I’ve recently sequenced my gut microbiome. Why did I do it? Curiosity.

Initially I wanted to get the gene sequencing done during the bodybuilding competitions, because my diet consist of about 65-70% of fats and not more than 10% total carbohydrates. However, it was too challenging during that period, apart from competition prep, I was running a business, doing health consults, as well as publishing a children’s illustration book. Life was a little full on. Doing the test, sort of slipped under the radar!

I was curious about the impact of a ketogenic diet on the gut microbiome. I’m mindful that this is solely MY result and it may not translate to other people.

My food

My daily nutrition macros leading to the test were:

Fats – 55-60%

Proteins – 25-30%

Carbs – 10-15% (generally not more than 50g of total carbs)

I prepared the majority of the food myself. This may come as a surprise to many, but I was eating many servings of vegetables. Referring back to one of my diary entries, my vegetable consumption was: 3 cups of baby spinach, 3 and 1/3 cups of steamed broccoli, 1 and 1/3 cups of cauliflower and 1 sheet of roasted seaweed. This amounts to less than 30g of total carbohydrates!

I had a variety of meats, occasional offal, some seeds and nuts, small handful of berries every now and then and…CHOCOLATE. I never thought that I would ever develop the taste for dark chocolate, but I did. My choice is 85-95% dark chocolate. Your taste bud changes once you stop eating overly sweet food.

Other “foods” that are included in my macronutrient calculations were Designs for Health Whole Body Collagen and Prūvit KetoOs Pro+MCT and/or KetoOs Nat (or KetoneAid). They are generally taken around my workout, as I don’t like training totally fasted. I do a “dirty fast”.

According to the Shannon Diversity Index which tracks microbiome diversity, I scored a 4, this is on the upper limit of the range. 

Footnote: I do consume a decent amount of protein due to the amount of resistance training I do. This explains the higher than normal “protein degradation” and “ammonia production”, but notice that my fibre intake is high and the LPS (inflammatory marker) is zero and TMAO is at 0.04. 

There’s some geeky information about the gene testing down below if you’re interested…or skip if it’s way too much information. 

There’re a few gut microbiome gene testing methods. And here are some challenges with the different methods that I’m aware of:

Low resolution, meaning that it only tells you a very broad and general spectrum of the species.  

Only a small percentage of microbiome is sequenced.

Some only targets specific species. Take coronavirus for an example, the test used is highly sensitive but it’s set out to look specifically for coronavirus and nothing else. 

Some samples are unstable, it’s only tracking transient actively expressed genes. This means that the result changes all the time depending on what medications you take; food you eat; and other environmental factors.

“Shotgun Metagenomic” sequencing is the method used in this particular test. 

The major advantage is, it sequences over 95% of the microbiome’s DNA whether they’re expressed or not. The report generated could be used for metabolic function profiling. 

But like any test, it has its shortfalls. 

My understanding is that it is heavily dependent on reference database. Meaning, if the genomes of microbes are not found in the database then the microbes will be completely missed.

There’s still so much to explore and discover.  But for now, this seems to be a good clinical tool to help stir patients in the right path to hopefully better health outcomes.  

Featured Photo by Olivia Herlambang-Tham