Our intestines are host to trillions of microbes, making it the most diverse microbiome we have, affecting every stage of our life. From the moment we are born, we begin populating our gut microbiome, some of which help us to extract energy from non-digestible components of milk. As we age, the microbiome plays a large part in digestion control, generate metabolites to provide nutrition, and helps train our immune system to protect helpful bacteria and recognize bad bacteria.
Generally, the gut microbiome is closely linked to our health through the gut-brain axis affecting the development of brain and mental health conditions. It is also involved in energy acquisition from eating, protection from bad microbes, and the building of vitamins & metabolites that boost our wellness.
Both provide an understanding of whether or not your microbes are within a healthy balance or if there is a larger proportion of microbe communities that can cause health problems.
Bacterial diversity analysis looks at a single gene (16S rRNA) in two types of microbes (bacteria and archaea) providing a report similar to a general census being done by the government. Your report will include the diversity of different microbe populations, this is called a taxonomic profile.
Comprehensive microbiome analysis looks at all of the genes in five types of microbes (bacteria, archaea, fungus, parasites, and viruses) providing a detailed report on the identity of the microbes, with a more complete census as well as a list of antibiotic resistance genes that were found to inform what antibiotic treatment you should be prescribed. Your report will be more than a census, where it now includes a criminal profile for bad microbes. You receive both a taxonomic profile and detailed analysis of the identity and genes of the microbes present.
The results of microbiome testing can be used to gain insight to your health conditions.