Can testing your gut health be the key to boosting weight loss?

Everyone is trying to crack getting in shape/healthy with less effort while cracking the cost of medical care, so it’s fitting that the number of start-ups trying to make going to the doctor for a personalized nutrition prescription obsolete is only growing. In the same vein the interest in gut health couldn’t be higher – who isn’ taking a probiotic? With that there’s now flurry of companies who are allowing us to analyze our gut microbiome at home to get personalized diet advice based on the bacteria living in our guts.

Why is the gut so important? Basically our guts all have a unique bacterial composition, which very significantly impact our overall health (not just our digestion) so knowing what’s going on in our gut can help us figure what diet would be the most beneficial. The leader in startups trying to help us understand our gut via at-home testing is Viome.

So how does it work? You send in a stool sample (yes you can mail poop in the mail!) and then drink a shake included in the kit – which cost $399 –  and record your heart rate four times over a few hours to see how quickly you body processes the glucose. You also measure saliva and urine pH levels before and after drinking the shake. After mailing in your samples you get a report listing out the exact types of bacteria your microbiome is high and low in and any viruses associated with poor health that are present. Based on all that info you get advice on what to eat more of and what to limit in your diet. Ideally you would be doing this test every 3 months to see how your gut is responding to dietary changes.

The verdicts on these tests are still mixed with some swearing by them and others saying it’s too early for effective at-home testing – gut scientists don’t even fully understand the very complex relationship the gut has with the rest of our body.

With all that in mind – are you compelled to try at-home gut testing? Please share experiences if you have!

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