A lab analyst holding an agar plate while performing a gut test to access whether the patient has a healthy microbiome.

Gut Health Test – Is Your Microbiome as Healthy as You Think?

A lab analyst holding an agar plate while performing a gut test to access whether the patient has a healthy microbiome.

People are becoming more aware of how important digestive health, particularly the gut microbiome, is to their overall health as they try to improve their health, slow down the aging process, and perform at their best. This trend has led to the popularity of gut health tests and the search for effective ways to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. 

Today, we’ll talk about the gut microbiome, how a gut microbiome that is out of balance can show itself, and the different ways to test and maintain a healthy gut microbiome.

Microbiome Definition

The microbiome (microbiota) refers to the trillions of microorganisms – including bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses – that live inside the human body and interact with our health. The microbiome is unique to each individual, shaped by factors such as genetics, environmental exposures, and diet.

A healthy microbiome has both helpful and potentially harmful microorganisms in the right amounts. The helpful microorganisms boost the immune system, break down toxic food compounds and synthesize vitamins and amino acids.

Balancing the Symbiotic Relationship with Your Microbiome

A redhead woman sitting and meditating in her home while trying to stay balanced.Balancing the symbiotic relationship with the microbiome is critical to maintaining good health. “Good” microbes help keep the body healthy and well, while an excess of “bad” microbes can cause illness. Maintaining a diverse gut microbiome is important to get the most out of its benefits and reduce the negative effects of dysbiosis, which is an imbalance in the gut microbiome.

Several strategies to manage the microbiome balance include dietary changes, such as consuming probiotics and prebiotics, reducing exposure to antibiotics and other drugs that can disrupt the microbiome, and reducing stress levels.

Probiotics, for instance, are live bacteria and yeasts similar to the helpful microbes found in the gut and can help restore a healthy balance to the microbiome. Individuals can improve their gut and overall health by managing their microbiome balance. We’ll get into more detail about this later.

Of all the solutions available, one of the most important and valuable actions one can take in this area is utilizing a gut health test.

What is the Gut Health Test?

A microscopic image of green-colored microorganisms.A gut health test is a diagnostic tool that looks at the balance of microbiota in the gut and tells how healthy a person’s digestive system is as a whole. The test measures the presence and levels of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms that make up the gut microbiome. This will flag any departure from balanced, normal microbiota levels.

An unbalanced gut microbiome can cause digestive and overall health problems, so it’s important to understand how the gut microbiome works to stay healthy. There are several types of gut health tests available, including:

Stool sample tests

Stool sample tests are the most common type of gut health test. The test involves collecting a sample of the person’s stool and analyzing it for the presence and levels of different bacteria and other microorganisms. This test looks at the gut microbiome as a whole and can help figure out if there are any problems.

Blood Tests

Blood tests look at the levels of certain biomarkers, like antibodies and markers of inflammation, that can show if there are health problems in the gut. These tests are often used to assess the gut-liver axis, a connection between the gut and the liver that is critical for overall health.

Breath Tests

Breath tests measure the levels of certain gasses, such as hydrogen and methane, produced by the gut microbiome. These tests assess digestive function and identify gut motility and transit time issues.

At-home gut health tests are also available for individuals who want to monitor their gut health from the comfort of their homes. Most of the time, these tests involve getting a stool sample and sending it to a lab for testing.

The results of the gut health test are used to check the overall balance of the gut microbiome and find any imbalances that may be causing digestive or overall health problems. The results can also help guide treatment options, such as probiotics or other therapies, to improve gut health and balance the gut microbiome.

How are the Test Results used to Assess Gut Health?

The microbiome test results give important insights into the balance of different microorganisms that make up the gut microbiome. There could be health problems if there isn’t enough variety of bacteria.

Gut microbiome test results determine if there are too many harmful microorganisms or not enough helpful ones. With this information, you can figure out if you need to change your diet, take probiotic supplements, or do something else to restore and improve your gut health. It is important to note that gut health tests are not a diagnostic tool but a starting point for further investigation and conversations with a healthcare provider.

What does a Healthy Microbiome Look Like?

A man on a grass field eating green leaves while holding a round mirror with his other hand that reveals the rest of the unhealthy food and drinks that sits on the table.A healthy gut microbiome1 is essential for optimal health and wellness. To understand what a healthy microbiome looks like, it is important to understand the factors contributing to its health and stability. Gut bacteria play a role in overall health and the immune system. Researchers have found that gut bacteria are a key part of how the immune system works and how disease is prevented.

