Most of us aspire to be something great: an artist, hero, teacher, or leader. Maybe you just strive to be a great parent, neighbor, coworker, or friend. But there’s probably one place you never expected to find a hidden superpower: your poop.
The Gut Microbiome
A microbiome is the collection microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) living in a particular place. The microbiome in your digestive tract is as unique as your fingerprints. No two people on Earth have the exact same one. This is because the gut microbiome is shaped by so many variables: life experiences like travel, illness, and diet, but also things we have no control over, like genetics and where we grew up.
So, what makes a healthy microbiome? Lots of genetic diversity. Having a wide array of friendly bacteria in the gut keeps harmful bugs at bay. Basically, the more friendly bacteria in your gut, the less room there is for harmful or inflammatory bacteria set up shop, causing symptoms like diarrhea, constipation and gas, or triggering inflammation throughout the body.
Super Donors to the Rescue!
Over the past decade or so, researchers have been experimenting with microbiome transplants and with promising results. After curating and analyzing thousands of samples (poop samples, that is), it turns out some people have incredibly healthy, beneficial microbiomes. These folks are known as “super donors,” and their stool is pretty powerful stuff. A research team at the University of Auckland found that fecal microbial transplants from super donors resulted in better success rates for recipients, particularly those with conditions like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.
As you might imagine, finding “super donors” isn’t so easy, at least not yet. Strategies to seek out and enlist donors are still in their infancy. But many in the field hope for a day where donating poop is as normal as donating blood. Like those willing to give blood or plasma to help others, super donors do a great service to people who suffer from serious, life-altering medical conditions.
What’s the best way to find out if your microbiome has superpowers? Have it tested.
GutCheck: Let’s see what you’re made of…™
In 2019, Vivante Health added GutCheck, the at-home microbiome test kit, to our GIThrive all-in-one digestive health program. Research shows bacterial diversity in the gut is linked to better health and symptom control. But everyone’s gut ecology is different—there’s no one-size-fits-all fix. Achieving a balanced microbiome requires a personalized approach. The first step is a microbiome analysis.
GutCheck results are simple, relatable, and easy to understand. We compare results to healthy averages and give members simple, actionable tips for improvement.
About Vivante Health
Vivante Health is an innovative digital healthcare company reinventing the way chronic conditions are managed, starting with digestive disorders. Our all-in-one digital gut health program, GIThrive, empowers people—through brilliant technology, advanced science, and on-demand expert support—to improve digestive health, while lowering cost of care. Learn how employers and health plans are saving money with GIThrive.