We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Microbiome tests measure the microorganisms in a person’s gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These tests can give the person an idea of the types and amounts of microorganisms in their gut. However, people who experience digestive issues should consult a doctor.

Quick links

A microbiome test examines the gut flora in a sample of an individual’s stool.

People may take a microbiome test to identify the different kinds of bacteria in their GI tract. However, they should not use these tests for diagnosis. If a person has any concerns over the health of their GI tract, they should contact a doctor for advice.

Microbiome testing measures the different levels of microorganisms present in the GI tract.

More than 200 types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are present in the human GI tract. Research suggests that these microorganisms may play a role in chronic conditions such as:

Different tests may offer varying levels of analysis. For example, some tests may give a broad overview of gut bacteria. Others may offer a deeper analysis, differentiating different subtypes of bacteria.

Learn more about gut microbiota.

The tests that different commercial microbiome testing companies offer may vary, but they will generally test a person’s stool sample.

There are two types of fecal testing that a company may offer. The first type looks for markers that may indicate illness or a condition, and the second involves extracting DNA.

Healthcare professionals may take a sample of a person’s stool and grow the bacteria that they find on it in a lab. This process should allow them to determine what type of bacteria is causing certain symptoms, such as diarrhea, and inform the treatment options that they recommend.

However, commercial testing is more likely to use DNA analysis. By extracting the DNA from the stool sample, healthcare professionals can find out the types and number of bacteria in the stool.

The charity Guts UK states that the analysis that commercial testing provides may not be useful. The number and types of bacteria in a person’s stool may change from sample to sample, and some bacteria may remain on the gut wall rather than in a stool sample.

Additionally, testing cannot tell a person whether the bacteria are alive or dead — merely that they are present in the sample.

A person does not need to have a digestive condition, such as IBD or irritable bowel syndrome, to purchase a microbiome test. Testing companies say that people who want to learn more about their digestive tract may wish to purchase a test.

Anyone who suspects that they may have a chronic condition should consult a doctor for testing and diagnosis.

Before purchasing a microbiome test, it is advisable to ensure that the company and product meet the following criteria:

  • Analysis: People should check that the test offers the depth of analysis they require.
  • Explanation: Some companies may offer test results that are easier to understand than those of other companies.
  • Privacy: Those who want to ensure that their information remains confidential should only purchase tests from companies that have a robust privacy policy.

People interested in microbiome testing can choose from several options. We look at some of the available tests below.

Please note that the writer has not tried these tests. All information is research-based.

All costs are correct at the time of publishing.

ZOE

Best for comprehensive testing

This test uses stool and blood samples to measure gut health, blood sugar levels, and blood fat.

The company states that it uses whole DNA sequencing to identity “good” and “bad” microbes in the GI tract.

People must provide stool and blood samples and send the test off to ZOE. The company will provide results after 6 weeks. People can use the company’s companion app to keep track of their test results and get personalized advice on dietary adjustments.

ZOE is currently available to those who reside in the contiguous United States, apart from people in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, where state regulations mean that the program cannot run there.

However, the company states that this service is not suitable for those who have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease.

The company offers two packages:

  • ZOE Plus: This package includes microbiome testing, blood sugar testing, and personalized advice. It costs $59 per month for six monthly installments.
  • ZOE Premium: This package includes additional one-to-one support. It costs $149 per month for six monthly installments.

Floré Gut Health Test Kit

Best for donating to charity

This test offers full-spectrum microflora analysis and scans more than 23,000 bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

After a person sends a stool sample to the lab, the company will send a comprehensive test analysis. The report reviews a person’s overall health and their joint health, and it provides recommendations for achieving health goals.

A portion of the profits from each purchase goes to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation to fund research.

Floré also offers people who purchase a test kit the option to upgrade to a monthly membership. The company will send one test kit every 4 months, as well as probiotics that it claims will boost a person’s gut health.

The company ships to the entire U.S. and internationally.

The Floré Gut Health Test Kit has a list price of $249.

Verisana Leaky Gut Complete

Best for leaky gut

Leaky gut, or increased intestinal permeability, is a condition in which gaps in the intestinal wall allow bacteria and other toxins to pass into the bloodstream. Researchers note that diet and stress can increase a person’s likelihood of developing leaky gut.

Learn more about leaky gut syndrome.

Verisana claims that this test examines a person’s stool for the following:

  • Candida and mold
  • bacterial imbalances in the intestines
  • gut mucosal immunology
  • zonulin value

Higher zonulin levels may be associated with chronic conditions, such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease.

The analysis that Verisana provides compares a person’s test results with those of others in their age range. The company recommends that people interpret their results with the help of a healthcare professional.

The Verisana Leaky Gut Complete test is available for $249.95.

Thorne Gut Health Test

Best for those with IBS or IBD

This test also requires a stool sample. Thorne recommends that people take this test if they have:

The test measures gut permeability, inflammation, short-chain fatty acids, and other markers. People will receive their results through an easy-to-read dashboard that breaks down all microbiome findings.

Thorne also provides personalized recommendations for potential health risks and dietary adjustments.

The Thorne Gut Health Test costs $198.

Companies will send customers their stool sample test results, which will give them further information about the different types of bacteria and the other markers that were in their stool at the time of testing.

Although microbiome test results may give people more information about the type of bacteria in their stools, Guts UK states that the results will not be of any value to healthcare professionals.

Research notes that, currently, there is not enough knowledge or technology to incorporate microbiome test results into clinical care.

However, if a person receives test results that they believe to be worrying, they should contact a doctor. A doctor will perform an examination and run tests if necessary.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved or cleared microbiome tests, meaning that it has not tested these products for accuracy or safety.

Microbiome tests cannot diagnose health conditions. People should only purchase these products if they are interested in finding out which bacteria are present in their stool.

Anyone with GI concerns should contact a doctor for advice.

Microbiome tests can identify which bacteria are in a person’s stool at the time of sending a sample. Different tests may look at several markers and send people personalized reports that suggest dietary adjustments.

However, people should not use these tests to make a diagnosis. If a person has GI concerns, they should contact a doctor for advice.