Searching through endless reviews of microbiome testing companies can be exhausting. That’s where we come in! Using our formatted reviews, you can easily compare different microbiome testing companies side by side.
In this article, we review Viome, an industry-leading microbiome testing company that focuses on nutrition to create better health outcomes for its customers. After sending your sample, Viome will provide you with information about all microbes within your system, as well as a detailed list of foods you should avoid and foods you should eat. These personalized recommendations are based on the unique microbiome in your system. Take a look!
Viome – Advantages and Disadvantages
This brief summary will give you a great overview of our Viome review. Or, you can read the full review below!
- One of the largest microbiome testing companies
- Provides results and recommendations to improve the health of your microbiome
- Suggests foods to avoid, as well as foods to eat more than
- Does not sell any other products, such as supplements or probiotics
- Uses a novel method to measure not only the diversity but also the activity of the microbiome
- Backed by a large team of high-profile scientists
- The company is going through growing pains, so processing times and customer service have suffered
- No discount for additional tests to view time-lapse results
- Some results and recommendations are very simplified
- Not all recommendations are clearly supported by published scientific articles
Our Rating: 91.7%
As for microbiome testing, Viome is a great choice. The company uses metatranscript sequencing to observe the actual products that microbes are synthesizing inside their intestine. In doing so, it takes a very deep look at the different species that are most active, and whether they are beneficial or harmful. The Viome Gut Intelligence test is ready to be an industry leader in the depth of its results and the recommendations it provides have already helped many users control their health. While the few online reviews are slightly negative, this will likely improve as Viome puts her feet on the ground and is fully established as one of the best microbiome testing services.
Essential Data from Viome Review
|Can be used for||Gut Microbiome Testing|
|Microbiome Collection Method||Fecal Swab|
|Microbiome Testing Method||Metatranscriptome Sequencing|
|Availability||Australia, Canada, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, United Kingdom, and the United States, with more countries on the way.|
|Number of users||>100,000|
|Ownership||Naveen Jain, Deepak Savadatti, several venture capital firms|
|Address||10400 NE 4th St. Ste 500Bellevue, WA 98004|
|Client Reviews||1 of 5 Stars with the Better Business BureauD+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau3.7 of 5 Stars on Amazon|
Company Background for Viome
Viome was initiated by Naveen Jain, a multimillionaire from the puntocom era who has started multiple companies. These include InfoSpace, one of the first online phone guides, Intelius, a background information company, TalentWise, another background search company, Moon Express, a lunar mining company, and Bluedot, a company that markets U.S. government research.
Viome is actually a Bluedot spin-off, and has authorized government technology to measure and analyze the microbiome. Jain remains the CEO of Viome, although he divides his time between Viome and his other companies. His partner is Deepak Savadatti, who serves as president of Viome. Viome’s entire leadership team includes many doctors and leaders in the field of genomics and big data. Viome began offering its microbiome tests in 2016, and is starting to make many large-scale partnerships and acquisitions in its quest to create personalized medical care for its customers.
Review of Viome Offers
The company offers a primary test, the Viome Gut Intelligence Test. The test uses metatranscript sequencing to test which microbes within your microbiome are most active, as well as to classify and understand which species of microbes are present. Using this information and its large microbiome database, it can help predict which species are beneficial and which are harmful to your overall nutrition.
The test provides information on weight loss, sleep, mental clarity, digestive problems, skin health and other aspects of your health affected by your nutrition and microbiome. Depending on your individual microbiome, your test results will give you suggestions about which foods to eat and which foods to avoid to maximize beneficial microorganisms in your intestine.
The Viome Gut Intelligence Test costs $ 149, and the platform allows you to order additional tests if you want to observe your microbiome over time. This is extremely useful for people who try to understand their microbiome and make significant lifestyle changes to maximize their bowel health. For example, you can measure your microbiome before and after a change in your diet to see what effects the change had on microorganisms in your intestine.
For an additional $ 49, you can find out which foods you may be allergic to with the food sensitivity intelligence test. This test takes a few drops of blood and measures the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) protein molecules inside the blood. These proteins are created by your immune system to capture and detect substances that can cause damage to your tissues. If you are sensitive to a particular food, eating it will cause inflammation and possibly discomfort or fatigue. The test can help detect your reaction to more than 40 Common Foods.
What Separates Viome From Other Companies in That Regard?
Viome’s general premise is very similar to other microbiome testing companies. They take a sample, analyze the composition of the sample, and compare it to their database to draw conclusions as to how their microbiome could affect their nutrition.
However, Viome uses a special process to analyze your sample. Known as sequencing metatranscriptomas. Other companies use other methods to analyze their sample, including the sequencing of the 16S gene and the metagenomic analysis of shotgun. Both methods are based on DNA testing within your microbiome. On the contrary, the sequencing of metatranscriptomas analyzes the RNA present in the sample.
