[Review] Thryve Gut Health Bacteria & Microbiome Test Kit Results
I like to take pride in my fast metabolism, but I’ve also noticed that I tend to have bowel problems more easily than most. There was a time when the situation got pretty bad that I even decided to buy prebiotic pills to see if they would help.
DNA health kits aren’t new to me, but when Thryve contacted it was the first time I had heard of a particular gut health test kit.
Always curious about what’s going on inside of us, my boss, Sarah and I excitedly said yes to the test, so here is our experience.
Sending our shit samples
- Use the two long cotton swabs in the “Collect” box to collect your poop sample according to the instructions.
- You can return your sample using the “Send” box or seal it in a bubble envelope provided.
- Create an account on the Thryve website and register your kit ID there. This allows you to follow the progress of processing your sample and gives you access to your results.
- Thryve extracts data from its index of over 36,000 microbiome research articles to provide descriptions of over 3,000 types of bacteria. This allows them to tell you which germs you have or miss, and why each is important.
Obtain our intestinal report cards
Thryve has 2 different plans: Essential and Premium, the latter will provide you with more detailed reports at an additional cost, but more on that later.
On Essential, we were able to see our Bowel score, mine was a sad 55 and bordering on yellow. Sarah, on the other hand, proudly announced her green 83 Goal.
This report summarized our gut well-being and the diversity of our gut microbiome, based on richness (variety of bacterial species) and uniformity (amount of an individual species).
There is a microbiome report to tell me if my good and bad bacteria were in healthy ranges. As these are only a lot of names and data, it is supplemented by the Probability of symptoms report that summarizes the top 5 symptoms that I can suffer from due to my gut bacteria.
For me, my top 5 symptoms were anxiety, fatigue, lack of sleep, itching and dry skin, and difficulty maintaining a healthy weight, all because I lacked specific bacteria.
However, some of Sarah’s symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating, fatigue, and weight issues were due to an excess of good bacteria, which made us wonder why.
When we reached out to Thryve for clarification, Kimberly, a clinical research partner, told us, “Too much or too little growth of bacteria can produce symptoms typically associated with a dysbiotic state.”
Dictionary time: Dysbiosis is often defined as an “imbalance” in the gut microbial community that is associated with the disease.
“Even beneficial bacteria can proliferate and have been shown in research to induce associated symptoms.” The solution would be to selectively feed the beneficial bacteria with prebiotic foods and probiotics to balance them out.
At Dietary recommendations section, there is a list of what to add and what to avoid in your diet. If you can’t tolerate certain recommendations based on your experience or preferences, Kimberly suggested incorporating small amounts of the recommended food to train your sensitivities if possible.
How these little guys affect us
In Premium you will find comparisons of your gut health to the world average and how your bacteria affect the efficiency of your gut and how it impacts your health in different ways.
For the first section, CompareSarah and I found that it certainly provided a lot more data, but I wondered why these comparisons to the mean mattered.
Kimberly said it might be considered for general curiosity, but given that it covers such large data sets, it’s helpful to see where the averages fall. “If the ratio is high, it may indicate excessive proliferation and / or severe deficiency.”
The second section, repair broke our bowel performance scores yet again. What was interesting to note was that although I had poor gut well-being, I performed much better than Sarah in many of these categories.
For example, my responses to inflammation and food intolerance tilted more towards a green score of 70-80. On the flip side, Sarah’s impressive gut wellness score didn’t translate into good results for her here.
We again brought our confusion to Kimberly, who said, “The scoring with the Repair section is based on specific species of bacteria that have been shown to affect that specific category.”
She took the Inflammation category with butyrate as an example. Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid, so the score is based on whether you have enough of these bacteria to produce it.
So you can be like me with lower levels of non-butyrate producers and a lower overall wellness score (my 55), while beating someone with higher levels of non-butyrate producers and a good score. -be overall higher (like Sarah) in that specific Category.
Another thing was that our results didn’t seem to match our personal experiences, especially with our ability to deal with certain products like gluten, for example.
Sarah did well on her gluten treatment, but she still faced bad bloating and other symptoms, even after small amounts of gluten.
According to Kimberly, things like gluten and lactose have specific bacteria to break them down, so if you have high levels of these bacteria, you’ll get a high score.
However, there are other factors that influence the breakdown or inflammatory response of items. “If someone is lacking in the enzyme lactase, they will still have symptoms associated with lactose even if they have good levels of bacteria,” she says.
“With gluten, there might be an inflammatory reaction such as gluten sensitivity which is based on how the body views gluten. If the immune system sees it as an invader, it doesn’t matter how well bacteria break it down.
If you see a score of 0 in the Vitamin Production category, don’t panic (we certainly have for a while).
It just means that the bacteria associated with the production of this vitamin are deficient, but in most cases you can get this vitamin from your daily meals. Otherwise, there are supplements you can take.
Personalized probiotics for your gut
Speaking of supplements, Thryve offers their own 30-day (60 capsule) supply of personalized probiotic blend based on the concern you choose from a survey.
In each blend there will be specific strains of bacteria along with descriptions of their benefits for your body.
You are not tied to purchasing Thryve’s blend, so with your own research, you can always choose to buy your probiotics elsewhere. The downside is that you might end up buying a product that doesn’t 100% match all of the strains of bacteria you need, and therefore your symptoms may not change.
Thryve’s Custom Mix has a monthly subscription for US $ 34.99 (RM 142.43), or you can opt for a 3-month plan for US $ 89.99 (RM 366.30). This is in addition to the kit cost of US $ 99 (RM402.98).
Sarah and I haven’t tried Thryve’s probiotics so can’t comment on that, but overall we found the Gut Health Kit informative and revealed a lot of helpful explanations for some of our physical conditions.
We actually tried to follow some of their dietary recommendations for 2 weeks. Sarah felt her bloating was less common, but it wasn’t such a huge change. Perhaps the only way to really make a difference is to address the root cause and completely balance the bacterial ecosystem.
- You can read more about Thryve here.
- You can read our reviews of other health test kits here.
Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post / Thryve
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