Monday, July 15, 2024

How To Test Gut Microbiome

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What Do American Gut Customer Reviews Say

Listen to your gut Atlas Microbiome Test

It is hard to find reviews of; American Guts testing process.; This is because they are mainly research-based and not really about consumer testing.;

Among the reviews I could find, there were some complaints that it took a very long time four or more months to get the results of the test back.; And other reviewers complained about the lack of information around what their results meant.;

However, American Gut is very clear that they are for education and research purposes not for medical diagnosis or to give clinical recommendations.; So, the second critique may not be particularly fair.;

Causes Of An Imbalanced Gut Microbiome

The phrase you are what you eat isnt an exaggeration. The flora in your intestines change quickly, responding to the variation in what you eat to ensure maximum absorption. That means that what you put into your body directly influences your overall health.

Although what you eat is a considerable influence on your gut microbiome, there are many potential causes of digestive imbalance.

Causes of an imbalanced gut microbiome include:

  • Poor diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sleep deficiency
  • Lack of exercise

An imbalance in any one of these can impact the health of your digestive system. Once you know whats in your gut microbiome, you can make dietary and lifestyle changes that will impact your health and your waistline quickly.

Pathogen Control Index And Pathobiome:

Next, the report lets you know your vulnerability to pathogenic overgrowth, and moreover, what pathogens are more likely to become problematic.BiomeFx calls this your Pathogen Control Index and Pathobiome.Pathogen Control Index:

View Full Report PDF

The pathogen control index identifies how well your microbiome is suited to control a number of known pathogens. The higher the index, the better able your microbiome is at generally controlling pathogens. This is because microbes in your gut naturally police themselves by producing natural antibacterial compounds. The better able your organisms are to stand their ground against competing organisms – the better your gut is going to be at fending off future pathogenic threats.

If some of your pathogens are resistant to this competition – they’re more likely to become future problems.The Pathobiome is not whether you have pathogens or not, it’s how well your system is at controlling them.It then gets more into the nitty-gritty of your Pathobiome – an analysis of which specific organisms are more likely to become problematic or overgrown IF overgrowth was to be present. More importantly, it gives you a template for choosing natural strategies to keep these guys at bay to supplement a medical plan or mitigate the risk of them becoming medical issues in the first place.

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Information About The Gut Microbiome Test

Take a stool sampleThe Gut;Microbiome;Test comes with two stool collection aids and a sample tube with a collection spoon, which you can use to take a small stool sample yourself at home. The stool collection aid allows the sample to be collected easily and hygienically.

Activate your Gut;Microbiome TestActivate the test ID listed on the test ID card in your secure My cerascreen® user profile on our website or on our app. You will then need to answer a few questions, so that we can send you personalised recommendations.

Send your stool sample;

What Is The Microbiome

Microba Gut Microbiome Testing & Practitioner Analysis

The human gut is inhabited by a community of approximately 37 trillion different micro-organisms, mostly bacteria, but also fungi and viruses. These micro-organisms make up the gut microbiome. Most micro-organisms in the gut are beneficial and play an important role in digesting food, metabolising vitamins and maintaining your bodys health. A diverse microbiome is essential for maintaining a healthy gut and a healthy body as a whole.

Your gut microbiome community is affected by lifestyle and environmental factors. A long-term absence or imbalance of certain bacteria can lead to health problems such as obesity, digestive problems and autoimmune diseases.

Recent microbiome testing research has led to the microbiome being referred to as the forgotten organ due to its role in influencing everything from your mood to the risk of developing serious diseases.

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The Science Of Microbiome Composition

Flashback to freshman biology

Every living organism produces RNA molecules from their DNA.;Tests like this one sequence all of the RNA in the stool to help quantify all of the living microorganisms in the gut at the species and strain level.

The end result?

A more in-depth view of your gut microbiome than has ever been available before. Instead of just looking at bacteria and parasites, we can now sequence RNA in the gut. The nerd in me is so excited about this technology, but even if you arent interested in the science, I think youll be excited about how technology like this can improve all of our lives!

Visual & Physical Indicators

Bristol Stool Chart Analysis-Using the bristol stool chart can help identify digestive and gut health issues. Closer to #1 means constipation, and closer to #7 means diarrhea, which is both causes for concern. If you consistently experience something other than type #3 or #4, consider reaching out to a doctor or nutrients.

Floating/Sinking-;Floating stool is an indicator of fat in the stool which means youre not digesting fats well when stool than immediately sinks is a sign of too many nutrients still in the stool.

Physical straining- Sometimes our digestion varies, yes, and having one episode of physical straining isnt the end of the world. However, if you find yourself physically straining to go more often than not, thats a sign that you need to pay attention to constipation issues.

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Diversity: What We All Want

Healthy microbiomes are all different, but they all have one thing in common: diversity. While theres no one formula to create a healthy microbiome, your gut should contain many different types, families and species of microbes. A lack of diversity is linked to an endless number of diseases .

