Why microbiome tests may be promising more than they can deliver

Image credit: Mirror

Microbiome testing companies have become a thing, offering consumers a chance to see a snapshot of the billions of microbes that reside in their bodies. Some promise even more from a swab: personalized advice on how to improve your health.

“Take control of your gut bacteria to help with weight management, fitness, skin health and more!” says Thryve’s website. Meanwhile, Viome, launched with $21 million in startup funding last year, promises to help people “discover what’s happening inside your gut and get a personalized action plan to fix it,” using technology “developed for National Security.” Their competitor uBiome has a vaguer sales pitch, saying customers will “learn” and “discover” more about their microbiome — and it may have good reason to keep it simple.

Related article:  If China's coronavirus isn't contained soon, we may be stuck with it permanently

There’s no doubt that the microbiome, the community of trillions of bacteria and viruses that live in a person’s body, has a profound impact on human health. But our understanding of the microbiome isn’t advanced enough, nor are the commercial tests precise enough, to guide customized health recommendations,

The problem is, researchers have yet to define what a “healthy” gut includes, or if one person’s healthy gut data can apply to another person. And, for the companies hawking probiotics, it is also unknown if and how those beneficial bacteria can even take root in a person’s turbulent digestive system.

Read full, original post: As microbiome testing firms proliferate, so do questions about their claims

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
ft covidresponseus feature

Video: Viewpoint: The US wrote the global playbook on the coronavirus and then ignored it

A year ago, the United States was regarded as the country best prepared for a pandemic. Our government had spent ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
gmo corn field x

Do GMO Bt (insect-resistant) crops pose a threat to human health or the environment?

Bt is a bacterium found organically in the soil. It is extremely effective in repelling or killing target insects but ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend