For the past few years, microbiome testing has garnered quite a bit of traction in the scientific and medical communities. Thanks to the ever-progressive genetic research, scientists have also discovered that the environment inside one’s gastrointestinal tract is also what makes each person unique, besides their genetic makeup.
This opened the doors for discovering what is now deemed the ‘forgotten organ’ of your body: the gut microbiome.
Other than the digestive system, experts have linked how gut microbiota can affect the body’s other biological functions. For this reason, many have become highly interested in identifying the microorganisms that make up their gut. Obtaining a microbiome test can provide individuals with this information.
This is why medical testing centers have begun offering microbiome tests to help individuals discover their gut flora. In fact, it’s become more common that home microbiome test is now available to order online for convenience.
Your Gut Health Matters
Experts refer to the gut microbiota as the forgotten organ because of its ability to perform metabolic, protective, and structural functions in your body.
Believe it or not—your gastrointestinal tract (gut) houses trillions of microbes responsible for maintaining your overall health, not just your digestion. In fact, researchers claim that a healthy gut has been linked to improved heart and mental health.
These microorganisms in your gut consist of both good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria improve digestion and boost immunity, while harmful bacteria promote weight gain, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.
In order to measure how balanced the good and bad bacteria are in your gut, you need to get a microbiome test.
Microbiome Tests Help Identify How Healthy Your Gut is
A gut microbiome test explores the composition and identifies the species of microbes living inside your digestive tract. The test is done by providing a sample of your stool to a testing clinic. Microbiome test results give a clear overview of which microorganisms are abundant and/or lacking in your gut.
Typically, you may receive test results after a few weeks of sending your stool sample. You can expect a list of microbes detected in your stool, their richness, and how they affect your health. Testing clinics may also offer further support to help you interpret your test results.
It’s Worth Your Money
Price is certainly an essential consideration if you’re thinking about getting tested. On average, microbiome tests’ prices may range from USD$200 to USD$400 per testing kit. Yes, the price may come off pretty hefty, but some insurance may be able to cover microbiome tests if your doctor prescribes it.
Since more research is needed to understand how gut bacteria affect your health altogether, it’s normal to feel skeptical about the results of the procedure, and whether or not it’s worth paying hundreds of dollars.
But, consider this: gastroenterologists have been able to link how the gut microbiome influences your body’s major systems. They’ve discovered that an abundance of certain bacteria is typical among people with type 2 diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, colon cancer, etc.
If you’re experiencing these chronic disease symptoms, getting a microbiome test is undoubtedly worth every penny.
A Word Of Caution
Microbiome tests are not FDA-approved; therefore, you should take the results with a grain of salt. Their primary purpose is to allow you to discover how diverse the microorganisms are present in your gut.
More research is needed to produce more conclusive results. If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms, consult your physician whether a microbiome test is necessary.
Avoid over-interpreting the results of your microbiome test. These test results don’t diagnose nor pinpoint the possible causes of your illness. Make sure to ask for additional support from testing clinics to interpret your test results and create an action plan.