is being broken down into amino acids 
  • Genetics plays a big role
    • Someone has a particular sticking point or a couple of sticking points that repeat over and over again, and that will be their kind of susceptibilities

-What is the GI Effects panel, and why is it three days?…51:36 

  • The GI Effects panel and why it takes three days
  • Different methodologies to fully capture the dynamics of what's happening in the microbiome
    • Measuring biomarkers directly as it relates to digestion and absorption
    • Looking at the commensal bacteria in real-time/QPCR
    • Parasitology looking under a microscope or culturing
  • How the GI-Effect panel works
    • Three-day collection of stool to increase the sensitivity of picking up parasites
  • Genova is the only company doing both genotypic and phenotypic measurements
  • AI-powered algorithms

-Would it be accurate to say that a genetic test for the gut is telling you what you are capable of doing or would have a propensity for?…57:04

  • Genova vs. genetic tests for the gut like Viome
    • The only company doing both genotypic and phenotypic measurements
  • Metabolix is also a whole genome sequencing microbiome profile
    • Available by itself or as an add-on to GI effects
  • Categories of results for the GI effects panel
    • Need for digestive support
    • Need for inflammation modulation
    • Need for microbiome support
    • Need for prebiotic support
    • Need for antimicrobial support
  • Ben does very well with digestion and reabsorption of proteins and fats
  • A marker that caused alarm is pancreatic elastase 1, an enzyme secreted by the pancreas
    • Good reflection of exocrine pancreatic function
  • Possible causes of pancreatic elastase 1 drifting downward
    • Advanced aging
    • Diabetes – type 1 and 2
    • Cystic fibrosis, some of these rarer things
    • Pancreatic disease
    • Chronic alcoholism
    • Various pancreatic autoimmune conditions
    • Vegan diet
    • Vegetarian diet

-Pancreatic enzyme insufficiencies in elite athletes…1:03:17 

  • See this a lot in professional athletes and military special operators
    • Any type of blunting of the villi in the small intestine caused by:
      • Destructive disease
      • Celiac disease
      • SIBO
  • When there's damage in the villi of the small intestine, signaling back to the pancreas is often disrupted, and pancreatic elastase 1 falls
  • Ben suffered from SIBO for six years when he was competing but has since managed to eradicate it through:
    • A low FODMAP
    • Low fermentation diet combined with a few select antimicrobials and herbals
  • Ben takes a shot of apple cider vinegar and digestive enzymes before any large meal
  • High fecal secretory IGA
    • A nonspecific marker
    • A class of antibodies that's made right in the mucosal lining of your GI tract
    • It's that first line of defense, the first barrier telling us that there's an immune reaction happening right at the layer of the mucosa, the first barrier

-Gut issues are common in chronic repetitive motion athletes and marathoners…1:08:33

  • Intestinal permeability is common in chronic repetitive motion athletes
  • Undigested food particles in stool
  • Chronic NSAID use and Ibuprofen use
  • Colostrum can help

-Actionable steps that people can take…1:13:16 

  • The power of personalized approaches to therapy
  • When something grows out in a culture that is potentially pathogenic or a pathogen, it is tested
  • The lab actually isolates that exact thing that grew out in your stool and tests it against those specific antimicrobials
  • It's not just like: “Oh, this usually works.” It's like: “No, the bug you grew in your stool, on your plate is sensitive to this, and here's how sensitive it is.”

-And much more…

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Genova Diagnostics:

– Articles:

– Other Resources:

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for the Genova Diagnostics Team or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

One thought on “Cutting Through The Confusion Of Blood, Urine, & Stool Testing To Measure Gut Health, Toxins, Amino Acids, Fatty Acids, & Much More With The Genova Diagnostics Team.

  1. scott says:

    Ben, how come you dont use more of Dr Chris Shades push catch for detox? He would be a fun guest to have on to further talk on these results. His membrane mend is an amazing formula for lipid peroxides and sealing the integrity of cell membranes. Also have you ever thought about using a magnetico sleep pad for detoxing?

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