After researching a few companies, I decided to go with uBiome simply because they were international company that also tested more than one sample sight. In fact, they test 5 sample sites: your gut, skin, nose, mouth, and genitals.
Originally I ordered the Gut Plus Kit, which just means that they would test my gut bacteria and one other site of my choosing. But an amazing thing happened! There was a screw up somewhere and the Five Site Kit came, which was sampling for all 5 areas. uBiome's customer service alerted me to the mistake and told me to go ahead and use the entire kit at no extra cost. Woohoo!
So I took all of my swab samples and sent them back off to the lab, and I then waited and waited. All in all, it took about a month before my samples were ready.
In addition to sheer curiosity, which I admit is the main reason I did this, I have also been diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disorder. I've picked up a copy of the Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, a book that hypothesizes that many syndromes and disorders that plague our current population are due to an imbalance in the gut bacteria - or at least that's the gist I've gotten so far! I'm still early on in the book, so maybe there's more to it.
However it is rather apparent that my bacteria is different than the average citizen scientist's bacteria. I seem to have an abundance of one time of bacteria and very little of other types of bacteria. While sometimes that's okay, other times a minute change can set off many unintended consequences.
I've taken a few screenshots of my gut bacteria so you can see how the website is laid out. You can compare yourself to different lifestyles (heavy drinkers, vegetarians, etc) and then, if you'd like, you can chart it out in tree form.
Best of all, if you're like me and have no idea what any of these different bacteria actually do, you can click on them to find out more information. Here's one of the good ones (and the ones I try to grow in my veggie ferments!):
And here's another bacteria chart and info:
Originally, I was trying to decide if this was worth it - did I really need to know the bacteria living with me? Was it going to make a difference? Would I even be able to understand the results with my minimal scientific background? (Okay, I have no scientific background to speak of unless you count my one biology class in college.)
Ultimately, I'm really happy I made the decision to meet my microbes. I've already spent a couple of hours going through my results, and I feel like I have many more hours to comb through all the data. I have yet to start the GAPS diet, but once I do start it, I would love to test my bacteria again, just to see what, if anything, has changed. It would be really amazing if what's causing my autoimmune disorder could be helped by changing my gut bacteria.
Are you curious as well? I'd love to hear if you've had your bacteria tested and what you thought.
If you want to go with uBiome and are looking for a last minute Christmas present for yourself (or your weird relative who's always creating life from brine and veggies), use this link and get 10% off.