Testing for Microflora/Gut Bacteria Dysfunction

I have been back-channeled by several people on what tests to do. There are several approaches possible:

  • Assume that you have similar to the reported gut-flora dysfunction presented at the 1998 Clinical and Scientific Meeting in Australia by Butt HL [1,2], Dunstan RH , McGregor NR , Roberts TK, Harrison TL and Grainger JR from Department of Biological Sciences, University of Newcastle, Newcastle Australia (partially confirmed by Richard Schloeffel, MD at the 2001 Clinical and Scientific Meeting)
  • Test using one of the commercial gut bacteria packages
  • Find a state of the art university department willing to test…

For myself, I assumed that I matched the pattern seen in the population of 27 CFS patients that was reported on.

Normal Gut Bacteria Populations

You should know that every person’s gut bacteria is different. Fecal transplants work much better from blood relatives than spouses or strangers. It appears that gut bacteria is inherited (possible influenced by DNA).

microfloRA FAMILY
Quantity Range
Bacteroides 1010 – 1012
Bifidobacterium 108 – 1011
Clostridium 106 – 1011
Eubacteria 109 – 1012
Lactobacillus 106 – 1010
Peptostreptococcus 1010 – 1012
Enterobacter (Escherichia Coli and other) 104 – 1010
Staphylococcus 104 – 109

Commercial Tests

I will be reviewing these two tests today (please tell me of any additional tests that you are aware of). Note that most of these tests are marked with “assays are For Research Use Only“.

So how do you evaluate these? My take is:

  • Do they cover the families reported from Australia (if they cover other stuff, that is fine)?
  • Do they provide information on overgrowth or undergrowth (Especially for E.Coli)? Is the information more than “No issue” or “Issue”?


Australian Results Metametrix Great Smokies Diagnos-Techs
Over/Undergrowth Reported? yes  No  No
Low Bifidobacterium species yes  Yes  ?
Low Lactobacillus species yes  Yes  ?
Low Bacteroides species yes  No  ?
High Streptococcus  ?  Yes  ?
Low Escherichia coli yes  Yes  Yes
High Klebsiella/Enterobacter no  Yes(*)  ?
High Enterobacter species no  Yes(*)  ?

* – indicate appearance of single species of the family test

My general opinion is that Myhill’s choice is the best for CFS. I will do a future post on the ideal test (IMHO).