Is Microbiome Testing Proven To Work
The answer to this question is yes, and no. While microbiome testing can help determine whether or not you have certain conditions, there is still much research to be done. For instance, in the early 2000s a study was published suggesting that obese individuals had a specific microbiome. Reanalysis of the data from that study show that this correlation was not nearly as strong as was suggested by researchers.
Further, more recent research has shown that the microbiome is much too dynamic to be measured accurately in a single testing session. For example, an article published in Nature suggested that the microbiomes associated with Irritable Bowel Disease can range dramatically depending on the day. One moment they can clearly be a disrupted microbiome, other times they are no different than the microbiome of a healthy person.
Optimise Your Gut Health With This Advanced Gut Microbiome Test Kit
A diverse and balanced microbiome composition in the human gut is essential for maintaining a healthy body. On the other hand, an imbalanced gut community can lead to a variety of health issues and diseases such as obesity, type II diabetes, intestinal diseases, heart diseases and many more. Through gut microbiome testing, you can learn valuable information about the trillions of organisms in your digestive tract and take action to prevent any health issues or diseases. The benefits of knowing what is currently going inside your gut, paired with personalised dietary recommendations, empowers you to optimise your health in the most natural and effective way possible.
Editors’ Choice For Best Whole
If you want to go beyond your gut microbiome , Viome offers a pricier Health Intelligence service that combines the gut microbiome insights with an examination of your blood in order to give you insight into your cell metabolism, biological aging process and more. To read more about this, check out our full Viome review.
Final Thoughts On American Gut
If you were hoping for an answer to your health issues, or specific recommendations on how you can avoid gut-related diseases, American Gut is probably not a good choice for you.
If youd simply like to know more about your gut microbiome , this study may be the perfect fit.
Thryve is a health-tech start-up based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In exchange for a stool sample, Thryve provides you with reports outlining:
- your microbe population make-up
- energy levels
The test does this by testing for different bacteria and then offers food suggestions and probiotic supplements based on the results.
Heres How The Test Works:
How Do Thryve Products Work
Much like the other kits on this list, Thryves test has you collect a small swab sample of stool from your used toilet paper. You then stir the swab into the enclosed tube with stabilizing fluid and shake the sample for a minute before sending it off to the lab.
Youll also have to enter your barcode and fill out the health and diet questionnaires on their online portal so the company can create an accurate report for you.
Thryve has its own take on 16S sequencing, promising species-level identification of bacteria.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Food Sensitivity Vs A Food Allergy
Symptoms of a food sensitivity are commonly linked to the digestive system and can include diarrhea, bloating, nausea, reflux, and/or abdominal pain, but they also may include skin rashes, headaches, and fatigue. Symptoms may present themselves within a few hours of eating the food or be delayed by up to 48 hours, making it difficult to diagnose the trigger food. Symptoms can also vary based on the amount of trigger food ingested.
Food allergies, on the other hand, can cause digestive problems but also hives, swollen airways, and even life-threatening anaphylaxis. Researchers estimate that 32 million Americans have food allergies, including 5.6 million children under age 18 . Some children outgrow their food allergy as they get older, particularly allergies to milk, eggs, wheat, and soy, but allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and shellfish are usually lifelong. It is also common for children with a food allergy to be allergic to more than one food.
The Microbiome Affecting The Whole Body
The bodys microbiome is an ecosystem made up of countless organisms. It can affect our throats, noses, urinary tracts, skin, and, of course, our digestive system. When you have the right symbiotic relationship with your bodys bacteria, you can optimize your well-being. Well-balanced bacteria levels allow you to modulate your immunity, absorb foods more effectively, and combat disease. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles are leading more of us to have an unhealthy gut flora balance. We spend too much time indoors. We eat unhealthy diets with lots of processed foods. We have stressful workplaces. We are often exposed to chemicals and potentially harmful toxins. All these things have an impact on our gut flora.
What Is A Microbiome
Your microbiome is a genetic snapshot of all the microscopic organisms in your body. Usually when people use the term, theyre referring specifically to the gut microbiome.
Increasingly, medical studies are referencing our , the collection of microbesbacteria, viruses, yeast, and other microscopic organismsthat live in and on our body. While these microbes exist throughout our bodies, the gut microbiome is the most well-studied. And, though our entire microbiota includes several microscopic organisms, the best-studied microbes to date are bacteria, of which there are hundreds of species and trillions of individual cells.
