What Should You Know Before Undergoing a Microbiome Gut Test?

Updated on September 15, 2021

Microbiome gut tests are becoming increasingly popular among people who want to improve their diet and lifestyle, lose weight, boost their energy levels, and get better overall health.

As one of the top health trends in 2021, a microbiome gut test can help you establish whether you’re dealing with an imbalance in your gut bacteria and what you can do to improve it.

To determine if you need a microbiome gut test, look at what this procedure entails and why you may want to consider it in the first place.

About Gut Bacteria

The human body has approximately 100 trillion cells, most of which are microbial. The human genome holds around 20,000 genes, whereas as many as ten times that number is found in a single gram of intestinal bacteria. In other words, 99% of your genetic makeup is not you. It’s bacterial.

A recent study showed that gut bacteria is related to the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects your mood and appetite.

Serotonin levels also influence your happiness and mental health. A lack of serotonin can cause depression.

Signs of Unhealthy Gut

The gastrointestinal tract is often considered the seat of health. Unhealthy gut bacteria disturb the acid-alkaline balance and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. 

The bacteria in the gut can lead to systemic inflammation, which can cause autoimmune diseases to manifest. Prevention starts with eating plenty of probiotics, healthy food, and fermented foods.

The common signs of an unhealthy gut can be:

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Flatulence
  • Heartburn

How Does The Test Work?

A complete microbiome gut test is designed to collect samples from different parts of your GI tract. Your stomach, small intestine, and bacteria in your stool provide valuable information about what’s going on in your body.

When analyzing these samples, doctors can figure out which microbes are present and how much each exists. It tells them about the state of your digestion and identifies potential deficiencies or imbalances that may be causing issues with your overall health and well-being.      

For How Long Is It Helpful?

Microbiome gut tests can be efficient for helping patients understand and improve their overall health. They may remain beneficial for several months.

 However, alterations in your diet or daily routine may result in changes to your immune system affecting your overall well-being.

It makes it challenging to determine exactly how long one specific test will remain helpful. Generally, experts recommend that patients get tested at least once every six months to assess any potential changes in their condition and adjust their treatment plan accordingly.

What Do The Results Mean?

Your microbiome gut test results will vary by the lab and by what testing method they use. It usually isn’t too much of an issue if you know how it might affect your testing results. 

Most importantly, be aware that there is no standard for what normal or healthy looks like, so don’t feel bad if your result has a value that doesn’t align with another person with similar symptoms.

Each person is unique in their genetics, lifestyle factors such as diet, medications like using antibiotics, etc., which means there is no correct answer for optimal levels.

When to Get a Gut Test?

A microbiome gut test helps discover what microbes are in your system, how well you’ve been absorbing nutrients from the food you consume, and how well your body functions. This test can provide you with a lot of helpful information about how your digestion is working and ways to improve it.

  • If you want to lose weight
  • If your digestion problems are impacting your life
  • When you feel like you’re getting sick all the time
  • When your immune system isn’t functioning the way, it used to

How Much Does It Cost?

Microbiome testing typically costs $100–$200 per sample. Gut tests require two stool samples, so it might be more cost-effective to get your spouse, child, or parent tested at the same time.

Prices vary widely depending on which company offers testing, how much information is provided, and what additional services are provided.

For example, some companies provide dietary advice or ongoing support through follow-up phone calls or email exchanges for an additional charge.

To Wrap Things Up

In today’s health-obsessed society, it’s normal to want to know what’s going on inside your body, from your cholesterol levels to whether you’re getting enough sleep. One method of quantifying all that data is through a gut test.

Like a blood panel in some ways, a gut test examines your digestive system. It provides insight into what’s happening inside your stomach and how certain foods can improve your overall wellness.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.