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Personalized diet based on your gut bacteria

The future is here! For less than $400 you can get a tailored nutrition plan, based upon the sequencing of your gut microbiome. Is the expense worth it? That depends on what you are trying to achieve, and who you ask .

Given the growing body of knowledge about the human gut microbiome, it is now possible to analyze specific factors in a person’s microbiome, and propose therapeutic approaches and personalized diets. This is such a promising field, that several private companies have already entered the arena and are now offering a variety of personalized services based on fecal analysis.

In a recent article about microbiome-based diets, the Wall Street Journal reported: The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which as recently as last year expressed reservations about microbiome-based diets, also has “evolved” its position. Sonya Angelone, a San Francisco nutritionist and a spokeswoman for the academy said: “I think this is the future of really good health care”

Currently, there are two leading companies in the field:

Viome, a Bellevue, WA based firm, charges $399 for its annual plan which includes in-home testing kit, analysis of gut health and personalized diet plans. It uses gene-sequencing technology to analyze bacteria, viruses and fungi in the gut. Viome compares users’ microbiomes with 800 individuals the company has preselected as healthy specimens and promises broad advice on foods to eat or avoid to improve glucose response, enhance sleep and focus, and reduce anxiety. 

DayTwo will send you an easy-to-use stool sample kit for $349, and analyze it by measuring glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). Their clinicians will provide dietary recommendations based on a proprietary algorithm that was developed as part of research conducted at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Is it worth it?

Why you may want to pause:

  • These tests are not covered by any insurance, so the expense will be out of pocket
  • The tests are generic and not specifically tailored for those with gut disorders.
  • The science is not yet conclusive, the testing technologies have not been perfected, and the interpretation of the measured lab results is still a new, uncharted territory.

Why you may want to go ahead:

  • If you can afford the expense, you can take part in this new and exciting scientific frontier.
  • You may learn some new facts about your personal internal health
  • The accumulated data will help further development of these medical technologies until they can be incorporated into mainstream medicine.

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