Viome Vs. Thorne: Which Is The Best At-Home Microbiome Test? Medically Reviewed
Understanding and nurturing our gut microbiome is a crucial aspect of maintaining overall health. Heather Wilde, naturopathic doctor from NaturopathicMD, explains that the gut microbiome can influence various aspects of health, mental and physical. This includes mood, weight management, risk of chronic diseases, and more. To help you take the reins on your health and well-being, we're diving deep into two of the best at-home microbiome tests, Viome vs. Thorne.
What is the gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome is the diverse community of microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microscopic creatures) that inhabits our gastrointestinal tract. These microbes play a critical role in our health and well-being, contributing to a variety of bodily functions.
Microbes assist in the digestion of food, particularly in breaking down complex carbohydrates and producing essential nutrients. The microbiome also plays a significant role in our immune system, regulating inflammation and protecting our bodies against harmful pathogens.
Who should use a gut microbiome test?
Given the profound impact that gut health can have on overall well-being, gut microbiome tests are a valuable tool for a wide variety of people. Here's who might find these tests particularly beneficial:
Individuals with digestive complaints: For those experiencing consistent gastrointestinal issues such as bloating, constipation, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—all key signs of an unhealthy gut microbiome—an at-home test can help pinpoint any potential microbial imbalances that could be causing these problems.
Wellness enthusiasts: Those keen on maximizing their health could use a gut microbiome test to better understand their unique gut flora and make informed dietary or lifestyle modifications. Wilde puts it best: "Since you are what you eat, you want to make sure your gut is healthy!"
Remember, while these tests offer insightful data, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice. It's essential to consult with a health care provider about any health concerns.
What is Viome?
Viome is a pioneering health technology company that specializes in gut microbiome testing and analysis. The brand uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to interpret data about the microorganisms in your digestive tract and provide insights into your health and well-being.
Users receive a kit, wherein they provide stool, blood, and saliva samples. These are then sent back to Viome's lab for review. Leveraging advanced metatranscriptomic sequencing technology, Viome identifies all microbes (such as bacteria, viruses, yeast, fungi, and mold, in addition to human, bacterial, and microbial RNA) to give a deep dive into your microbiome.
After this sequencing and analysis process, users receive a detailed report on their microbiome composition, functionality, and how it may affect various aspects of their health. This report provides insights into the individual's metabolic health, inflammation, digestive efficiency, and more, providing a holistic view of gut health.
Based on your results, Viome offers personalized nutrition recommendations to support optimal health. The purpose is to empower users to make informed decisions about their diet, lifestyle, and general health, thereby creating a customized path toward improved wellness.
What is Thorne?
Thorne is a prominent health solutions company with an array of at-home health tests and dietary supplements. Its tests are designed to evaluate various aspects of health and well-being, such as gut health, stress, and sleep. Each is conducted using an at-home kit with a blood, saliva, or urine sample. The sample is sent back to Thorne's lab using a prepaid package.
Upon receipt, your sample will be analyzed by the brand's specialists, using a combination of advanced technologies to ascertain biomarker levels, metabolic health, and other metrics according to the test.
Once the analysis is completed, users receive a comprehensive (yet easy-to-understand) digital report, which is viewable on Thorne's platform. The report includes an overview of the user's test results, a breakdown of what the data means and how it relates to their health. Depending on the type of test taken, these insights can include information such as vitamin deficiencies and hormonal imbalances, or indicators of chronic stress or poor sleep.
Based on each user's results, Thorne provides personalized lifestyle, dietary, and supplement recommendations to address any areas of concern. Much like Viome, this is meant to empower individuals to take charge of their health and well-being.
Viome vs. Thorne
Tests offered:Gut microbiome, health intelligence (includes gut microbiome and human cellular health)
Biomarkers checked:Bacteria, Fungi, Bacteriophages, Viruses, Parasites, Archaea
Result time:2 to 3 weeks
Coverage:Insurance not accepted
Who should try it?
Viome at-home tests are an excellent choice for those who prioritize convenience, privacy, and personalized nutritional advice. However, those with acute symptoms or urgent health issues should prioritize immediate professional medical care.
Tests offered:Gut healthStressSleepHeavy metalsThyroidHormone
Biomarkers checked:Gut Health: Intestinal Permeability Score, Gut Dysbiosis (including Good and Bad Bacteria and Probiotics), Digestion, Inflammation, Nervous System Imbalance, Beta-Diversity, Miconutrients (such as Niacin and B6), Short-Chain Fatty Acids, Immune Readiness, and Pathogens
Result time:3 to 5 days
Coverage:Insurance not accepted
Who is Thorne recommended for?
Thorne at-home tests might be more suitable for individuals seeking a comprehensive range of health tests, like sleep and heart health checks. However, those with acute health problems should always seek immediate professional assistance.
Comparing the cost of Viome vs. Thorne
Rightfully so, financial considerations are often a significant factor when choosing a health testing service. Here's a breakdown of the pricing structure for Viome vs. Thorne:
Viome's test cost varies, ranging from $149 to $399 per test. On the other hand, Thorne's test prices range from $120 to $300 per test, with the majority of tests typically costing around $200. At this time, neither company accepts insurance as a form of payment.