Some of these bacteria can harm us, as potential pathogenssalmonella and E. coli are two well-known gut pathogens, for examplewhile others actively help us, producing vitamins or inhibiting the replication of pathogens; others are seemingly neutral, neither actively helping or harming, but thriving as a part of our internal microbial ecosystem.
When you send in your fecal sample for a microbiome test, its analyzed in a lab using a method called 16s RNA ribosomal sequencing. Basically, scientists isolate and sequence the DNA in your sample and look only at the part that comes from bacteria. This genetic snapshot of your microbiota is usually referred to as your . From the analysis, you learn what species of bacteria are present in your microbiome, and how diverse your microbiota is in comparison to others.
Other Dna Health Tests
EasyDNAs product portfolio includes other health DNA testing services which can provide you with useful information on different areas of your overall health. Healthy Weight DNA testing provides you with personalised nutrition and fitness recommendations to help you reach your target weight. You can also discover a wealth of genetic information about your physical performance, nutritional responses, predisposition to diseases and much more through our health DNA package. Take a look at our different DNA tests which can help you optimise your well-being.
Taking Action Instead Of Taking A Test
If gut tests arent accurate, whats the answer?
The answer is to focus on what helps your microbiome be healthy and vibrant, not whether it might be sick.
1. Get Your Gut Moving!
Your GI tract is the primary way your body gets rid of metabolic wastes and dangerous chemicals. If you are constipated, you are essentially poisoning yourself, and your microbiome. Studies show that being constipated changes what microbes are dominant in your gut. The ones associated with pathogenic diseases take over your GI tract. Get this drainage pathway moving regularly — at least two times a day. This will tip the microbes in your favor!
2. Make Sure Your Liver Bile Duct Is Open
One of the jobs a healthy microbiome loves is to take your bile salts and turn them into TUDCA. TUDCA has impressive health benefits for you and your microbiome. If you starve them of bile acids because your liver bile duct is blocked, they cant produce it. A lack of TUDCA changes the microbiome and can activate other diseases.
The liver bile duct is another drainage pathway you need to keep flowing for a healthy microbiome. Taking TUDCA itself can actually get this duct unclogged helping you and your microbiome. There are herb combinations that also support better liver function. Coffee enemas open up the liver bile duct and purge toxins that are hampering your and your microbes. It will also give them the bile salts they are craving.
A healthy, open liver bile duct will dramatically change your microbiome!
The Function Of Metabolites In The Gut
Identifying the microorganisms in your gut is important, but understanding their function is what lets us use them to our advantage.
This is because the microbes in your gut produce thousands of chemicals, called metabolites, that affect your overall wellness. Some of these metabolites are beneficial to health, such as B-vitamins and short chain fatty acids. Others can be harmful, such as Trimethylamine N-oxide , which is linked to coronary artery disease.
This variation in gut microbes may explain in large part why people have such individualized needs when it comes to health.
What Is The Gut Microbiome
The gut microbiome is a community of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and archaea, that resides in our gastrointestinal tracts. These microbes have specific genes unique to their bodies, much like each human has a unique set of genes. Scientists call the full collection of genes of all the microbes in a community a microbiome.
Within each human microbiome, all of the different types of microbes interact with each other and with their environment .
Scientists know that a normal, balanced microbiome is essential for maintaining human health, and when a significant shift in that balance occurs, it can contribute to health problems and disease.
What Do American Gut Customer Reviews Say
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.
Best For Gut Microbiome Testing: Thryve
Why We Chose It: Thryve offers an at-home kit to assess an individuals gut microbiome based on DNA sequencing and provides personalized recommendations.
Detailed explanation of gut microbiome with supplemental education
Shipping not included
Research indicates the gut microbiome is linked to more than just gut health and can affect nearly all body systems. Maintaining a balanced gut microbiome rich in diverse beneficial bacteria can be achieved through diet. But how do you know if your gut microbiome is optimal or not? Thryve offers at-home gut microbiome testing with personalized dietary and probiotic recommendations. Based on DNA analysis of a fecal sample, Thryve uses a wellness score algorithm to analyze amounts of probiotics, beneficial bacteria, and potentially harmful bacteria and compares it to the American Gut Project results. This comparison is used to calculate gut microbiome diversity and the percentage of beneficial bacteria in each individual.
The at-home kit is integrated with an app that provides a digital health report with recommended probiotic supplements and foods, including details on which strains of bacteria to increase and decreasethe goal being to optimize beneficial bacteria in the gut and reduce unwanted pathogenic bacteria. Customers can expect results from the test within two weeks of Thryve receiving the sample. The at-home testing kit is priced at $199, with options to add a probiotic subscription.
