Gut Microbiome Testing To Improve Health
Analyzing the genes that microbes express lets us identify which metabolites they produce. This helps determine their role in your bodys ecosystem. But all of that isnt helpful if it is just data. When we understand metabolites, we can also understand how to affect them with food, lifestyle, and supplements to change the gut bacteria.
This is the first time we have the ability to fine-tune the function of gut microbiome. This helps minimize production of harmful metabolites and maximize the production of beneficial ones.
The metabolites in our gut give us a shortcut to know what to eat and what to take to improve wellness in the fastest way possible.
Gut Check: Scientists Are Wary Of At
The idea that different types of bacteria in the human gut play a role in health and disease is driving a new trend in consumer-oriented health-care kits.
Startups are offering new services to analyze the complex community of microörganisms that live in the digestive tractcalled the microbiome. Customers receive test tubes in the mail and send them back with fecal swabs to be analyzed in a lab. The companies say they can do things like make diet recommendations and predict risk for certain diseases based on a persons unique microbial makeup.;;
While these tests could probably tell if you have a serious bacterial infection, scientists say they cant yet diagnose patients with diseases and they are doubtful the tests can reliably provide the kind of personalized information their makers claim they will.
The enthusiasm of their manufacturers simply goes well beyond where the science is right now, says Rob Knight, a leading microbiome researcher and professor at the University of California, San Diego. Knight is the cofounder of the American Gut project, a crowdfunded study to map the human gut.
Meanwhile, San Francisco-based company uBiome launched a service in November that detects microörganisms that may contribute to common gut symptoms, including constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and gas. Called SmartGut, it can only be ordered by a medical professional and is fully or partially covered by most health insurance companies.
Final Thoughts On Viome
Research on the DNA versus RNA sequencing techniques suggest they are both similar in their sensitivities, though DNA tests are typically thought to be easier to use to identify bacterial diversity.; This does raise some questions as to whether Viome is really able to draw the conclusions and make the recommendations they do.
Whilst they did a lot of comparison on their website claiming to be;superior to other technologies, there was no real discussion on how their particular sequencing technique worked or the science to back up their claims of superiority.
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Personalized Medicine: The Future Of Health
If you heard the recent 100th episode of The Wellness Mama Podcast, you know that I strongly feel that there is not a single perfect diet that works for everyone or a supplement that will fix all your problems. We all need sleep and community and sunshine, but the rest is very personalized based upon each individuals needs.
What works wonderfully for one person may make someone else feel worse. I feel great when I take a lot of magnesium. Some people experience low blood pressure from taking it. I dont feel good if I eat a lot of carbs. Some people feel amazing on a relatively high carb diet.
At the end of the day, we each have to figure out the foods, supplements, and lifestyle factors that are best for us.
Thankfully, today we dont have to wait on a doctor to get insight into our health. There are now services with on-call doctors that are only a text or a call away.
Even without a doctor, we can do testing like 23 and Me, which shows our genes. This is helpful, but most of us arent geneticists and dont know what the results mean. . I know I have MAO-A and an MTHFR mutation, and thanks to research Im able to make some dietary changes based on this, but the research is still new. It also only shows half of the picture.
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What The Experts Say About At
Dr Sam Forster, group leader at the Microbiota and Systems Biology Laboratory, Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases at the Hudson Institute of Medical Research, looked at both test results and was impressed with how they were interpreted and presented.
“I think they’re actually quite good at presenting the data in a way that’s at least interpretable, compared to what would be used to looking at,” he says.;
“But I think there’s a danger of people over-interpreting their results and making major diet and lifestyle changes based on an association with a particular bacteria that may be detrimental for some people but beneficial for others.
“It should be seen as a component of a wider evaluation of your health.”;
There’s a danger of people over-interpreting their results and making major diet and lifestyle changes that may be detrimental for some people but beneficial for others
Dr Sam Forster, group leader at the Microbiota and Systems Laboratory, Centre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases, Hudson Institute of Medical Research
While scientific knowledge of the gut microbiome has come a long way in a short space of time, Forster says it’s important to be mindful that we still have a great deal to learn.;
“I do see the weaknesses at the moment, and it’s our lack of knowledge. We aren’t yet able to say that for you, at this time of your life, with your genetics, with your lifestyle, that this bacteria is absolutely going to be positive or negative,” he says.;
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Are Gut Microbiome Tests Accurate Or Worth It What To Do Instead
- 04 Mar 19
A Healthy Microbiome Is A Healthy You!
When your health takes a turn for the worse, you naturally want to know why. Especially if it relates to digestion and gut health. Why has my digestion changed?
The opposite can also be true. Maybe you had a time in your life when you were feeling incredibly healthy. Youd want to know why so you can repeat that and get back to feeling that way. Can you test your microbiome to see whats going on? How can I test my gut health?
One of the most popular answers to these whys right now is gut microbiome testing. The more researchers study the microbiome, the more we realize how important it is. Your microbiota regulates and establishes your health.
A healthy microbiome:
- Is critical to proper digestion and absorption of nutrients
An unhealthy microbiome is associated with:
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Autoimmune disorders
Understandably, you want to know whats going on in your microbiome — especially if you’re facing health issues. You might decide to go for microbiome testing. Its expensive, but you want to know whats happening. You want answers. Is it worth it? What exactly will it tell you? Is microbiome testing information accurate?
But Arent These Tests Based On Science
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.
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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Gut Metatranscriptome & Microbiome Analysis
Im super excited about a new kind of testing that allows us to have a deeper picture of what is happening inside the gut. Weve all heard the studies about the importance of the gut and how it impacts every single aspect of our lives, and now we can actually get a glimpse of what is happening inside the gut and know how to impact our own gut environment.
