Viome vs. Ombre: An RN's Comparison Of The Best Gut Health Tests
As the quest for better gut health takes center stage in our pursuit of overall wellness, a few leading brands have emerged as pioneers in the world of at-home gut microbiome testing. Of course, we’d never complain about more ways to explore your gut health—but when it comes to Viome vs. Ombre, which brand has the best at-home microbiome tests?
Harnessing the power of cutting-edge science and technology, both Ombre and Viome aim to unlock the mysteries of your gut. The two brands are quite similar, but still come with a few important distinctions. To help you navigate the growing array of at-home gut health tests, we’re delving into the intricacies of these two popular options.
What is an at-home microbiome test?
First, let’s back up to understand what an at-home microbiome test is, and who might benefit from using one. These test kits allow individuals to collect a sample (typically stool) in the comfort of their own home, for the purpose of analyzing the microbiome. The microbiome refers to the community of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes, that live on and inside our bodies, particularly in the gut.
Once the sample is collected using the materials and instructions provided, it is sent back to the company's lab for analysis. Advanced genetic sequencing technologies are then used to identify and quantify the various microorganisms present in the sample. The resulting data can provide insight into the diversity and balance of the gut microbiota—which, of course, plays a huge role in your overall health and well-being.
The best gut health tests, according to Heather Wilde, NMD, are those that evaluate “microbiome balance as well as inflammation in the gut lining, how well you are digesting and absorbing nutrients, as well as looks at whether you have pathogenic organisms in your gut.”
These test results may offer valuable insights into your gut health, and the potential impact it’s having on various aspects of your overall health and well-being. Some at-home microbiome tests even include personalized recommendations for dietary or lifestyle changes meant to improve your gut health.
It's important to note, that while these tests can provide useful information, they should not replace professional medical advice. This is especially true for those with serious or chronic health concerns. Always consult with a healthcare provider when interpreting these test results and making health decisions.
mbg's take on at-home tests
Signs of a leaky gut
Leaky gut, also known as increased intestinal permeability, is a digestive condition during which bacteria and toxins are able to "leak" through the intestinal wall. Some health practitioners believe that leaky gut can lead to a range of health problems, including but not limited to digestive woes, skin issues, and even autoimmune diseases.
Signs of a leaky gut are diverse and can often overlap with other health issues, making it difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms include gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, gas, cramps, food sensitivities, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Individuals with a leaky gut may also experience chronic diarrhea, constipation, or issues with bowel movements.
Beyond digestive distress, symptoms can manifest outside the gut. For instance, skin conditions such as eczema or acne, as well as general symptoms like fatigue, joint pain, and headaches could also be signs of a leaky gut. Additionally, some people experience cognitive issues such as brain fog or mood changes, including anxiety and depression.
Some research even suggests autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or celiac disease may be associated with a leaky gut. Given the wide range of possible symptoms, it's recommended to seek professional medical advice if you suspect you might have a leaky gut.
What is Viome?
Viome stands as a revolutionary player in the health technology sphere, focusing its specialty on gut microbiome exploration and analysis. What sets Viome apart is its use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to interpret the complex data associated with the microscopic inhabitants of your digestive tract, thus illuminating aspects of your health and well-being.
Viome users are provided with a kit to collect a stool sample, which is then sent to the brand’s lab for testing. With your test results, you’ll receive a comprehensive report. The report details your microbiome composition and functionality, and outlines potential influences on various health parameters, offering a broad perspective on gut health.
Based on your unique gut microbiome profile, you’ll be given personalized nutrition recommendations to support optimal health. You’ll learn which foods Viome recommends avoiding, limiting, and eating more of.
What is Ombre?
Ombre, previously known as Thryve, is another health technology company offering in-depth insights into your gut health. The testing process is quite similar, with an at-home stool test that’s mailed back to the brand in a pre-paid envelope.
Using advanced technology, Ombre meticulously identifies microorganisms in your gut microbiome, including over 10,000 bacterial species, viruses, yeast, fungi, and mold. Once the lab is finished testing your sample, you’ll receive a full report on your microbiome, along with a calculated score, food suggestions, and targeted probiotic recommendations.
Comparing the cost of Viome vs Ombre
Cost of course comes into play when deciding which microbiome test is best for you. Here’s how the two brands compare.
Viome’s tests range from $149 for the Gut Intelligence Test to $399 for the Full Body Intelligence Test. Conversely, Ombre's gut health test is $100. The brand does offer a 15% subscription discount if you commit to at least four tests per year.
Neither brand accepts insurance, but you can use an HSA or FSA account, depending on your plan.
