There are trends among certain metabolites:
- Xanthine and total indoxyl sulfate are related to energy expenditure, stress, and muscle breakdown, so we often see these at elevated levels in our athlete clients. Elevated xanthine, uric acid, and total indoxyl sulfate can lead to inflammation and increased recovery time (indicative of not enough recovery time), and show that the body is going through substantial breakdown and stress that could damage the gut.
- There are three metabolites that we review to give us insight into the diversity and health of the gut bacteria: indole-3-lactic acid, indole-3-acetic acid, and indole-3-propionic acid (or, the “indole group”). These metabolites are often out of range in individuals with IBS, IBD, colitis, chronic illness, or unexplained long-term GI distress. We also look at indoxyl sulfate for gut health because it may indicate too much tryptophan getting to the lower intestine.
- For individuals who have trouble sleeping, we have found it helpful to review serotonin levels. Serotonin plays a significant role in producing melatonin, and individuals with long-term sleep trouble often have low serotonin.