3 Tests for Gut Health

Dr. Elizabeth Swenor is board-certified in Lifestyle and Functional Medicine, and a certified expert in plant-based nutrition.

She sees patients in Novi and Henry Ford Bloomfield Township Medical Center.

Dr. Swenor and the Henry Ford team sees patients from all medical specialties, self-referrals, patients of all ages, and patients with any medical concern, often with:
· Cancer
· Hormone imbalances
· Rheumatology diseases such as arthritis or Lupus,
· Any auto-immune diseases like MS, Parkinson's Disease
· Thyroid dysfunction
· Patients with gastrointestinal dysfunction such as IBD, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation
· Patients interested in weight loss and optimizing their general health and well-being
· Eliminate chronic pain (we do not prescribe pain medications).

A recommended starting point for all patients is to get basic lab work done such as blood sugar and cholesterol levels, then these three tests offered through Dr. Swenor and the Henry Ford Center for Integrated Medicine.

These three tests can help you improve your gut-health, improve your body's defense and healing mechanisms, decrease overall body inflammation and improve your daily energy, mood, and sleep.

Methylation testing
· HOW IT'S DONE: Blood draw and buccal (inner cheek) swab (for basic genetic analysis)
· This test shows chemical processes called methylation that happens billions of times every second in every cell in the body. These are the buttons and levers turning things on and off in the body. It's checking to see how your body's motor is running.
· Methylation regulates hormones, mood, detoxification, energy production, and healthy aging.
· Vitamins, minerals, and proteins found in plant-based foods are needed to keep these methylation processes running smoothly. Examples are Vitamin B12, folic acid, and Magnesium.
· Adjustment: make sure you re-regulate those chemicals - and reactions - in your body by lifestyle choices, particularly plant-based diet.

Microbiome testing
· This is our first and foremost test that we recommend to most all patients! Good health begins with the health of the gut microbiome!
· HOW IT'S DONE: Stool samples at home over three days.
· It's looking for fundamentally for your overall population of friendly bacteria in the (large bowel-intestine) gut and looks for potential problem-causing bacteria which are not considered friendly.
· A very important byproduct produced by the friendly bacteria are short chain fatty acids which is food for our intestinal cell wall lining, and short chain fatty acids help the body regulate sugars and fat.
· But you only get good short chain, fatty acid production if you're growing this good bacteria in your bowels.
· Adjustment: You're eating for the bacteria part of your first and the human part of you second. Healthy bacteria have to have plant-based foods to survive! They eat fiber! Fiber is not found in animal based foods such as chicken, red meat, fish, dairy, or eggs.

Nutritional testing
· HOW IT'S DONE: Blood and urine test
· This isn't just 'what are you eating?' She's looking for deficiencies in patients' vitamins in minerals, as well as environmental toxins, heavy metals and how much are your body's cells are stressed or struggling to keep you healthy this is called oxidative stress -
· This test analyzes how the foods you eat, as well as your physical and emotional well-being affects the function of your body's cells. Bad effects can cause cell damage and nutritional deficiencies that may eventually lead to disease.
· Adjustment: primarily plant-based nutrition and lifestyle adjustments.

Here are some of Dr. Swenor's recommended readings:

The "How Not To...." Series by Dr. Michael Greger, founder of Nutritionfacts.org

1. How Not To Die
2. How Not To Diet 
3. How Not Die Cookbook

Dr.Greger will be speaking at Birmingham Groves High School Jan 8. You can purchase tickes through the Plant Based Nutrition Support Group at PBNSG.org.  Henry Ford is a supporter of this group, which has about 5,000 members in Michigan.

To make an appointment with Dr. Swenor, look her up at HenryFord.com or call 248-380-6201