When To Skip Gut Microbiome Testing
We do these tests on people whose primary ailment is digestive, says Dr. McConnell. But according to her, one exception is when she suspects SIBO, which stands for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. If its limited to upper GI symptoms I may forego doing a stool test and instead do a SIBO breath test, she continues. A SIBO breath tests for specific gases emitted by bacteria in the supper GI tract that cant be measured in a stool test.;
Other patients that should hit the pause button on this type of test are those with a poor diet. If youre eating processed and inflammatory foods on a regular basis, I wont always offer this test as a first pass, says Dr. McConnell. Instead, I go for food first, she continues. If theres a lot of room for improvement in your diet, simple changes can often resolve the GI issues without the need for advanced testing.;
So, how often should you get a gut microbiome test? These tests arent cheap and theyre not something you need to do over and over again. In fact, we typically do the test once, treat, see improvement, and then there isnt a need to do it again for quite some time, says Dr. McConnell.
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So If Youre An Otherwise Healthy Person Will Knowing More About The Bacteria Present In Your Gut Really Do Anything For You
Likely not. If youre already healthy, your microbiome composition will probably be much like other healthy individuals where you live, according to Dr. Hecht.
A number of studies have demonstrated that a diverse microbiome is associated with gut health, while one lacking diversity tends to be less healthy. However, knowing the exact number and types of species you carry in your gut isnt really necessary.
Do Gut Health Tests Work
Gut health tests give you a lot more information than microbiome tests. Theyre designed to give you insight into the health and goings-on of your gut, and the good ones certainly do that.
Gut health tests are about a lot more than just bacteria. They give you information on inflammation, immunity, digestive function and a lot more besides. A microbiome test is just that: a test of your microbiome.
Gut health tests are all different. Have a thorough look at what a gut health test offers before you buy it.
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Understanding Your Gut Microbiome Can Provide Insights Into Your Wider Health And Wellbeing
There are strong links between your gut microbiome and your health and wellbeing. The microbial community in your gut can perform a wide range of metabolic functions, from digesting fibre and protein, to producing thousands of substances that can interact with our immune, metabolic and nervous systems, all the way to transforming the medicines we take.
Your microbial diversity levelAccess highly detailed information about the diversity of microorganisms inhabiting your gut.
Your potential to breakdown nutrientsDiscover the potential of your gut microbiome to breakdown macronutrients such as, fibre, protein, simple sugars and fats.
Your potential to produce substances associated with healthUncover the gene potential of your gut microbiome to produce substances linked to health, such as folate.
Obtain a comprehensive list of the microbial species presentWhether its a well known species or newly discovered, you will get a full list of the different bacteria and archaea present in your gut.
Receive tailored guidance from a Microbiome CoachGain a deeper understanding of your Insight report and discuss your personalised shopping list of food suggestions with a qualified health professional.
Interested to see the potential of your microbiome to breakdown nutrients and produce beneficial substances? Learn more about Microba Insight.
But Im Curious Anyway
Most companies ask you to send in a stool sample, which you take yourself and post in a secure package to a laboratory to analyse the results.
Each company is different
Different companies analyse your stool sample in different ways.
For instance, some tell you the relative abundance of bacteria down to the genus level . Some tell you which strains of microbe are present and their function. Some tell you which of the microbe genes are expressed and active.
All of these are legitimate approaches to analysing your gut microbiome, and you could expect a reasonable degree of accuracy.
How do you interpret the results?
The companies also differ in how they supply and interpret the results. The company may compare your results with others theyve analysed. But they cant compare them with an average or healthy microbiome because an individual company doesnt sample the whole population, and scientists havent yet defined a healthy microbiome.
Some companies advise the types of foods you could eat to boost levels of particular bacteria. You might also be told that a certain bacteria can be associated with some health condition, like obesity or constipation.
Ideally, alongside your results would be an explanation about the types of research the insights are based on, limitations of the evidence, and a caution the results cannot be considered medical advice.
What about privacy?
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Direct To Consumer Genetic Testing
Direct to consumer genetic testing contributions keep on expanding in number. A few tests take a gander at family line and characteristics, for example, your probability to have a unibrow, while others can distinguish genetic dangers for malignant growth or coronary illness. The name direct to consumer implies that a medical services supplier isnt associated with the requesting of these sorts of tests. Maybe, a patient orders the test through biones website, gets a test unit via the post office, gathers an example of their spit at home and ships it to the Bione, and afterward get their outcomes by means of the web very quickly – no office visit vital.
Why You Should Trust Us
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This guide, like all health-related content on Innerbody Research, is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health testing service we review. We evaluate the entire experience from ordering to receiving results and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.
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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.
How Do I Get My Gut Microbiome Tested
There are many different microbiome tests on the market. Some gut testing kits can only be ordered by health professionals/practitioners, but many, such as Atlas Biomed, are now sold direct to consumers. Microbiome test kits typically consist of a swab or sample collection probe and a collection vessel , into which a small sample of faeces needs to be placed. The samples are then sent off to a laboratory for testing.
Most testing companies which sell direct to consumers have a customer care team to help interpret the test results once they have been given, and some offer a full plan which includes probiotic recommendations, dietary advice and a follow-up test so you can track your improvement.
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Result: A Full Gut Health Profile
After shipping your gut microbiome test back to us, allow for some processing time. Your small stool sample is all it takes to yield a complete analysis of the microorganisms in your gut. You can take this test once or on a regular basis as your gut condition changes with your dietary adjustments. Updating your information regularly helps you to:
- Make informed decisions to change your lifestyle and improve your health
- Reduce the population of unhealthy microbes in your microbiome
- Balance the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your diet
- Implement foods that are compatible with your metabolism and eliminate incompatible foods
- Feel more energetic, focused, and happy
- Maintain a healthy weight