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Real Member Questions: Iron Supplements, Blackstrap Molasses, Green Drinks, and More!

Real Member Questions

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 39:


Hi! My Avoid has both kinds of beef listed, and I've avidly been staying away, but it then made me wonder if while I'm avoiding the beef, should I be supplementing with iron?


Not necessarily; other meats (turkey, for example) are exceptionally rich in iron. Blackstrap molasses is an excellent vegetarian source of iron, with about 20% of your Daily Value in 1 tbsp. If you know you're prone to anemia/low iron levels, then having a conversation with your physician on how to manage these issues would be best.


Because it’s boiled three times, versus the one time for plain molasses, blackstrap molasses is more nutrient-dense, which explains why it has recently gained popularity as a supplement.

Refined sugar itself has no nutritional value. Blackstrap molasses, however, because of the triple boiling process to create it, is more nutrient-dense than other types of molasses. It contains, notably, 18 amino acids and more potassium than any other food.1,2


I have been devouring a lot of podcasts and videos with the founder Naveen Jain, and in one of them, he mentioned that taking NAD+ could be detrimental to certain individuals. He said, "if you have Not Optimal scores in [this] pathway, you maybe shouldn't take NAD." What pathway was he referring to? I take NAD so I am curious and I can't find the podcast that he mentioned that in!


That's great that you've been devouring Naveen's podcasts. He is a wealth of information and a super inspiring guy! You should not take NAD precursors if your Cellular Senescence and Immune System Activation scores are Not Optimal. This indicates a state where cells are aging without dividing (senescence), accompanied by excess inflammation. Some studies suggest that boosting NAD levels could also enhance the survival of senescent cells, potentially exacerbating inflammation and other age-related issues.


NAD+, while being touted online as a “miracle anti-aging drug,” is not a drug at all. NAD+, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, is a coenzyme–a molecule that works with an enzyme to carry out a biochemical reaction. It’s essentially a helper molecule that assists with longevity, DNA, metabolism, and the immune system.*

Because preliminary studies have shown that using supplements of NAD+ precursors (to raise your body’s levels of NAD+) may result in delaying signs of aging, lots of social media and online chatter have trumpeted the benefits of using NAD+ precursors.*3 This includes nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). While NR is available as a dietary supplement, NMN is no longer defined as a dietary supplement by the FDA and therefore is no longer legally sold as such.

Even if the use of NAD+ precursors can help extend healthspan, more research is needed to support the claims and much of the online hype. As our expert stated above, there are possible drawbacks. Buyer beware, as with all “miracle anti-aging drugs.”


I have been considering adding a powdered green drink to my routine. However, some of the ingredients are on my Minimize list. I also wonder how much benefit I would get above what is included in the Viome supplements. Thoughts?


We don’t speak specifically to other products, but we know many superfood/greens powders have fillers and other additives that might not be ideal for your microbiome or body. We generally recommend whole foods, and if you want to incorporate a "green drink," then we think smoothies are the way to go. There are many recipes available to explore and tailor to your Viome food recommendations and needs. We recommend keeping everything in the freezer (greens and veggies included) to keep things fresh. Once you have a daily smoothie habit, you should be able to guesstimate your ratios and throw one together within minutes. Whole food nutrition might take a little more effort, but it is worth it. And we should always try to make eating real food as simple and convenient as possible. 

One more hack–any time you add greens to a smoothie, be sure to add a squeeze of lemon or lime to cut the bitterness. It works miracles! It is easy to stuff a couple of fistfuls of greens into your kids' berry smoothies, and they will never know the veggies are in there. If you don't have any lemons or limes handy, look for a splash of lemonade or another citrus drink.


Making your own green drinks is preferable, as our expert above says, because you can tailor it exactly to your needs. Unwanted ingredients and excipients that are added to some commercially made greens powders include:

  • Silicon dioxide, or silica, which is used as an anti-caking agent. While this is a naturally occurring element and is in many vegetables like beets and leafy greens, in this instance is an added filler and not a nutrient.

  • Added sugars, which you don’t want, especially when you’re trying to be healthy with your green drink.

  • Added synthetic vitamins, which should be safe, but why does a superfood green drink need added synthetic vitamins? 

  • Artificial ingredients, which can include synthetic dyes, artificial sweeteners, and emulsifiers.

  • Ingredients that are not right for you (like some of your Avoid or Minimize foods), or even allergens, like nuts.

So if you go with a powdered green drink, read the label carefully. And be sure to also get in your whole vegetables and fruits as well, as green drinks are not a substitute for whole foods. 


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We then create a supplement formula unique to every customer–precisely engineered for you based on what your scores reveal you need most.

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1 Balakrishnaraja, R., Pavithra, P., Sivapriya, C., et al. (2020). Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development. Vol. 11. No. 3, Mar. 2020. Pg. 274.

2 Jamir, L., Kumar, V., Kaur, J. et al. (2021). Environmental Technology Reviews, Volume 10, 2021, issue 1, pages 131-142.

3 Reiten OK, Wilvang MA, Mitchell SJ, Hu Z, Fang EF. (2021). Mech Ageing Dev. 2021;199:111567. doi:10.1016/j.mad.2021.111567