Learn Valuable Info About Your Gut Microbiome With a Home Test Kit

Learn Valuable Info About Your Gut Microbiome With a Home Test Kit

Are tomatoes healthy? Avocados? Nuts? According to Viome, a health technology company, there is no such thing as a universally-healthy food: What’s healthy for one person can be inflammatory for another.

Anna Pelzer

With the rise of chronic disease worldwide, it was clear to company founder Naveen Jain that disease was a problem worth tackling through prevention. He assembled a team of scientists to launch a company that can analyze your gut to understand what is causing inflammation, which is the root cause of many chronic illnesses—as well as symptoms like bloating, sleeplessness, skin problems, stomach troubles, a lack of energy, and sore joints.

Viome can identify—from a home test kit—what is actually happening in your gut. That’s where your micro-biome is mostly located, and trillions of microbes interact.

If you want to optimize your health, avoid or heal chronic diseases, or know which foods are right for you, understanding your microbiome is key.

At-home test kits from Viome, provide a way to start your own data-gathering process. The company uses a high-resolution technology called meta-transcriptome sequencing to identify all the microorganisms living in your gut, from bacteria and viruses to fungi, yeast, parasites and bacteriophages. With this data, Viome recommends which foods and supplements can help you to reach optimal microbial function.

9 surprising discoveries Viome uncovered:

1. “Healthy” Food Isn’t Always Healthy

Photo (left) by spaceodissey, CC license

You might have been advised to eat your greens, and that greens and nuts are anti-inflammatory. The data show this isn’t always true.

Spinach, bran, rhubarb, beets, nuts and nut butters all contain Oxalate. We now know that Oxalate-containing food can be harmful, unless you have the microbes present that can metabolize it into a non-harmful substance. 30% of the 300,000 Viome customers analyzed so far actually lack the microbes to metabolize oxalates properly. In other words, “healthy foods” like spinach are actually not healthy for these people.

2. Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Paleo, Keto, and high-performance diets include a lot of protein which helps build muscle and provide energy, but if some people eat too much, it can cause inflammation and decrease longevity.

Viome analyzes your microbiome to determine whether you are eating too much protein that feeds protein-fermenting bacteria like Alistipes putredinis and Tanneralla forsythia, and whether these organisms are producing harmful substances such as ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, p-cresol, or putrescine, which can damage your gut lining.

3. Can “Healthy Foods” Exacerbate Heart Disease?

Nick Bastian, CC license

Choline in certain foods can get converted by bacteria into trimethylamine (TMA), which is associated with heart disease when it gets absorbed into your body and converted to TMAO. TMA conversion doesn’t happen in individuals unless they have the appropriate bacteria in their microbiome. Again, Viome can see the TMA production, and many of the gamma-proteo bacteria that do this conversion.

What foods contain choline? Liver, salmon, chickpeas, split peas, eggs, navy beans, and peanuts are a small sample. Before you decide to go full-on pescatarian or paleo, you may want to check if your microbiome is producing TMA with that salmon or steak.

4. Too Much Iron Can Cause Inflammation

Minerals like iron in your food can, in certain inflammatory microbial environments, promote growth of pathogens like Esherichia, Shigella, and Salmonella. On the other hand, when you don’t get enough iron, you could become anemic, leading to weakness and shortness of breath. Data from Viome can reveal how much iron is right for you.

5. Stress and Anxiety Appear in Your Microbiome

Our gut and brain are connected via the vagus nerve. A large majority of neurotransmitters are either also interconnected with our microbiome. Surprisingly, 90% of all serotonin (a feel-good neurotransmitter) is produced by your gut microbiome, not by your brain.

When you have a maladjusted microbiome that’s producing a large amount of toxins like hydrogen sulfide, the lining of your gut starts to deteriorate into what’s known as ‘leaky gut’. This causes low-grade chronic inflammation, which has been identified as a potential source of depression or higher levels of anxiety, in addition to many other chronic diseases.

