However, not all at-home tests are created equal and not all of them have substantial science to back them. This is why it is important to take a look at the validity of the test you are taking.
What is Viome?
Viome is one of many companies that focuses on analyzing their user’s gut microbiome. This group includes companies like Zoe, Biohm, Habit, Flore, and DayTwo. The Viome testing aims to provide the user with insights into their biological age, gut health, oral health, and other things based on their gut microbiome. Since research shows that the status of the microbiome is dynamic, Viome recommends testing every 4-6 months. Their analysis looks into the microorganisms and their activity in the gut. They state that each test will include updated health scores, recommendations, and formulas.
Most of the cells we carry in our body are actually not human. We have trillions of microbial cells that work in a symbiotic relationship with us. The healthy functioning of our skin, eyes, immune system, and many organs are dependent on these little guests. Our digestive system requires a healthy microbiome for it to work properly, and many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, and even depression, have been attributed to microbiome disruptions.
The microbiome is highly dynamic though and widely different from person to person and it is affected by where we live, what we eat, how we exercise, and a large number of other parameters. Furthermore, microorganisms do not operate in a vacuum, and they interact with each other, which further complicates an objective assessment of what an individual might need to reach a “healthy microbiome”, for which there is no consensus definition.
A microbiome analysis requires users to send stool samples so that the company can extract the microorganisms contained in them and identify some of them via genetic sequencing. The company assesses the “health” of the microbiome and makes nutritional recommendations and/or offers supplements to “restore balance”.
What is GenoPalate?
Through our extensive research and analysis, we have identified key markers in your DNA that can influence your nutritional needs. These markers provide insights into how your body processes certain nutrients, such as vitamin D or protein. By understanding your genetic variations, we can tailor nutrition recommendations specifically for you.
Furthermore, these genetic markers have been linked to various health outcomes dependent on the intake of certain nutrients. For example, individuals with certain genetic variants may experience improved heart health or weight management when they adjust their Omega-3 intake in their diet to match their body's unique nutritional needs.
We compile these insights into our proprietary algorithm, which generates a set of 23 personalized nutrition recommendations. Additionally, we provide insights into your sensitivity to alcohol, caffeine, lactose, and gluten. Your DNA-tailored nutrition needs are then used to score the nutrient content of foods in our extensive database, offering you a list of optimal foods to incorporate into your diet.
While there are many fundamental differences between GenoPalate and Viome, the main difference is that we look at your genetic information while Viome looks at your gut’s microorganisms. We analyze your DNA. That measurement is very reliable and the sequence information obtained from it is static, meaning that it will not change regardless of age, disease, and habits. Your DNA sequence will be the same at age 1 and 100. Based on peer-reviewed scientific studies, we use certain variations in your genome to make recommendations that will help you with different health aspects.
Viome on the other hand looks at the RNA of your microbiome to identify some of the microorganisms you have in your gut at a given time. That data does change and requires repeated measurements. It will be affected by the time of day you sample, where you live, if you’ve had the flu, and many other factors.
Will GenoPalate offer a microbiome test?
The truth is that as promising as the field is, it is still in its infancy, and there is a lot we just do not understand about the microbiome. At this point, GenoPalate recognizes the important role that the microbiome plays in our health but considers that there is not enough sound scientific evidence yet to offer personalized solutions based on such an analysis.
While there are many take-home tests that you can utilize to gain insights into your health, it is still important to take a deeper look into their validity before making any major changes.
The primary difference between GenoPalate and Viome is that GenoPalate looks into genetic information while Viome looks at your gut’s microorganisms for that given time. Again, your DNA will not change while your microbiome will be affected by outside factors and will be in constant change.
With the current body of evidence, if you have concerns regarding your microbiome, the research supports consuming foods that contain probiotics such as fermented foods. It also suggests including prebiotic foods which are fiber-filled foods such as fruits and vegetables in addition to reducing added sugars and saturated fats. Ultimately it is up to you if you choose to take any of these take-home tests, just make sure to do a little research beforehand!