Never thought I’d be writing about companies that analyze your stool samples to help you live a healthier lifestyle, but here we are.
I don’t know if I missed the boat or something, but I didn’t really start hearing about the importance of healthy gut bacteria until those yogurt commercials started appearing. Oh, and kombucha. But I didn’t really take it all that seriously until I started noticing pain and discomfort that so clearly stemmed from the foods I was eating. This spurred me to look more seriously into gut health, which led me to this not-so-little tidbit: the microorganisms that live inside our digestive tract can considerably affect our weight, cholesterol, and even our mental health.
While gut flora may not be the most exciting topic, unbalanced microbiomes can cause complex health issues. And tackling the problem isn’t always as simple as adding yogurt to your diet ( although they do contain probiotics that help ). So it should come to no surprise that a lot of people lately are taking gut tests to help them better understand how their gut is doing.
In this post, we’re gonna take a look at two of the major players in the gut health testing space: Ombre vs Viome. We’ll look at the specific products and services they offer, how their prices compare, and boil down hundreds of customer reviews to figure out which company offers the best gut health test. That’s why we’re here, isn’t it?
Table of Contents
What's the point in taking a gut health test?
Whenever we eat, our guts start breaking food down into simpler forms like glucose, amino acids, and fatty acids. This broken-down food is then absorbed into the bloodstream to deliver nutrients throughout the rest of our bodies. A healthy gut contains good bacterium and immune cells that fight off viruses and other bacteria. And with the right gut biomes on the frontlines, a lot of people start seeing improvement in their digestion, energy levels, and mental health. Simple, right?
Well, here’s the thing: not everyone’s gut is working effectively all the time. Some people have real imbalances in gut bacterium. That’s where companies like Ombre and Viome come in, enabling us to take simple tests (from home) that give us a closer glimpse at what’s happening inside our bodies. These gut health tests analyze a range of factors like digestive efficiency, inflammation, and the health of our gut lining. By identifying problem areas, you can improve your gut flora with supplements, probiotics, and prebiotics.
These tests generally run around $100-200 a pop (not incl. our Zenmaster discounts). Not chump change, but understanding and addressing the sorts of issues that these tests shed light on can solve chronic illness, anxiety, tiredness, and even assist with weight loss. No, seriously.
How do at home gut health tests work?
At-home gut tests are super user-friendly and discrete.
- Order a kit from whichever website you choose. Both Ombre and Viome offer affordable, robust gut health tests that are pretty comparable. We’ll dive into those deeper in a sec, as well as some more premium offerings that you may choose to run with.
- Once you receive your kit in the mail, you collect your stool sample. Not glamorous, I know, but both companies share detailed instructions on how to do it easily and sanitarily.
- Package up your sample inside the prepaid postage return box, leave it on your doorstep, and it’ll get sent back to the lab.
- Your sample is analyzed, and your results are returned in just 2 weeks (Ombre) or 3-4 weeks (Viome)
- Depending on the results, you may receive any recommendations for supplements or diet changes that’ll help you get healthy.
Easy squeezy, you get it. Now let’s get into actually comparing Ombre vs Viome, shall we?
⚔️ Comparison: Ombre vs Viome
Let’s start by looking at things from a pretty high level. Ombre and Viome both have different pricing (duh), features and product comparisons, and more. Regardless of which product and brand you choose, you’ll (at the bare minimum) receive a kit that sheds light on your:
- Metabolic fitness, AKA how well your metabolism runs
- Efficiency of your digestive system, including how well you’re able to break down macronutrients (protein, carbs, fats)
- Inflammatory activity, AKA how trigger-happy your system is when it comes to inflammation responses
- Active microbial diversity, AKA how resilient your gut is
- 💨 Gas production, which (smelly factor aside) can lead to discomfort and digestive problems
- Overall health of your gut lining. You may be familiar with “leaky gut syndrome”. When you’ve got a poor gut lining, you’re more susceptible to getting toxins, bugs, and partially-digested food in your bloodstream ( Harvard.edu ). Not good.
Moving on. Take a quick look at the table below and then we’ll dive deeper into each of their gut health tests.
Ombre Review: A Closer Look at Ombre's Gut Health Tests
Ombre (OmbreLab.com) is a health and wellness startup based in San Francisco. It’s a relatively new company formed a few years ago when its CEO and co-founder, Richard Lin, suffered a major gut infection. As he began to research gut health, he found it challenging to find the information he needed. Soooo as many startup stories go, he seeked to find the answers himself by founding Ombre, with the help of two scientific advisors, Carolyn Splusky Ph. D., and Tim Lu Ph. D. MD.
As we already know, Ombre offers microbiome testing kits that give people a better picture of their gut health. In short, this involves testing for the presence of bacteria in the gut from a stool sample. Ombre’s reports (which we’ll look at in a sec) give you actionable insights on improving your gut health and fighting to prevent chronic diseases like obesity, cystic fibrosis, and Alzheimer’s. Seriously — who knew the gut had such an impact on our overall health? From weight loss to better digestion, greater energy, and improvements in mental health, gut health seriously feels like underhyped.
