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Real Member Questions: Cocoa, Diversity of Foods, New Oral Biotics Lozenges and More!

Member QA Blog5

Welcome to Viome's Weekly Deep Dive! 

Every week, we dive deep into the questions and curiosities of our community, where people like you seek to understand the profound connections between your body, your nutrition, your microbiome, your health, and ultimately – your happiness.

Our mission at Viome is to empower each individual with knowledge, creating a world where illness is optional. In this spirit, we've selected four pressing questions from our members this week, answering them with detailed insights backed by the latest research.  

For those of you keen on learning more, we've also added a 'Deeper Dive' section at the end of each answer, directing you to further resources and studies to quench your thirst for knowledge. 

This Week's Featured Member Questions:

WEEK 42:


I have cocoa (unsweetened) on my Avoid list. Is this regular roasted cocoa and does it include raw powdered cacao? I’m also just curious as to the reason why?


We recommend avoiding all forms of your avoid foods whether raw, cooked, or processed.

The most common reason to avoid cocoa is due to nickel content. Nickel is used by pathogens as a cofactor for enzymes that enhance the pathogen's survivability, such as the production of flagella. Flagella are tail-like structures that enable microbes to move towards nutrients or away from harmful substances. While flagellar activity itself is not a sign of pathogenic activity, the Flagellar Assembly Pathways score is designed to measure flagella production from pathogenic microbes. Avoiding foods highest in nickel may help reduce pathogens in the gut.


Hemp hearts are also a food that can end up on an Avoid list due to nickel if you find your Flagellar Assembly Pathways score is Not Optimal. On the Superfood side, you may see foods like cranberries, green tea, and pomegranate listed if it looks like your microbes could use some extra support to help reduce those pathogens and pull that score up from Not Optimal.1, 2, 3 


How often per week should I be eating the same superfood? Example, apple is a superfood. So is once a week sufficient or should I be eating it more than once a week? I’m trying to get as much diversity as possible.


The goal of listing your foods into categories is to encourage you to eat a diversity of foods, and not overdo it with any foods that may not be beneficial to your microbiome. You want to make sure you nourish your body and microbes by focusing on as many Superfoods as you can source, regardless of the serving size, and fill in the gaps by eating other foods in your Enjoy and Minimize lists. There are enough foods in each category that you may consider rotating around the days so you will not be eating the same thing every day which is a great strategy for increasing diversity, which your microbiome loves. 


How exactly does Viome generate your food recommendations based on your test results? You can hear it straight from the people who designed the processes. Listen as they explain it all, from RNA extraction and sequencing of your samples to RNA quantification and bioinformatics processing to AI precision nutrition recommendations. Don’t worry, we’ll have you an expert by the end. Viome CTO Guru Banavar leads the chat with clinical Nutrition Team Janelle Connel, Grant Antoine and Hilary Keiser. 


Please tell me about the new oral lozenges?


Hello! The new oral lozenges, like the current supplements and prebiotics + probiotics, are still based on a formula tailored specifically to your oral microbiome, made up from a blend of probiotics, prebiotics, postbiotics, amino acids, and minerals. You need to have given a saliva sample in order to see your formula in your account, either in the Full Body Intelligence or Oral Health Intelligence Tests. 


Your mouth is the gateway to your body. The thin barrier of your gums is the only thing separating any harmful microbes (or their metabolites) from your bloodstream and therefore, the rest of your body. The connections between oral bacteria and systemic health are hot topics of many scientific research studies presently.

But even now, most oral hygiene practices focus on killing off bacteria in the mouth with alcohol and disinfectants. That’s where Viome aims to change the paradigm of oral hygiene. We want to reframe the way you approach your oral health. Read more about the VRx∙My Biotics Oral Lozenges.


1 Che O'May , Aliona Ciobanu , Howard Lam & Nathalie Tufenkji (2012.), Biofouling, 28:10, 1063-1076, DOI: 10.1080/08927014.2012.725130

2 O’May, C., Tufenkji, N. (2011). Applied And Environmental Microbiology, May 2011, p.3061–3067 Vol.77, No.9 0099-2240/11/$12.00doi:10.1128/AEM.02677-10

3 Bahareh Asadishad, Gabriela Hidalgo, Nathalie Tufenkji. (2012). FEMS Microbiology Letters, Volume 334, Issue 2, September 2012, Pages 87–94


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