Best Gut Microbiome Testing Companies: Viome vs Ubiome vs American Gut & More!

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uBiome logo
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Viome logo
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American Gut logo

What’s in your gut? Scientific advances in the last decade show that a diverse host of microorganisms that live in our digestive systems serve both good and bad roles in our overall health.

If you suffer from chronic stomach problems, are curious about your gut makeup or want to contribute to ongoing DNA research to learn more about your gut microbiome, read on!

Article Overview

What Is The Gut Microbiome?

The gut microbiome is a community of microbes, including bacteria, fungi and archaea, resides in our gastrointestinal (GI) tracts. All of these microbes have specific genes unique to their “bodies,” much like each human has a unique set of genes. Scientists call the full collection of genes of all the microbes in a community a microbiome.

Within each human microbiome, all of the different types of microbes interact with each other — and with their environment (like organisms in Earth’s ecosystems).

Scientists know that a normal, balanced microbiome is essential for maintaining human health, and when a significant shift in that balance occurs, it can contribute to health problems and disease.

What Does Gut Microbiome Testing Involve?

Gut testing involves sequencing the genes of the microbes that reside in your GI (Gastroinestinal) tract. How does this work? To put it plainly, these tests require a sample of your poop.

No, you don’t have to poop in a cup. But these testing kits do require you to take a swab from your used toilet paper and place the swab with your fecal sample in a tube. You seal the tube and send it to the lab in the packaging they provide. This process differs slightly by company.

The lab then does human gut microbiome analysis of your sample and sends you results, typically within four to six weeks, but for some companies results take longer.

Best Gut Microbiome Testing Companies

uBiome Review

#1

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uBiome is the world’s leading microbiome sequencing service, with more than 50 renowned scientists working on the uBiome team from Stanford, Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and other prestigious research universities.

This company’s Explorer tests sequence the DNA of your gut microbes and compare them to 250,000 database samples and specific groups, e.g., you can compare your microbiome to ones of vegans, smokers, people taking antibiotics, etc.

Your results also include a breakdown of the pathogens, commensal bacteria and archaea (single-cell microorganisms) in your microbiome and an overview of how well it’s functioning. Their new ExplorerPlus test also analyzes viruses and fungi and gives you a picture of how your microbiome influences your vitamin levels and metabolism.

If you want to identify pathogens associated with conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s Disease, you can request uBiome’s SmartGut test from your doctor. Make sure your insurance covers the SmartGut test (not all do); otherwise it will run you $2,000+.

Pros

Cons

  • Simple, at-home swab with mail-in envelope
  • ExplorerPlus test analyzes bacteria, fungi, viruses and archaea in your gut
  • More than 250,000 gut samples for comparison
  • Lab is CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited
  • Kits come with an extra swab and tube in case yours gets damaged
  • Can download your raw data
  • Ability to contribute to ongoing scientific research to improve disease diagnostics and treatment
  • ExplorerPlus kit is expensive
  • Several consumer complaints about poor customer service

Pricing

Gut Explorer

Tests one time with one sample

  • $89 single kit
  • $71.20 per month for monthly test delivery

ExplorerPlus

More comprehensive than GutExplorer: includes analysis of viruses and fungi, in-depth probiotic bacteria. Explore how your microbiome influences your vitamin levels and metabolism.

  • $399 per kit

Time Lapse Explorer

Includes three tests so you can test pre, during and post diet-change

  • $199 per kit

Five Site Explorer

Tests from all 5 body information locations (gut, nose, mouth, skin, genitals)

  • $399 single kit
  • $319.20 per month for monthly test delivery

Coupon

Use Coupon Code SPRINGCLEANING2018 to get uBiome Five Site Explorer Kits for $89 (Normally $399)! Click here to get started.

Read Our In-Depth Review of uBiome

Viome Review

#2

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Viome’s Gut Intelligence Test uses metatranscriptomic analysis to sequence all the RNA in your stool and identify all living gut microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, bacteriophages, archaea, fungi, yeast, parasites, etc.) at a species and strain level. They also measure the metabolites your microbes produce after you’ve eaten.

Results include a detailed breakdown of the microorganisms in your gut and a personalized food, nutrition and lifestyle recommendation to improve your gut and overall health. Unlike uBiome and American Gut, Viome doesn’t compare your gut composition with any database, so you won’t know how you compare to others.

Pros

Cons

  • Collect samples yourself at home and mail them in
  • Analyzes more types of microorganisms than other tests
  • Nationally-accredited lab
  • Get results within 3-4 weeks
  • Customers report good experiences with support
  • Some customers feel they’ve been able to improve their digestion, sleep and mood as well as lower inflammation
  • Re-test at a steep discount whenever you’d like
  • Expensive
  • Website doesn’t explain how you collect your sample
  • Doesn’t have its own database for comparison (or compare against other databases)
  • Results can be confusing
  • Some users feel that they received generic (common sense) advice that isn’t specific
  • No access to your raw data

Pricing

  • $399 per Gut Intelligence Test kit

Read Our In-Depth Review of Viome

American Gut Review

#3

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American Gut is a crowd-funded research project co-founded by Dr. Rob Knight, director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at the University of California, San Diego. Their test kit sequences 16S rRNA — an RNA subunit that’s believed to be helpful in identifying bacteria and archaea.

