Whether you’re looking to reset after the new year or wanting to create a solid wellness regimen, having tangible data on the status of your health—instead of guessing—can give you a clearer perspective of what’s going on in your body and how to best move forward. A comprehensive health evaluation, with guidance from a medical professional, can provide information to help you restore your body to a healthier state.
Viome’s Full Body Intelligence Test analyzes your stool, blood, and saliva to provide a snapshot of the health of your gut, immune system, inflammatory response, mouth, heart, metabolism, brain and cognition, and cellular and energy efficiency. Which makes it a great (and very thorough) place to start. (The test isn’t intended to diagnose any disease; talk to your doctor if you have health concerns.)*
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I tried it; overall the process was smooth and the insights were genuinely helpful. If you’re curious about trying it, too, here’s an overview of the process from start to finish—plus what I learned along the way.
Step 1: Register your kit. Once you do this on the Viome app or website, you’ll be able to track the status of your samples—when they’ve been received, processed, and analyzed.
Step 2: Collect your samples. Everything you need to collect and send your samples is neatly organized within the kit. You’ll just need to take some extra time in the morning to do it.
The saliva and stool samples are the most straightforward and take the least amount of time—you’re collecting about a tablespoon of saliva and a pea-size amount of stool, which are supposed to be collected on the same day (or at least within 48 hours of each other). The saliva and blood samples should be taken within an hour of waking up and before you drink anything (except water) or brush your teeth.
For the blood samples—pricking your finger and collecting drops of blood in tiny vials—you’ll need a little more time. (At least I did.) I suggest including a 30-minute buffer in your morning routine; collect them on a day you’re not rushing out the door. And make sure your hands are very warm and you’re sitting. Unfortunately, when I collected my samples, my hands were cold (all the hand-warming tips didn’t work that morning) and I was standing the entire time, which I didn’t realize until days later. That meant I couldn’t fill all the blood sample vials and I made multiple ineffective pricks. (In the end, thankfully, Viome said I collected enough and that this didn’t affect my results.) So a note to the wise: Sit down and get really warm before taking your blood samples.
Step 3: Send the samples off. After my samples were collected, I sealed them in the small clear bags provided in the kit. You can drop your samples off at the post office as soon as you collect them. There’s some flexibility because the samples are stable for several days in the collection vials.
Step 4: Answer the follow-up health questions. The Viome app contains a health questionnaire that takes about 30 to 70 minutes, depending on your health background. If you get antsy, as I do, when answering a long series of health questions, playing background music can help.
Step 5: Receive your test results. You’ll typically get your results a few weeks after sending in your samples. Your results include more than 50 health scores (from 0 to 100) ranking various health conditions from gut to heart to immune health. They’re each categorized into three ratings—not optimal, average, or good—making it easy to determine which area of your health needs the most attention.
You’ll also receive dietary recommendations, like foods to incorporate into your diet and others to limit or avoid, depending on their nutrients and your health. On my list were seven foods to avoid and dozens to minimize based on their oxalate levels: According to my results, my body is not metabolizing oxalates that well right now. If you’re unsure about whether to eat a particular food, just search within the app and Viome’s suggestion—enjoy, minimize, or avoid—will pop up.
Step 6: Improve your scores. To improve “not optimal” scores (I had five), Viome offers a monthly subscription for a customized, research-based supplement solution, including vitamins and minerals, herbs, and probiotics, that is formulated for you—in terms of both the nutrients and dose. These personalized supplements are flexible; there’s potential for them to be fine-tuned each month depending upon recent health discoveries or new or improved ingredients that become available.
What did I like best about the Viome test? Its accuracy and individualized health solutions—it validated a microbiome imbalance that I had recently discovered through my doctor. And by taking the test, I’m able to order customized supplements to (hopefully) have a more effective way of balancing things out.
My least favorite thing was pricking my finger to collect the blood samples. But I’d do it again in the name of wellness.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
This article is for informational purposes only, even if and regardless of whether it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in this article are the views of the expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.