With the number of bacteria living inside every single one of our bodies, it’s amazing that so many of us are as healthy as we are. Of course, that’s only because bacteria carries a negative stigma with it everywhere it goes. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of bacteria out there designed to harm us, but that doesn’t mean all bacteria are harmful. In fact, some bacteria are necessary and required when keeping your body healthy long-term. The truth is there are thousands upon thousands of types of bacteria in the world. Some of them cause sickness, while others prevent sickness. The key to living a healthy life is obtaining the proper balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria. When that’s achieved, your body has everything it needs in order to succeed. Unfortunately, many people struggle when achieving this balance. It causes a wide range of health concerns, especially since most of the good bacteria inside the bound is located in the gut. The good news is there are a variety of ways you can improve your gut bacteria — including Viome. So, what is Viome, and how does it work? Let’s take a complete look at their at-home testing and custom supplements in this Viome review.
Viome is a revolutionary supplement company that’s redefining what it takes to maintain a healthy gut — and really, a healthy body. They do what most supplement companies aren’t willing to do, allowing them to provide their customers with personalized and customized services. They’re much more than just a supplement company. Viome is truly a health awareness company founded on the principle that every human body is unique and therefore requires a unique diet. The problem is they don’t know their body well enough and don’t follow the proper diet. That’s where Viome comes in and saves the day — twice. First, they provide an at-home test that measures your blood and stool. When you send the test back, Viome analyzes the results, and you can view them on a mobile app. The results are extensive and provide you with diet recommendations (what to eat, what to avoid) and supplement recommendations. Second, they provide you with monthly supplements customized to your diet and health needs. As long as you keep the subscription, they continue sending you supplements each month. Better yet, they retest you every 6 months to ensure the supplements and recommendations stay current. What’s really neat with Viome is the variety they have. You ultimately get to choose from two different tests — the Gut Intelligence test and the Health Intelligence test. If you’re interested in focusing on the gut, Gut Intelligence is perfect for you. Health Intelligence provides a much wider range of results. To pair with the tests, they provide two different supplement packages. One contains prebiotics and probiotics for the gut, while the other contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and food extracts — for overall health and wellness.
Why Is Gut Health So Important?
Many people consider your gut microbiome as your immune system’s first line of defense — and for good reason. Did you know your gut lining is home to nearly 70% of the cells making up your immune system? It’s what makes a healthy gut microbiome so important. Your gut microbiome consists of all the bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungus, and mold living in your gut. It’s believed that a healthy gut is home to about 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. Maintaining this balance is essential to everyday health. The gut barrier helps keep out pathogens and bad bacteria, while letting in nutrients, water, and electrolytes. Any issue with the gut barrier causes toxins from the outside environment to enter the gut, which is where it starts wreaking havoc on the body.
What Is Metatranscriptomic Sequencing Technology?
Viome utilizes metatranscriptomic sequencing technology, which allows them to see every single microorganism inside your body. It’s a revolutionary process that’s capable of sequencing the gut microbiome in as little as a few weeks—that process used to take 15 years. By breaking down your gut microbiome, Viome analyzes the way your gut works and where it can improve. Metatranscriptomic sequencing technology gives them the data they need to see if you’re processing nutrients properly, if you’re eating too much of something, or not enough of something. Viome also utilizes Pathway Analysis & Translational Science to help personalize and specialize scores that showcase the current state of someone’s gut health.
How Does Artificial Intelligence Help?
Metatranscriptomic sequencing technology and translational science aren’t the only two technologies they use in their service. Artificial intelligence plays a vital role in helping them improve their service over time for each individual customer. They use AI when finding patterns in your body Gene expression data, knowledge-based reasoning, and machine learning play a major role in the process. Ultimately, your results are put through a never-ending cycle of utilizing the latest knowledge and technology to improve the recommendations every time you take a test.
Can You Trust Viome?
