This is currently the latest information available about Viome (as of May 2019). As new features and services become available I will update them here. Notice something missing or outdated? Let me know!
The connection between gut health and overall wellness has been understood for thousands of years.
Our microbiomes contain more than 40 trillion microorganisms(!) and more and more research is uncovering impact of gut health on everything from inflammation, to obesity, to metabolic illnesses, to psychiatric disorders. In fact, our microbiomes have a greater impact on our health, performance, and longevity than our genetics!
Only recently has technology enabled us to quantify what is happening inside our guts. Add to this rapid advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and you can see the enormous potential to revolutionize the way we optimize wellness.
What if you were able to get detailed insights into your gut health, translated into actionable wellness recommendations like personalized nutrition? That’s exactly what Viome has set out to accomplish.
What is Viome?
Viome is a cutting-edge service that analyzes your microbiome and metabolism, then applies sophisticated machine learning to make personal nutritional recommendations to optimize your wellness. Viome is able to see every strain of organisms, their activity, and whether they are producing nutrients or toxins inside the gut in order to generate personalized recommendations using a combination of two key technologies:
- Metatranscriptomic Sequencing Technology: Viome’s technology comes out of Los Alamos National Lab, where it was being used in national security research to identify sources of potential biological attacks by doing complete sequencing of victims’ microbiomes.
- Artificial Intelligence: “Vie,” Viome’s AI engine, runs multiple analyses of data across their massive database of information that has been trained with data from selected peer-reviewed scientific literature, expert knowledge from our team of scientists, biological testing, and customer feedback.
Viome was founded by serial entrepreneur (and billionaire) Naveen Jain, who also co-founded Moon Express (attempting to land the first private spacecraft on the moon).
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Viome Home Test Kit
Update: Viome’s home test kit originally included a metabolic test in addition to the gut intelligence test, but is no longer included/required.
The Viome test kit you receive in the mail contains a gut intelligence test*, along with some questionnaires to be completed via the Viome app or website to collect additional information used to tailor your recommendations (such as age, gender, current diet, allergies, supplements, symptoms, lifestyle).
(* According to Viome’s website, they are in the final phases of incorporating blood transcriptomics and urine metabolomics data into their algorithm as well.)
💩 Gut Intelligence Test
Poop. Yes, that’s what they mean by “gut test” (we’re all grownups here, right?). You place the provided adhesive toilet liner over your toilet to collect your “business,” then you retrieve a tiny sample that is placed into a collection tube. It’s easier than it sounds. You then scan the code on the tube using the Viome app and mail it back using the prepaid envelope.
My Viome Results
A few weeks after submitting my gut intelligence sample and completing my questionaires, my results showed up in my Viome app (you can access your Viome results via both mobile app and website, as well as export a PDF).
Microbiome Overview Scores
Viome’s results include several scores based on their analysis of your sample. Something to keep in mind is that our microbiome is always changing, so if you submitted your sample immediately after an international trip (exposing your body to different foods, bacteria, etc.) or an illness, the results presented may not present your current state.
Metabolic Fitness Score
Viome’s metabolic fitness score reflects your microbiome’s activities and functions related to weight and blood sugar regulation. The higher the score, the better. My results (at the time my sample was submitted) show I had “average” metabolic fitness. Not optimal, but not bad, so room to improve!
Inflammatory Activity Score
Viome’s inflammatory activity score assesses your microbiome’s activities and functions related to inflammation. Microbial inflammation patterns may be sometimes associated with inflammation in your body, which, to various degrees, is a known common underlying factor in many chronic diseases (but a less than optimal score does not necessarily indicate that there is inflammation in other parts of your body). In this case, the lower the score, the better. Again, my score was “average.”
Gut Ecosystem Scores
Microbial Richness Score
Viome’s microbial richness score reflects the total number of active species of different types of bacteria in your sample. Higher richness can contribute to the ability of your microbiome to perform a larger variety of functions. Once again, my score was “average,” but closer to the low end. I have spent the past 6 years working on restoring my gut health, so while not ideal I am in a much better place, as reflected in my “advanced” microbiome activity view:
Microbiome Activity Score
While these scores provide an interesting summary of one’s wellness status, it would be helpful to get more insight into exactly what factors contribute to/detract from each of the scores.