Who Should Get A Gut Microbiome Test
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.
#4 Its Not Even Clear To What Extent Your Gut Microbiota Can Be Micromanaged Through Any Means
As mentioned above, a hallmark characteristic of all the clinical microbiome test results I reviewed was a strong sales pitch for various species of supplemental probiotics and in some cases, recommendations for specific branded products targeted at modifying the state of a persons inner ecosystem. This led me to wonder: to what extent is our gut microbiota even modifiable by any means?
How Diet Influences Your Microbiota
We know from both animal and human research that the gut microbiota can be modified to a notable degree by changing our diets. Going from a diet thats heavily protein and fat based to one very high in fiber-rich plant foods can alter the relative predominance of certain bacteria in a persons gut microbiota and it can do so rapidly.However, we have less specific knowledge about which specific foods or types of fiber can produce specific alterations in a persons gut microbiota down to the species/strain level.
But barring a dramatic change in diet from very low fiber to extremely high fiber like say from going from a typical Western-style diet to a full-on vegan diet the typical adults gut microbiota appears to be remarkably stable and resistant to change.
Probiotics and Your Microbiota
Any health benefits you derive from a probiotic supplement, therefore, are likely occurring as the micro-organism is passing through your body on its way out not as the result of an alteration in the composition of your microbiota.
So does it actually?
A New Type Of Lab Test Showing Up In My Office
Recently, patients have been arriving at my office with thick reports of a new type of lab test: clinical microbiome tests. These are stool tests ordered by a doctor and sent off to private labs, which then sequence DNA in your poop in order to identify and report on which organisms inhabit your colon. The ecosystem of microorganisms that inhabit your digestive tract is collectively called the gut microbiota, and their genes are referred to as the gut microbiome.
Why Is It Important
Your microbiome is as unique as your fingerprint. The mix of bacteria in your body is different from everyone elses mix. Its determined partly by your mothers microbiota, the environment that youre exposed to at birth and partly from your diet and lifestyle. To find out how to boost your gut health, you need to know how your individual microbiome is performing, so you can find out exactly what you need to do in order to support it.
The Origin Of Microbiome Testing
While it sometimes feels like the world of science moves at a slow, but steady pace, this couldnt be farther from the truth. In reality, it stagnates for years then expands rapidly. For example, science has known about DNA molecules since 1869. Then, it took nearly 100 years for Crick and Watson to discover the structure of DNA in 1951.
Finally, in 1990, the Human Genome Project was initiated. By 2003, it was complete. Not only did the project result in a better understanding of human genetics, but it led to much better DNA processing technology. By 2006, companies like 23andMe were using this technology to analyze consumer DNA at a rate thousands of times faster than methods available in 1990.
But, researchers didnt stop with human DNA. Some researchers decided to use DNA technology to take a look at the organisms which live inside of us. This was the Human Microbiome Project, started in 2009 and continuing today. What they found was nothing short of shocking:
Each and every one of us has thousands of species of bacteria, archaea, viruses, and macrophages in and on our body. Dont believe me? Check out this graphic of all the different groups of bacteria scientists have found on our skin alone!
What Do Viome Customer Reviews Say
Many reviews are amazed at how well Viome converted their results into meaningful steps for improving their microbiome. They love the personalized nutrition information about foods which will help or hinder their health goals.
Most negative reviews are regarding Viomes customer service which at times seems to be sluggish and at others downright lacking.
whove compared Viome to other services have found significant differences in the results from the various laboratories. Many reviews were amazed at how Viomes artificial intelligence kept updating their recommended foods.
On one hand, this could be seen as progressive and positive. On the other, it could suggest that the technology just isnt yet up to making accurate recommendations.
Here are some Amazon customer reviews:
The results I got from this were extremely vague and bland. I honestly learned next to nothing and would have not spent $50 on this if I knew this was all I was getting. Total joke for $250.
How Much Does A Basic Microbiome Test Cost Compared To An Advanced Microbiome Test
Both tests use the same testing methods, and offer the same level of detail on reports. But the Advanced Gut Health includes even more bacteria and biomarkers, such as:
- Adlercreutzia spp.
- Oxalobacter formigenes
We also offer an Ultimate Gut Health Test, which includes everything in the Advanced Gut Health Test, plus a comprehensive range of helminths .
We recommend that people taking the Advanced and Ultimate Gut Health Tests work with a registered practitioner, as some of the findings may warrant one-on-one support and guidance.
How To Test Gut Microbiome At Home
Now for why Im so excited about testing poop!