The gut microbiome helps break down toxic food compounds and utilizes vitamins and amino acids to help boost the immune system. This helps improve overall health and prevent long-term problems like autoimmune diseases and inflammatory bowel disease from developing.

Several factors contribute to a healthy gut microbiome. A balanced diet rich in fiber and prebiotics, such as fruits and vegetables, is important for promoting gut health. Probiotics can also be taken as a supplement or eaten in fermented foods like yogurt. It’s also important to be aware that antibiotics and other drugs can upset the balance of the gut microbiome. A healthy gut microbiome can also be helped by getting enough exercise, sleep, and stress relief.

In addition to these lifestyle factors, environmental exposures can also impact the gut microbiome. Pollutants like pesticides and toxic chemicals can upset the gut microbiome balance and make you more likely to get sick. Similarly, poor gut health can also be caused by not taking care of your body well, like not washing your hands often or not keeping your kitchen clean.

Having a healthy gut microbiome is not just about having a high number of “good” bacteria. A healthy gut microbiome should have many different microorganisms that live together and help each other. This helps ensure that the gut microbiome can do all its important jobs, like helping the immune system, keeping the metabolism in check, and breaking down toxic food compounds.

The gut microbiome is an essential component of overall health and wellness. By understanding what a healthy gut microbiome looks like and the factors that contribute to its health, individuals can take steps to promote and maintain optimal gut health.

Symptoms of an Imbalanced Microbiome

When the microbiome is out of balance, it can show up in different ways and can be a sign of deeper gut health problems. Some common gut health concerns include:

Digestive Issues such as IBS and Leaky Gut

Digestive issues are common symptoms of an imbalanced gut microbiome. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a chronic condition that causes abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel movements. Leaky gut, also called increased intestinal permeability, is a condition in which the gut wall becomes more porous, letting harmful substances and toxins leak into the bloodstream. An imbalanced gut microbiome can contribute to IBS and leaky gut, so it’s important to address these symptoms to promote overall gut health.

Autoimmune Diseases and their Connection to Gut Health

Autoimmune diseases develop when the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues, causing swelling and damage. Researchers have found that an unbalanced gut microbiome can make autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, and lupus more likely. Taking care of your gut microbiome can lower your risk of autoimmune diseases and improve your overall health and well-being.

Mental Health and the Gut-brain Connection

Depressed woman holding her head down with one hand while hugging her legs with the other hand.Gut health and mental health are intricately connected. Around 95% of total body serotonin2 is made in the gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in controlling mood. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems have been linked to a gut microbiome that is out of balance. Keeping your gut microbiome healthy can improve your physical and mental health and well-being.

We need to know how the gut microbiome affects our health as a whole and take steps to keep a healthy gut to reduce the risk of digestive problems, autoimmune diseases, and mental health problems.

It’s important to remember that symptoms of an imbalanced microbiome can vary greatly from person to person, and some individuals may not experience any symptoms at all.

But if you have persistent digestive or other health problems, you might want to get a gut health test to see how well your microbiome is balanced.

Improving Gut Health

There are many ways to improve gut health. The following are some ways to improve gut health and maintain a balanced microbiome:

Diet and Lifestyle Changes

a top-view of a bowl filled with healthy food, mostly its fruit.The foods you eat can have a big impact on the health of your gut microbiome. A diet rich3 in fiber and fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir, can help promote a healthy gut. On the other hand, a diet high in processed foods and sugar can lead to an imbalanced gut microbiome and even contribute to obesity.4 In addition to diet, lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep, and exercise can also impact gut health. Getting enough sleep and doing things to reduce stress, like yoga or meditation, can help keep your gut microbiome healthy.

Supplements and Probiotics

Taking probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria, can help improve gut health. Probiotics are available in supplement form and can also be found in fermented foods. Certain supplements, such as fiber and prebiotics, can also support gut health. Before taking any new supplements, you should talk to a doctor or nurse to ensure they are safe and right for you.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you have digestive problems like bloating, diarrhea, or constipation that don’t go away, it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor. They can help you determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop a plan to improve your gut health.

