Digestive, Gastrointestinal (GI) or ‘gut health’ covers multiple positive aspects of the GI tract. Beyond effective digestion and absorption of food, it refers to the absence of GI illness (such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)), normal and stable intestinal microbiota, effective immune status and a state of mental wellbeing. Two functional entities, the GI microbiome and the GI barrier, are key to achieving and maintaining gut health. Dysbiosis (microbial imbalance) and increased intestinal permeability (also referred to as leaky gut) have been linked to a myriad of chronic health problems such as diabetes, obesity, autoimmune diseases, arthritis and IBS. Thus, ways of improving and maintaining gut health are of major interest
To assess gut health, diagnostic methods must cover both a) subjective assessments such as well-being, quality of life, gut health and eating habits using validated questionnaires and b) objective parameters which assess the functionality, integrity, immunity and microbiota of the GI tract.