In This Article
In This Article
The gut microbiome consists of “good” and “bad” bacteria, fungi, and other microbes in the intestines. It’s linked to several health aspects, like digestion and the immune system.
Interest in the effects of these microbes led to the proliferation of gut microbiome testing. In this review, let’s talk about one of the companies offering such testing—Viome.
Dr. Rizza Mira is a medical doctor and a general practitioner who specializes in pediatrics, nutrition, dietetics, and public health.
As a pediatrician, she is dedicated to the general health and well-being of children and expecting parents. She believes that good nutrition, a healthy lifestyle, and prevention of illness are key to ensuring the health of children and their families.
When she’s not in the hospital, Rizza advocates and mobilizes causes like breastfeeding, vaccination drives, and initiatives to prevent illness in the community.
Viome is a U.S.-based company offering gut microbiome testing and supplement supplies. It uses AI and RNA technology to analyze stool and blood samples.
Viome offers four products:1
Viome will use your results to develop food and supplement recommendations. The supplement formula is a unique blend of probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and food extracts.
Probiotics are microbes naturally present in your digestive system. They feed on your food, but supplementing with prebiotics ensures they have enough nutrients.
“Prebiotics are usually in the form of fibers that promote the growth of “good bacteria” in the gastrointestinal tract,” says Dr. Rizza Mira.
Know Your DNA Reviews
Our review of the best at-home Microbiome Tests.
Viome offers two at-home testing kits:
The Gut Intelligence™ uses a stool sample to identify and measure gut microbes. The result is expressed as the Gut Microbiome Health score. Viome uses this result to come up with your food and supplement recommendations.
The Health Intelligence™ combines Gut Intelligence™ and human gene expression tests. It uses both stool and blood samples.
Aside from Gut Microbiome health, it provides five more health scores:
Viome will use these scores as the basis for your food and supplement recommendations for the following months.
According to Viome, it separates any identifiable information from your health data. It secures your data with multiple layers of encryption.
The company states that it would never provide your data to third parties (unless required by law). You do have the option to let Viome use your anonymized data for research.2
Expect your results to be available within two to three weeks. You can access your health scores (depending on the type of test) on Viome’s website or app.
You’ll also get personalized food and supplement recommendations which Viome has determined based on your results.
One thing to know about Viome’s gut microbiome tests is that they’re not FDA-approved. This may seem dubious for a company that offers test kits for health insights. But no similar tests have been granted FDA approval as of the moment.
Moreover, Viome utilizes AI instead of doctors and nutritionists to develop personalized recommendations. These are done by comparing your results with Viome’s wealth of information.
These factors do not mean gut microbiome tests are not worthwhile. Some studies have supported testing to improve gut health through diet and supplement recommendations.3
Gut microbiome tests can identify your risk for health problems and symptoms that have been linked to gut imbalance. These include:4, 5, 6
Let’s look at my results and check what Viome has said about my gut health. The results discussed here are only about Gut IntelligenceTM as it’s the test that I took.
I logged in to my account. A homepage greets me with steps and statuses. This is a good way to monitor a test.
The “Nutrition” section provides the bulk of my information. It contains my Gut Microbiome Health, personalized diet recommendations, and a guide to following these recommendations.
The “Nutrition” section starts with “My Food List.” It has 300+ foods, categorized as:
One of my superfoods is egg yolk. I clicked on “Egg Yolk (Chicken),” and the report contained serving size, my response to egg yolk, and several studies. Pretty helpful information, if I may say.
One food Viome said I should enjoy is soybeans. I clicked on “Soybeans (non-GMO).” The report only contains a serving size. No other information is provided.
Now to the foods that I should minimize. I clicked on my “Pork (Lean)” report. It also contains only serving size.
Lastly, the foods that I should avoid. I looked at celery. This report provides more information on why I should avoid this food (like my body’s response and several support studies).
The list is quite long. Too long that many people may find it challenging to check and note them all.
Moreover, there’s not much explanation. The body responses may be helpful. But the support studies may be too technical that people won’t bother to check them.
The food recommendations are AI-selected. They’re developed after comparing my results against Viome’s collection of data. They’re not provided by doctors or nutritionists, actual experts who are experienced in this area.
The “Nutrition” section also contains my supplement recommendation. If you click on one ingredient, it will provide an overview and support studies.
Like in food recommendations, the discussions here can get too technical.
Lastly, the “Nutrition” section contains my Gut Microbiome Health. This is the only score I would get with the Gut IntelligenceTM test. (I can also access this report under the “Results” submenu.)
My score: “not optimal.”
The report only lists the ingredients contributing to my “not optimal” result. Viome identified 38 food components (including vitamins, herbs, minerals, food extracts, amino acids, prebiotics, and probiotics).
I clicked on “View Score” to get more details.
Viome showed these sub-scores that affected the calculation of my Gut Microbiome Health score:
I clicked on “Inflammatory Activity.” The report showed a summary, the nutrients supporting this subscore, a list of metabolic pathways, and other details.
Again, the language and terms used in these reports are vague and complicated. Viome could have made them more reader-friendly.
This report contains all the microorganisms (like bacteria, fungi, and viruses) Viome found in my stool sample. I accessed this report under the “Results” submenu.
It’s just a list, though, and no other details are provided.
I have several unlocked scores which can’t be accessed with just a Gut Intelligence™ test. If you choose to take the Health Intelligence™ test, you can get five additional scores besides Gut Microbiome Health.
Like Viome, Ombre (formerly Thryve) analyzes stool samples. It also provides a gut health Score, personalized food plans, and customized probiotics.
One area where Ombre lags behind Viome is that it only measures gut bacteria. Viome is more comprehensive as it looks for more microorganisms.
Ombre’s reports are more straightforward, while Viome’s are on the complex side. The good thing is Viome’s reports have more details, although the company doesn’t explain the concepts well enough.
Like Viome, Biohm provides a gut score, an analysis of the microbial populations in your gut, and personalized recommendations. Biohm also sells supplements.
The two companies’ primary difference lies in their sequencing technologies. Biohm focuses on DNA; Viome is on RNA. This affects Biohm’s accuracy, as DNA testing doesn't distinguish between living and dead organisms.
Lastly, Biohme only analyzes bacteria and fungi. Viome looks at more types of microbes.
Viome provides gut microbiome analysis and personalized food and supplement recommendations. These services can help you change your diet and lifestyle, ultimately leading to optimal gut health.
“Maintaining good gut health is key to preventing other illnesses, like irritable bowel syndrome, liver, and heart diseases,” says Rizza Mira, M.D.
Still, there is uncertainty about Viome’s gut microbiome tests. They are not FDA-approved, although no similar tests have garnered FDA approval. Moreover, recommendations are made by AI, not by doctors or nutritionists.
Nevertheless, gut microbiome tests (like Viome’s) have much potential. Many studies have already linked the gut microbiome to several health aspects, sparking interest in testing.
You can use Viome’s tests to see what food or food ingredients you should minimize or avoid. Then discuss the information with a healthcare professional and create a health plan tailored for your needs.
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