The latest research is also revealing links between levels of specific types of microbes and specific diseases. Many of these are included on our Gut Health Tests. Get some insider knowledge and download a sample report to see which bacteria we test for.;

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But Arent These Tests Based On Science

Stool Testing – Is a Microbiome Test Important For Gut Health?

The idea of your gut microbiome the whole community of gut microbes and their products influencing your health is gaining momentum.

Over about the past two decades, the gut microbiome has been linked to everything from inflammatory bowel disease to depression.

So its been appealing to think if you just knew what was in your gut microbiome, you could tweak your diet and create a designer microbiome to improve your health.

Theres preliminary evidence analysing the gut microbiome in a stool sample can help predict who will do well on a certain diet.

Theres also some evidence it can help predict which people with inflammatory bowel disease respond to medical treatments.

Read more:Explainer: what is inflammatory bowel disease?

But these findings are far from being applied more generally and for routine health care.

One day, we may understand how combining information about your microbiome with other test results, such as genomic tests might help.

The idea is that this would help people prevent disease and medication side-effects, predict their future risk of disease, and help choose a personalised diet for optimal health.

For instance, information about someones microbiome, when combined with blood tests and their diet, can predict how someones blood glucose levels respond to specific meals.

This 2015 study also showed that by analysing someones gut microbes you could tailor their diet to keep their blood glucose under control.

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Can Microbiome Testing Help Your Health

As a huge proponent of gut health, I wish I could suggest microbiome tests were a breakthrough in gut diagnoses and treatment.;

Unfortunately, current microbiome testing cannot provide medical diagnoses.; It cannot even necessarily tell you that having a specific type of bacteria in your intestine is definitely good or bad for you, as an individual.

And, at the moment, they cant even help you choose a personalized gut-healthy diet. We simply dont know enough yet about the relationships between diet, microbiome, and specific diseases.

All that being said, we do know that the diversity of your gut bacteria is important.; An abundance or overgrowth of any one particular bacteria is almost certainly bad for your gut health.;

Since these tests can tell you if you have a really high number of a particular type of bacteria, they can help tip you off if you are at high risk for poor gut health.; This may even be the case if you dont have any worrisome digestive issues yet.;

And keep in mind that these tests are ever-evolving.; The more people get their microbiome tested, the stronger the data is linking certain bacteria to certain conditions.; As the research comes in, gut microbiome testing companies update their reports and what their results mean.;

This means that even if you do a microbiome test now and it doesnt tell you anything useful, it may be updated with helpful information in the future.; ;

Things You Should Know About Microbiome

Human Microbiome

  • On and inside the body
  • Together, can weigh up to ~2 KG of the body weight

Gut Microbiome

  • >95% of this resides in the gut or the GI tract
  • With most dense abundance on the large intestine
  • Defined by 4 major groups of microorganisms – Bacteria, Archaea, Virus and Eukaryota
  • Bacteria is the most abundant group within the gut
  • >10,000 species have been identified till date
  • Individual can have anywhere between 1000-2500 species

Microbiome and Diseases

  • Most of the microbes are benevolent or even beneficial
  • <5% of all microbes in gut can cause disease but has been associated with > 90% of human diseases
  • Low or loss of microbial diversity is the most common reason of intestinal dysbiosis

The key areas that our microbiome impacts are –

  • Obesity & Weight Loss
  • Sports Performance
  • Mental Health
  • Metabolic Disease
  • Auto-immune Conditions ;

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What My Viome Test Revealed

Im so excited about this and other emerging technology that helps us all do our own research. With every chronic disease on the rise, these are problems we need to address right away. Companies and tests like Viome help us understand our own personalized needs in a way that helps us improve our lives in a drastic way.

I should also admit that I was skeptical when I first got my results and saw some of the foods that it suggested I should avoid. After all, some of the foods are ones Id consider objectively healthy, and I wasnt sure why I should avoid them.

Interestingly, after some further genetic testing, Viome was right on and the foods it recommended I avoid match up with my genes!

Clinical Microbiome Test Data Often Arent Specific Enough To Be Meaningful

How a Microbiome Test Can Help Your Bloating, Constipation ...

The results of one of my patients stool microbiome tests warned her that she had a high relative abundance of bacteria in the genus/species Escherichia coli, claiming that it placed her at high risk for developing Irritable Bowel Syndrome . Many of us are familiar with E. colifrom media reports of life-threatening outbreaks of food poisoning and would be understandably scared to think we harbored a lot of these critters in our guts.

But The Devil Is In The Details.

As McDonald explained to me: Simply knowing the genus of a bacteria and its relative abundance is not useful for clinical analysis. This is because each genus can have a wide range of strains, which are genomically distinct. For example, there are thousands of E. coli;genomes that have been sequenced with at least one strain considered a probiotic and others that can cause debilitating illness.

