They say selected samples are samples of healthy people who reported no health issues.
That makes sense. Do they indicate the sample size at all?
Do they give an explanation why? Surely the reason for getting it done is to be able to make beneficial changes? And that would require input from a subject matter expert to be really useful?
Thanks for putting this out there, Nate. I have a history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Gulf War Illness. I’m back to training and racing after a 10 year layoff, but I’m always looking for ways to optimize my (weird, screwed up) health. I may look into testing.
That would probably fall under the category of “providing medical advice” which is a good way to get into trouble.
Sadly most doctors won’t know what to do with this (as a doctor who IS interested in this sort of stuff). There just isn’t reliable data out there on this sort of thing
You will definitely see different results, and this review mentions a study that showed microbiome shifts within 24hrs of dietary changes:
Anecdotally, my wife used to have high gluten intolerance and cut it out completely for several years. She made a bunch of other changes to her diet, and after watching me eat too many delicious bahn mis, dove in and ate half my sandwich once with no issue. Since then she’s reintroduced gluten back into her diet and hasn’t looked back.
They do not give a sample size.
They do have examples that show you how to increase your biome. IE eat this type of food, or take probiotics with this type of bacteria in it.
I think they don’t give recommendations because that would be medical advice and they’d get shutdown in the US.
Yes, that’s what they say too. You can heavily influence your biome quickly with what you eat.
That’s why I wonder if a “healthy” gut biome is correlated with good health vs the cause of good health.
IE most of the stuff they recommend to increase your healthy gut biome markers are eating lots of fruits, veggies and whole grains. But maybe the diet alone is what’s making you healthy and the bacteria is just along for the ride.
Or, maybe it’s all gut bacteria! Or more likely, a combination of both. I really hope that research improve our understanding of this area in the coming years.
They can’t because their tests aren’t FDA approved yet, and aren’t considered a diagnostic test. That’s why they only highlight “risk factors”
Totally! I’m by no means an expert, but I work in the genomics industry, and sequencing the microbiome is definitely one of the hot topics.
As an immunologist I always look askance at microbiome research. I don’t doubt that it plays a role, but it’s very difficult to mechanistically affix cause and effect principles to microbiome makeup - there’s just too many variables. My complaint with data like this is that it’s always “interesting” but rarely actionable. The microbiome is just this interesting black box that could be (and probably is) involved in everything from sports performance to clinical depression, but the likelihood of these brute statistical correlations giving us actionable principles is pretty slim.
I agree that it is interesting but has not been studied enough yet to provide you with actionable items.
A recent New York Times article covered apparent links between your gut biome and brain function influencing Alzheimer’s and depression among other conditions. It’s still early days however.
Going to try this so thanks for posting.
I tried the VSL probiotic and didn’t notice enough of a difference to justify the cost. I’m now trying Florastor and it’s still a little early to determine if it will work. Should be interesting to see what my results will look like.
I agree that data like Nate showed is not particularly useful or actionable. Much like having one’s genome sequenced (in absence of specific heritable disease or other specific question).
But… the success of fecal transplant in treating antibiotic dysbiosys leading to recurrent c.difficle infection suggests that the gut microbiobe is modifiable in both negative and positive directions with impact on important health parameters.
It is definitely true that at present we don’t know how to modify the gut microbiome specifically. However, there are clinical trials started in inflammatory bowel disease to test if a small number of strains can be moved up and down to impact disease. Also studies in obesity. First attempts probably won’t work but we will see.
There are also some very interesting anecdotes (the plural of which are NOT data…) suggesting that historically lean (skinny) people, having had FMT from obese relatives (daughters, siblings), suddenly have issues with weight gain.
There is also an interesting collection of research including a fascinating paper on micro biome and postprandial blood glucose from investigators at the Weizmann Institute (https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(15)01481-6). A startup company called Day Two is trying to commercialize this research.
It’s very early days and as yet this work is mostly not actionable and the DTC stuff is not at all proven to be anything more than entertainment. But I do believe purposeful manipulation of gut micro biome is going to be important. Definitely going to be fun to watch the science evolve.
That’s a bit of a shame, as that makes it tough to assess the validity of their analysis. Of course it would be best if they published how they analyse as well but I guess that’s commercially sensitive.
My gut* feeling would be to treat this first test a bit like an FTP test using virtual power. There’s no way of knowing the precision of the result, but it lays down a useful marker to compare against**.
*pun intended. I regret nothing.
** just make sure you keep your tyre pressure the same when you test, obvs.
@Nate_Pearson I love that you did this, even if it is only for trying it out
Can you say more about this? What sweeteners have what effects exactly? I get suspicious when people refer to “processed” or “artificial” as a generic term as if that clearly describes the composition of food and the effects they have on the body, but I am really interested in the specific effects of specific ingredients.
I did the same test a couple of years ago and the most significant recommendation was that I was taking too much ibuprofen. I was recovering from a bad back injury at the time, but it did make me cut back on the Advil.