MetaBiome Report Analysis
The Metabiome score provides a snapshot of overall microbiome health, based on eleven key indicators. Their contribution to the MetaBiome score is weighted based on scientific evidence showing the level of influence each one has on health. When all indicators are within the healthy comparison range, the score will be 98-100.
Other markers in the Metabiome report provide additional information to be used in conjunction with the Metabiome score.
MetaBiome Score Contributors
Potential to promote health
The typical range in healthy people is 10.98% to 28.62%
Butyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that is very important for gut health. It is the main fuel source for gut cells, helps keep the gut cell barrier intact, can reduce inflammation, help control appetite, and stimulate the production of serotonin from our gut cells. Consuming foods high in resistant starch (e.g. lentils, peas, beans, rolled oats) has been shown to increase butyrate levels.
The typical range in healthy people is 23.23% to 49.3%
Propionate is a short-chain fatty acid that is important for gut health. It helps maintain blood glucose levels, can reduce inflammation, helps control appetite and can stimulate the production of serotonin. The consumption of fibre from foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains are associated with increased short-chain fatty acids including propionate.
The typical range in healthy people is 48.13% to 72.54%
Acetate is the most abundant short-chain fatty acid produced in the gut. It plays an important role in fat metabolism, glucose metabolism and the immune system. Several bacterial species can also convert acetate to butyrate. The consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes and fibre are associated with increased short-chain fatty acids, including acetate.
The typical range in healthy people is 57.02% to 72.39%
A similar or high proportion of species that can break down fibre compared to the healthy group is considered beneficial. Fibre-consuming bacteria are responsible for producing important by-products such as short chain fatty acids which play a critical role in keeping the gut healthy. Specific prebiotic fibres (detailed in the Microbiome Fuel section below) will promote the growth of beneficial bacteria.
The typical range in healthy people is 3.12% to 4.18%
Microbial diversity is a measure of both the different types and the amount of bacterial species in your sample.
A varied diet rich in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and nuts is associated with increased microbial diversity. Low microbial diversity is often associated with poor health.
3-indolepropionic acid (IPA) production
The typical range in healthy people is 0.19% to 1.78%
3-indolepropionic acid (IPA) is a strong anti-oxidant produced by some gut bacteria that can help protect the nervous system from damage. Research has shown IPA may play a role in glucose metabolism and research in animal models suggests that IPA may also play a role in maintaining the gut barrier. IPA is formed by breaking down the amino acid tryptophan. Studies have indicated that consuming foods high in dietary fibre, and in particular foods containing rye, can increase IPA production.
Potential to reduce health
The typical range in healthy people is 0% to 0.78%
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are an important component of the cell wall of many bacteria, but when these bacteria die, the LPS is released into the gut where it can be pro-inflammatory, in particular hexa LPS. Diets high in fat, especially saturated fat, allow LPS to cross the intestinal barrier and enter the bloodstream. High levels of LPS in the blood have been observed in individuals with metabolic and inflammatory conditions. Avoiding excessive intake of saturated fat can help reduce the ability of LPS to enter the bloodstream.
The typical range in healthy people is 0% to 0.16%
Trimethylamine is a compound produced by some gut microbes that is converted to another compound called trimethylamine-n-oxide (TMAO) in the liver. Increased TMAO levels have been observed in individuals with cardiometabolic disorders. However, the role of TMAO in these disorders is still not clear. It is unknown if TMAO plays a causal role, is a marker of the disorder, or if it plays a protective role in repairing damage from the disorder. Levels of TMAO are influenced by many factors including our gut microbiome, diet, integrity of the gut barrier, liver function and kidney function. Although diet may only play a small role, diets high in animal protein containing choline and carnitine (e.g. eggs, red meat), as well as salt, have been associated with increased TMAO levels while diets high in soluble fibre have been shown to reduce trimethylamine and TMAO levels. If your potential to produce trimethylamine is high, you may wish to increase your consumption of fibre and avoid eating excessive amounts of red meat and eggs.
Hydrogen sulphide production
The typical range in healthy people is 1.23% to 5.66%
The gas hydrogen sulphide is produced by some species in the gut microbiome when sulphur-containing foods such as eggs, garlic, onion, cabbage, kale or Brussels sprouts are broken down. Hydrogen sulphide plays an important role in gut health by acting as an energy source for gut cells and protecting the gut barrier function. However, some studies have suggested that high levels of hydrogen sulphide can also disrupt the gut mucus barrier. This gas is also responsible for the rotton egg smell of flatulence. Laboratory based studies have suggested that fibre can reduce the production of hydrogen sulphide.
The typical range in healthy people is 56.66% to 74.24%
A similar or low proportion of species that can break down protein compared to the healthy group is generally considered beneficial. Everyone's microbiome contains species that can break down protein. However, a high proportion of these species may reflect an insufficient amount of fibre in the diet or an excessive intake of protein.
Most protein is absorbed by your body, however excess protein will get passed to the large intestine where it is available to the gut microbiome. Microorganisms that break down protein produce a variety of compounds, including some compounds that promote inflammation.
If there are a high proportion of species that can break down protein in the microbiome, make sure there is sufficient fibre in the diet and consider avoiding excessive consumption of protein.
The typical range in healthy people is 0.03% to 4%
A high amount (greater than 4%) of human DNA may indicate gut inflammation. If there is greater than 4% human DNA, and there was no contamination (e.g. accidentally touched the swab during sampling), further clinical investigation is needed.