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Does Viome help improve gut health?


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Viome is a health testing company that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze an individual’s gut biology to gain insights into their health. The service offers personalized food recommendations and made-to-order supplements according to these test results. However, there is currently little reliable evidence to show that Viome’s products are effective.

Viome is a health testing company based in Washington, United States that started in 2016.

On July 8, 2021, the company renamed itself Viome Life Sciences and separated into two divisions, with one focusing on products and supplements and the other on advancing research on chronic diseases.

Viome uses AI to analyze microbes and mRNA from samples and uses a gene expression database to identify chronic diseases and other health concerns, such as cancer and aging.

The company aims to help people understand their body and their health better through these tests.

According to the company website, Viome is focused on the prediction of illnesses, early diagnostics, providing health outlooks, and offering precision therapeutics, which refers to individualized nutrition for health conditions.

Viome has accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has an A+ rating on the platform.

However, the company has a score of 1.4 out of 5 stars from 31 customer reviews. It has resolved 32 complaints over the last 3 years.

On Trustpilot, there are only five reviews for Viome, which has an average rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Positive user reviews mention improvements in conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The majority of the negative reviews mention delayed test results, difficulty getting refunds, poor customer service, and problems with registration.

Viome utilizes AI and RNA sequencing to identify and quantify microorganisms, including strains and species of parasites, viruses, bacteria, and yeast, to gain a detailed insight into a person’s gut microbiome.

The tests also analyze how these microorganisms function and the metabolites they produce. Viome then uses these microorganisms to control the function of a person’s gut microbiome to help reduce chronic diseases.

The company claims to do this by offering food and lifestyle recommendations and supplements according to a person’s test results, including prebiotics, probiotics, and vitamins that Viome specifically formulates for individuals.

Viome has sponsored several reports that are currently available as preprint papers but not yet peer-reviewed at the time of publishing this article.

The research includes a 2021 report that showed precision nutrition improved clinical outcomes in people with anxiety, IBS, depression, and type 2 diabetes. Another report from 2020 showed how gut microbiome activity, in addition to anthropometric factors — such as height, weight, and body mass index — and food composition, affects glycemic response among adults. Glycemic response is an essential factor in blood sugar management and reducing the risk for chronic metabolic diseases.

Finally, a peer reviewed 2019 study demonstrates the accuracy and effectiveness of Viomega, a stool analysis method that Viome developed.

However, the research disclosed that all of the authors for these three studies were Viome employees, while the company itself sponsored all the reports. This constitutes a conflict of interest, meaning the conclusions in these studies are subject to bias. As a result, their findings may not be reliable.

Several studies that Viome had not carried out have shown that healthcare professionals could utilize gut microbial biomarkers in the early diagnosis of diseases. For instance, a 2017 study found these indicators could help diagnose early hepatocellular carcinoma.

Additionally, a similar 2021 study stated measuring gut microbes can help improve methods of assigning levels of risk to people with heart failure. This study also reported that measuring gut microbes could also identify individuals likely to respond positively to personalized diet and drug therapy that target the gut microbiome.

A 2019 two-part review stated that a strategic manipulation of the gut microbiota through dietary strategies, such as the use of fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics, are known methods to improve health and prevent disease. It also noted that healthcare professionals could use an individual’s microbiota to see how responsive they may be to dietary interventions.

Viome may suit people who want a comprehensive understanding of their unique microbiome makeup to make personalized dietary and lifestyle changes according to their health concerns.

Viome claims its test results may benefit people with the following conditions:

Viome also states people who wish to check for early signs of diseases and certain types of cancer may also benefit from their tests.

Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.

A person can choose from two tests and two different subscription plans, depending on the add-ons they wish to access with their purchase.

Tests

There are two Viome tests available.

Health Intelligence Test

For this test, a person provides blood and stool samples for testing to analyze their gut microbiome and gene expression. The individual then receives health scores that measure their stress and immune response and mitochondrial and cellular health. These health scores also determine if a person’s biological age is on par with their chronological age.

Gut Intelligence Test

A person provides a stool sample for this test, which it uses to analyze their gut microbiome health. The individual then receives a report recommending foods and supplements to benefit and optimize their gut health.

Precision Nutrition add-ons

Along with the test, there are nutrition options a person can order with their subscription tests from the service.

Precision Supplements Complete

With this subscription, an individual can access two Health Intelligence tests that the company sends every 6 months. It also comes with a 30-day supply of customized prebiotics, probiotics, and supplements the service delivers monthly.

Precision Probiotics + Prebiotics

With this subscription, an individual can receive one Gut Intelligence Test per year and a 30-day supply of customized prebiotics, probiotics, and supplements in monthly deliveries.

There are various advantages and drawbacks of Viome to consider, including the below.

If a person wishes to explore other companies offering gut microbiome testing, they may wish to consider the following:

  • BIOHM: This company uses DNA sequencing to identify a person’s gut biome. Individuals receive an overall gut score, an analysis of microbe populations in the gut, and recommendations. The service sells supplements separately.
  • DayTwo: DayTwo utilizes various sources of information, including a person’s gut biome analysis, questionnaires, anthropometrics, and food diaries, to generate a unique report that shows their glycemic response.
  • Thryve: This service uses DNA sequencing to gain insights into a person’s gut health. It then creates personalized probiotics, food recommendations, and diet plans.
  • OME Health: OME Health performs microbiome and DNA testing to develop a personalized nutrition coaching program for a person depending on their health goals.
  • ZOE: ZOE checks an individual’s gut health as well as their blood fat and blood sugar responses. The service also has specially formulated muffins to help a person understand their metabolism and use real-time blood sugar sensors.

Individuals looking for home test kits for general wellness, sexual health, or specific assessments for health according to their sex can also consider the following companies:

Some common questions and answers about Viome include the below.

Does Viome really work?

There is some research suggesting microbiome tests could detect a person’s risk of certain diseases. Studies also indicate microbiome tests could help optimize an individual’s gut environment through dietary strategies, including supplementation of probiotics and prebiotics.

However, the studies supporting the efficacy of Viome’s products may not be reliable. Additionally, the company makes health claims that scientific evidence may not back up.

Is it FDA-approved?

Microbiome tests, such as those that Viome offers, do not have approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not meant to diagnose conditions.

However, Viome recently received the FDA Breakthrough Device designation for using its saliva tool as an early screening tool for oral cancers, including oropharyngeal cancer and oral squamous cell carcinoma.

What can a microbiome test tell you?

A microbiome test indicates a person’s gut health by analyzing and identifying the composition of microorganism species in their gut.

This test may also determine the metabolites the microbes produce, which healthcare professionals may use to provide lifestyle and food recommendations to improve an individual’s gut environment.

Viome offers microbiome testing and gene expression analysis to provide individuals with personalized supplementation to improve their gut biodiversity and empower them to improve their nutrition and health.

However, there is little reliable scientific evidence to support the health claims that Viome makes.



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