Searching through endless reviews of microbiome testing companies can be tiring. 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 in your sample, Viome will provide you information on all of the microbes within your system, as well as a detailed list of foods you should avoid and ones you should eat. These customized recommendations are based on the unique microbiome in your system. Check it out!
Viome – Advantages and Disadvantages
This short 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 both Results and Recommendations to better your microbiome health
- Suggests foods to avoid, as well as foods you should consume more of
- Does not sell any other products, such as supplements or probiotics
- Uses a novel method of measuring not only the diversity but 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 see time-lapse results
- Some Results and Recommendations are highly over-simplified
- Not all Recommendations are clearly backed by published scientific papers
Our Rating: 91.7%
As far as microbiome testing goes, Viome is a great choice. The company uses metatranscriptome sequencing to look at the actual products microbes are synthesizing within your gut. In doing so, it takes a very deep look at the different species which are most active, and whether they are beneficial or harmful. The Viome Gut Intelligence test is set to be an industry leader in the depth of its results and the recommendations it provides have already helped many users get control of their health. While the few reviews found online are slightly negative, this will likely improve as Viome gets its feet on the ground and becomes fully established as one of the best microbiome testing services.
Viome Review’s Essential Data
|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 500
Bellevue, WA 98004
|Client Reviews||1 of 5 Stars with the Better Business Bureau
D+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau
3.7 of 5 Stars on Amazon
Company background for Viome
Viome was started by Naveen Jain, a dot-com era billionaire who has started multiple ventures. These include InfoSpace – one of the first online telephone directories, Intelius – a background information company, TalentWise – another background search company, Moon Express – a moon mining company, and Bluedot – a company which commercializes research from the U.S. government.
Viome is actually a spinoff of Bluedot, and it has licensed government technology to measure and analyze the microbiome. Jain is still the CEO of Viome, although he splits his time between Viome and his other ventures. His partner is Deepak Savadatti, who serves as the President of Viome. The entire leadership team of Viome includes many PhDs and leaders in the field of genomics and big data. Viome started offering its microbiome tests in 2016, and it is starting to make many large-scale partnerships and acquisitions in its quest to create personalized healthcare for its customers.
Viome Offerings Review
The company offers one main test, the Viome Gut Intelligence Test. The test uses metatranscriptome sequencing to test which microbes within your microbiome are most active, as well as to classify and understand which microbe species are present. Using this information and their large database of microbiomes, it can help predict which species are beneficial and which are detrimental to your overall nutrition.
The test offers information about weight loss, sleep, mental clarity, digestive issues, skin health, and other aspects of your health affected by your nutrition and microbiome. Based on your individual microbiome, your test results will provide suggestions about which foods you should eat and which you should avoid to maximize the beneficial microorganisms in your gut.
The Viome Gut Intelligence Test costs $149, and the platform allows you to order additional tests if you want to look at your microbiome over time. This is extremely useful for people trying to understand their microbiome and make meaningful lifestyle changes to maximize their gut health. For instance, you can measure your microbiome before and after a dietary change to see what effects the change had on the microorganisms in your gut.
For an additional $49, you can find out what foods you may be allergic to with the Food Sensitivity Intelligence test. This test takes a few drops of your blood and measures the immunoglobulin G (IgG) protein molecules within your blood. These proteins are created by your immune system to capture and detect substances that may cause damage to your tissues. If you have a sensitivity to a certain food, eating it will cause inflammation and possibly discomfort or fatigue. The test can help detect your reaction to 40+ common foods.
What separates Viome from other companies in that regard?
The general premise of Viome 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 about how your microbiome might affect your nutrition.
However, Viome uses a special process to analyze your sample. It is known as Metatranscriptome Sequencing. Other companies use other methods to analyze your sample, including 16S gene sequencing and Shotgun Metagenomic analysis. Both of these methods rely on testing DNA within your microbiome. By contrast, metatranscriptome sequencing analyzes the RNA present within your sample.
This is important and beneficial for a couple of reasons. RNA is created from DNA when a gene within the DNA is expressed. Thus, measuring RNA shows you not only what 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 what products they are creating. Compared to other companies, this method of analyzing a sample allows Viome to more accurately determine which microbes are the most influential within your microbiome.
How it works, what will your Viome kit include?
After you order a kit from Viome, you will receive a package in the mail. The package will contain all you need to take a sample of your feces for analysis. As opposed to other microbiome testing kits, Viome has you take a sample directly from your feces, rather than trying to obtain a large enough sample from your toilet paper.
To do this, Viome provides you with a flushable sample paper to catch your feces before it enters the toilet. To use the sample paper, you simply lift your toilet lid, attach the sticky surfaces to the edge of your toilet bowl, and put the seat down. The paper should sag slightly into the bowl, and it will catch your feces as it falls.
