Microbiome testing can be confusing! There are literally trillions of bacteria and microbes in and on your body. In fact, it is estimated that 53% of cells in your body are not actually yours, but belong to your microbiome ecosystem. Understanding the role and function of hundreds or thousands of different species is not as simple as many companies make it seem. If the complexity of this situation intimidates you, you may want to look into the SmartDNA Microbiome tests.
SmartDNA offers a microbiome test that is conducted with the help of a certified practitioner. Each practitioner must first register with SmartDNA, which gives them access to videos and information on health and the microbiome. Then, the practitioner can receive the results of your microbiome analysis and help you understand what it means. This is a great option for people who want extra help in analyzing and taking action on their microbiome analysis. This article analyzes the multiple offerings from SmartDNA, and how you can get them!
Short Summary for SmartDNA
This short summary will give you a great overview of our SmartDNA Microbiome test review. Or, you can read the full review below!
- In-depth analysis of your microbiome
- Tools to analyze the diversity and abundance of your microbiome
- Tests specific to Autism and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Dietary advice based on bacteria present and absent
- Discuss your results with a trained practitioner
- See a “Dysbiosis Compass” to improve your microbiome diversity
- You must take the test through a registered practitioner (your doctor may qualify)
- More expensive than most microbiome tests
- No customer reviews to judge experience
- No user interface (only practitioner gets results)
Our Rating: 90% – Appears like the best Microbiome Testing
SmartDNA started in the DNA testing field, offering nutrition advice based on DNA. Working with doctors and practitioners, SmartDNA now offers a microbiome test which can analyze many aspects of your gut health. They offer dietary advice, analysis of the health and diversity of your microbiome, and even tests specific to Autism and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Your test results must be reviewed by a certified practitioner, who will help you understand the components important to your health.
This adds an element of inconvenience, but also allows SmartDNA to give your practitioner complete results on the most recent microbiome research. See our full review to see exactly what you can learn from SmartDNA and how much each test costs!
SmartDNA Overview and Basic Data
|Can be used for||Gut Microbiome Testing|
|Microbiome Collection Method||Fecal Collection Kit|
|Microbiome Testing Method||Metagenomic Sequencing|
|Time-Lapse Testing?||Yes, though results are analyzed and kept by your practitioner|
|Availability||Australia, United States (only where registered Practitioners are available)|
|Price||$330 – $550|
|Number of users||Unknown|
|Ownership||Simone Walsh and Dr. Margie Smith|
|Address||MHTP Translational Research Facility
Level H04 27-31 Wright Street
Clayton, VIC 3168
|Client Reviews||No online reviews|
Company background for SmartDNA
SmartDNA was established in 2009 with the goal of providing meaningful genomic solutions for doctors and clinicians to assist their patients in achieving optimum wellness. Lead by Dr. Margie Smith and Simone Walsh, the company operates out of Australia, but offers their tests anywhere a practitioner has been certified. Dr. Smith has been involved in the DNA testing realm for decades, and even wrote the book Gene Genius, which can help you learn about how your genes affect your health.
SmartDNA offers both DNA testing and microbiome testing. However, unlike most companies, SmartDNA requires that a certified practitioner receive and interpret your results for you. The company can certify your physician online, if they are willing. Otherwise, you can search for a certified practitioner in your area!
SmartDNA Offerings Review
SmartDNA has 3 main testing options which can analyze different aspects of your microbiome. Each test covers slightly different areas of microbiome health and wellness.
smartGUT Microbiome Test
The smartGUT Microbiome Test is a general health and wellness test which looks at your microbiome. There are two versions, a basic test and an “Advanced” test, which offer slightly different insights into your microbiome. The basic kit gives you insights into your microbiome which include how your sample compares to a healthy population, microbiome diversity and dysbiosis, how your microbiome may contribute to obesity, analysis of how your dietary intake affects your microbiome, a “Dysbiosis Compass” showing negative or unhealthy conditions, and species-level identification of microbes within your gut. This microbiome test is $330 Australian dollars.
The advanced test gives you even more insights. You can learn which probiotic species you have, how your microbiome changes your ability to digest different foods, and what gut metabolites your microbiome is producing that may have a negative impact on your health. The advanced test also allows you to interact with SmartDNA’s “Krona plot”, which is like a clickable pie chart showing the abundance of each species. This advanced smartGUT test is $550.
IBS GUT Detector
If you or your doctor suspects that you may have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the IBS GUT Detector test is for you! This microbiome analysis focuses on the species known to be present in people with irritable bowel syndrome. The basic test analyzes these IBS-specific species, and you can use the test multiple times to monitor your progress with the disease over time. With the IBS GUT Detector test, you will get many of the same features found in the basic microbiome test including insights on diet, species abundance, and the Dysbiosis Compass. There is also an advanced version of this test, which adds the same features as the advanced general microbiome test. The basic IBS GUT Detector test is $330, and the advanced version is $550.