There are a lot of supplement companies that throw together a one-size-fits all formula and call it a day. They generally don’t have any scientists or health professionals on board and simply utilize what they see on the internet. The good news with Viome is that’s not them. In fact, they have a scientific advisory board that consists of five experts in their fields. Here’s a quick rundown of who they are, that way you feel a little more comfortable about what this service is offering:
- Alessio Fasano – W. Allan Walker Chair of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Chief of Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.
- Daniel Kraft – Physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, innovator, and Chair of Medicine and Neuroscience at Singularity University.
- Andrew McCallum – Professor and Director of the Information Extraction and Synthesis Laboratory, Director of Center for Data Science in the College of Information and Computer Science at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
- Ray Kurzweil – Inventor, thinker, computer scientist, entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, and Google’s Chief Futurist.
- Emeran Mayer – Physician-scientist, UCLA Professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Psychiatry. Executive Director of G. Oppenheimer Center for Neurobiology of Stress and Resilience, and Co-director of CURE: Digestive Diseases Research Center.
Viome also has a Chief Translational Science Officer, Chief Science Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Vice President, Chief Technology Officer, and Chief Executive Officer onboard to ensure everything runs smoothly. It’s clear their product is held to a high standard.
As we mentioned above, there are four main products available in the Viome shop — the Gut Intelligence test, the Health Intelligence test, Precision Probiotics + Prebiotics, and Precision Supplements Complete. The Health Intelligence test includes the same gut analysis as the Gut Intelligence test, except it adds a wide range of analysis for the entire body. The two supplement packages are monthly subscriptions. The Precision Supplements Complete is equipped with the Health Intelligence test, and the Precision Probiotics + Prebiotics is equipped with the Gut Intelligence test.
Let’s take a closer look at each one, including the Viome app — which comes with all of them.
1. Gut Intelligence Test
Viome’s Gut Intelligence test is an at-home stool test that provides you with a deep analysis of your gut microbiome health and microbial gene expression. You only need to provide a small, pea-sized sample of your stool, and it can be from any time of the day. Everything you need is sent directly to your home. All you do is collect the sample, package it back up, and ship it back to Viome. They’ll analyze the results and make them available on their app. Don’t worry; the results are only accessible to you and you only. What you end up with is a group of scores that are based on a wide variety of factors. This includes inflammatory activity, overall gas production, protein fermentation, intestinal barrier health, digestive efficiency, and metabolic fitness. The results also look at a wide range of metabolism and production pathways for oxalate, butyrate, uric acid, putrescine, biofilm, chemotaxis, virulence, bile acid, TMA, salt stress, LPS biosynthesis, methane gas, sulfide gas, flagellar assembly, and ammonia. With the results, Viome creates a 90-day nutrition plan that includes superfoods you need to start paying more attention to, nutrients you need more of, food you should avoid, and food you should consume less of. It’ll also detail a list of supplements you should consider adding to your daily regimen. The test is normally available for $299, but it’s currently on sale for just $129!
2. Health Intelligence Test
The Health Intelligence test is a much more extensive and comprehensive test than the previous one. It provides everything included in the Gut Intelligence test (microbial gene expression), but it also includes human and mitochondrial gene expression. It takes what is learned from the Gut Intelligence test and learns how those results are impacting other areas of the body. In order to do this, they ask you to provide both a stool and blood sample. Don’t worry; it’s an easy process that’s non-intrusive, quick, and everything that you need is included. In addition to the results related to gut microbiome health, the Health Intelligence test adds mitochondrial health, cellular health, biological age, stress response, immune system health, and much more. It then gives you even more accurate food and supplement recommendations. Again, all the results are available on the app. While this test normally costs a whopping $599, it’s currently on sale for just $199!
