At-home microbiome tests offer health and diet insights
The 40 trillion microorganisms that make up the gut microbiome impact more than just digestion. These tiny powerhouses have been implicated in regulating the immune system, maintaining optimal health, and even controlling emotions. While cracking the code of the microbiome hasn’t historically been available to the masses, new at-home tests are bringing people ever closer to hacking their personal health.
By sequencing the RNA in a person’s stool, Viome can identify and quantify all of the living microorganisms in their gut—bacteria, bacteriophages, archaea, fungi, yeast, parasites, and more—at the species and strain level. It’s also the first test to identify viruses in the gut, which can lead to inflammation. The company combines these results with other findings to identify the ideal ratio of proteins, carbohydrates and fats an individual should be eating and pinpoint foods that are most compatible with their metabolism to help them maintain a healthy weight, increase energy and focus, and more. The high-quality results come at a high price—yearly kits cost $399.
Unlike Viome, Habit tests blood rather than stool to provide users with dietary recommendations based on their DNA profile. Users with 23andMe accounts connect results from Habit’s metabolism test for $199, or those without an account can get a DNA and metabolism test for $299. Once results are in, customers can sign up for the company’s meal plan and have food crafted specifically for their genes delivered to their door.
Ixcela’s $299 test looks at the levels of 12 unique small molecule metabolites that have been shown through clinical studies to be associated with gut microbiome health. In addition to science-based testing, the company offers tailored dietary recommendations, supplements, and probiotics, all designed to bolster gut bacteria and reduce the potential for illness and disease. The brand also worked to improve the health of the athletes of ORACLE TEAM USA at this year’s America’s Cup.