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ADHD Test: Intestinal Permeability and CSDA

As I have explained in my article on ADHD causes entitled “Leaky Gut,” a well-functioning digestive system is the key to optimal health. With this in mind, it is not surprising that leaky gut syndrome is one of the leading triggers of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and many other chronic conditions.  There are two tests that can detect if a leaky gut or other digestive problems may be the key to treating your child’s ADHD: the intestinal permeability test and a comprehensive digestive stool analysis (CSDA). Those are functional medicine tests, and are usually not performed by conventional medical doctors.

Intestinal Permeability Test

If your child has a deficiency in nutrients and vitamins, food allergies, or asthma, he or she may be suffering from leaky gut syndrome or intestinal permeability. This is a condition where the intestinal lining is inflamed, preventing it from absorbing nutrients and protecting the body against toxins and bad bacteria.   An intestinal permeability test (also known as the Lactulose and Mannitol Test) can determine whether your child may have leaky gut syndrome.  The test measures the ability of sugar molecules lactulose and mannitol to permeate the intestinal lining.  In a normal gut, mannitol is easily absorbed while lactulose is only slightly absorbed.  If less mannitol or more lactulose absorption is detected by the test, your child may have a leaky gut.

The intestinal permeability test can be taken at a commercial lab or at home by ordering a test kit online.  To perform the test, your child needs to fast overnight (for at least eight hours) and drink a solution made of lactulose and mannitol.  Over the next six hours, urine from your child will be collected so a lab technician can measure the amounts of lactulose and mannitol in your child’s urine.  If the test is taken through a kit, you will need to send the urine samples to the manufacturer’s lab and wait 10-14 days to get the results.

Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis

The Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis (CSDA) is considered to be an important cornerstone for identifying digestive abnormalities and dysfunctions, which include gut flora imbalance, parasites, intestinal permeability, bacterial infections, and candida infections.  The CSDA also focuses on several markers to determine how well essential fatty acids, carbohydrates, proteins, and other important nutrients are digested and absorbed.

A CSDA test is done by collecting a stool sample and submitting it to a lab.  Unlike for the intestinal permeability test, your child does not need to fast before the stool sample is collected. In fact, he or she should eat as usual.  Once the stool sample is sent in, technicians will perform an integrated battery of tests that examine the fecal color, detect the presence of pus or mucous, examine the pH levels, measure the growth of gut flora, and identify whether any pathogenic bacteria are present.

Often, the results of a CSDA test are viewed alongside other test results like nutrient element analysis to determine which type of natural interventions are most appropriate for your child’s constitution.  He or she may have to undergo detoxification to remove build-up of undigested food and other pathogens that may be overburdening the gastrointestinal track.  Recreating a healthy gut flora will also be an important step to restoring balance in the gut. Finally, the intestinal lining will be repaired so that its filtration functions will return to normal.

Intestinal permeability and CDSA are advanced functional tests, and you will need a holistic health care practitioner to order and interpret them. In the UnRitalin Solution, I give you a few basic strategies you can follow as a parent to start healing your child’s gut.


Genova Diagnostics (the company producing those two tests).