3. Precision Prebiotics & Probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics are popular within the health and wellness world. The Precision Prebiotics & Probiotics from Viome is a monthly subscription that acts as the big brother to the Gut Intelligence test. When you sign up for the subscription, you’re immediately sent a Gut Intelligence test that must be taken before they can continue. It’s the same test, same process, and you receive the same results as the Gut Intelligence test we described above. The difference is when you receive your nutritional recommendations, Viome immediately starts formulating a personalized probiotic and prebiotic supplement regimen for you to take daily. Once the formula is ready, the supplements are sent to you every month; that way, you don’t have to go out and buy them yourself. You know they’re coming from a trusted source, and you know they’re the supplements your body desperately needs daily. They choose between over 60 different strains of prebiotics and probiotics, which is much more than the supplements you see on the market today. It should be noted that it’s an annual plan that you sign up for. The good news is it only costs $60 per month. It might look like a lot on the surface, but you have to consider what you’re getting. By the end of the year, it’ll end up costing you around $700 — but it’s also a full year of personalized supplements. Not to mention you receive an initial Gut Intelligence test, as well as another one six months later. They also give you discounts on other tests if you want to take them sooner.
4. Precision Supplements
Much like the Precision Prebiotics + Probiotics are the ‘big brother’ to the Gut Intelligence test, the Precision Supplements subscription is the ‘big brother’ to the Health Intelligence test. It’s their most comprehensive package and helps your body improve itself in a variety of areas. You start out with the Health Intelligence test, which gives you all the benefits described above. Once you receive the results, they start formulating a supplement regimen that you follow daily — just like the other subscription. The difference is what they supplement you with. They still include the prebiotics and probiotics to improve your gut health, but they add in vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and food extracts to enhance the benefits. Since Viome knows your microbial, human, and mitochondrial gene expression, you know they all have the right supplements and all the right dosages. Of course, you must be prepared to spend a pretty penny with this monthly subscription. It costs $199 per month and is designed for people that are serious about maintaining a healthy gut and healthy body.
5. Viome App
The Viome app adds a world of accessibility and overall value to the Viome experience. It brings all your test results, analysis, and recommendations under a single roof. You can access it via an app on your smartphone or via an internet browser, which means it’s available anytime and anywhere. Everything is listed in an organized manner, it’s extremely easy to follow, and you won’t get lost in the process. They add a section that includes resources to ensure you understand what you’re reading and why they’re recommending certain things. Better yet, this is something only you can see!
Viome Pros vs. Cons
It doesn’t matter what service, subscription, or supplement you’re talking about, there are going to be things you like and don’t like about anything. It’s especially true with supplements because there are so many companies out there lacking quality and passion in their product. Since there’s a lot going on with Viome, we’re going to sum it all up in a simple pro vs. cons list. It helps when determining whether or not a supplement is right for you. With the cost being so high with this one, it’s important you feel comfortable making this purchase before you come to a decision.
- They utilize Metatranscriptomic Sequencing Technology, Translational Science, and Artificial Intelligence to bring you precise results.
- The supplements are sent directly to your house monthly.
- In addition to supplements, you receive a nutrition plan and other recommendations.
- You become knowledgeable about your body and what it needs to be healthy.
- Gut Intelligence test is one of the best at-home microbiome tests available today.
- Health Intelligence test helps you improve your entire body, including your gut.
- The subscription offers you a new test every 6 months to ensure the supplements stay personalized long-term.
- Measures the health of your gut microbiome, cells, mitochondria, immune system, stress response, and biological age.
- Company is packed with scientists, doctors, health professionals, and other industry experts.
- Extremely expensive, no matter which route you go.
- Artificial intelligence helps, but it’s not perfect, and there can still be some human error involved in the testing process.
- Have to wait several weeks for the results to come back, which means waiting weeks for your supplement.
- Health Intelligence test requires you to take up to 8 pills per day.
- Need to stick with the recommendations to receive the best results, including the food and beverage recommendations.
