Gut Bacteria Testing — the harsh reality

Please read also a more detail analysis of test results done in March 2014, start here.

There are many companies offering gut bacteria testing. Unfortunately, the families of bacteria covered by commercial tests are just a fraction of those in the human gut. A recent study was blunt “The proportion of the human gut bacterial community that is recalcitrant to culture remains poorly defined.” [2011] or to put it in the common tongue: “We have no idea of what percentage of the gut bacteria that we can culture (and thus test)”

This is the root of the problem – the best, most funded researchers in the world are literally in a bacterial fog! If you having a good cognitive mind day, you should read Extending Our View of Self: the Human Gut Microbiome Initiative (HGMI)

Today, the best hope for meaningful test results in likely the http://americangut.org/ project. They are clear in expectations “The bad news is that much of this information is still mysterious because we don’t know the complete genomes of most of the microbes in there, but the good news is that you can get an insight into the gene functions, not just which microbes are there.”[*].

  • Will my MD know what it means? I really doubt it, the experts do not!
  • What is the benefit? My hope is that by enough CFS patients doing it and sharing their results, we may identify some common aspects. No immediate benefit to you.

With no testing available, how can you propose a model?  Honestly, my model lacks the amount of technical, detailed, hard supporting studies that I would prefer. A model is, or should be, the best (and simplest) fit to all of the data available. It is your best guess. A model also should have predictive abilities — in this case, taking things that reduce the known overgrowth and other things to increases the known undergrowth should reduce symptoms. For me it has. For some of my readers, it has too.

We will likely not get the type of data that I would like for another 10 years, getting specific probiotics for another 20-30 years. I am just trying to work off the best that we currently know and what is commercially obtainable….