The last decade or so has seen scientists uncover information about the role of the microbiome in health optimization. The microbiome is the microscopic community of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that live on us and in us. A rich diversity of these microbes are essential for our well being. They perform important functions including digestion, nutrient synthesis, defence against unhealthy microbes, and clearing out dead tissue during cell renewal.
Finding this cutting edge health technology fascinating, led me to order a stool analysis kit from Viome. Viome is a company that focuses on gut and digestive health. They sequence the gut microbiome, from stool samples, and provide personalized nutrition recommendations for their clients.
The kit included easy to follow instructions and everything needed, for simple, hygienic and efficient stool sample collection. Within a couple of weeks of returning the sample, an individualised food list, tailored towards the health of my microbiome landed on my new Viome app.
Human gut bacteria is more unique than their genes
Viome’s unique technology allows the gut microbiome, to be viewed at ultra high resolution showing only a 5% similarity to other peoples’ microbiome. Viome state that other commonly available technologies indicate a 97% similarity. To put that into perspective, imagine standing at the top of the Empire State Building. If you have exceptional eye site you may be able to make out some humans walking around below. Zooming in with a telescope should enable you to distinguish between the folks you’re looking at – what they are wearing, where they are heading, whether they are sitting, or standing, and so on. That’s the power of Viome’s technology which isn’t currently available elsewhere. It illustrates that each of us are uniquely different when it comes to the microbiome – as mentioned there is only about 5% commonality between humans’ gut flora. That compares to 99% commonality between human DNA.
Yes you read that right. We humans are more unique when it comes to our gut bacteria, than when it comes to our genes. So why is this so important? Well first of all, it explains why NO DIET FITS ALL. Different microbes have different requirements for survival, and whereas some may thrive on one type of food, others may produce toxins in the presence of that same food. A thriving friendly microbial community is beneficial for our health because in unison they control our emotions and views of the world, they generate energy, help us synthesize vitamins such as K and B12, and can affect many conditions including autism, ADD, cancer, obesity, diabetes, lupus, Parkinson’s and MS.
Viome claim that they can accurately measure all changes in our gut microbiome and quantify its biochemical activities. They are able to create precise and personalized recommendations of food and nutrients to heal our gut and offset chronic conditions.
Based on the full analysis of my gut microbiome, Viome have provided me with a simplified food recommendation list, that enables me to confidently choose foods that will help my body thrive.
The list is split into 4 categories: My Superfoods; Enjoy; Limit; Avoid. This, and other information, including a wellness overview, featuring inflammatory activity, and metabolic fitness, is provided in an app associated with the kit.
Before this analysis I considered my diet to be extremely healthy. Yet based upon how my microbes are behaving, I have been advised to hold off some of these food choices for now.
In my next post I will talk about why it is so important to maintain the health of the microbes inside your gut, and in a future post I will explain a little more about Viome’s work.