6. Want More Energy, Get Your Microbiome Back into Balance

The microbiome is responsible for calorie extraction, which creates energy, through pathways such as the Tricarboxylic acid cycle. Our bodies depend on the energy that our gut produces.

Efficient high-performing microbiomes are excellent for athletes who need extra energy, but suboptimal for those with sedentary lifestyles. And if the microbes can’t or won’t metabolize the glucose (sugar) that you eat, it will be stored as fat.

7. Have Joint Pain? Your Microbiome Can Tell You Why

Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a pro-inflammatory molecule made by some of your microbes. Too much LPS can wreak havoc on your immune system and put it into overdrive. When your immune system is overactive, your joints and other body parts often suffer collateral damage from inflammation.

Your microbiome may be making you feel older because it keeps giving warnings to your immune system, ultimately leading to chronic pain. If you have a condition ending in “-itis,” it’s possible that when you balance your microbiome, the inflammation from your “-itis” will be reduced.

8. The Link Between Low Stomach Acid and Chronic Disease

The acid in your stomach protects you from the bacteria in your mouth and the parasites and fungi in your food. When you have low stomach acid, bacteria from your mouth makes it down to your GI tract, an invasion associated with autoimmune disease and inflammation.

We’re beginning to learn that low stomach acid is perhaps one of the major causes of chronic disease. What kinds of things cause low stomach acid? Stress and antacids like Nexium, Zantac and Prilosec.

9. Carbs Can Be Protein Precursors and Are Not as Bad as You May Think

potato chip photo by Adam Kuban-flickr-CC
Adam Kuban, CC license

As long as your microbiome is up to the task, carbs aren’t bad. The key is whether your microbiome can transform the starches you eat into amino acids. Your microbiome comprises 20% of your Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), and it will adapt to make these vital BCAAs in almost any way it can, based on your diet.

How to get your gut analyzed

Prioritizing the health of your microbiome is essential. Viome has two home test kits that can reveal which foods and supplements work best for your body and you will receive personalized recommendations.

The Seattle company sells products at “close to cost,” so they can help as many people as they can to “make illness optional”. However, they do also sell supplements, which are created personally for you based on your test results.

The Gut Intelligence test (a stool sample home test) is 99$—but Viome is giving GNN readers $20 off on any order with a discount code: GNN20 (reduces your cost to $79).

If you would like more comprehensive analysis and recommendations, you can get their Health Intelligence test, which includes a blood test kit, alongside the stool kit. The blood test requires a quick finger prick to collect a blood droplet, but can give you much more data on overall health.

For $199 ($179 with the GNN20 code), the Health Intelligence test provides additional analysis on:
• Cellular Health
• Mitochondrial Health
• Immune System Health
• Stress Response Health
• Biological Age

The Health Intelligence test answers key questions like:
• Are your cells performing efficiently or undergoing stress from oxidative stress, inflammation, or environmental toxins?
• Is your immune system prepared for invading bacteria or viruses?
• Does your biological age match your chronological age?

Learn more at Viome.com – and don’t forget to use the discount code GNN20 to get $20 off any order!

Check out their compelling testimonials below, and read more reviews, here.

“I’ve lost 13 pounds, my acne is gone (I’m 41), I don’t belch after each meal, my bloating is gone, I don’t have daily headaches, I feel better, I have more energy, I’m not ravenous all the time… the list could go on and on… I can’t thank you all enough!” – Emily, Viome Customer

“I’m down 20 pounds since switching to “Viome Approved” foods. More energy. Thinking Clearly. And I’ve had some big bumps on my face and skin that my doctor called “aging” and I should get used to it – has almost completely disappeared.” – Chip, Viome Customer

“I took my first test in June and retested in January. I’ve noticed my overall health has changed dramatically. My finger nails now grow, I can now comfortably eat/drink dairy products when before I would’ve sworn I was lactose intolerant. And I lost 23lbs that had haunted me for close to ten years!” – Suzanna, Viome Customer

(Any purchase at Viome using the discount code will also benefit GNN with a commission!)