Viome is a US medical technology company organized in 2016 by a group of entrepreneurs led by Naveen Jain, a philanthropist and innovator. Currently, it counts about 45 employees and offers a service to normalize intestinal microflora.
Basically, Viome clients submit a stool sample for analysis, complete a metabolic test at home, and fill in a questionnaire about their lifestyle and health. Using patented technology approved by Los Alamos National Laboratory, the company detects and counts all micro-organisms in the client’s digestive system.
After processing the data obtained with the help of AI, experts make individual nutrition recommendations that help to balance the microflora and restore impaired functioning of the gastrointestinal tract. According to Naveen Jain, following a Viome Health plan can prevent many chronic diseases.
Before we start going into details of the Viome products, let us say a few words about why gut microflora health is so important.
Gut Microflora: What Is This?
Gut microbiome, microbiota, or microflora are different names for the “community” of bacterium living in the human digestive system. This community is complex: bacteria can feed on each other, help each other produce substances necessary for survival, or even compete. The harmonious work of the intestinal microbiota helps maintain good digestion, healthy immunity and even, according to some reports, fight obesity. And if something went wrong, modern diagnostic methods help to identify problems in time and put the microbiome in order.
What happens when the gut microbiome is disrupted?
Violation of the microbiome may be due to an imbalance of bacteria or the growth of pathogenic flora. In the first case, when there are few symbiotic beneficial bacteria for the body, and many useless ones, symptoms of gastrointestinal diseases (problems with stools, pain, bloating) may appear.
Other imbalance problems are related to immunity. They appear due to chronic inflammation, which delays the strength of the immune system. Because of this, a person can often get colds or constantly experience skin rashes.
The second type of microbiome disorder is not just an imbalance but the growth of pathogenic flora, which is accompanied by serious diagnoses: salmonellosis, shigellosis, clostridial infection, and others. This requires urgent treatment.
Other areas affected by the microbiota are still being studied. For example, the Akkermansia bacterial species is inversely associated with obesity. Confirmatory experiments have so far been carried out only on mice, and showed that those mice that were planted with this bacterium gained less weight on a high-fat diet. And while bacteria-assisted obesity management is still the science of the future, nutritionists still work with the gut microbiome and consider it an important factor in achieving a healthy weight.
Microbiome & Viome Tests
If you feel your stomach microflora is disturbed, the Viome Gut Intelligence test will help assess the state of the intestinal microbiome, which will determine the diversity of bacterial species in the intestine – this is the main indicator of health. This test uses gene sequencing methods to accurately identify bacteria. It analyzes the types of bacteria in the biomaterial and evaluates their representation as a percentage of the entire ecosystem.
What’s So Special About It?
Viome stands out from other stomach sampling companies by the fact it utilizes ribonucleic acid (RNA) instead of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in its services. The organization calls this process extended metatranscriptome sequencing.
Through RNA sequencing, the health company chooses and then sequences just a small percent of the complete human genome. In particular, such a technology picks the expressed portion of the organism’s complete set of genetic instructions. Apart from some bad bacteria present in the clients’ intestines, Viome identifies genes in their plastosomes and blood.
Despite all the benefits of RNA testing, extracting and sequencing top-quality ribonucleic acid by sampling might be complicated. In addition, ribonucleic acid sequence databases are not exhaustive and, sometimes, can’t precisely distinguish between the RNA of multiple bacterium in a single specimen. These problems can significantly complexify and even discredit the credibility of a client’s results.
Health Intelligence Viome: Key Details
“Health Intelligence” is another service created aside from the suggested microbiota sampling. A client sends a blood specimen. From it, hundreds of highly expressed unit factors of both the user’s blood and energy-exchange organelles are sequenced.
Mitochondria (a.k.a. plastosomes) are organelles on which the work of the whole organism depends. Its main function in the cell is the synthesis of ATP, i.e. energy generation. As a result of cellular respiration (oxidation), 38 ATP molecules are formed. ATP synthesis occurs on the basis of the oxidation of organic compounds (substrate) and ADP phosphorylation. The substrate for mitochondria is fatty acids and pyruvate.
