At-home gut / food sensitivity tests are most definitely on the rise. Some might argue they’ve even become commonplace. Just do a Google News search for “home tests for food sensitivity” and you’ll find thousands of hits from recent articles exploring the subject.
This might sound good in theory. I mean, new data and lots of options are good, right?
Not all the time. Sometimes it can leave you more confused than ever.
About three years ago I started documenting (via Snapchat and Instagram) my quest to find reliable, affordable home health testing.
Knowing that inflammation is the number one contributor to chronic disease, and that food sensitivities create chronic inflammation and, therefore, leaky gut, I was determined to find a company that could do this type of testing.
I ordered and completed countless gut and food intolerance testing kits. The results often left me scratching my head. One test would tell me I was highly intolerant to eggs and almonds — two things I had eaten the day before the test.
Because I’m a good student, I would eliminate those “triggering” foods from my diet and, later, do another test. Then I would find that many of the foods I was consuming the most just happened to fall on my ‘foods to avoid list’. Again.
I searched further and found equally conflicting results from popular gut microbiome testing kits such as uBiome, DayTwo, and Genova.
Since that time, I discovered that this is because these popular companies use a lesser form of technology (known as 16S).
16S technology has been shown to produce lots of false results. A peer-reviewed study by Edgar concluded that 16S sequencing of known bacterial communities produced a 56% to 88% false positive rate of predicted genus names.
Moving forward, it’s just imperative to have available — for anyone and everyone — reliable and affordable tests for consumers.
Well, there is. And it’s been on my radar for three years.
Listen, I have a very good explanation as to why I’ve waited this long to tell you about it!
But first, let me break down a common misconception when it comes to at-home gut testing kits.
When companies advertise (or your integrative medical professional suggests you take) a “Food Intolerance” test, what they are testing for is immunoglobulin G (IgG). IgG antibodies signify exposure to a food. They do not indicate an allergy. Much to my surprise I learned that IgG antibody testing does a great job at identifying what you’ve eaten recently.
Frustrated and still seeking reliable testing, I began looking into the methodology used by many gut microbiome testing companies, including: uBiome, Genova, American Gut, Viome, and DayTwo.
There was only one stand out and that was Viome.
Unlike the other gut testing companies, Viome does their testing with an exclusive technology called metatranscriptomics.
Metatranscriptomics measures which microbes are present, how active they are, and what they’re doing.
So why haven’t I mentioned this testing until now? Why have I continued to use this company for my gut testing and not shared the name with you for three years?
1. I wasn’t sure how the information could be used to help you.
It was my feeling that their app/customer interface didn’t give consumers answers to questions like, “So what does this mean?” In my own case, it was interesting to note there were traces of a cucumber virus in my gut, but what did that mean? Did I have months to live before I turned into a cucumber or I did I just need to avoid eating them?
2. It was 3x the price of the competition.
Yes, Viome was the most comprehensive testing but also the most expensive. As a beta tester, I secured my testing kit for $997. Due to this steep price, I was very reluctant to recommend this product — despite the uptick in very credible voices singing their praises.
Instead, as I do with many things, I elected to take a wait and see approach. Nonetheless, I continued to test my gut microbiome with this company and kept a close eye on their customer interface. Every couple of months, I noted dramatic improvements. Soon, their pricing started to come down!
As tens of thousands of consumers began using their services, I was thrilled to see the reporting and app interface continue to improve.
So, please accept my apologies on holding out for so long. I’m cautious about these things. While I’m a huge fan of the integrative approach to wellness, I also proceed with a heavy dose of skepticism and concern knowing that whether regulated or not… money corrupts.
I’ve seen too many well meaning individuals — desperate to find answers and restore their health — fall prey to less than scrupulous integrative / functional medicine practitioners. “Professionals” who are too quick to order thousands of dollars in needless testing while also pushing a small fortune in over priced supplements and natural treatments. Not in the name of health, but in the name of profit.
After three years of investigating, countless interviews with Chief Medical Officers, founders, and a thorough review of the science… I’m quite comfortable now to finally share with you my top and ONLY pick for gut testing….