At-home Gut Health Test

Image representation of the human intestines, medicine and the microbiome. There is a written text on the image that writes: "Intestinal Microflora".An at-home gut test is available and can be a convenient way to assess the health of your gut microbiome. Most of the time, these tests involve taking a sample of stool and sending it to a lab for analysis. An at-home gut health test can be a convenient way to find out how healthy your gut is, but it may not be as thorough as tests performed by medical professionals. You should note that a doctor will require a professional test before proceeding with any treatments.

A professional gut bacteria test usually uses more advanced testing methods, like blood tests or breath tests, which can give a much more in-depth and complete look at your gut health. Medical professionals trained to do these tests can look at the results and make suggestions based on your needs and health goals.

With the rise of concierge medicine and advances in medical services, it is now possible to get a professional gut health test performed in the comfort of your home. This is the best way to figure out how healthy your gut is because it is easy and done by a professional.


Maintaining a healthy gut is important for overall well-being. Regular gut health testing can help find problems in the gut microbiome and possible health problems. Improving gut health can be done through diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, and probiotics. Of the many options you have to improve in this area, few are as effective or informative as taking a gut health test. We invite you to contact our office to find out if this would be a good option for your goals.

Schedule your at Home Gut Microbiome Test in with Driphydration

Drip Hydration allows you to get a test for your gut microbiome in the privacy of your own home. It's one of the finest and simplest techniques to monitor the condition of our digestive system. You may avoid visiting the doctor by scheduling an appointment with Drip Hydration online or over the phone.

It's simple to make an appointment, and once you do, one of our medical experts will come to your home to collect samples for lab analysis. These lab tests are then brought to our labs, where we conduct the exams and give you the results, as well as an interpretation and recommendations for further steps. Drip Hydration can do a gut microbiome lab test at your home right now!

Lab Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to do lab tests occasionally?

It is important to do lab tests occasionally because they can provide valuable information about an individual's health and help to identify potential health issues early on. Lab tests can measure a wide range of factors, including blood count, cholesterol levels, liver and kidney function, and hormone levels, and can provide insight into an individual's overall health and wellness. Additionally, lab tests can help to diagnose and monitor the progression of certain medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, and can help to identify any potential health risks or concerns. By doing lab tests occasionally, individuals can take proactive steps to maintain their health and wellbeing and reduce the risk of potential health problems in the future.

How accurate are lab tests?

Overall, lab tests are generally considered to be accurate and reliable, but there is always a chance of error and it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to interpret the results.

How is a blood sample collected for lab testing?

A blood sample for lab testing is typically collected through a process called venipuncture, which involves inserting a small needle into a vein to draw blood. This is usually done on the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand.

What does a routine blood test cover?

A routine blood test is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. Blood tests can also be used to check how well certain organs, such as your liver and kidneys, are functioning.

What does routine lab work cover?

Routine lab work typically includes a blood test, which is used to check for a range of things, including your blood count and the levels of certain chemicals and substances in your blood. In addition to a blood test, routine lab work may also include other tests, such as urine and stool tests, which can help diagnose and monitor conditions related to the kidneys, liver, and digestive system. 

Can a blood test identify cancer?

In some cases, cancer can be detected with a blood test. However, not all cancers can be detected with a blood test, and some blood tests can produce false-positive or false-negative results. 

Can a blood test find other particular issues like problems with the heart, liver, or kidneys?

Yes, a blood test can sometimes be used to detect heart, liver, and kidney problems. Blood tests can also be used to measure the levels of certain substances in your blood, such as cholesterol and glucose, which can help diagnose and monitor conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition, a blood test can check your blood count, which can provide information about the health of your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. However, it is important to note that a blood test is not always able to detect heart, liver, and kidney problems, and other tests, such as imaging scans or biopsies, may be needed to confirm a diagnosis.

What distinguishes a diagnostic test from a screening test?

A screening test is a type of test that is used to identify people who may be at increased risk of a particular condition, such as cancer or heart disease. In contrast, a diagnostic test is a type of test that is used to confirm or rule out a suspected diagnosis. So, the main difference between a screening test and a diagnostic test is the purpose for which the test is being performed.

Why do lab tests occasionally need to be repeated?