Additional Scores (coming soon):
In addition to the scores above, according to Viome’s website they plan on adding the following scores to their results:
- Digestive Efficiency Score: your microbiome’s reflection of your digestive processes (aim for a higher score).
- Detox Potential Score: your microbiome’s ability to mitigate any toxicity or oxidative stress, and whether your microbes are actively detoxifying toxins you may be exposed to (the higher the score the better).
- Gut-Neuro Connection Score: your microbiome’s communication with your nervous system.
My Personalized Viome Recommendations
Ok, here’s the (gluten-free) bread and (almond) butter of Viome’s service – their personalized baseline recommendations. After completing their analysis, Viome provides a set of AI-based, personalized food recommendations:
In my case, they identified that I metabolize carbohydrates very quickly so suggest I will respond best to a diet that stabilizes blood sugar and includes foods higher in healthy fats, includes lots of good quality proteins, and lots of fibrous vegetables. They break down foods into the following categories:
Superfoods: These are your personal go-to foods that offer maximum benefit to improve and maintain wellness. Viome recommends including one or two of your “super-foods” in your diet every day. I was pleasantly surprised with my personal super-foods, as they are staples of my existing diet – kale, cabbage, bone broth, olive oil, and yam/sweet potatoes. The Viome app provides details regarding why each food is a personal superfood.
Enjoy Foods: These are nutrient dense foods that Viome suggests using to build a strong foundation. I had a pretty extensive list here ranging from avocado, to grass-fed beef and lamb, to coffee, green and black tea, to apricot, to banana, to brazil nuts and cashews, to wild-caught salmon and sardines. Even dark and light turkey and chicken were on this list.
Minimize Foods: These are foods that should still be eaten, but within limits. There were many items listed here that I enjoy, such as almonds, white rice, chard, spinach, and zucchini squash.
Avoid Foods: Stay away from these foods. They are your personal kryptonite and may adversely impact your wellness. My list of avoid foods seemed pretty logical with items such as wheat and quinoa. However, there were certain vegetables like green beans and bell peppers that were included. Similar to the superfood section, you can expand each item to see why it was included. It turns out my sample tested positive for several types of plant viruses! They suggest temporarily avoiding these foods for three to four weeks, then re-introducing them to see if any symptoms occur.
I’ve written extensively about my experience (and success) following the Bulletproof diet over the past few years, and although Viome’s recommendations are very much in line with my existing diet, it’s clear based on these recommendations that they want me to eliminate most starchy carbs in favor more fibrous vegetables. So time to minimize white rice with sushi, pad Thai rice noodles, or gluten-free pizza. Also, I’ll swap out any rice-based gluten-free pasta I make at home with chickpea pasta (which also happens to be high in protein).
As for minimizing some things I enjoy, does this mean I have to swear off things I enjoy forever? Probably not. The test results simply indicate that at this moment in time, my body does better without them (or at least keeping them to a minimum).
If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of what’s going on inside your gut, Viome also provides a breakdown of all of the organisms identified in your sample (under “My Microbiome Activity” -> “My Microbes”):
While you are able to filter by microbe type (bacteria, archaea, eukaryotes, probiotics, virus), no additional details are provided about any these organisms.
If Viome detects any microbes that are found in commercially available probiotic products in your sample, they will appear in the “My Microbiome Activity” section. In my case, no probiotics were identified.
My Next Steps and Follow-up Viome Testing
Viome’s annual plan includes one gut intelligence test and updated recommendations based on new insights they discover. However, some people may want to test more frequently based on personal goals. Based on my initial results, I will continue re-testing every six to twelve months to monitor my progress based on Viome’s recommendations. Stay tuned!
Save 50% off of Viome!
Limited time offer.
Use my code QUANTIFIEDBOB10 during checkout