While Ombre is less expensive, the choice between the two might will also depend on the specific types of tests required, the detailed analysis provided, and the personalized recommendations generated based on individual gut microbiome profiles.
Comparing the tests offered for Viome vs Ombre
- Gut Intelligence Test (Gut Health): Investigates the active microbes in your gut, providing essential insights including 20+ gut health scores into your digestive health, metabolic efficiency, and immune system functionality.
- Health Intelligence Test (Gut, Cellular Health): An extensive test that blends gut microbiome analysis with molecular health measurements. This test expands on the insights provided by the Gut Intelligence analysis. It explores the ways in which your gut microbiome and overall digestive health support or hinder critical body functions that maintain your well-being. These include your immune response, cellular vitality, and your body's internal aging process.
- Full Body Intelligence Test (Gut, Cellular, Oral Health): Viome’s most comprehensive test, including 50+ gut health scores along with an in-depth analysis, informs strategies to enhance various health facets tied to your microbiome. It includes digestion, cell health, cognitive function, heart health, immunity, and stress resilience.
- Gut Health Test: Provides a detailed, personalized report on your gut bacteria, in addition to recommending specific Ombre probiotic supplements based on scientific findings and tailored to your unique gut microbiome. The package includes a gut health test, a customized microbiome report with an Ombre Score, dietary recommendations, and targeted probiotic suggestions.
- Vaginal Health Test: This vaginal swab test assists in identifying and rectifying imbalances in the vaginal microbiome through advice on diet, lifestyle, and probiotics.
While Ombre only offers one gut health test, it does include probiotic suggestions (that are sold through Ombre) with your results. Viome's three tests offered are comprehensive and cover multiple health markers.
Comparing the sample collection for Viome vs Ombre
Viome provides a user-friendly at-home test kit for collecting a stool, blood, and cheek swab sample. Users are guided through the process with clear instructions on how to take each sample, how to store it, and how to send the samples back to Viome's lab for analysis. The company has designed its testing process to be simple and efficient, minimizing any discomfort and ensuring privacy.
Ombre also provides an at-home kit for sample collection, but the directions are a little less user-friendly. The instructions are brief, with minimal text and a few images to follow. Ombre’s gut health test requires only a stool sample, so it is a bit quicker than Viome’s three-step process. Some users will prefer Ombre due to the fact that there is no finger prick required. Of course, this does limit the amount of information you’ll receive from your sample.
Comparing the turnaround times for Viome vs Ombre
When it comes to comparing the turnaround times for Viome and Ombre, each company has its own unique timeline for providing test results.
Once your Viome sample is received at the laboratory, the processing time is typically between two to three weeks. This period includes the time it takes to sequence and analyze your microbiome, as well as prepare your comprehensive report. The data is then uploaded to your online account, providing easy and secure access to your personalized results and recommendations.
Ombre aims for a slightly quicker turnaround time. After the sample arrives at their lab, the expected processing time is generally around 10 to 14 days. Similar to Viome, this timeline encompasses the sequence analysis of your sample and the preparation of your detailed report. The completed results are made accessible through your Ombre online account.
While both companies strive to deliver results as quickly as possible, Ombre's timeline tends to be a bit shorter. However, the difference is minimal and may not be a significant deciding factor for most users, as both offer relatively quick access to results given the complex nature of the tests they conduct.
Why is gut health important for longevity?
Gut health plays a significant role in our overall well-being and is increasingly being recognized for its impact on longevity. The gut, often referred to as the second brain, is populated by trillions of microorganisms known collectively as the gut microbiome. This complex ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms is pivotal in several aspects of human health, including digestion, nutrient absorption, immune system function, and even mental health.
Emerging research suggests a healthy gut microbiome can contribute to healthy aging. A balanced gut microbiome aids optimal digestion and nutrient absorption, essential for maintaining overall health and warding off disease over the long term. Additionally, the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in immune system function. Around 70% of the immune system is located in the gut, and a healthy gut microbiome can support a robust immune response, reducing the risk of infection and illness.
Further, gut health is linked to inflammation, a key factor in many age-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's, and certain cancers. A healthy gut microbiome can help manage and reduce systemic inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of these diseases. Moreover, research has shown links between the gut microbiome and metabolic health. A balanced microbiome can aid in maintaining a healthy weight and managing blood sugar levels, factors also associated with longevity.
Prioritizing gut health may contribute to longevity by supporting optimal nutrient absorption, enhancing immune function, managing inflammation, and promoting metabolic health. As such, maintaining a balanced and diverse gut microbiome should be an important consideration for those seeking to live a long, healthy life.