While Ombre makes personalized recommendations based on their tests, they also offer four different off-the-shelf probiotics designed to target specific areas of health and wellness.
One of the most interesting aspects of Ombre’s service is how its proprietary software provides actionable insights for consumers. The company uses software that grades microbiome research papers and sorts the data utilizing a confidence algorithm.
Then their system uses the features of more than 4,000 microbes and maps them on to food ingredients and supplements. From here, they offer personalized insights based on your results.
Ombre's pricing options
Ombre offers up a few different products related to gut health. Obviously they offer the standard test that you’re probably familiar with, but you can also go a big deeper, if you’d like, by investing in some probiotics that will treat poor gut health at the source.
Ombre's Gut Health Kit
Ombre’s gut health program analyzes a stool sample to identify which bacteria are active in your gut. The health kit comes with a digital health report and a personalized food plan.
How much does it cost? $59.
Ombre Gut Health Kit, plus 1 Probiotic (Subscription)
All the same stuff as the Health Kit above, but this also comes with (you guessed it!) one probiotic that’ll help you treat any poor gut health at the source.
How much does it cost? $239.
Ombre Gut Health Kit, plus 3 Probiotics (Subscription)
If you suspect that your gut is really messed up, you may decide to fully commit to improving your gut health from the get-go. If that’s the case, you really can’t go wrong with Ombre’s most thorough option: the Gut Health test plus three probiotics. This way, you’re bringing out all the guns to shoot poor gut health down.
How much does it cost? $289.
Ombre Sample Report / Test Results
After your stool sample is analyzed at Ombre’s labs, their team will send your report within a couple weeks or so. In all honesty, most people probably won’t care about the majority of the intricacies that Ombre includes in them. They’re available for those who do, but Ombre also bundles everything up nice and neatly into the Overview and Recommendations sections. Soooo just like in the report, I’ll do the same here: skip the next paragraph if you don’t care much about the science, or keep reading if ya do.
Ombre’s methodology analyses a 16S RNA. Known broadly as ribosomal RNA, it is found in large quantities in bacterial cells. Because specific regions of 16S RNA vary significantly between different bacteria species, Ombre can identify these species by analyzing RNA sequences. This process allows them to learn which bacteria is present in the sample. Ombre test for more than 10,000 bacteria species and presents consumers with the information relevant to their health.
Ombrelab.com Reviews: What are customers saying online?
In all honesty, the research I’ve done reveals that neither Ombre nor Viome is a perfect company. If you do a bit of digging, you’ll see that while Ombre does have a lot of rave reviews, they also have some complaints. These complaints typically revolve around delayed or incorrect orders. Positive ones usually revolve around, well, everything else. Ombre’s prices are also preferable to Viome’s.
Take a look at what some of their customers are saying online. I tried to get a variety of sentiments in here.
💰 Is Ombre Worth It?
Ombre is a great, affordable option for anyone trying to improve their gut health. They have a professional, qualified team, and the company is very transparent about their testing and scientific sources. Their reports are also top-notch.
The team has made great use of early scientific studies in the area to inform their program. But arguably their greatest strength lies in the degree of personalization that they offer. When you order a gut health test from Ombre, their team will also develop recommendations and suggestions for food and supplements that, based on your test results, can help you get healthier.
That said, microbiome research is a fledgling field, so deeper studies are needed before concluding that these supplements and probiotics will solve every gut issue. This same reservation holds for Viome, too.
It’s important to note that Ombre is not a diagnostic service. So it shouldn’t replace your physician if you have concerns about your mental and physical health.
Advantages of Ombre
- Generally more affordable than Viome
- Ombre’s proprietary sample buffer is one of the best sample collection solutions on the market
- Speedy 1-2 week turnaround
- Transparent and accessible scientific research
- Uses certified U.S. labs
Disadvantages of Ombre
- Monthly personalized subscription probiotics can be considered expensive
- Microbiome research is in its infancy (although positive customer reviews point to the research being good)
- Ombre does not analyze fungi and virus microbes
Viome Review: A Closer Look at Viome’s Gut Health Tests
Viome has established itself as a nutritional genomics company. They’re not just selling and analyzing gut health testing kits; Viome’s greater mission is to predict, reverse, and prevent chronic disease, cancer, and more by gaining a great understanding of human biology. To do this, they aim to give health and wellness advice to people based on their microbiome.
But day-to-day, sure – Viome provides their customers with sophisticated, discreet at-home testing kits. They also have a pretty stellar user interface for when it’s time to check your results and browse through the personalized recommendations. Results reports include dietary advice for foods you should or shouldn’t eat based on your results, as well as any supplements that seek to optimize your gut health. Viome also suggests ways to improve your digestion, sleep, weight management, and your immune system, in addition to energy levels, mood, and focus.
And like Ombre, Viome also offers a subscription-based model that caters to users who regularly want to take the probiotics and probiotics that feature in their personalized recommendations. Of course, these supplements are optional, and Viome allows users just to take the test. Your call whether you’d like to take tests a-la-carte or on a consistent basis.
What sets Viome apart from Ombre?