Until recently, most gut testing cost thousands of dollars and had to be ordered through a doctor. Testing also provided an incomplete picture of gut health and used the old 16S method of sequencing.
The 16S method analyzes the bacteria in the gut, but as I showed above, this is an incomplete picture. To fully analyze the bacteria, viruses, bacteriophages, archaea, fungi, yeast, parasites, and other organisms, a more complete testing is needed.
Why You Should Never Eat Avocado
Over the past six months avocados have become good for almost everyone, because its been a dry six months and avocados contain a lot of moisture, Niazov says. However, she adds, theyre not suitable at all for cancer patients, because the avocados moisture comes from a very fatty and heavy source.
What Is Gut Health
Gut health is the state of your gut microbiome and how they influence your overall health.
Gut health is a novel concept for most health enthusiasts. Some people feel they don’t need to pay attention because they don’t have any gastrointestinal issues.
But, this can be misleading. Most diseases that result from gut bacteria imbalance rarely show early signs. Some brain-related conditions such as fatigue, poor concentration and memory, stress, anxiety, and depression can all be symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
A healthy gut contains a healthy amount of the gut microbiome. These gut microbiomes promote lots of healthy body processes, right from infancy and throughout human life.
A lot of factors can affect gut health. They include:
- Nutrition: The type of food you eat. Foods such as Probiotics can help promote gut health.
- Use of Antibiotics: Some antibiotics can kill healthy gut bacteria and lead to an unhealthy gut.
- Genetics: You can acquire either a healthy or unhealthy gut from your parents during conception.
It is necessary to maintain a healthy gut. A healthy gut influences health and well-being in so many ways. Keeping it healthy should be on your to-do list for healthy living.
Who Should Get A Gut Health Assessments
According to Dr. Darcy McConnell, a board-certified family medicine physician at Parsley Health New York, gut microbiome tests can be helpful if youve had GI issues for an extended period of time and you cant easily find a direct link with the food you consume. Basically, if your diet is pretty healthy but you still have gut problems, a diagnostic service like this can help you determine what is going on.
American Gut Pros And Cons
- a scientific study with no financial motivations or conflicts of interest
- highly-structured study with strict ethical rules that have to be followed
- allows you to contribute to scientific discoveries in the gut microbiome
- you pay nearly as much as for a personalized microbiome test without receiving any of the personalized, practical information
Why You Should Choose Psomagens Gut Microbiome Test
At Psomagen, weve spent years improving our research processes and perfecting our gene analysis methods. Our whole-genome sequencing processes have undergone rigorous certification by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and the College of American Pathologists .
CLIA is a US certification standard coordinated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services , which authenticates the accuracy and reliability of laboratory testing. CMS has reviewed the credentials of our lab personnel and ensured the conditions of our facility are up to code and monitored and recorded 24/7. CAP also inspects our quality and consistency, and we meet the highest standards of their inspections process.
Psomagen is also HIPAA compliant, so rest assured that we do not share your data; we respect your privacy and legal rights, and your results are always kept private. Likewise, we only use your DNA sample to generate data that can help you predict and prevent disease and make informed lifestyle changes.
How Important Is Your Microbiome
Scientists and researchers have been increasing their focus on our gut and microbiome over the last two decades. The gut and its microbes have been called your second brain alluding to how important its function is to your health. Researchers have even found the same grey matter in your gut as in the brain!
But now that statement is under question. Out of every ten communications from your brain and gut, your gut sends nine to the brain. The brain only sends one back! This begs the question, is the brain influencing your gut, or is your gut affecting your brain? Research is showing us the latter.
An unhealthy gut actually changes your brain! In studies done with IBS patients, gray matter started to deteriorate. Researchers think this is what lead to anxiety and depression in this group of people. 00482-8/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”>1) All this time weve been looking to the brain to fix anxiety and depression when we should probably be focusing more on the GI tract and microbiome. This would also explain why people who have poor gut health frequently experience brain fog and cognitive/memory issues.
Beyond impacting your brain, your microbiome influences your genetics. These mighty little microbes also perform thousands of functions that you cannot:
You haven’t made a mistake in thinking your microbiome is a top priority in getting yourself healthy. But will gut microbiome testing give you the answers you need?
How Do You Collect Sample Stool For A Gut Test
|The great news about Thryve and Viome is that theyve thought deeply about the sample collection process. Having taken a normal feces sample for my gastroenterologist, I can tell you one of the things that Viome and Thryve got totally right is how you get the sample. Its still not fun but its way less gross.||Viome Sample Collection Video|