Signs of plastosome dysfunction are a decrease in the rate of oxygen consumption, an increase in the permeability of the inner membrane, and swelling of the mitochondria. These changes occur due to toxic poisoning, infectious disease, or hypoxia.
Though Viome Health Intelligence Tests provide much less information than alternative analyses, their RNA sequencing can still characterize the active parts of the client’s complete set of genetic instructions. Viome states that their services are a good “fallback” to DNA testing and can help to get to know a client’s energy level better.
Test Kit: How Does It Work?
Both home-sampling packs consist of stool sampling. Yet, Viome Health Intelligence implies the determination of the user’s RNA sequence in a blood specimen.
In the home-testing pack, buyers will find a redemption code. Without it, it will be impossible to register the customer’s kit in their online accounts on the company’s official website. After registration, users have to complete a short questionnaire about their overall well-being and lifestyle. In accordance with the indicated answers, Viome medical staff will be able to individually support you and customize health advice. But you need to understand that these suggestions are not obligatory and shouldn’t necessarily be used for self-medication. All the clients are supposed to undergo specific procedures and medical trials first.
As it was mentioned earlier, both intelligence testings need a fecal specimen. Sure, some clients might find it uncomfortable, but without it, it won’t be possible to determine the current gut microbiome state. The Viome Health Intelligence test also demands a small blood specimen from a finger. Once customers are done with the sampling, they should send the samples to the company’s laboratory for further analysis.
Results are usually ready within four weeks. Clients receive not only analysis data processed with proprietary artificial intelligence algorithms but also recommendations for their well-being. All the data can be found on the Viome’s site and mobile application.
What’s The Price for Viome Health Kits?
As of now, the price for the Gut Intelligence pack is 149 US dollars. The Health Intelligence Test is more expensive and carries the value of almost 350 US dollars. The company accepts bank cards (Visa, MasterCard) and PayPal.
What Do People Say About Company’s Products?
Viome analyzes are either regular or extended. In my experience, extended ones are more expensive, and even the doctors themselves do not see the point in them. Take the normal option – Gut Intelligence. It will identify the pathogenic flora (if there is any) and determine its sensitivity to antibiotics. For me, it’s more than enough to treat my gut.
Zac Redmond, 45
I’m very satisfied with the client service. It’s available both in the application and on the website. The support team is polite and responds in a timely manner. But it’s not 24/7, and I couldn’t find any info on their working hours.
Cristian Sherman, 33
I’ve been using Viome kits for 2 years. Twice a year, I check my gut microbiome since previously, I suffered from bowel issues and poor metabolism. Medical staff recommendations helped me to normalize my diet. Thanks to them, I feel more energetic, am always in a good mood, and face stressful situations more calmly.
Adeel Grainger, 38
Health Intelligence Test is a bit expensive, but it’s definitely worth it. It indicated issues with my blood glucose levels, energy exchange, and inflammatory response. I can’t say I follow all the recommendations provided with the results, but some of them are really useful.
Yusha Hayden, 40
I had to wait for my results exactly for 1 month. I know, it’s stated on the website it may take that much time, still, I was hoping all the processes would be faster. As for the rest, everything is fine.
Jarrod Salas, 54
The Viome health company has provided its services to more than hundreds of thousands of users across the country. Still, there is not enough evidence to prove this organization is 100% reliable. Yes, there are lots of positive reviews from real clients, and most users are truly satisfied with a broad array of health recommendations. Nevertheless, we haven’t managed to find any information about customer service quality, response time, etc.
- The sampling process is user-friendly: you don’t need any specific knowledge or skills to sample.
- There is software for mobile devices available to simplify all the analysis processes.
- All the information can also be easily found in the user’s web-based account on the official website.
- Each test is supported with numerous pieces of advice for clients’ health and well-being.
- Some clients might find a fecal specimen unpleasant.
- Medical staff pieces of advice are not obligatory and may not be useful for some customers