Currently, the personalized functional medicine industry is booming. Tests for DNA, gene expression, our microbiome populations, and other markers allow you to see what’s going on inside your body and what you specifically need for optimal health. One of the best testing systems on the market is VIOME, which assesses your body’s systems and their functions as a whole, analyzing the gene expression of your microbes, your mitochondria, and your human cells in order to get to the root of your health issues.
Viome’s easy-to-use at-home testing kits can help many more people take charge of their health. By avoiding fads and one-size-fits-all solutions, personalized nutrition can be reimagined for true precision. At HoneyColony, we’ve used VIOME since 2019 because we see the value in specialized medicine. So we wanted to reintroduce this groundbreaking tool for personalized functional medicine.
How VIOME Testing Works
VIOME Health Intelligence testing measures mRNA to test what you can control. It is unlike DNA tests, which only focus on what you’re born with.
Every cell in your body carries the same DNA, even for different organs. However, your genes, the pieces of DNA carrying your unique information, are expressed differently, depending on what function is needed. These variations may be as extreme as the difference between a muscle cell and a skin cell or affect whether a certain biological pathway (a series of actions in a cell that lead to a certain product or a change in the cell) is functioning correctly.
Genes are expressed in response to signals from the cell’s environment, which could include the presence or absence of nutrients, a harmful microbe, or a “message” from another cell. When this happens, it triggers a template copy of the gene in the form of RNA. This instructs another part of your cell to make the protein it codes for. VIOME tests for this gene expression.
The first thing your Health Intelligence test is used for is to calculate your current state of health. The test includes system-specific scores, including your gut microbiome health, cellular health, mitochondrial health, immune system health, stress response health, and biological age.
Your VIOME test then uses this information to calculate the best and worst foods for you. For example, you may have spinach and broccoli recommended as sources of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA. If any imbalances in your gene expression are negatively affected by the oxalates in spinach or the glucosinolates in broccoli, they won’t be on your recommended list. Instead, you may find foods such as peas or tomatoes as alternatives. If your test detects higher inflammatory activity, turmeric may show up as a recommendation. However, if your bile metabolism is high, it could be on the Avoid list.
VIOME Precision Supplements
VIOME is also here for you if you feel like you are constantly playing guessing games to find the best nutrition for your unique biology. While over three-quarters of Americans take supplements, multivitamins are the most common type. Using VIOME takes out confusion and avoids wasted pills because what you need when you need it, and how much you need all comes from the analysis of your samples. Your custom formula is prepared at the manufacturing facility from over 200 possible ingredients. On average, 50 ingredients are in each blend, which would normally cost $400 per month if you tried to purchase each ingredient separately.
The VIOME difference doesn’t just end with your original custom formula. A subscription plan allows you to re-test every six months, and any changes will affect whether your supplement formula is adjusted or stays the same.
Regular testing can reveal new issues that may have appeared from new life stressors and challenges or may reveal you no longer need certain ingredients for issues you may no longer experience.
Cutting Through The Contradictions
Nutrition seems to be a series of contradicting fads and trends – if you follow the mainstream media. Vegetarian and vegan diets, keto diets, the Mediterranean diet, the Paleo diet and simply following the Blue Zone guidelines all take their turns in the spotlight. Unfortunately, these often times extreme diet methods lead to many giving up on holistic health, and relying on “luck”, or worse, symptomatic relief from conventional medicine.
VIOME can help you find the best dietary recommendations to support key areas of health that need attention. A pre-print study first posted in 2021 was one of the first to demonstrate how VIOME’s recommendations are effective in helping support a range of issues and symptoms. It demonstrated an over 30 percent improvement in the risk score for type II diabetes; 36 percent better scores in treating severe depression; a 38 percent improvement in severe IBS; and 40 percent improvement in severe cases of anxiety. Imagine the difference this can make in someone’s day-to-day and overall life.
Are There Any Patterns Emerging?
Your needs are unique to you, but VIOME’s database shows some patterns when it comes to the results.
Perhaps the most important aspect for your long-term, overall health is your “biological age.” Aging not only contributes to most diseases seen in the developed world, but causes problems that aren’t always considered illnesses. They include muscle loss; flatlining energy; wrinkles, degenerated skin; poor digestion; and immune response.
A large analysis of over 90,000 people found some patterns in biological age. People on vegetarian or vegan diets, as well as non-drinkers, were younger on average. On the other hand, those on Paleo or ketogenic diets were older than both volunteers on plant-based diets and omnivores. People with IBS, diabetes, or a habit of heavy drinking were also older.
Much of these differences were caused by inflammation, often known now as “inflammaging”, the low-grade, chronic inflammation that drives much of the aging process. Diets high in meat feed populations of inflammatory bacterial species. More inflammatory bacteria drive up inflammation even further, damaging the gut barrier and dysregulating other gut bacteria populations.
Future Uses of VIOME
It is entirely possible that VIOME testing could be used in the near future to detect cancer, especially oral cancer. Through gene expression of the volunteers’ own cells and their microbiome, researchers developed a test to detect oral cancer in early stages with 90 percent sensitivity and 95 percent specificity. As a non-invasive and accessible test, Viome could help raise the survival rates of oral cancer by making earlier detection possible.
VIOME may turn out in the future to replace DNA testing for health and nutritional recommendations future of DNA testing. Instead of focusing on your basic genetic code, it zeroes in on what counts: how your genes are expressed and what it means for your health. VIOME test results not only show you the true state of health, but how well your new diet, lifestyle, and supplements are working.
Watch HoneyColony Cofounder, Maryam Henein discuss her test results:
Alexandra Preston is an Australian naturopath, passionate about empowering others to take charge of their health and healing the planet. Her special area of interest in natural health is antiaging; she also loves the beach and is a semi-professional dancer.
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