For starters, Viome tests for more than just gut bacteria. Instead, they detect and analyze all gut microorganisms, like yeast, viruses, eukaryotes, and archaea. To do this, Viome offers two different testing kits: the Gut Intelligence and Health Intelligence test kits. We’ll take a closer look at each in a sec.
One unique aspect of Viome’s research and analysis is its reliance on artificial intelligence. The AI — which is called ‘Vie’ — compares your results to other scientific data that exists about the microbiome. Through advanced machine learning, Vie can crunch the numbers and understand what the different species in the gut mean for overall health. Then, it can predict which modifications and changes are most likely to improve your gut health.
If those differentiators sound like they may be worth the premium price that Viome charges, check ’em out.
Viome's Pricing Options
As mentioned before, Viome offers two different tests. One is basically a standard gut test, and the other is an upgraded tier of it. From November 23 til December 2, you can score 25% off with promo code KIT25.
Gut Intelligence Test by Viome
Tests for microbiome health and provides food and nutrient recommendations based on the results. Additionally, it gives a personalized plan with precise dosages for probiotics, prebiotics, and supplements.
How much does it cost? $99, but currently on sale for $74.
Health Intelligence Test by Viome
Similar to the Gut Intelligence Test, but it also tests for cellular health, stress, immune health, healthy aging, etc.
How much does it cost? $199, but frequently on sale for $149.
Alrighty, now one final thing worth bringing up is the fact that Viome offers subscription-based pricing, which also includes some custom probiotics that aim to improve your gut health. They’re definitely on the pricier side of things, since you pay each month, but for some people they may be worth considering. Your call.
Precision Probiotics + Prebiotics with Viome’s Gut Intelligence Test
This one’s basically a subscription-based plan for the standard gut test.
It includes a Gut Intelligence Test plus a 30-day supply of custom probiotic and prebiotic formulas based on the test results. Additionally, the package allows customers to access 20+ scores related to gut microbiome health and a personalized list of foods you should eat and foods you should avoid.
How much does it cost? $59 per month
Precision Supplements Complete
This package includes an at-home Health Intelligence Test, a comprehensive health test with 30+ health markets, alongside 30-days of customized supplements.
How much does it cost? $199 per month
Viome Sample Report / Test Results
So that you know what to expect when you get your results, here are some sample reports that Viome sends to consumers.
Viome Reviews: What are customers saying online?
Viome generally has favorable online reviews. While their Trustpilot rating suffers from a slew of complaints citing order errors and delays, these were generally published around the time Viome exploded in popularity. This is, unfortunately, fairly commonly seen when testing-related companies can’t keep up with demand.
💰 Is Viome Worth It?
Viome is a credible, trustworthy, and innovative company that can help users understand nutritional genomics in a bid to improve their nutrition and health. It uses AI to analyze and understand the results of its tests to provide actionable insights based on the latest gut biome research.
While this information is helpful in providing recommendations, it may not be a full replacement for a nutritionist or dietician because of the lack of support in making changes to your diet.
It’s an expensive service at $199 per month. However, for anyone who suffers chronic gut issues, this money may seem like a bargain.
That said, the service is excellent. The testing kits are discrete and user-friendly, and the interface is clean and easy to read.
Advantages of Viome
- Viome is a trusted, science-first company with reputable partners, like the Mayo Clinic
- They’ve secured $48.5M in funding to date, which fares well for chasing their mission to prevent chronic illness
- Tests use RNA testing, rather than DNA, which can give more relevant health results
- Good privacy considerations
- Personalized prebiotic and probiotic subscriptions
Disadvantages of Viome
- Pricier than other options on the market, like Ombre
- Not available in New York
- Non-US return shipping carries an extra cost
💩 The Gutting Truth: Which brand is right for you, Ombre vs Viome?
Both Ombre and Viome are great options for anyone looking to get answers about their microbiome health. Each is opening their own door for customers to reliably analyze his or her gut health from home, in an affordable, discreet way. But they’re not exactly the same.
If you’re looking for the quickest, most affordable way to dip your toes into the world of improving your gut health, Ombre may be the better bet for you. Ombre’s standalone test is considerably more affordable than other options on the market – including Viome. And by most accounts, their lab results dashboard is as detailed, intuitive, and actionable as any other. Oh and if speed is a factor for you, it’s also worth noting that Ombre offers the speediest results in the game, in two weeks or less guaranteed.
But of course, price isn’t everything. Viome provides more extensive tests that measure not only gut bacteria, but also other microorganisms. This means that, while more expensive, Viome’s gut tests are more comprehensive and can be used to learn about a wide range of health conditions – not just gut health.
For some folks, Viome may provide an arguably better value in the long-term (if you account for supplements). For $59 per month, you’ll get a month’s supply of personalized probiotic and prebiotics based on your previous test, AND a new Gut Intelligence test to make sure that your test insights are always keeping up-to-date with your changing gut health.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with either Ombre or Viome. If you’re looking for a one-and-done test, or you don’t want to fully commit to a subscription-based supplement plan, Ombre may be a better option. If you’re ready to dive in heads-first, get a new test every month, and always have prebiotics and probiotics at your fingertips, Viome may be worth the upgrade.