Your results include a report on which bacteria and archaea are present and how your microbiome compares to others in the project database. They also give you information on how your diet and lifestyle may contribute to the makeup of your microbiome.

They share results anonymously in open repositories with other scientists to help further microbiome research around the world, but they remove any possible personally identifying information of participants.

Pros

Cons

  • More affordable than our top 2 picks
  • Simple, at-home swab with mail-in envelope
  • You can sample your stool, skin, or tongue
  • Lab is certified and affiliated with a major U.S. research university
  • In-depth information on website about how they handle your sample in their lab
  • You can view your raw data online
  • You’re contributing to ongoing microbiome research
  • Analysis limited to bacteria and archaea
  • Database is small at roughly 10,000 samples
  • Takes 2 weeks to receive your testing kit and another 3 months to get results
  • Results can be confusing to decipher

Pricing

  • $99 per kit at Fundrazr (click on “Claim this perk” to order your kit)

Other Microbiome Companies

We encourage you to read these additional reviews and compare them to our winners to see what your other options are, as each company’s offering is fairly unique.

BIOHM | Thryve

BIOHM Review

BIOHM logo

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Dr. Mahmoud A. Ghannoum founded BIOHM based on more than 40 years of NIH-backed research into the human microbiome. BIOHM’s gut test sequences the genes of the bacteria and fungi in your gut.

Your results include a profile of your gut makeup and a comparison to normal levels of bacterial strains from the NIH Human Microbiome Project and fungal strains from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

You can also receive diet and lifestyle recommendations from a registered nutritionist for an additional fee. BIOHM also sells their own probiotics, which are engineered to address the critical role fungus plays in digestive health.

BIOHM also offers a candida test. Candida is a fungus (a type of yeast) that lives in your mouth and intestines. It aids in digestion at healthy levels, but it often overgrows. Having too much candida in your gut can lead to many health problems ranging from digestive issues to depression.

Pros

Cons

  • Simple, at-home swab with mail-in envelope
  • You can consult with a registered nutritionist for diet and lifestyle advice
  • Lab is certified and affiliated with a major U.S. research university
  • Their probiotics generally get good customer reviews
  • Doesn’t have its own database
  • Results are too scientific and can be confusing for most people
  • Up to 6 weeks to get results
  • Some consumers complain about them pushing their products too much

Price

  • $129.99 per Candida test kit and personalized plan
  • $139.99 per Gut test kit and personalized plan
  • $179.99 for 1 Gut test kit and live consult with nutritionist
  • $199.99 for 1 Gut test kit, live consult and 1 probiotic supplement
  • $39.99 per probiotic supplement
  • View all options

Thryve Review

Thryve logo

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Thryve is a newcomer to this industry, launching its testing service in early 2017. Like American Gut, Thryve’s gut bacteria test kit sequences 16S rRNA to discover which bacteria live in your gut down to a species level.

Your results include a report of the makeup of your bacterial microbiome, including which healthy bacteria are low and which known pathogens are high. You also get a “wellness score” based on how your results compare to data from the American Gut Project.

Thryve differs from other companies we review here in that you get a personalized daily dietary and supplement recommendations. They sell probiotic supplements for general health, gut health, weight management and immune support, with free shipping.

Pros

Cons

  • Simple, at-home swab with mail-in envelope
  • Scientific Advisory Board includes leading doctors, scientists, and nutrition experts from Stanford, Harvard, UC-Davis and more
  • Offers personalized probiotics for purchase
  • Mostly positive reviews for customer support
  • New testing service
  • Only tests for bacteria and no other microbes (no archaea, viruses or fungi)
  • They compare against American Gut’s database of samples, which is relatively small
  • Probiotic supplements are expensive

Pricing

  • $105 per gut health test
  • $135 for 1 gut health test and personalized probiotic
  • $39 per bottle for personalized probiotic
  • View all options

How Can I Keep My Gut Healthy?

Check out this brief video for tips on how to keep your gut microbiome healthy, according to an expert at UCLA.

Can Probiotics Help?

If you’re frequently suffering from digestive problems or have a diagnosed condition, the right probiotics can make a difference in improving your gut microbiome. Proceed carefully, however, as there are plenty of products on the market that either don’t work, or are downright detrimental to your health.

Two of the companies we review, BIOHM and Thryve, sell their own engineered probiotics. Another excellent choice is Restore for Gut Health, for which we’ve seen many positive reviews from customers. It claims to relieve a host of health issues including heartburn, leaky gut, and migraines, and soothes gluten intolerance. Read our review of Restore to learn more.

Are There Other DNA Tests For Health?

Gut microbiome testing is just one of a handful of at-home DNA tests you can take to discover more about your overall health. If you’re interested in what else you can learn, be sure to read our article on the best DNA testing for health reasons. We include reviews of the most popular health-related DNA tests, including 23andMe, TeloYears and more.

Do you have any diet, lifestyle, or supplement recommendations to improve digestive problems?

Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.
An international traveler since she was under 10 years old, Sally loves exploring the world’s mysteries first hand. Her favorite destinations? Greece and the British Virgin Islands. She grew up learning to question, explore, and discover new things and ideas — it’s probably why she went into journalism as a career! She loves what the Internet has brought to research and exploration, but she still hits the ground to travel whenever she gets the chance.

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