The Journey of Your Sample
The world as we know it is changing before our eyes. Every day, we move closer to solving many of the challenges that face humanity in overcoming many chronic diseases. But at Viome, we believe the best way to do this may be by changing the perspective of how the world defines what makes us “healthy” and sick.
Rather than focus on simply treating a condition and managing symptoms, for many companies, the focus has turned to prevention. In no other field have we seen this more prevalent than in the biotechnology and health-tech industry. These fields have jump-started a new movement in helping individuals gather answers, assess patterns in lifestyle, and provide actionable recommendations that can make a real difference in their long term health.
One of the common themes found in these industries is the impact of our dietary choices on our risk for disease. Scientists have known for some time that the foods we choose affect our health, but it wasn’t until early research on the gut microbiome that researchers started to really put many of the nuanced pieces together. Now, scientists – including those at Viome – are devoting significant resources to unveil the hidden molecular patterns between the microbes inside us and our ability to fight disease.
But how are we able to make the connection between the data in your sample and what foods and supplements are right for you? Let’s walk through the journey of your sample!
Once your sample arrives at our lab, it follows a journey from our laboratory to our Clinical Nutrition Team, through our AI engine and finally, to you! Our lab team analyzes your stool sample using large liquid-handling robots, ultra high throughput sequencing machines, and cloud-based bioinformatics to examine the vast diversity of microbes in it and quantify their activities. Using this form of biological analysis, Viome is able to determine their impact on various systems, like the health of your intestinal lining or the level of butyrate production. While other stool tests claim they can see butyrate production, that is purely a marketing exercise. Any stool test that analyzes DNA (all other companies do this) can only tell you the potential of your gut microbes to produce something good for you, like butyrate. They do not measure and cannot know the actual production, which is what matters to you. Thus, the activity we assess shows us a map of enzymatic activity from your microbes and links them to different pathways associated with your health.
Combined with our advanced machine learning models supported by artificial intelligence, these enzymatic patterns are converted into our Viome Scores to help us determine your personalized dietary recommendations. Together, with our Clinical Nutrition Team, your food and supplement recommendations are curated and highly specialized based on your unique differences of various biological pathways (or Viome Scores) we’ve identified. Thus, our diet recommendations are based on measuring microbial activities and applying mathematical equations to them. All other nutritional advice today is based on anecdotes, experiences, hearsay, blog articles, and small clinical studies with conflicting conclusions.
We caught up with some of the leaders at Viome who helped get your sample sorted into the dietary recommendations you see in your app!
From the Lab to Your App
Our Chief Science Officer and co-founder, Momo Vuyisich is a force to be reckoned with in the field of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. From his own health journey to his work in the lab, he’s created quite a track record of innovation at Viome.
We asked Momo, What is Bioinformatics?
“Bioinformatics is an advanced computational science that partially interprets your lab test results. For Viome tests, bioinformatics tells us which microbes are present in the sample and what they are doing, metabolically. It also tells us the activity (or expression) of human genes in a blood sample. The Viome bioinformatics is not an off-the-shelf, generic method; it is the highest grade, clinically validated and licensed process that is highly accurate and reproducible.”
To help us understand how bioinformatics plays a role in Viome’s advanced AI technology, we checked in with our Chief Technology Officer at Viome Guru Banavar. Guru has published more than 50 papers in the field of computer science and is a key player in creating Viome’s advanced technology.
We asked Guru, How does Viome use AI?
“Viome's AI technologies interpret your microbial genetic sequence information to recognize your health status and generate diet and supplement recommendations to improve your biological functions. Similar to a GPS program that maps out the route you might take on a trip, it needs to account for all the variables - like traffic, weather, and any construction that may impact the route - and sort them into patterns. Like so, our AI algorithm must map all the sequences into organisms, functions, and wellness states to decide on the best ingredients to recommend for you.
For this, we use the latest scientific knowledge, captured as organism taxonomies, biological pathways, ingredient ontologies, and a range of advanced algorithmic methods including data science, machine learning, and decision science.”
Once analyzed - this combination of lab and AI technologies provides unprecedented insight into your biology as scores on your Viome App, and best-in-market diet and supplement recommendations.
To do this, our Clinical Nutrition team oversees your results as they are fed through Viome’s proprietary, logic-based, artificial intelligence program to build your customized Precision Dietary and Supplement formulations. The program takes your Gut Intelligence or Health Intelligence Test scores and questionnaire answers and runs it through an extensive knowledge base to compute importance values and dosages of various ingredients that have been clinically studied and been shown to have an impact on the pathways that you need to work on. The program takes into consideration your personal needs such as your allergies, what medications you are on, and what stage of life you are in. The program finalizes your results by choosing supplement ingredients with their corresponding dosages that work synergistically to support your areas of need.
As Hilary Beyrer, Viome’s Translational Science Nutritionist puts it, “The most remarkable feature of our AI recommendation system is that it is constantly learning and improving as the science of Precision Supplements evolves. Your recommendations may change when you retest, or when there are updates to the Viome knowledge base. This ensures that your recommendations are based on the latest cutting edge science and are precisely what your body needs.”
And Finally, Back to You
In total, your sample undergoes a thorough evaluation to formulate a unique set of food and supplement recommendations tailor-made just for you. The potential of their impact is well evidenced in our users - just take a look at some of the stories from our Viome users.
Our mission to track down the source of chronic disease and eradicate it from our vocabulary, starting with a holistic view of gut health and nutrition that ultimately ends with you. As Clinical Nutritionist Hilary Beyrer said - “we’re constantly learning and improving our science each day. And you’re the largest part of that!”
Imagine a puzzle piece constantly being uncovered every day to the world’s largest, most complex puzzle. One day, we’ll have all the pieces, but if we work together we can gather a couple more pieces faster than we would apart - until one day when we have the complete picture. For every Viome customer, for every test, for every sample, we get another puzzle piece. We’re in this together!
Viome has already unmasked incredible connections and patterns in a number of health areas like aging, glycemic control, oncology, drug interactions, and the various connections between the gut and the brain. But this is only the beginning.
So join us in forging ahead in your health journey and keep retesting - every sample helps us evolve and solve the problems of the world one person at a time.