What Your Gut Test is Telling You. . .
Microbiome gut test is next big thing
Turns out our bodies are far more complex than our 7th grade biology class suggested. Mapping the human genome (the range of human DNA) is a big deal. But your body does not work in a vacuum (figuratively or literally). The human genome was just the start. Turns out there are other genomes at work in human health. Get ready for a gut test. Can you pass?
Bad Microbes, Bad Hombres – ask Chipotle
We all know the problems that result when the “stomach flu” hits. So, we know there are bad germs. Bad microbes picked up through our food or the environment make us sick. Ask Chipotle. They may not know how or where their supply chain got contaminated. But they know the results of E. coli and norovirus and other foodborne illnesses. Sick customers are a problem when your brand promise is “Food with Integrity.” Chipotle spent a fortune to re-engineer food safety but still hasn’t fully recovered its pre-epidemic sales or reputation.
So much for the bad germs. They’re out there. Just waiting for poor hygiene combined with food preparation to strike again.
Prebiotics and Probiotics supporting good gut bacteria
But turns out there are also good germs. In fact, our body depends upon a huge variety of good germs or microorganisms to function properly.
Maybe you’ve seen food with active cultures, like Greek yogurt. Prebiotics and probiotics are increasingly popular dietary supplements. Both promote the good gut bacteria. All are tied to the increasing awareness that our gut bacteria or flora influence our digestive health. Just like bad gut bacteria or infections attack the digestive process, beneficial bacteria or flora facilitate digestion and nutrient absorption.
Microbiome hot trend
The role of the so-called microbiome in human health is the hot topic in health research.
“The microbiome is a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body.
Your body is home to about 100 trillion bacteria and other microbes, collectively known as your microbiome. —Carl Zimmer
… what’s arguably become the hottest area of medicine: microbiome research, an emerging field that’s investigating how the bacteria that live in and on our bodies affect our health. —Sunny Sea Gold” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microbiome
Illness may be optional
Serial entrepreneur Naveen Jain’s latest venture is Viome. Viome imagines “a world where illness is optional and health is customized. Your gut has a unique army of trillions of microorganisms at your disposal. Enlist them to work for you today and join the wellness revolution.”
Viome offers a test kit based on technology from the Los Alamos National Lab to analyze your gut bacteria using artificial intelligence (AI) and advises on corrective action to improve gut health. Why is this potentially a big deal? Even a good diet requires good gut flora. Why AI? Like the human genome project, there is a lot of data to gather and analyze including sequencing the genomes of all those microorganisms. This is more than a casual look through the microscope. And, just like your genome, your gut flora is unique. What’s right for your body may not be right for everyone. Gut health is individualized medicine. It starts with Viome’s gut test.
A new way to fight Parkinson’s?
Recent research suggests a link between gut health and a variety of diseases including neurological bugaboos like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Many cancers are linked to obesity. And obesity may be a function of the microbiome. Fast Company, Your Bacteria is Ready for a Checkup. FDA must approve tests that diagnosis disease or treatments for a disease. Viome and others are likely to pursue this as the data accumulates and research expands. For now, it’s about maximizing beneficial microorganisms for general wellness and not focused on specific diseases.
Anyone who has ever had gastrointestinal surgery will tell you about the resulting disruption of the microbiome. It’s slow to return to equilibrium. We’re just now starting to figure out how to proactively manipulate the gut flora or microbiome for better health. It starts with a gut test.
Viome is not alone in this burgeoning field of microbiome health research and health care. But it’s a company and a field worth watching.
We predict big improvements in both health prevention and disease treatment will emerge from the power of AI to analyze and customize our gut microbiome. Medical Technology (MedTech) around the microbiome is a big opportunity. Futurists forsee daily monitoring of wellness markers to stay one step ahead of disease. We’ll keep you posted.
And there is a similar opportunity in agricultural productivity in the microbiome of the soil. Soil microorganisms play a big role in nutrient availability for plants. Life science companies have plenty of work and opportunity ahead.
Can you pass a gut test?
Let us know if you’ve already taken a test for gut microbiome health. Did you pass? It’s a little bit of a double entendre since the Viome test (and others) rely upon a stool sample. But blood and urine tests are already standard fares.