One common reason is that the initial test results were inconclusive or unclear, and repeating the test can help provide more accurate results. Lab tests may also be repeated if the initial results were abnormal and more information is needed to diagnose or monitor a condition. In addition, some lab tests are designed to be repeated on a regular basis, such as to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment or to check for any changes in a person's health over time. Finally, lab tests may be repeated if the initial test was performed incorrectly, or if there was some other problem with the sample that was collected.

Does having normal lab test results indicate I shouldn't worry about anything?

Having normal lab test results does not necessarily mean that you have nothing to worry about. Additionally, lab tests are not always able to detect all health conditions, and some conditions may not produce abnormal test results until they have progressed to a more advanced stage. 

What should I do after I have my lab test results?

After you have your lab test results, it is always best to discuss them with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider will be able to interpret the results in the context of your overall health and medical history, and they will be able to recommend any necessary follow-up tests or treatments.

What is the cost of a lab test?

In general, the cost of a lab test can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars. It is always best to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to get an accurate estimate of the cost of a lab test.

How is a blood sample for a lab test collected?

A blood sample for a lab test is typically collected through a process called venipuncture. This involves using a needle and syringe to draw blood from a vein, typically in the arm. The skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a tourniquet is placed around the upper arm to help make the veins more visible. The healthcare provider performing the venipuncture will then insert the needle into a vein and collect the required amount of blood. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for testing.

Should I do anything to prepare for lab tests?

It is generally a good idea to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to determine what, if any, preparations are necessary for your lab tests. In general, it is a good idea to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare provider, such as fasting for a certain amount of time before the test or avoiding certain medications. It is also a good idea to bring a list of all medications you are currently taking to your lab appointment.

Why is it necessary to fast before some tests?

Fasting before certain lab tests is often necessary because certain substances in the blood, such as glucose and certain fats, can affect the results of the test. By fasting, you are allowing your body to metabolize these substances, which can provide more accurate test results. Additionally, some tests require that you fast in order to properly prepare your body for the test.

Will a cup of coffee before my lab test mess with the results?

Whether or not you can have a cup of coffee before your test will depend on the specific test that you are undergoing and any instructions provided by your healthcare provider. If you are unsure about whether or not you can have a cup of coffee before your test, it is always best to ask your healthcare provider for advice.

Can my lab test get affected by diet or medications?

Yes, your diet and medications can affect the results of your lab tests. 

What do the lab test results mean?

The specific meaning of your lab test results will depend on the specific test that was performed and the reference range provided by the laboratory. The reference range is the range of values that is considered normal for a healthy person, and it is used to interpret the results of your lab test. If your test results fall within the reference range, it generally means that there is nothing unusual or concerning about your test results. However, if your test results are outside of the reference range, it may indicate a potential health concern that should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Where are the reference (normal) ranges for lab tests?

The reference ranges for lab tests, also known as normal ranges, are determined by the laboratory that performs the test. These ranges are based on a large number of test results from healthy individuals, and they are used to interpret the results of your lab test. The reference range for each test is typically provided on the laboratory report along with your test results.

What if my lab test result is outside the reference range?

If your lab test result is outside of the reference range, it may indicate a potential health concern that should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Additionally, the reference range is just a general guide, and there may be other factors that can affect your test results.

How can I improve my lab test results?

There are several steps you can take to improve your lab test results. First, it is important to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare provider when preparing for a lab test, such as fasting for a certain amount of time before the test or avoiding certain medications. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help improve your lab test results. This includes eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking. If you have a chronic health condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it is important to manage it properly and follow your healthcare provider's recommendations for treatment.

Does having abnormal lab test results indicate that I have a health issue?

Having abnormal lab test results does not necessarily mean that you have a health issue. There are many factors that can affect the accuracy of lab test results, such as your diet, medications, and other medical conditions. Additionally, the reference range used to interpret your test results is just a general guide, and there may be other factors that can affect your test results.


[1] Deng F. - The gut microbiome of healthy long-living people. National Library of Medicine. Published January 31, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6366966/;

[2] Appleton J. - The Gut-Brain Axis: Influence of Microbiota on Mood and Mental Health. National Library of Medicine. Published August 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6469458/;

[3] Valdes AM, Walter J, Segal E, et al. - Role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health BMJ 2018; 361 :k2179 doi:10.1136/bmj.k2179;

[4] Ley, R., Turnbaugh, P., Klein, S. et al. - Human gut microbes associated with obesity. Nature 444, 1022–1023 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/4441022a;