GUT Spectrum Detector
Like IBS, people with Autism often have a unique microbiome profile that affects their health. Using the GUT Spectrum Detector, you can see whether a sample matches the microbiome profile of Autism. While the test is not diagnostic in itself, it can help a doctor determine whether or not you or a family member has Autism. While the test focuses on Autism, the basic version gives you all the same benefits as the smartGUT test. The advanced version, likewise, gives all the benefits of the other advanced tests. The basic GUT Spectrum Detector test is $330, and the advanced version is $550.
What separates SmartDNA from other companies in that regard?
The main difference between SmartDNA microbiome testing and testing from other companies is that you need a certified practitioner to work with you. While this may seem unnecessary, it fits with the company’s goal of creating personalized medicine while working with clinics and clinicians. This can actually be very helpful, because your practitioner can help you understand your results and take action to better your microbiome.
The Autism and IBS tests are also unique to SmartDNA. While other companies may cover these topics and analyze the same bacterial populations, they are not geared toward identifying these specific profiles. The tests can help you practitioner formulate a diagnosis, and they may give you dietary and health advice on how to change your microbiome over time.
All of SmartDNA’s microbiome tests can be taken multiple times, to track the progress of your microbiome over time. This will help your practitioner understand exactly what is happening in your microbiome as you change your diet and exercise habits. SmartDNA also focuses on natural dietary changes to help improve your microbiome diversity and health, which is generally more effective than probiotics or packaged supplements.
How it works, what will your kit include?
Before you get started with SmartDNA, you will have to find a SmartDNA practitioner. There are two basic ways to do this. First, you can use the SmartDNA website to find a practitioner. Simply enter your information, and a certified practitioner in your area will contact you.
Alternatively, if you like your doctor you can try to convince them to become a certified practitioner. If registered with SmartDNA, they can receive your results directly. Becoming a registered practitioner is as simple as registering and viewing some videos on the subject of the microbiome. This option may make it easier for insurance to deal with the cost of your DNA test. For your practitioner to get certified, they must complete the steps on the Practitioner Page at SmartDNA.com.
Once you are set with a practitioner, simply have the practitioner order the kit for you. You can also order a kit yourself directly through the website, but it will have to be analyzed by a registered practitioner for you to receive your results. The kit includes instructions for collecting a fecal sample, which is then mailed back to the laboratory in Australia. Once your sample is processed, the results will be available to your doctor immediately through the online portal.
Understanding the results
Fortunately, your practitioner will go over the results with you and explain what various aspects of your report mean. The report will detail many aspects of your microbiome, including the diversity and abundance of different species. Many insights will be presented including various health risks, your biome compared to a healthy population, and dietary recommendations.
If you decide to go for the “Advanced” test in any category, your results will be slightly more interactive. You will get access to a Krona plot to explore the diversity and function of your microbiome. The advanced test also analyzes the products your microbiome is creating. Bacteria in your gut create many different chemicals as they break food down into energy and reproduce. Some of these chemicals can affect the nutrients you get from food and some of them are even neurotransmitters which can affect your nervous system — including your brain!
The tests for Autism and IBS work by analyzing the microbiome and comparing the relative abundance of different species. People with Autism typically have a unique gut biome with different ratios of specific species compared to other people’s microbiomes, which you can learn more about in this article about Autism and the microbiome. IBS may actually be caused by a dysbiotic microbiome, and future treatments may include microbiome manipulation.
Media coverage and user opinions
SmartDNA operates under slightly different conditions than most DNA testing companies, because they require the use of a registered practitioner. This means that in most countries your data is considered part of your medical record, and protected by various laws for privacy. Further, because they operate through practitioners, they have not been reviewed online.
Bottom line conclusions for this SmartDNA review
SmartDNA is likely able to provide you with very thorough and detailed results, in light of the fact that you will be working with a certified practitioner to go over your test. In that sense, the microbiome tests from SmartDNA are likely some of the best. However, it is hard to know for sure what you get because no sample results have been published by the company. The company does have unique tests for Autism and IBS, which may be perfect for some customers.
However, for the average person, the tests are very expensive and may not provide definitive results on any condition. There are many companies that will provide nutritional advice based on your microbiome profile, and many of them are cheaper. Many of these consumer-testing companies condense and simplify their results for easier understanding, but that may mean you miss some important aspects a practitioner would pick up on.
That makes SmartDNA a great choice for microbiome testing if you want the help and advice of a professional. If you are more of a “do-it-yourself” kind of person, feel free to check out the other microbiome testing companies we have reviewed!
SmartDNA Review: Executive Summary
Potential - 92%
Uniqueness of Tests - 97%
Reputation - 81%
Bottom Line Conclusion for this SmartDNA Review
SmartDNA seems like one of the top options for microbiome testing these days with their unique tests for IBS and autism. We believe that this company that has very few online reviews to date will prove itself as a market leader.