Viome vs. Ombre: Our verdict
When deciding between Viome and Ombre, our verdict is that both companies offer robust and valuable services, with the best choice depending on individual preferences and health needs.
Viome excels in providing a comprehensive view of the gut microbiome, including an advanced metatranscriptomic analysis which gives insights not only into the microorganisms present, but also their functional activity. This holistic approach, combined with clear and personalized nutrition and lifestyle recommendations, makes Viome an excellent choice for those seeking to improve their health through a better understanding of their gut microbiome.
On the other hand, Ombre offers a vaginal health test as well as a gut health test. This makes Ombre a more versatile option for individuals wanting to explore various aspects of their health beyond the gut microbiome. Also, the brand’s slightly quicker turnaround time may be an advantage for those keen to receive results promptly.
Ultimately, your choice might depend on whether you're interested in a more comprehensive analysis of your gut microbiome (Viome) or a broader range of health tests (Ombre). As always, it's recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before making decisions based on these test results.
Viome vs. Ombre: Quick facts
Collection method:StoolFinger prickCheek swab
Tests offered:Gut Health TestHealth Intelligence TestFull Body Intelligence Test
Biomarkers checked:Microbial RNA to identify bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, and mold, as well as human, bacterial, and microbial functions
Result time:1 to 3 weeks after the lab receives your sample
Coverage:Insurance not accepted
Who should try it?
Viome's microbiome tests are a great tool for individuals interested in a highly personalized and data-driven understanding of their gut health. Viome provides detailed insights into not only what microorganisms inhabit the gut but also what they're doing and what steps to take to improve your gut health. This makes Viome an ideal choice for those grappling with digestive issues or individuals interested in the broader impacts of gut health on metabolic function, immune system, and overall wellness.
Tests offered:Gut Health TestVaginal Health Test
Biomarkers checked:16s rRNA V3-V4 regions and 10,000+ bacterial species
Result time:10 to 14 days after the lab receives your sample
Coverage:Insurance not accepted
Who should try Ombre?
Anyone who is interested in taking a personalized approach to maintaining optimal gut health and overall wellness may benefit from Ombre’s gut health test. The brand stands as an appealing choice for those suffering from digestive issues, chronic diseases, or mental health concerns linked to gut health. Ombre is also suitable for health-conscious individuals aiming to maintain a balanced gut and vaginal microbiome, given its focus on prevention and overall wellness.
Viome pros & cons:
- Provides personalized dietary and lifestyle recommendations based on individual microbiome analysis
- Ensures convenient and private sample collection
- Uses advanced metatranscriptomic sequencing for a comprehensive analysis of gut microorganisms and their functionality
- Insurance is not accepted
- Long turnaround time
Ombre pros & cons:
- Offers a separate vaginal microbiome test
- 15% subscription discount
- Directions are not as user-friendly
What is the most accurate stool test?
Determining the "most accurate" stool test can be a complex matter as it greatly depends on what specific biomarkers or health concerns you're testing for. However, DNA-based stool tests like those offered by Viome or Ombre, which use advanced sequencing technology to analyze the genetic material of gut microbes, are currently considered the gold standard for comprehensive and accurate gut microbiome analysis.
What tests are similar to Viome?
Ombre provides a gut microbiome testing service that, like Viome, offers personalized dietary and lifestyle recommendations based on the user's gut microbiome profile. We’ve also compared Viome to Thorne. Thorne’s Gut Health Test assesses your microbiome by measuring biomarkers of digestion and absorption, gut barrier function, and the gut microbiome. Similar to Viome, the brand then provides actionable insights to improve your digestive health. Another option, DayTwo, focuses on managing blood sugar levels through gut microbiome analysis. Using AI and advanced algorithms, DayTwo offers personalized nutritional advice based on an individual's unique gut microbiome.
What is the best gut test for IBS?
The "best" gut tests offer a comprehensive analysis of the gut microbiome. These tests not only identify the types of microorganisms present in your gut but also provide insights into their activity and functionality, offering personalized dietary recommendations that can potentially help manage IBS symptoms.
What test confirms leaky gut?
To confirm the presence of "leaky gut" or increased intestinal permeability, a common method is the Lactulose-Mannitol test, which measures the ability of these two sugars to pass through the gut lining. Another approach could be a zonulin test, as elevated zonulin levels in the blood have been associated with increased intestinal permeability, although more research is needed to establish the reliability of this test.
The choice between Viome and Ombre depends on individual health goals and preferences. Both companies highlight the significance of understanding our gut microbiome for overall well-being and longevity, a sentiment we can certainly get behind. To dive deeper into at-home testing, check out our picks for the best at-home microbiome tests, metabolism tests, and hormone tests.