Decode Health Inside Out with Gut Microbiome Test

Here’s what you can learn from a gut microbiome test?

      Did you know that the microbes you harbour in your body weigh as much as five African elephants over your lifetime? This astonishing fact underscores the immense importance of the gut microbiome, a diverse community of microorganisms present in the gastrointestinal tract. Decode Biome analyzes the composition and diversity of these microorganisms, providing valuable insights into one's overall health. Imbalances in the gut microbiome have been linked to various health conditions, making this test a valuable tool in maintaining optimal health.

      What Is Microbiome?

      The microbiome, a complex ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genetic material, resides on and within the body, playing a crucial role in human health. Despite their microscopic size, these organisms have a massive impact, protecting the body from harmful pathogens, aiding in the development of our immune system, and facilitating the digestion process to fuel our bodies. This complex community acts as a critical mediator between our physiological state and the external environment, influencing our well-being in numerous ways, including our interaction with various environmental agents.

      The gut microbiome is a dense and dynamic population of microbes located primarily in the intestines, particularly in the cecum of the large intestine. Among the myriad of microorganisms residing within us, bacteria are the most thoroughly studied. The human body contains more bacterial cells than human cells, with an estimated 40 trillion bacterial cells compared to 30 trillion human cells. The human gut microbiome, comprising up to 1,000 bacterial species, each plays a distinct role in our body. While most of these bacteria are crucial for our health, some can lead to disease. Gut dysbiosis refers to a term that describes an imbalance in the gut microbiome, which can be due to the loss of beneficial microbes, the overgrowth of harmful organisms, and/or a decrease in microbial diversity.

      [Your gut is a bustling place, home to approximately 100 trillion bacteria shaping your health!]

      Gut Check By Gut Microbiome Test

      A gut microbiome test is a simple and non-invasive procedure that examines the gut flora present in a person’s stool sample. By measuring the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, these tests provide insights into the types and functionality of microbes inhabiting the gut. 

      What Gut Biome Tests Measure?

      Gut microbiome tests identify the good and bad bacteria providing you with a unique Biome score. These tests vary in their analytical depth, with some providing a broad overview of gut bacteria and others offering more detailed analyses that differentiate between microbial subtypes.

      Gut microbiome tests are usually at-home tests where they provide clear instructions for collecting a stool sample in a special container. This sample is sent for analysis in the lab where DNA will be extracted from the sample and sequenced using advanced equipment. Once the data is analysed, you’ll be provided with an estimate of your gut microbiome's composition.

      [The microbes you harbour in your body weigh as much as five African elephants over your lifetime!]

      Why Do We Need Gut Microbiome Test?

      Gut microbiome play a crucial role in digestion, immune function, and even mood and metabolism. Gut Biome tests help determine the microbial diversity and profile. Additionally, it helps explore the potential of gut microbiome tests in providing personalised health recommendations and understanding the root causes of various gastrointestinal or chronic diseases. It helps recognize the potential of your biome in nutrient metabolism, metabolite breakdown, and neurotransmitter production.

      Do you need a Gut Biome test?

      Deciding whether you need a Gut Biome test depends on recognizing the potential of the test to reveal insights about the diversity and balance of gut microbes. Below are the factors that can indicate a potential need for testing,



      Digestive Concerns

      Issues like constipation, bloating, diarrhoea, and food sensitivities may indicate an imbalance in gut bacteria.

      Common Lifestyle Issues

      Mood fluctuations, sleep disturbances, skin issues, and unexpected weight changes could be linked to gut microbiome disturbances.

      Immune Response

      The gut microbiome influences immune system behaviour, affecting inflammation, antibody production, and gut barrier function.

      Health Conditions

      Conditions like high cholesterol, IBS, IBD, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal cancer may be connected to gut microbiome composition.

      When To Avoid Taking Gut Microbiome Test?

      There are specific scenarios where undergoing such testing might not be ideal or necessary. The conditions that can cause contamination or alter the test results are mentioned below, 

      1. Recent Antibiotic Use:

      Antibiotics can significantly disrupt our gut microbiome

      Antibiotics can significantly disrupt our gut microbiome. If you've recently completed an antibiotic course, it's advisable to wait at least a month before testing to allow our biome to recover and stabilize, ensuring more accurate test results.


      2. Pregnancy

      Pregnancy naturally alters the composition of the gut microbiome.

      Pregnancy naturally alters the composition of the gut microbiome. For expectant mothers, it's recommended to postpone taking the test until after delivery to obtain results that accurately reflect our typical gut biome state outside of pregnancy. 


      3. Severe or Chronic Illness:

      chronic health condition

      If you're currently managing a severe or chronic health condition, it might not be the ideal time for testing. Illnesses can temporarily alter the gut's microbial balance, potentially manipulating test outcomes.


      4. Dietary Changes:

      diet plays a pivotal role in shaping our gut microbiome

      Your diet plays a pivotal role in shaping our gut microbiome. If you've recently made significant dietary adjustments, consider waiting until your new eating habits have been consistently maintained for a period, allowing your microbiome to adapt and stabilize.

      5. Alcohol or Recreational Drug Use:

      Alcohol or Recreational Drug Use

      Consuming alcohol or recreational drugs can temporarily alter the composition of our gut microbiome. If you have indulged in either within the last 24 hours, it's wise to take the test later. This delay allows time for the transient effects on our gut microbiome to diminish, ensuring that the test accurately reflects our normal microbial balance.