Claims vs. Reality
As you search through the Viome website and learn more about what they offer, you come across a wide range of claims about their microbiome testing and supplement service. The good news is they are driven by science and innovation, so a majority of those claims are backed by the truth. A lot of supplement companies can’t say the same, especially since they offer a one-size-fits all solution. Since every human body is unique, it’s impossible to create one supplement that works for everyone. Instead, you must understand each individual’s microbiome to give clear and precise recommendations. Adding in the Gut Intelligence test and Health Intelligence test, Viome is able to deliver exactly what your body needs to function properly. It’s your sample, which means they’re your results. Nothing can get in the way of that. Of course, there’s always a way to improve and that’s what Viome is doing every single day. Their technology isn’t perfect, but they utilize some of the best technology out there and it’s very difficult to compete with that.
Believe it or not, Viome isn’t the only company out there providing a service like this. With that said, they’re certainly one of the best of their kind, if not the best. A lot of that has to do with the technology they use, especially since most microbiome testing companies don’t have access to it. Some of the other companies out there include uBiome, Biohm, American Gut, and Thryve. With Viome using Metatranscriptomic Sequencing Technology, Translational Science, and Artificial Intelligence, a majority of these other companies utilize 16S sequencing and metagenomic analysis. Don’t worry; we’ll deep-dive into each of those technologies below. We’ll also mention a one-size-fits all solution that might be attractive to those that don’t want to provide a stool or blood sample.
1. 16S Sequencing
16S Sequencing is often used to identify, classify, and quantify the microbes living in complex biological mixtures — which includes marine water samples and the human gut microbiome. Unlike Metatranscriptomic Sequencing Technology, 16S Sequencing only identifies a fraction of the gut bacteria and can’t identify non-bacterial microorganisms. It also sequences DNA from dead microorganisms and food, opposed to RNA from live microorganisms — like Viome’s technology does. In addition to that, 16S Sequencing has a low resolution, is unreliable and inaccurate, doesn’t measure microbial gene functions, and doesn’t assess what the microbes are doing — all of which are available with Viome.
2. Metagenomic Analysis
Metagenomic analysis is a step above 16S Sequencing, but still doesn’t quite measure up to what Viome has to offer. A metagenomic analysis can’t identify RNA viruses or RNA bacteriophages. It also sequences DNA (opposed to RNA), which can come from dead microorganisms (opposed to live ones). In addition to that, a metagenomic analysis doesn’t assess what the microbes are doing, it won’t measure microbial gene functions, and the results are partially-biased due to the lack of RNA testing. It will, however, provide high resolution testing down to the species level — unlike 16S Sequencing.
3. Seed Synbiotic Subscription
We understand that some people want supplements without having to do a stool or blood test, especially since it takes several weeks to get results and then another week to get the supplements. Don’t worry; we’ve got an option that’s perfect for you – Seed Synbiotic. Seed is a subscription service that costs $50 per month and sends you a synbiotic supplement — which is one that contains both prebiotics and probiotics. There’s no annual plan and it can be purchased on a pure month-to-month basis. You receive one bottle each month. Every bottle has 60 supplements and you take two daily — opposed to the 8 daily with Viome. The probiotics are categorized into different benefits including digestive health, skin health, heart health, and micronutrient synthesis. To make it even more attractive, they utilize a 2-in-1 capsule that’s designed to delay the release of the probiotics. Since your body receives the prebiotics first, your body is already equipped with the fuel your probiotics need to thrive.
Final Verdict: Viome
At-home microbial gene sequencing and testing is still a rather new concept when compared to what other supplement companies provide. Since most only provide a one-size-fits-all solution, Viome is automatically a step above the rest. The fact that they utilize more effective and accurate tests than their competitors is just a cherry on top. I really like what Viome offers and their dedication to innovation will propel them to further improvements as technology catches up to their vision. If you’re dealing with major gut issues, it’s always best to see a doctor directly to get to the bottom of it. If you’re simply looking for ways to improve your gut health and set yourself up for sustained health, Viome is an excellent option.