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Thryve Review 2020: Thryve's microbiome testing and probiotics

Thryve aims to improve your health with microbiome testing and probiotics. Should you try it?

Last Updated: Nov 5, 2020

Thryve review

In your gut, there exists a population of bacteria that live in symbiosis with your gastrointestinal tract. Current research suggests the composition of bacteria in your gut both influences and reflects your gut health as well as impacting other aspects of your physical and mental wellbeing.

Imbalances in your gut microbiome can cause symptoms such as bloating, abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and constipation. Your gut microbiome has even been linked to chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues such as depression.

Thryve uses robust scientific data to analyze your microbiome and give you personalized probiotic and dietary recommendations. Does Thryve’s program work well? We thoroughly tested Thryve’s services and studied the science behind them in order to share all of the details so that you can decide if you should give it a try.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Thryve’s sample storage gives the most accurate snapshot of your gut microbiome on the market
  • Very transparent with their scientific evidence
  • Fast turnaround time (1-2 weeks)
  • Uses only certified U.S. labs
  • Very protective of your privacy
  • High degree of personalization in their products
  • You can get 10% off your entire order using purchasing code INNERBODY

Cons

  • If you opt-in for the monthly personalized probiotics subscription, it can be costly
  • Thryve currently only analyzes bacteria, not other microbes such as fungi and viruses
  • Microbiome research is still in its early stages

Bottom line

If you are looking for new ways to improve your gut health, Thryve will be an excellent resource for you. They are very transparent with their scientific sources. We love Thryve’s extensive and careful use of research studies and the level of personalization they offer in their products. However, keep in mind that microbiome research is a relatively new and evolving field; there is no guarantee that you will observe drastic health improvements by trying to alter the composition of bacteria in your gut. Also remember that Thryve is not a diagnostic service. If you have any concerns about your health and wellbeing, consult with your physician.

Our Top Picks

Thryve

Thryve offers a very sophisticated test of your microbiome and, based on results, recommendations for how to improve your health.

In addition to the personalized Gut Health Program, you can also buy several pre-formulated probiotics to improve aspects of your health. Thryve’s microbiome testing is very impressive. Get 10% off your purchase with the code: INNERBODY

Why you should trust us

Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions about staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

This review, like all medical-related content on this website, is thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy. Additionally, we extensively analyze each health-related service we review. We evaluate the entire customer experience from signing up to the use of the product or service, and then offer unbiased, marketing-jargon-free analysis based on the latest scientific evidence and medical standards.

What does Thryve do?

Thryve is a San Francisco-based health and wellness startup. They offer a test to analyze the presence of bacteria in your gut by testing a stool sample. Based on their findings, they generate a gut microbiome report. In this report, you will find actionable insights to help you improve your gut microbiome. Thryve suggests that enhancing your gut health could allow you to achieve better weight loss results, see improvements in your mood, feel more energetic, and improve your digestion.

In addition to their personalized program, Thryve offers a menu of four “off the shelf” probiotics formulated to improve specific aspects of your health.

How does it work?

Collection

The quality of any data is only as good as the method used to collect the sample. Thankfully Thryve’s collection method ensures that when your sample arrives in the laboratory, it is as close a representation of the bacteria in your gut as possible. This is because their proprietary sample buffer keeps bacterial cells alive, but not growing, during transport.

As a result, Thryve’s sample processing and sequencing are almost 30% more accurate than other service providers, which use either dry swabs or cell lysis buffers.

Analysis

Thryve’s method involves analyzing a specific type of RNA called 16S RNA. 16S RNA is a type of RNA called ribosomal RNA that is highly abundant in bacterial cells. Regions of this 16S RNA (termed V3-V4 regions) are highly variable between different bacteria species. This feature allows Thryve to distinguish between different species of bacteria by analyzing the sequences of these regions and using it to quantify the presence of different species in the gut.

Thryve tests for over 10,000 species of bacteria and only shows you the statistically significant ones.

Insights

After Thryve has analyzed your microbiome, they aim to provide you with actionable insights, but how can you trust that the insights are reliable?

Thryve’s proprietary software analyzes every single microbiome research article (around 50,000 of them) and grades the validity of the data using their research confidence algorithm. This algorithm is based on the strength of the evidence in the research.

Some of the features they use to determine the reliability of the evidence include whether the research is done in humans, cells, or test tubes, as well as the length of each study. They also note whether the study design represents the gold standard study design of a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Their software allows them to summarize the features of 4,000 microbes and map them to over 1,000 food ingredients and over 500 supplements. As a result, Thryve offers what might be the most comprehensive actionable insights of any microbiome test on the market.

Results

Thryve has a white paper demonstrating the effectiveness of their personalized probiotics in a study with 99 patients. These individuals reported improvement in symptoms such as mood, digestion, and weight. Participants also had improved variety in their microbiome (defined as a reduction in pathogenetic bacteria and a moderate increase in diversity).

