If you asked me what my three favorite hobbies are, I’d probably say cruising the ocean on my SUP, thrifting, and researching gut health. I know, I probably sound super boring and nerdy for that last one, but there’s just so much about the gut microbiome that I find absolutely fascinating.
I’ll give you a few examples:
- Did you know that 70% of your immune system is actually in your gut?
- Have you ever heard the gut being referred to as “the second brain?” That’s because it contains over 100 million neurons (more than the spinal cord or peripheral nervous system).
- 95% of the body’s serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitter that anti-depressants try to keep up levels of) is in the gut.
- Having a “gut feeling” about something? The vagus nerve travels from the gut to the brain where the brain makes emotional decisions based on the info it receives.
- Research has identified that leaky gut is linked to hundreds of medical conditions including Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, ADHD, Autism, Eczema, Depression, and many more.
I have a long history of gut issues like irritable bowel syndrome, leaky gut, food intolerances, and more. When my oldest son was diagnosed with Autism, I started to wonder about the link between gut health and disease. It turns out the link is strong!
Scientists now believe that conditions like Autism, ADHD, mental health disorders, sensory issues, and many neurodevelopmental disorders have something in common—dysbiosis (aka poor gut health) (1).
Up until a few years ago, the only way to know if your gut was healthy was based on symptoms. Now, we have gut microbiome testing that can give you a detailed look at all of the microbes living inside of you and how the abundance (or lack) of certain microbes is impacting your health. AMAZING!
I got so excited about this last year that I asked for a gut health test for Mother’s Day. You can read all about that in my post here. At the time, I chose to go with another company, but I found that I was a little disappointed with the inability to see microbes at the species level as well as a lack of information about why they were recommending I eat and avoid certain foods.
In another post, I wrote about several different companies and their individual approaches to gut microbiome testing. One of those companies was Thryve. Little did I know when I wrote that post that one year later, I would be testing out of their gut health kits.
All About Thryve
Thryve believes their microbiome health report is the first of its kind. According to their website:
We’ve utilized our own proprietary software to analyze every single microbiome research article (35,000+) and summarized 4,000 microbes (descriptions, health benefits/side effects, associated diseases, foods digested, functions, and many more) and have mapped them to 1,000+ food ingredients and 500+ supplements. In short, we have the most comprehensive actionable insights in the microbiome space.https://help.thryveinside.com/en/articles/1520426-how-does-thryve-compare-to-other-diagnostics-ubiome-viome-daytwo-genova-drs-data
Thryve also claims that their testing kit utilizes a specialized liquid buffer that works to keep the bacterial cells stable during transportation. This supposedly increases accuracy by 28% to allow for more depth and species categorization. Thryve claims that many other companies use either a dry swab system or anti-microbial in their liquid buffer that can leave a lot of room for error in test results.
Thryve is also the only company to include personalized probiotics based on questionnaires and your microbiome test results.
My Experience with Thryve
My testing kit arrived in the mail very quickly and I was so excited to get started. After I shipped off my sample, it took roughly 2 weeks to get my results which is pretty quick compared to Viome (which took closer to a month).
From the moment I logged into Thryve to view my personalized results and recommendations, I was very impressed. Everything was very straightforward and easy to navigate with tutorials to explain how everything works.
Thryve identified 59,424 different species in my sample. As you can see, I’m able to view my gut bacteria by Phylum, Class, Family, Genus, or Species. When I toggle through these, I get to see the name, the percentage, the category of bacteria, the health benefits associated with that type of bacteria, and the associated diseases too.
I was also given two different scores—my Wellness Score and my Diversity Score. According to Thryve, the Wellness Score is “determined by the balance of probiotics, beneficial, commensal and pathogenic bacteria in your gut microbiome compared to those of the healthy population from the American Gut Project.” According to my 74% score, I have a “good” score that is better than the healthy average but still needs some work.
The Diversity Score is the “richness” of your gut bacteria and reflects whether you have a large number of individual species as well as the amount of each species. My diversity was a whopping 96%, so all of my hard work eating fermented foods, a variety of foods, and taking gut health supplements seems to be helping compared to when I had my gut health tested a year ago.
Another section that I was very impressed by was the “Symptom Likelihood Analysis.” This section was able to accurately predict 8 symptoms that I am more likely to experience based on the abundance or lack of certain types of key bacterial species. Most of my predictions were based on my low levels of Bifidobacterium, Lactobacillus, and Ruminococcus. What’s great is Thryve didn’t just tell me that I’m low in those bacteria, they told me exactly what to do about it.
Thryve made recommendations on which foods to include and which to avoid in order to increase the levels of bacterial species that I am low in. The recommendations included vegetables, fruits & berries, legumes, nuts & seeds, meats, fish & shellfish, grains, herbs & spices, oils & fats, and even alcohol.
If I click on a particular food, I can find out info about the health effects, which bacteria it may help to increase, which diets it is helpful for, and even recipes to try incorporating that food.
The other recommendation was for my personalized probiotics. Based on my results, Thryve created an individualized probiotic for me that included 10 different strains. They gave me information about each strain, including why they recommended it and the associated health benefits.
The bottle of probiotics contains a one month supply and works out to just $1.16 a day. Compared to some other probiotics I have taken before, this was a steal! You can see the product label above. Thryve includes Vitamin C as well as the prebiotic, inulin, in their probiotics. They make the whole process very simple and send your personalized probiotics monthly so you always have a constant supply.
One concern I had was that the probiotic label said it may contain trace amounts of the milk protein casein. I am very sensitive to all dairy proteins and have reacted to probiotics in the past. I am one week into taking my probiotics from Thryve and am happy to report that I have experienced zero unpleasant symptoms.
Thryve reports that their customers have improved energy levels, sleep quality, and mood over 6 months. They also state that some people start to notice improved symptoms in as little as one week!
My Final Thoughts
Overall, I was very impressed with Thryve. The results were very easy to navigate and were much more thorough and detailed than when I had my gut health tested by Viome. I loved being able to explore the data on each type of bacteria in my gut and find out the associated health effects.
The symptom likelihood was incredibly accurate and I liked being able to see the why behind those with actionable steps to take to improve them. The foods to include and avoid were also so detailed and the recipes are actually ones that I would try!
Just one week into taking my personalized probiotics from Thryve, I have noticed an improvement in my bloating and stomach discomfort. I am so excited to keep taking them and including all of the food recommendations to improve my gut score. I hope to retest in 6 months to see if I have been able to increase the levels of bacteria that I am currently lacking.
If you’re shopping around for the best gut health test, I would highly recommend Thryve. You can find out all of the details and order your gut health test here and use code: HOLFAMILY to save 15%!
Have you had your gut health tested before? Leave a comment below and let me know about your experience.