How do you find out if you have a leaky gut? Stay at home and pee in a bottle for 6 hours.
That’s what the test instructions basically said and since that’s technically easy enough I freed up a Saturday and got myself mentally prepared for capturing urine in a bottle that would be stored in my fridge all day. I know, it’s a lovely thought. If you’re squeamish or hate talking about body fluids you’ve been forewarned.
In March 2016, I visited the Dempster Clinic, a functional medicine clinic in Toronto in search of more answers to how my body is functioning. I came home with 2 different tests (leaky gut test & full nutrient panel) and an acai bowl from The Good Press in Yorkville. I needed a treat after being super overwhelmed with the number of things I can test for. I also had a stool test at home that was a requisition from my primary Naturopath. I had discussed with Dr. Dempster the importance of going off of probiotics for 2 weeks prior to completing that test.
Since my diagnosis of MS, I’ve been researching the link between gut health with autoimmune diseases. And after years of IBS symptoms, I decided to figure out if I actually have a leaky gut or not? Back in April 2015, I had 4 hypotheses about why I was having leaky gut symptoms.
I’ve been doing a ton of things from an auto-immune paleo elimination diet to a fibre supplement every morning, to acupuncture of digestive points, to reducing morning green smoothies that are too cold for my body to digest and drum roll, please… I have been slowly feeling like everything has been working. TMI but solid bowel movements come more often than not in the past 3 months and are fully celebrated with a fist pump.
Dr. Dempster explained that an intestine permeability test directly measures the ability of two non-metabolized sugar molecules to permeate the intestinal mucosa. The patient drinks a pre-measured amount of lactulose and mannitol. The degree of intestinal permeability or malabsorption is reflected in the levels of the two sugars recovered in a urine sample collected over the next 6 hours.
So this is how that fateful Saturday went:
Step 1: Wake up, collect pee in a cup, and transfer to a test tube using a pipette (throw away pipette).
Step 2: Drink provided lactulose mannitol liquid.
Step 3: Collect pee every 6 hours in a cup and transfer it to the large container that you store in your fridge.
Step 4: At the 6-hour mark, shake the container, and use the second pipette in the test kit to transfer pee to the test tube. Place in provided kit box, pre-paid packaging and call Purolator to pick up based on same day instructions provided in the kit.
Results: I officially do not have a leaky gut!! In the past 3 months, I’ve consistently had solid bowel movements which have been leading me to believe that all my usual leaky gut type symptoms (loose bowel movements, gas, bloating) have been slowly going away. So to confirm that my intestines aren’t leaking is actually freaking fantabulous great news.
If I could high-five my intestines I would.
Next Steps in my Digestive Health journey: I need to figure out what type of gut bacteria is actually living inside my body and what role they play in being able to break down the foods I’m consuming. I’m still on an auto-immune paleo meal plan which means no dairy, no gluten, no nightshade vegetables, no processed foods and no added processed sugar (I get all mine from fruit!) So the stool test will hopefully have more answers. At the time that I got all the tests, I had to wait 2 weeks to get off of probiotics before doing the stool test so I’ll have to wait for those results a bit later.