Microbiome Testing – Is It Worthwhile?

February 14, 2020

Gut health information has exploded in recent years, with many a quick fix promoted. Microbiome testing is a new player on the field. Is it worth investing in?

Our microbiome is a rich ecosystem, full of thriving bacteria that produce beneficial metabolites to keep the gut functioning optimally. Sometimes this balance of bacteria can be altered, which can have detrimental effects on the diversity and richness of the bacteria in our gut. Bacteria levels can be impacted by:

  • stress
  • long term medication and anti-biotics
  • recurrent infections/viruses or parasites
  • diversity of diet and number of plant-based foods

Until recently it was very much guesswork for clients, with dietary recommendations based on reported symptoms. Now a company called Microba have developed an Australian first in testing the human gut microbiome at a DNA level. This evidence-based tool can provide insights into the gut's potential to influence our mood, immune system and digestion of certain foods. It aids in the development of individualised dietary strategies to improve the diversity of bacteria in as little as 8 weeks. So for certain patients microbiome testing is worthwhile.

I have completed Microba's insights course and now incorporate microbiome testing in my practice. Microbiome testing is one piece of the puzzle, but reinforces the importance of diversity in diet, rather than restrictive elimination diets.

 - Madeleine Baumgart Tyack Health - Nurse and Paediatric Dietitian