When comparing these companies purely on a cost basis, Thorne tends to offer more budget-friendly options. This affordability may be particularly beneficial for those who require multiple tests.
Comparing the tests offered for Viome vs. Thorne
Viome and Thorne each have an array of at-home testing options, though the scope and specifics of the tests differ. Here's a look at which tests both brands offer:
- Gut Intelligence Test
- Health Intelligence Test
- Stress Test
- Sleep Test
- Heavy Metals Test
- Fertility Test
- Gut Health Test
- Heart Health Test
- Food and Drink Sensitivity Test
Ultimately, Thorne offers a more diverse selection of tests. However, the two tests offered by Viome are extremely comprehensive and include multiple markers.
Comparing the sample collection methods for Viome vs. Thorne
The processes for performing tests with Viome and Thorne are somewhat similar, though the specific procedures can depend on the type of test being performed.
For Viome, the sample collection starts with the user receiving a test kit at home. This kit is used to collect stool, blood, and saliva samples following the provided instructions. Once the samples have been collected, you'll just need to place them in the provided return shipping envelope and return it to Viome's laboratory.
Similarly, Thorne's testing process begins with the user receiving a home kit specific to the type of test ordered. Depending on the test, this could require a blood, saliva, or urine sample. The user collects the sample according to the provided instructions, then sends it back to Thorne's lab using the prepaid shipping materials included in the kit.
In both cases, the user is expected to collect the sample at home on their own, following the instructions provided. The two companies make it easy to return the samples for analysis—and both aim to provide personalized health insights based on the results of their respective tests.
Comparing the turnaround times for Viome vs. Thorne
When it comes to health tests, you'll likely want to go with a brand that provides quick results. Anticipating test results can create anxiety, making swift turnaround times a key feature of any testing service. Both Viome and Thorne strive to provide users with timely results.
With Viome, once the lab receives your sample, you can generally expect to get your results within a span of two to three weeks. The slightly longer duration is due to the intricate analysis involved, particularly with the Gut Intelligence and Health Intelligence Tests, which delve into the detailed workings of your microbiome and various health metrics. However, as someone who has personally used this test, I can attest that the comprehensive insights warrant the wait and provide a unique opportunity to better understand and optimize your health.
Thorne offers a significantly quicker turnaround time than Viome. Once the lab receives your sample, results typically become available within a few days. This swift turnaround is advantageous for those seeking a quick snapshot of their health or who might need to adjust their lifestyle or medical plan swiftly based on the results.
Comparing Viome vs. Thorne
|Product||Price||Tests offered||Results time||Coverage||Biomarkers checked|
|Viome||$149 to $399||Gut Intelligence Test; Health Intelligence Test||2 to 3 weeks||Not covered by insurance||Bacteria; Fungi; Bacteriophages; Viruses; Parasites; Archaea|
|Thorne||$120 to $300||Stress Test; Sleep Test; Heavy Metals Test; Fertility Test; Gut Health Test; Heart Health Test; Food and Drink Sensitivity Test||3 to 5 days||Not covered by insurance||Gut Health Test: Intestinal Permeability Score; Gut Dysbiosis; Digestion; Inflammation; Nervous System Imbalance; Beta-Diversity; Miconutrients (such as Niacin and B6); Short-Chain Fatty Acids; Immune Readiness; Pathogens|
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
- Services may be costly, with tests ranging up to $399, and they do not accept insurance
- The accuracy and effectiveness of Viome's personalized recommendations lack clinical validation in large-scale studies
Thorne pros & cons:
- Offers a variety of at-home tests, such as those for gut health, stress, sleep, and more, which allows individuals to focus on various aspects of their health and well-being according to their specific needs.
- Tests tend to be more cost-effective, with prices ranging from $120 to $300, making it a more affordable choice for many individuals.
- Provides a detailed digital report that not only explains the test results but also offers personalized dietary, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations.
- Does not accept insurance for its testing services.
- Depending on the specific test, Thorne may require blood, saliva, or urine samples. Some individuals might find certain types of sample collection to be more challenging or less convenient than others.
What is the best test to check gut health?
Due to the complex and still-emerging nature of microbiome science, there isn't a single "best" test to analyze gut health. However, comprehensive stool analysis or gut microbiome tests like those offered by companies such as Viome or Thorne provide valuable insights into gut microbiota and its functionality. These tests' results can help individuals understand and improve their gut health.
What tests are similar to Viome?
Our list of the best at-home microbiome tests offers more information about Viome and three similar tests. Ultimately, Thorne, Biohm, Flore, and Thryve are all similar to Viome.
Are gut microbiome tests worth it?
The value of gut microbiome tests largely depends on your individual health goals and needs. These tests provide valuable insights into your gut health, potentially aiding in dietary and lifestyle modifications for better well-being, but they should not replace professional medical advice or diagnosis.
While Viome and Thorne both offer valuable at-home testing services, each has its own advantages. Thorne offers a wider array of tests, while Viome provides a true deep dive on gut health, with personalized dietary advice based on your results. Regardless of which you choose, taking control of your gut health is a significant step—and both services can be powerful tools in your wellness journey.