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What is Microbiome Testing?

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Richard Hill
What is Microbiome Testing?

While most of us eat foods recommended by our family, there isn’t any conclusive evidence if the food we eat actually helps the gut. With over 100 trillion microbes in and on us, it is hard to ignore the way they function.  

Microbiota are the total microorganisms in our body. Microbiome refers to the combined genetic information of these microorganisms. They strengthen our immune system, produce vitamins, and also absorb nutrients.

While there are microbiomes on the skin, nose, and other regions, today’s focus is on the gut’s microorganisms. They are influenced by the food we eat, the medicines we take, and the lifestyles we adopt.

The total microorganisms inside the gut of a person are sequenced with the help of their fecal sample using this type of analysis. The concerned laboratory then compares it with a healthy feces specimen using 16s rRNA ribosomal sequencing.

Explore everything surrounding the scientific basis of microbiome testing including a list of five useful health discoveries you can uncover by conducting this analysis on your own system.

Is Microbiome Testing Scientifically Proven?

The natural ecosystem of microorganisms in the body is studied during this testing process. While this offers many insights, the science is not yet conclusive for applications in the personal genomics market.

This is due to the inaccuracy of results that are derived from poorly-sized samples. For testing gut microorganisms, testing companies typically request a fecal sample as large as a grain of rice.

Theoretically, this can merely give a rough idea of gut health. Without sequencing all the microorganisms in your gut, it is impossible to draw accurate conclusions. To put things in perspective, the bacteria inside the mouth amounts to 1% of those in our large intestine. Moreover, the microbiota in the gut undergoes rapid changes based on diet, lifestyle and environment.  

For example, bariatric conditions like obesity were linked to a particular microbiome in the early 2000s. When reanalyzed recently, researchers found discrepancies with the inferences of the previous study. In short, current research doesn’t offer information on any ideal microorganisms that can help universally. It can merely predict variations based on genetics and other factors.

Unless you take progressive samples, this testing type is too dynamic to get a picture of your total intestinal health. According to Jack Gilbert from the University of Chicago, costs can run up to $6,000 when trying to produce meaningful information.

What Can Microbiome Tests Teach Us?

While this analysis form is still in its infancy, one can use it for studying bacterial imbalances, disease risks, and more. Read on to discover five interesting conclusions you can come to after using this testing procedure.

Diversity Of Microbiota

Overgrowth of any one microorganism in the gut is the cause-and-effect of poor gut health. Simply put, if such a test determines diverse-microbes in your gut, it is a sign of good health.

Dietary Suggestions

This testing form determines if your stomach contains good bacteria for digesting common foods.  It’s useful for relieving stomach pain and managing micronutrient synthesis potential. The same can help you determine the right diet for your gut health.

Today, fecal transplants are used with the help of analysis. The transplant substitutes problematic microbiomes with a healthy microbe ecosystem to replenish health.  

Metabolism & Weight Management

The gut microbiota composition is dysfunctional for obese people with metabolic syndrome. That’s why the revelation of metabolites produced by microorganisms is beneficial. By following suggestions from the analysis, one can boost metabolism for managing weight.

Immune System & Disease Risk

Autoimmune conditions like fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis are detectable with this type of analysis. By testing the gut microbiota, doctors can determine the foods that cause inflammation. This helps patients diagnosed with IBD and IBS.

Stress Related Conditions

According to Harvard Medical School, anxiety impacts the contractions of the GI tract. Moreover, better gut health translates to improved levels of dopamine and serotonin.

What Companies Are Conducting Microbiome Testing?

There are many reputable brands offering analysis today due to the high potential of this analysis type. Most also offer dietary recommendations or health warnings.

While you can find insightful information using most gut testing kits, watch out for tests based on unfounded claims.

Among all the testing services, we found one company that completed clinical trials for all its claims. DayTwo is a testing company in this field that offers actionable tasks for diabetes patients.

Conclusion

Testing the microorganisms in your gut can shed light on how the body works. While weight loss is just the tip of the analysis potential, the present tests demand further study and research.

To get a better idea about genes, go for a home DNA analysis test.