You say E.coli, I say E.coli

On the probiotic side, hes referring to E. coli Nissile1917, one of the first known probiotics that has demonstrated benefit in helping to prevent flares of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

On the illness side, he could be referring to E. coli;O157:H7, a strain responsible for potentially lethal food poisoning from undercooked ground beef and raw milk.

In other words, within the E. coli umbrella, there are beneficial probiotic strains, commensal strains that neither help nor hurt us, and pathogenic or disease-causing strains.

Which leads us to the next point

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How To Choose The Best At Home Microbiome Test For You

Even with this list of reliable at-home microbiome tests, you might still struggle to pick the best test for your needs. Tests, despite their similarities, offer a variety of different assessments.

One of the best ways to choose a test is to consider what gut health issues you want to be assessed. For example:

  • Viomes Gut Intelligence Test provides an in-depth test for an affordable price
  • Verisana provides information about leaky gut syndrome
  • Thryve and Wellnicity provide information to help you customize probiotics, vitamins, and diet plans based on your guts current health

What A Microbiome Test Can Tell You

A gut microbiome test can reveal a variety of information about the status and health of your gut.

What can a microbiome test tell you?

  • The amount of good and bad bacteria or microorganisms present in your gut
  • What is causing any stomach symptoms you might experience
  • Which probiotics could help you

A microbiome test can also possibly improve skin, increase energy, improve sleep, and lose weight. This doesn’t happen for everyone, but testing your gut bacteria can help you and give you information about what to improve on.;

What to look for in a microbiome testing kit

Health experts have varying opinions concerning the effectiveness of microbiome testing kits. Some recommend using more than one test and comparing the results to provide you with a more complete picture of your gut health. Its also important to review with your doctor any results you get from a test before making significant changes to improve your gut health.

If you decide to use an at-home microbiome test, look for tests that:

  • Search for and identify negative species in the gut that are linked to health problems
  • Measure the microbiome more than once, including before, during, and after a lifecycle change

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Paying More Attention To Your Gut Health With A Gut Bacteria Test Kit

Even if you dont know a lot about health and wellness, you may have heard about the microbiome. The microbiome is what we call the microorganisms that make up a mini ecosystem inside your body. Over the past few years, biologists have focused on the microbiome. Recent research has shown that our microbiomes have a vital role to play in our health and well-being. The gut microbiome is of special interest. Experts now understand that an imbalance of gut flora in the body can lead to health problems. A gut bacteria test kit could be the perfect way to determine whether this could be a problem for you as an individual.

My Personal Experience And Final Take Away

Microbiome Testing – How To Do It w’ Naturopath Amanda Ledwith

Look, I get the appeal of these tests. Our bodies play host to tens of trillions of critters, and we have no idea who they are and what theyre actually doing in there. Its fascinating to get a glimpse into their identities for curiositys sake alone, and tempting to entertain the notion that we can somehow tame them to enlist their help in our quest for good health and longevity.

Driven by this curiosity, I actually participated in the American Gut project;about five years ago as a citizen scientist myself.;After keeping a food diary for myself and my family for a week, I mailed off our stool samples and soon after received colorful poster-sized printouts that described the predominant genera inhabiting each of our guts, with comparisons to the guts of other demographic groups.

I was fascinated to see how completely different the gut microbiotas of my then toddler-aged twins were despite sharing a womb, a bedroom and pacifiers, and despite following the same diet ; I was also super freaked out to learn that one of my kids harbored a predominant bacterial phylum called Proteobacteriaa grouping that includes a rogues gallery of nasty disease-causing critters. THIS is what I get for breastfeeding that kid for an entire year?!

Clinical microbiome tests provide a whole lot of interesting data. But they cant yet offer any conclusions at this time about what these data mean and what if anything we can or should do about that data.

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Conbiotics The Disease Promoting Bugs The Bad Guys

The not-so-nice ones, I call conbiotics. I coined this term because my understanding is that they act much like con artists in our bodies. They take up residence in places that are troubled, because they like to cause trouble too. Like attracts like. Usually its in a disturbed digestive tract, preferring environments that are filled with inflammation, histamine, oxalates, heavy metals and other toxins like poop sitting in our intestine too long.

They are typically present with food sensitivities, and the ultimate villain of them all a dis-stressed gut. A great example of this is after you take antibiotics. They kill both good and bad bacteria, but make the intestine hospitable to conbiotics5.

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Viome: Gut Testing In Your Own Bathroom

That is until a company changed all that. Viome uses an advanced form of testing to analyze gut health and provide personalized recommendations of supplements, diet, and lifestyle factors.

Viome does a specialized form of testing called metatranscriptome sequencing. It looks at the RNA, metabolites, and the deeper picture of the gut.

Heres how Viome is better than the old 16S method:

  • identifies all;bacteria and all other living organisms in your gut
  • pinpoints down to the species and strain level
  • measures biochemical/microbe activities
  • less variation in results
  • identifies missing metabolites

Basically Viome gives a much more complete and precise picture you can actually act on with dietary and lifestyle changes.

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