What are the best value-for-money lab tests for my autistic child?

View on Zencastr

If you ask any practitioner, they will tell you that the more data they can gather on a client, the better of a picture they can build of their overall health, thus the more effective and personalised the protocols will be.

That’s in a perfect world, of course. In the real world, we want to use as few tests as feasible, so the client can invest their finite resources into other aspects of the health-building program, such as high-quality food and supplements, and various other lifestyle and environment enhancements (e.g. shower filters, air purifiers, etc.)

Since gastrointestinal (GI) imbalances are extremely common in autism, evaluating gut function is one of the most critical parts of the health consulting process. Understanding the state of the gut removes guessing and trial-and-error, which can be costly and frustrating. 

If we can get the gut working well, a lot of other functions work better in the body.

As I write in my book Autism Wellbeing Plan: How to Get Your Child Healthy, research has shown gut dysfunction in autistic children can manifest as sleep problems, anxiety, irritability, aggression, tics, and even self-injurious behaviour.

As one study put it:

The strong correlation of gastrointestinal symptoms with autism severity indicates that children with more severe autism are likely to have more severe gastrointestinal symptoms and vice versa. It is possible that autism symptoms are exacerbated or even partially due to the underlying gastrointestinal problems.

Below are the two best tests to use to evaluate gut function in autistic children and those with gut dysfunction that do not have a diagnosis.

The GI-MAP stool test

The GI-MAP (Gastrointestinal Microbial Assay Plus) is a comprehensive stool test that provides useful insights into the gut microbiome and gastrointestinal (GI) health. This test analyzes the DNA of pathogens, bacteria (including comensal “friendly” species , fungi, and parasites, present in the gut, offering detailed information about the microbial balance and potential infections. It also includes several markers for GI health.

The GI-MAP is easy to collect at home, which makes it especially convenient with younger children where collecting a urine sample can be cumbersome. The test is delivered to your door and picked up by courier.

Organic Acids Test

The Organic Acids Test (OAT) is a comprehensive metabolic test that provides valuable insights into various aspects of health, including gut health, nutrient status (e.g. B-vitamins) detoxification capacity, oxalates, and neurotransmitter metabolism. This test analyzes the levels of organic acids in urine, which are metabolic byproducts produced in the body’s biochemical pathways.

The OAT can reveal imbalances in gut flora, markers of yeast (e.g. Candida) and fungal overgrowth, bacterial markers (including various Clostridia species) nutritional deficiencies, indicators of detoxification capacity, neurotransmitter metabolism, oxalate metabolites, and mitochondrial markers.

If you need help

If you would like to work with me to improve your child’s gut function, please schedule a free intro call to discuss your situation and see how I can help you.