Pricing

Thryve’s gut health test (Thryve Gut Health Program) is normally $199.99, though sales frequently lower the price by as much as 25-50%. Their personalized probiotics cost around $49.99 per month.

You can also purchase their ‘non-personalized’ probiotics. These cost $39.00 per product (containing thirty capsules). If you select a monthly subscription, you will save 10%.

In fact, you can get 10% off of your entire order, regardless of what you order, if you use the INNERBODY code when purchasing.

Products

Thryve Gut Health Program

The Thryve Gut Health Program is the microbiome test offered by Thryve. You send them a small sample of your stool, and they generate a report about the bacteria present in your stool, which is a snapshot of the bacteria present in your gut.

Thryve uses a wealth of published scientific research to understand how the abundance of different types of bacteria in your gut relates to the available scientific research and the microbiomes of others. This research allows them to suggest what your results could mean for your overall health. Thryve uses this information to generate personalized diet and probiotic recommendations that could improve the diversity and ‘health’ of your gut bacteria. This includes foods and probiotics that could help to decrease potentially pathogenic bacteria and increase the variety of other species.

Importantly, Thryve explicitly points out that they are not a diagnostic service. If you are concerned about any gastrointestinal symptoms – or indeed any other health concerns – you should speak to your health care provider.

Probiotics

As well as their personalized probiotic blends that they create for you based on the information in your report, Thryve also offers a selection of four off-the-shelf probiotics. These blends are aimed at improving specific aspects of overall wellbeing.

Healthy Gut

This probiotic is for individuals who are experiencing digestive discomfort such as bloating, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Healthy Gut includes Lactobacillus rhamnosus, Lactobacillus paracasei Th2, Bifidobacterium lactis, as well as vitamins and prebiotics that improve overall health.

Ketone Booster

Thryve offers this probiotic blend to improve weight loss by promoting ketosis and reducing fat storage, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Ketone Booster contains lactobacillus reuteri Tr1 (ADR1), Lactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus fermentum as well as vitamins to improve wellness.

Endless Energy

Designed to improve energy levels by regulating blood sugar and fighting fatigue, Endless Energy includes the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus, and Bifidobacterium lactis as well as vitamins C and D.

Ultimate Immunity

This probiotic blend is designed to improve immune function by supporting the cells of your immune system, fighting inflammation, and reducing autoimmunity. Ultimate Immunity contains Lactobacillus paracasei Th1, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactobacillus reuteri Tr1 (ADR1) as well as vitamins and prebiotics.

Mood Enhancer

With the inclusion of strains like Lactobacillus plantarum, Lactobacillus paracasei, Bifidobacterium breve, and others, Mood Enhancer has been proven in an in-vitro study to increase dopamine and serotonin levels while decreasing the level of corticosterone (commonly known as the “stress hormone”).

Getting started with Thryve

Ordering any of the four pre-formulated probiotic products from Thryve is an easy process, like purchasing any product online.

If you decide you want to get a personalized gut health report from Thryve, here is the process:

  1. Go to the Thryve website and order the Thryve Gut Health Program from their website.

  2. After you have received your kit, activate it on the website and create an account.

  3. Collect your sample. Thryve recommends you take your test after your first bowel movement of the day. After completing your bowel movement, you wipe but do not discard the tissue. You then use the cotton swab from the collection kit to grab a small piece of sample and put it into the collection tube.

  4. Send the sample back to Thryve in the pre-paid envelope.

  5. Wait to receive your results. Thryve has a rapid turnaround time, and you could get your results as quickly as one week after Thryve receives your sample.

  6. When your results are ready, you will get your gut health report. This includes lots of information about the bacteria that Thryve found in your sample. It also includes actionable insights to improve your gut microbiome, including a diet plan and a custom probiotic blend designed to help you achieve your health goals.

HSA, FSA, and health insurance

Depending on your specific FSA/HSA, you may be able to pay for Thryve’s services in this way, but you will need to check with your provider.

Privacy considerations

Thryve protects your privacy. The company separates your personally identifiable information from your protected health information so that your health information is not linked to you. They use multiple layers of encryption and protection to ensure your data is secure. They also promise never to sell your data, and will not provide your information to health insurance companies or employers.

You can choose to opt in to share your data for anonymized research purposes.

Thryve will also provide your raw data as FASTQ files. If you have any experience with DNA sequencing (or know someone who does), you could use this data yourself.

What criteria do we use to evaluate home health products and services?

We customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health service or product. For most products and services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) to the customer? Is the quality of the product or service high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? Does the company have a high-quality medical review board with oversight? Do the testing companies use the latest and most accurate testing technologies available? How accurate are the tests compared to alternatives?

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the provider offer discounts or free services to our readers?

Customer Support: How well does the company provide information about its product or service? How clearly are options presented? How clearly are test results presented? How well does the testing company help you understand results and get treatment if necessary?

Privacy: Are all products sent in discreet packaging? Will your data be stored securely? Could your data ever be shared without your permission?

Speed: How fast will you receive your product or test results, from the moment you click “buy?” Are the waiting times stated by the company accurate and consistent?

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