Gut Bacteria Testing: Part 1 – what you get back from the labs

This is the first of a few posts looking at Gut Bacteria testings. There are many labs offering such with a wide variation of information on the information and what is tested.

The Ideal Report

Before looking at individual results, I would live to describe what I would love to see:

  • Measurements for each of the following containing:
    • Your reading,
    • Average reading of a healthy population
    • Standard deviation of a healthy population
    • Reading of the lowest 5% of a healthy population (why? I expect distributions to not be a normal bell curve)
    • Reading of the highest 5% of a healthy population (why? I expect distributions to not be a normal bell curve)
  • Measurement by the Gram-Positive species, Gram-Negative species
    • Measurement by Phylum
      • Measurement by Class
        • Measurement by Order
          • Measurement by Family
            • Measurement by Genus
              • Measurement by Species
                •  Measurement by Strain

Nothing commercially available provides the above, but some are close. The diagram below is from Wikipedia commons and may help visual all of these terms.

Hierarchy

Sample Reports

My readers have been kind to send sample of their reports. All of these are for CFS patients. In my next post, I will try to create a unified view of all of the data in these samples (and any more that I get emailed to me at Ken@Lassesen.com ), combined with results from the literature. Added to this in my next post, I will also include probiotics that I am aware of that may help correct deficiencies.  

The bottom line is that it appears that the most detailed information is provided by American Gut and uBiome. No MD order is required and the cost is $100 or less. It will not be covered by medical insurance. Most MDs and NDs will likely not known what to do with the report and some may attack the significant of the report because of lacking knowledge.

Ubiome.com

At the highest level, you get a summary by phylum. They provide 18+ phylum levels. At each level they provide the average and how far from the average your are. Without any information on the range of the values seen in healthy individuals, it is hard to establish that a value is actually significant unless it is 10x or more off.

2013-11-09 uBiome - Phylum

  • At the Class level,  16+ items
  • At the Order level,  24+ items
  • At the Family level, 34+ items
  • At the Genus level, 34+ items

Total readings: 285 readings

The information is available in the JSON format and provide significant detail, one example is shown below:

{“taxon”:”186824″,”parent”:”1385″,”count”:”1″,”count_norm”:”5″,”avg”:”1.000000000000000″,”tax_name”:”Thermoactinomycetaceae”,”tax_rank”:”family”}

This allows information from different patients to be easily combined for group analysis.

Genova Diagnostics

This firm has been offering tests for many years, and appear to have kept to old technology which has limited information. Their typical report is only 8 items as shown below

Geneva Results

When known as Great Smokies (2000)
Great Smokies Report (2000)

IMHO, their measurements is very weak, they use a private rating system that appear to have tunnel vision.

AmericanGut

No sample report yet (I have ordered kits)

Red Laboratories

A sample report is below. It is much superior to Genova:

  • Far more species
  • Weakness is that the measures are “one sided” and do not provide the expected normal range.
    • Example: MD’s only give significance to High Temperatures, CFS having below (down to 96F -3F) temperature is often ignored as insignificance, while + +3F temperature is significant. 0 This one-sided perspective is seen in other tests (like SED).  When the expected value is < 25 and the patient has zero (0) – it suggests that something significant may be occurring.

Red

Bioscreen

Bio1bio2