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

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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, that 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 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 the 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

We ranked companies based on reputation, the reliability of results, the type of information you get in your results, pricing, customer support and other factors.

Viome Review

#1

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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. Viome’s website has detailed result examples to give you an idea of the information you’ll receive. Unlike uBiome and American Gut, Viome doesn’t compare your gut composition with any database, so you won’t know how your gut makeup compares to others.

Pros

Cons

  • Analyzes more types of microorganisms than other tests
  • Nationally-accredited CLIA 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
  • Scientific Advisory Board includes leading doctors, scientists and experts from Harvard, UCLA and more
  • Website doesn’t explain how you collect your sample
  • Doesn’t have its own database for comparison (or compare against other databases)
  • Some users feel that they received generic (common sense) advice that isn’t specific
  • No access to your raw data

Pricing

Coupon

Viome often has prices discounted off of MSRP on Amazon.

Read Our In-Depth Review of Viome

Thryve Review

#2

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Thryve launched its testing service in early 2017 and has had a good track record since its inception. Their 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 no longer sell non-personalized probiotic supplements via their website, but we found some available on Amazon (see pricing section below).

Pros

Cons

  • Simple, at-home swab with mail-in envelope
  • Nationally certified lab
  • Get results in 2-3 weeks via their app
  • Offers personalized probiotics that are non-GMO, gluten-free, egg-free and corn-free
  • Mostly positive reviews for customer support
  • Scientific Advisory Board includes leading doctors, scientists, and nutrition experts from Stanford, Harvard, UC-Davis and more
  • 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
  • No pricing for personalized probiotics on website (you can only see pricing once you’ve done your test and get recommendations)

Pricing

Coupon

Thryve often has prices discounted off of MSRP on Amazon.

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. Like Thryve, 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

  • 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)

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from American Gut.

Other Gut Microbiome Company Reviews

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 | uBiome

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. 

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

  • $179.99 for 1 gut test kit and written personalized plan
  • $219.99 for 1 gut test kit and live consult with nutritionist
  • $32.99-$89.99 per probiotic supplement
  • View all options

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from BIOHM.

uBiome Review

uBiome used to be the top contender for gut microbiome testing. But unfortunately, uBiome is no longer in business. They filed bankruptcy in September of 2019 after undergoing an FBI investigation into their business practices and other problems.

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 — we’ve seen many positive customer reviews about this product. It claims to relieve a host of health issues including heartburn, leaky gut and migraines and soothes gluten intolerance. Read our review of Restore for Gut Health to learn more.

Other At-Home Health Testing Kits

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.

Also, check out our review of Everlywell, a company that offers a wide range of at-home testing kits to check your metabolism, food sensitivities, vitamin and hormone levels and much more.

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

About The Author:

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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Jason
It looks as though uBiome may have gone under after filing for bankruptcy in September.
Tom
Do you know if Viome provides the equivalent to either the Ubiome Excel Spreadsheet Taxonomy list of bacteria and archaea found or the Ubiome Taxonomy Tree found in Ubiome “Advanced” which shows the same data in a tree that can be collapsed or expanded? Does Viome provide this data in any way?