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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Plains laboratory and the other main dysbiosis testing labs in the USA

In the USA, perhaps the 3 best known 'niche' labs for dysbiosis are the following:

Genova Diagnostics
Metametrix
Great Plains lab

In this post, we will look briefly at Great Plains laboratory. Of the 3 above, Genova and Metametrix seem closely associated with Functional Medicine, whereas it's unclear where Great Plains affiliation lies (it looks like a stand-alone company). The Great Plains founder, Dr William Shaw, was interested in gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and noticed that some patients had high levels of metabolites that he associated with yeast. his lab associates 'tartaric acid' with gut candidiasis. The lab itself seems geared towards autism in particular (autistic people often have 'bowel' issues). An initial impression is that he could be regarded as a maverick 'conservative' physician. you can see his introductory video here.

His expertise seems to be from a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry background, and so his lab is very interested in metabolites. But they do do the full range that someone would expect from these type of investigative niche labs (immune tests, metabolite tests etc). His lab hold workshops and online conferences.

It's not known if there are any differences in the labs or if one or the other is more preferable. Perhaps at this point, the only real way of knowing would be for someone rich to do the same test in all 3 labs.

One good thing about Great Plains is that they seem to be allowing people to order the tests direct, rather than using the old 'physician knows best' principle (which in truth seems like a job-protection blocker rather than best for the patient). This is a first impression, when looking at the website to order the tests. Mymedlab.com. Metametrix also allow direct testing through 3rd parties such as directlabs.com

None of the above labs are likely aware of systemic body odor and particularly fecal body odor of course. Even amongst niche labs and functional medicine, the problem is still not recognised

Since yeast is often mentioned as a possible factor in fecal body odor on the body odor forums, it's interesting to read Dr Shaw's views on gut yeast infection. This article may be tailored towards autism in particular, but perhaps fecal odor sufferers have a similar problem in that for some reason their gut always has problems controlling the gut flora. In the article, Dr Shaw hypothesizes that some people perhaps for some reason do not have the normal checks and balances that stop the gut flora going bad, and external help may be needed for maintenance.

http://www.greatplainslaboratory.com/home/eng/yeast.asp

The 3 main groups of microbes that are mainly thought to cause gut dysbiosis are yeast (probably candida in particular), bacteria (both bad, or displaced or overgrowth) and parasites.


related links

Dr Shaw 1995 medical paper on a gut yeast infection case

comparison of analytes tested in their dysbiosis organic acids tests
Genova: (note) this is their full organic acid test
Metametrix: dysbiosis test only
Great Plains: dysbiosis test only

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