This is important and beneficial for a couple of reasons. RNA is created from DNA when a gene is expressed within DNA. Therefore, RNA measurement shows not only which DNA is present, but also which genes within that DNA are actively creating products. This means that Viome can measure which microorganisms in your system are the most active and which products you are creating. Compared to other companies, this sample analysis method allows Viome to determine more precisely which microbes are the most influential within its microbiome.
How Does It Work, What Will Your Viome Kit Include?
After ordering a Viome kit, you will receive a package in the mail. The package will contain everything you need to take a sample of your stool for analysis. Unlike other microbiome test kits, Viome has to take a sample directly from the stool, instead of trying to get a large enough sample of its toilet paper.
To do this, Viome provides you with a downloadable sample paper to catch your stool before it enters the toilet. To use the sample paper, simply lift the toilet seat cover, place the adhesive surfaces on the edge of the toilet bowl and lower the seat. The paper should sink slightly into the container, and it will trap its feces as it falls.
Then, with the small spoonful on the top of the sample vial, just take a piece the size of a pea from your stool. Place the sample in the vial and shake it according to the collection kit instructions. The mixture of preservatives and chemicals in the sample vial prevents micro-organisms from growing and protects them from damage while traveling to the laboratory. Simply place this sealed vial in the return envelope and send it back to the lab. You should have results in as little as 4 weeks, although you can take up to 8 if the lab is flooded with samples.
One month or so after sending your sample to the lab, you will receive an invitation by email from Viome to see your results. The results can be checked online, or accessed using the Viome app for your smartphone, as seen in the image below.
The results offered show several different areas to explore. These areas are divided into the results and recommendations sections. First, you can take a look at the many different microbes within your system, and learn about the different species and what they do in the results section. This section details the different aspects of their digestive processes, such as inflammation and methane gas production. The results report includes about 40 pages of information, which you can see here in this Viome Results section. You can also see how the mobile app looks, below.
The recommendations section, by comparison, gives you processable steps to improve your microbiome and general intestinal health. The Recommendations section will give you advice on diet, suggestions on when and how to prepare meals, and the types of foods you should eat or avoid. “Supercharges” are often related to studies that suggest that they may decrease the population of bacteria and parasitic microorganisms in the intestine. Foods that should be avoided are usually classified according to the load of viruses that are transported in the intestine, which can create inflammation. While recommendations are often backed up by peer-reviewed scientific papers, others are based solely on correlations found by the company’s artificial intelligence software. If you wish, see this example of Viome recommendations report.
While Viome links many of its findings and recommendations to actual scientific publications that support the claims made, other results and recommendations do not appear to have any scientific support. For example, you can find in your report that you’re supposed to “minimize” your parsley intake. However, the report gives no specific reason for this and, unlike other recommendations, it does not specifically link you to a scientific study detailing why parsley may not be good for you.
Media Coverage and User Opinions
Viome has been well received by the media. Many articles detail the initiatives of Viome to cure diseases caused by the microbiome, and its overall mission of reducing massively the expense of medical care through the personalization of medicine. Its CEO and founder, Naveen Jain, is a multimillion-dollar businessman who often interviews himself. Several of the articles also detail the partnerships and acquisitions that Viome has made in an effort to fulfill its mission of creating personalized health recommendations. You can see a sample of the articles below:
- Futurism – do you want to improve your bowel health? Try the most advanced intestinal microbiome test in the world.
- Sleep Review – investigate personalized nutrition for sleep disorders
- BioSpace – Viome research reveals that the activity of the intestinal microbiome is key to understanding why different individuals may have opposite blood sugar responses to the same food.
- PRNewswire – Viome acquires Habit from Campbell Soup Company to become the undisputed leader in Personalized Health
- GeekWire – Viome De Naveen Jain raises other $ 5.5 M, triples the number of employees as the welfare service increases
While Viome has more than 100,000 users, few of these users have submitted online reviews. Of the reviews sent online, a handful are satisfied customers, while many people use the review to express their frustrations with one aspect of the test: the time between presenting a sample and obtaining results. While the company claims a response time of 4 weeks, many customers complain that their sample took longer or was never processed. Below are some sites that can be found comments from Viome:
- 3.7 out of 5 Stars on Amazon
- 1 of 5 Stars in Better Business Bureau customer reviews (only 3 in total)
Users who are happy with Viome mentioned the following points:
- Users found real evidence that fashionable diets, like Keto, were damaging their diversity of microbiomes.
- The results and recommendations are easy to read and understand.
- The recommendations worked well for many users, tending to increase energy levels and concentrate throughout the day.
- Many users found foods that were harmful to their microbiome and health, and managed to eliminate them.
- Phone app is a great way to explore your results
Users who give Viome a 1 star review mentioned the following worthy points:
- Many users felt that the test was too expensive for the results it offered.
- Several users did not get their tests completed within the 4-8 week window, however, this seems to have been during a transition time for the laboratory, which should be resolved.
- Viome’s customer service was heavily criticized in 1-star reviews for being ineffective and slow to solve simple problems.
- Some customers wanted more details about what kinds of foods to eat.
- Several customers were displeased with the sampling process, although others thought it was easy and simple.