      Types of Gut Microbiome Test

      The diverse landscape of gut microbiome testing offers two methods, 16S rRNA sequencing and metagenomic sequencing, leading the way in giving us detailed insights into the microbes that live within us. Each technique provides different information about our microbial ecosystem, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of its complexity and function.

      16S rRNA Sequencing

      16S rRNA sequencing, a specialized form of amplicon sequencing, focuses on specific genes present in all bacteria and archaea. This method identifies the presence of these microorganisms by amplifying select regions of the 16S rRNA gene.

      The resulting data from sequencing undergo bioinformatic analysis, aligning sequences to microbial genomic databases to identify and profile the bacterial and archaeal composition. While 16S rRNA sequencing is powerful for bacterial and archaeal identification, it's limited to these domains and offers no insight into fungi, viruses, or microbial functions. This technique is less sensitive and may not be able to detect new species detection.

      Metagenomic Sequencing

      Metagenomic sequencing, on the other hand, provides an extensive view of the microbial landscape. By fragmenting DNA and sequencing these fragments, this technique can identify bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms, offering a detailed snapshot of the microbial community and its functional potential. Metagenomic sequencing in comparison to 16S rRNA sequencing can read all genomic DNA in a sample. This approach demands more sophisticated bioinformatics for data analysis but reveals a broader spectrum of microbial life and its functional potential.

      [Did you know that your gut microbiome is as unique as your fingerprint?]

      Interpreting Gut Microbiome Test Results

      Gut tests identify the reasons behind gut dysbiosis. These patterns are linked to specific health issues, allowing for tailored approaches from the DNA analysis to rebalance the microbiome in our gut.

      A gut test offers a wealth of insights into our gut health, with various tests available, each providing different levels of analysis. Advanced tests delve deeper, analyzing not just bacteria but also viruses and fungi within the gut ecosystem, offering a comprehensive view that can significantly impact understanding of gut health. These tests can aid in the early detection of conditions such as IBS, IBD, and food intolerances, enabling proactive health management. Moreover, personalized recommendations on diet, lifestyle, and supplements can be made based on our unique gut profile, promoting personalized wellness.

      [We have been co-evolving side-by-side with microbes since long before we were humans.]


      The gut microbiome is closely correlated with overall health, and its disbalance can lead to various health concerns. Insights into an individual’s gut become increasingly accessible through these advanced gut tests like metagenomic sequencing from identifying specific microbial communities to identifying the genetic potential of the entire microbiome. Through a deeper understanding of our microbiome, we can better address lifestyle changes and specific health issues, ultimately improving our quality of life.


      Allaband, C., et al. (2018). Microbiome 101: Studying, Analyzing, and Interpreting Gut Microbiome Data for Clinicians. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology: The Official Clinical Practice Journal of the American Gastroenterological Association, 17(2), 218.
      Jovel, J., et al. (2016). Characterization of the Gut Microbiome Using 16S or Shotgun Metagenomics. Frontiers in microbiology, 7, 459.

      Quince, C., et al. (2017). Shotgun metagenomics, from sampling to analysis. Nature Biotechnology, 35(9), 833-844.
      Thursby, E., & Juge, N. (2017). Introduction to the human gut microbiota. Biochemical Journal, 474(11), 1823-1836.



      1) How do I test my gut microbiome?
      You can test your gut microbiome with commercially present gut microbiome tests such as Decode Biome. These are the at-home microbiome tests that analyse the individual’s stool sample. You can send the sample to the lab for analysis. Upon analysis, they’ll provide a report containing personalized health recommendations and gut biome composition.

      2) What is a stool test for a microbiome?
      The gut microbiome test is commonly known as the gut microbiome test whereas the stool is taken as a sample as millions of microbes reside in your gastrointestinal tract. This test helps find out which microbes live in your gut and also recommends personalised lifestyle advice.

      3) Can we take the gut test during pregnancy?
      No, it’s not advisable to take any gut microbiome test during pregnancy. During pregnancy, there are changes in the gut microbiota can alter the test results. It’s better to take the test after delivery for more accurate results of your biome.

      4) How to know if my gut has good bacteria?
      The gut contains both beneficial as well as harmful microbes. When the bad microbes outnumber the beneficial ones, it can result in an imbalance in the gut microbiome. This can be tested by the gut microbiome test which tells the microbial composition in the gut as well as their functional potential.

      5) What can cause contamination in the stool sample for gut test?
      It is advisable to empty the bladder before collecting the sample as the urine can contaminate the sample, similarly the menstrual blood can also cause contamination. Even, microbial contamination can affect the test results, advising people to avoid taking gut microbiome tests during any bacterial or viral infections.

      6) When do I test my gut?
      You should consider testing your gut microbiome if you experience a consistent feeling of fatigue, regardless of your sleep quality or diet or are also experiencing gut issues. These could indicate an imbalance in your microbiome, which can directly impact your body's metabolic performance.

      7) What are the gut health tests available in India?
      In India, one of the premier options for gut health testing is Decode Biome, the country's first advanced gut microbiome test. This at-home stool test provides comprehensive analysis to uncover the underlying causes of various health concerns, offering valuable insights into your gut health.

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