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What Is Viome?
Founded in 2016, Viome Inc. is a private health technology company that specializes in gut health testing and food recommendations.
According to their website, Viome is the only firm to receive the exclusive license of a technology first developed in Los Alamos National Lab, a national security facility under the U.S. Department of Energy.
It’s the same lab used to design nuclear weapons for the Manhattan Project. Later, the government funds went to scientific research and development, especially for managing national security challenges.
The founders are Naveen Jain, who now serves as the CEO, and Deepak Savadatti, who possesses an extensive background in technology, engineering, marketing, and sales. The other members of the company are physicians, engineers, and scientists.
It is a multimillion-dollar company after receiving more than $15 million in startup funding from venture capital.
Where Is Viome?
Viome’s headquarters are in Bellevue, WA, but it offers its testing service in the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States (except for New York)
How Does the Test Work?
Viome’s gut health microbiome test works using two innovations: metatranscriptomic sequencing and artificial intelligence.
Depending on which testing kit you choose, results are broken down and scored on various levels including gut microbiome health, cellular health, immune system health, biological age, and more. From there you receive recommendations to activate and optimize your gut health.
According to Navene Jain, Viome CEO:
“We finally have the technology to be able to decode the human body at a molecular level. This brings us one step closer in our mission of making chronic diseases a matter of choice and not a matter of bad luck.”
Let’s look a little deeper at what that technology involves.
Viome’s gut health test works using two innovations: metatranscriptomic sequencing and artificial intelligence.
1. Metatranscriptomic Sequencing Technology
This is the technology the company received from Los Alamos National Laboratory. It searches deep into the RNA molecules of the different organisms that make up the microbiome (or microbe community).
To be fair, Viome isn’t the only gut health microbiome testing company that offers RNA sequencing, but the company claims this technology allows it to see all types of microorganisms present. These include fungi, parasites, and even bacteriophages.
It can also break down these organisms into their different strains and species. Most of all, it can identify gene expression, which means you should know how each of these organisms work in your body.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Also known as AI, artificial intelligence is the part of the tests that helps the company provide you with recommendations based on the results of the sequencing. It tells you about your overall gut health and, more importantly, the types of food you need to eat or avoid.
AI relies on a special machine learning algorithm and the data from various respectable journals, papers, and studies. It then combines this information with your results to come up with a personalized dietary action plan.
How Much Does Viome Testing Cost?
The Viome cost is $299 per test kit, but this price varies every once in a while. For example, the company may offer discounts as much as 50% off.
This Viome testing cost includes the at-home Gut Intelligence Kit and personalized food and supplement recommendations. You also get free standard U.S. domestic return shipping. Another option is the Health Intelligence Kit for $599 (again, you may see this marked down when you visit their site), which includes the Gut Intelligence test as well as additional testing for general health insights and nutrition support.
These costs don’t include other shipping options, especially if you live outside the United States.
The company strongly suggests a retest after 90 days to see if there are changes to your microbiome. This is if you follow the recommendations.
You may be able to pay for the test using your health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA). You may also use your insurance, but you need to know your coverage first.
Who Can Take the Viome Test?
Anyone can take the a Viome test as long as they meet the following criteria:
- They can afford to buy the kit.
- They are living in states and countries covered by the company. It is not available in New York due to licensing issues.
- Children below 18 years old can also take the test as long as they have the consent of their parents or guardians.
- They must have a unique email account (in order to log in to Viome’s mobile or web app).
When Is the Best Time to Take a Viome Test?
Anytime is the best time to take the test, but if you are concerned about leaky gut or ongoing symptoms that impact your day to day functioning such as low energy levels, acne or other skin conditions, and digestive issues, then a Viome test may be something you want to consider pursuing sooner than later. There are several factors you should be aware of that affect how soon you will receive your results, should you choose to try Viome
- From the moment you buy your Viome kit, it takes about five to ten days to receive it. It may take longer for those in other countries, as well as people residing in Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico.
- Using the items in the kit, you provide a pea-sized stool sample and send it back to the lab.
- You need to send the sample back to them the next business day.
- It may take about four weeks for it to arrive at the lab for analysis.
Why Do You Need It?
The Viome test doesn’t provide you with a cure to your chronic diseases, and you still need to corroborate the information with your doctor. There are, however, multiple reasons to take it:
- Your gut contributes to the many different human body processes such as metabolism. Any issues in metabolism may lead to health issues and obesity.
- The microbiome can be specific and unique for every person. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to every gut health problem.
- You will know which of your organisms are active and how they affect your body.
- The test will also help you understand how food affects your microbiome. It may then help detect food intolerances such as gluten issues.
- You can use the information to help create a more personalized diet plan based on the nutrition recommendations.
What Can You Learn from the Viome Report?
The Viome report is as comprehensive as it gets. You can see a sample here. Some of the sections include:
- Metabolic fitness, which relates your microbiome to your body’s nutrients, response to glucose, and calorie intake
- Inflammatory activity, which determines the role of the organisms to chronic inflammation
- Gut ecosystem, which says how rich or diverse your microbiome is
- Active microbes, which is a breakdown of the microbes by name and type, e.g. bacterium, viruses, eukaryotes, etc.
- Probiotics present, which compares the probiotics in your gut and those found in commercially available products
How Do You Receive the Analysis?
As soon as your test results are ready, you will receive an email notification. You can also log in to your account on the website or mobile app.
What Do the Viome Reviews Say?
When it comes to Viome vs Ubiome, DayTwo, AtlasBioMed, and other companies that offer gut health testing, the consensus is the same: there’s no exam that guarantees a complete picture of your microbiome and exact healthcare recommendations.
Viome, though, has the edge when it comes to the comprehensiveness of the test and the data it provides. If you’re lucky, the discounts offered periodically through the website can significantly bring down the cost of testing.
The company also makes it easy for you to receive and understand the results.
At the end of the day, it takes more than one Viome review to make a decision. In fact, to understand how your body operates, you should learn to go beyond gut health tests.
Test or no test, what is important is being more aware and proactive about improving your health and achieving peak performance. Take it one step at a time!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on May 15, 2019 and has been updated for quality and relevancy on May 6, 2021.