Then, with the small scoop found in the cap of the sample vial you simple take a pea-sized chunk out of your feces. Place the sample in the vial and shake it according to the instructions in the collection kit. The mixture of preservatives and chemicals within the sample vial stop the microorganisms from growing and protects them from damage as they travel to the lab. Simply put this sealed vial into the return envelope and ship it back to the lab. You should have results in as few as 4 weeks, though it may take up to 8 if the lab is inundated with samples.
Understanding the results
A month or so after submitting your sample to the lab, you will receive an email invitation from Viome to view your results. The results can be reviewed online, or they can be accessed using the Viome app for your smartphone, as seen in the image below.
The results offered show several different areas for you to explore. These areas are broken 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 your digestive processes, such as inflammation and methane gas production. The Results report includes around 40 pages of information, which you can see here in this sample Results section from Viome. You can also see what the mobile app looks like, below.
The Recommendations section, by comparison, gives you actionable steps to improve your microbiome and general gut health. The Recommendations section will give you diet advice, suggestions on when and how to prepare meals, and types of foods you should eat or avoid. The “superfoods” are often linked to studies suggesting that they can decrease the population of parasitic bacteria and microorganisms in your gut. Foods to avoid are typically categorized by the virus load carried in your gut, which may create inflammation. While the Recommendations are often backed by peer-review scientific articles, others are based solely on the correlations found by the company’s artificial intelligence software. If you like, check out this sample Recommendations report from Viome.
While Viome does link many of its Results and Recommendations to actual scientific publications that back the claims made, other Results and Recommendations do not seem to have any scientific backing. For instance, you may find in your report that you are supposed to “minimize” your intake of parsley. However, the report gives no specific reason for this, and unlike other recommendations does not tie it specifically 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 Viome’s initiatives to cure diseases caused by the microbiome, and their general mission to massively reduce healthcare spending by personalizing medicine. Their CEO and founder, Naveen Jain, is a billionaire entrepreneur who often does interviews himself. Several of the articles also detail partnerships and acquisitions Viome has made in an effort to fulfill their mission of creating personalized health recommendations. You can see a sampling of the articles below:
- Futurism – Want to Improve Your Gut Health? Try the World’s Most Advanced Gut Microbiome Test.
- Sleep Review – Investigating Personalized Nutrition for Sleep Disorders
- BioSpace – Viome’s research reveals gut microbiome activity is key to understanding why different individuals can 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 – Naveen Jain’s Viome raises another $5.5M, triples employee count as it ramps up wellness service
While Viome has over 100,000 users, few of these users have submitted on-line reviews. Of the reviews submitted online, a handful are satisfied customers, while many people use the review to voice their frustrations with one aspect of the testing – the time delay between submitting a sample and getting results. While the company claims a 4-week turnaround time, many customers complain their sample took longer or was never processed. Below are a few sites which Viome reviews can be found:
Users who are happy with Viome mentioned the following points:
- Users found actual evidence that fad diets, such as Keto, were harming their microbiome diversity.
- Results and Recommendations are easy to read through and understand.
- The Recommendations worked well for many users, tending to increase energy levels and focus throughout the day.
- Many users found foods that were damaging to their microbiome and health, and managed to cut them out.
- The phone app is a great way to explore your results
Users giving Viome a 1-star review mentioned the following worthy points:
- Many users felt that the test was far 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 time of transition for the laboratory, which should be resolved.
- Viome’s customer service was heavily criticized in 1-star reviews for being ineffectual and slow at solving simple problems.
- Some customers wanted more details on which types of food to eat.
- Several customers were disgusted with the sample collection process, though others thought it was easy and straight-forward.
Viome Review: Executive Summary
Credibility - 85%
Quality of results - 95%
Phone App - 95%
Bottom Line Conclusion for this Viome Review
All-in-all, Viome is set to be the leading microbiome testing company in the industry. Their method of determining the contents of your microbiome is different from other companies in that it measures which microbes are the most active in your gut. This can help Viome’s artificial intelligence software to better understand which microbes cause reactions in the human gut. Many customers were fully satisfied by the information and recommendations provided to them from this process.
However, like all microbiome testing companies, this science is still new and in the process of being refined. As Viome grows, so will its database of samples it can compare to. This may change the recommendations Viome makes regarding specific microbes and conditions. But, if you are interested in microbiome testing and how you can better your health, Viome is a great choice. Unlike other testing companies, they are not selling supplements, diets, or any other product. This means that all of their focus is on providing actionable steps that their customers can use to better their health. That is a very good sign from a microbiome testing company!