During the last decade or so, scientists have been uncovering information about the significance of our microbiome for optimizing health. The microbiome is the microscopic community of microbes, including bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites that live on us and in us. A rich diversity of these microbes are essential for our well being and perform important functions such as breaking down food, creating important nutrients, protecting our bodies from unhealthy microbes and helping to clear out dead tissue as our cells renew.
I find this cutting edge health technology fascinating and that's why I recently sent a stool sample to Viome, for analysis. When the kit arrived, everything I needed, to enable me to collect the sample efficiently and hygienically, at home, was inside the box, as well as easy to follow instructions. A couple of weeks later my results landed on my new Viome app.
Because of their in depth, but growing, knowledge of the workings of the microbiome, Viome don't believe that there is one diet that fits everyone. The results will help guide me to the most suitable diet for my needs, and they include an individualised food list that is tailored towards the health of my microbiome.
Viome's unique technology allows the gut microbiome, to be viewed at ultra high resolution showing there is only a 5% similarity to other peoples' microbiome. Viome state that other commonly available technologies indicate a 97% similarity. To put that into perspective, imagine standing at the top of the Empire State Building. If you have exceptional eye site you may be able to make out some humans walking around below. Zooming in with a telescope should enable you to distinguish between the folks you're looking at – what they are wearing, where they are heading, whether they are sitting, or standing, and so on. That's the power of Viome's technology which isn't currently available elsewhere. It illustrates that each of us are uniquely different when it comes to the microbiome – as mentioned there is only about 5% commonality between humans' gut flora, and that compares to 99% commonality between human DNA.
Yes you read that right. We humans are more unique when it comes to our gut bacteria, than when it comes to our genes. So why is this so important? Well first of all, it explains why NO DIET FITS ALL. Different microbes have different requirements for survival, and whereas some may thrive on one type of food, others may produce toxins in the presence of that same food. A thriving friendly microbial community is beneficial for our health because in unison they control our emotions and views of the world, they generate energy, help us derive vitamins such as K and B12, and can affect many conditions including autism, ADD, cancer, obesity, diabetes, lupus, Parkinson’s and MS.
Viome claim that they can accurately measure all changes in our gut microbiome and quantify its biochemical activities. They are able to create precise and personalized recommendations of food and nutrients to heal our gut and keep us free from chronic conditions.
Based on the full analysis of my gut microbiome, Viome have provided me with a simplified food recommendation list, that enables me to confidently choose the best foods for my own body.
The list is split into 4 categories: My Superfoods; Enjoy; Limit; Avoid. This, and other information, including a wellness overview, featuring inflammatory activity, and metabolic fitness, is provided in an app that I have access to as part of my annual membership.
I always think I eat a healthy diet, but the results have really surprised me because I have been advised to put some of my healthy choices on hold for now, and as mentioned above, this is all related to how my microbes are behaving.
In my next post I will talk about why it is so important to maintain the health of the microbes inside your gut, and in a future post I will share my results with you and explain a little more about Viome's work.