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Thorne Supplements and Health Tests: A Comprehensive Review

Written by Markita Lewis, MS, RD

Reviewed by Anthony Dugarte, MD 

Last Updated on July 9, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

4.4

About This Rating
The average rating of this product is calculated based on the evaluation of the following factors:
  • Recommendations:3.0
  • Personalization:5.0
  • Ingredient Quality:5.0
  • Value for Price:4.0
  • Brand Transparency:5.0

Thorne is a supplement company that utilizes quizzes and laboratory testing to tailor supplements and lifestyle recommendations. The variety, ease of use, and attention to the needs of athletes make Thorne a good option in addition to professional advice.

Thorne Supplements and Health Tests: A Comprehensive Review

Pros

  • Offers a variety of product lines for major health concerns
  • NSF Certification available for products geared towards athletes
  • Involvement in clinical research for supplements offered

Cons

  • Some tests require visit to physical lab for samples and can limit convenience
  • Purchased test kits do not include consultation with health professional to review results and help with changes
  • Monthly supplement costs could become expensive if getting them for multiple health concerns

How Thorne Works

Thorne is a supplement company that provides personalized supplements and health plans based on your individual concerns.

They currently offer quizzes, bundles, and test kits to help evaluate your individual nutrition needs.

The online supplement quizzes take approximately 5 minutes or less to complete and ask for general information such as age, gender, and daily or weekly habits.

There are quizzes available for 13 different health concerns – B complex, digestive enzymes, fatigue, fish oil, multivitamins, probiotics, protein powder, sleep, stress, mood, skin, immune health, and SNF Certified for Sport.

After taking your online quiz, you are directed to a results page that gives you one recommended supplement based on your answers.

Thorne also offers testing kits on 10 conditions or health concerns – biological age, fertility, gut health, heavy metals, menopause, sleep, stress, thyroid, vitamin D, and weight management.

Your test kit will be shipped to you within two business days and should arrive within 3–4 business days.

After receiving the kit, you can activate your test (within 1 year of purchase) and complete a personal online health profile/questionnaire.

Depending on what test kit you purchase, it may require blood, urine, saliva, or stool sampling.

Some sample collecting can be done at home, but some tests require a formal lab visit for sample collection.

Once you have your sample collected and mailed back to Thorne, the test results will be analyzed and uploaded to the online Thorne dashboard.

Most test results will be available within 5 business days after arriving at the lab, but the Gut Health test results can take about 4 weeks.

Results are presented through graphs and explanations of what certain labs/markers are and what that means for your biological health.

Quality of Personalized Supplement Recommendations

Thorne offers many options for individualized nutrition and supplement recommendations that can fit different goals.

There are nearly 200 different supplements available for recommendation through their quizzes, supplement packages, and bundles, and they cannot all be evaluated in the scope of this article.

Instead, this evaluation will discuss the main personalization options, professional involvement, and overall ingredient quality.

Product Formula Quizzes

If you’re looking for recommendations that don’t require any lab testing, Thorne offers short online supplement quizzes developed by their medical team to give you recommendations.

I took a few quizzes on their website – they were fairly easy and quick, and I was only recommended one supplement per quiz result.

It is smart that Thorne does not overwhelm consumers by recommending multiple supplements per health condition, especially since the total supplement burden can add up if taking multiple quizzes.

The results page from the quiz also links to blog articles that give more detail about relevant health conditions and how lifestyle changes affect them.

Health Tests

Thorne uses an AI-driven platform called Omegevity Health Intelligence to generate health insights and recommendations for diet, physical activity, and supplements.

These recommendations are generated using data sets (which include DNA, RNA, proteins, and other molecules) and current scientific research.

Purchase of Thorne supplements after the health tests is optional and can either be done as a one-time purchase or a subscription.

Product Bundles

There are 25 supplement bundles available through Thorne. Product bundles consist of 3 supplements that are geared towards a certain health condition.

Once again, limiting the bundle size can help with the pill burden and make it easier to remember to take all supplements daily.

Ingredient Quality

Thorne gives a rationale for each ingredient included in their supplements and why particular forms of an ingredient were chosen over others based on the current research.

The use of fillers, lubricants, and binders is limited as much as possible to focus on active ingredients.

All ingredients (active and inactive) are listed on the product label for brand transparency.

Out of its 183 supplements available, 24 of these are NSF Certified for Sport.

While this appears to be a somewhat small percentage of their products, Thorne actually has the most extensive line of NSF Certified for Sport supplements for a single company.

Professional Involvement

Thorne has a science and medical team consisting of naturopathic doctors, physicians, a licensed acupuncturist, and a registered dietitian.

The commitment to science is seen in greater detail when looking at their research involvement.

In 1996, the company launched a peer-reviewed journal called Alternative Medicine Review and currently conducts clinical research with several research groups, including the Mayo Clinic.

The inclusion of peer-reviewed research, clinical trials, and collaboration with trusted institutes like the Mayo Clinic makes me feel more confident in their scientific reputation and the efficacy of their products.

Test kit nutrition and lifestyle recommendations are based on AI and machine learning.

There is no built-in nutrition counseling with a doctor or dietitian upon receiving test kit results to navigate lifestyle changes.

To make up for the lack of nutrition counseling, Thorne provides a database of health professionals who integrate Thorne into their practice.

A quick look at available practitioners shows that this range of professionals includes physicians, registered dietitians, osteopaths, functional medicine practitioners, and more.

It may be more effective to meet with one of these professionals or your own medical doctor before taking the Thorne tests.

A healthcare provider can save you time and money and prevent delays in medical care. They can also address health concerns that might not be nutrition-related.

Our Experience with Thorne

Editor’s note: The test and material for this section were provided by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD.

I have been having trouble staying asleep for several years now. It seems after having children, my sleep never really went back to normal and has gotten progressively worse.

I had an inkling that it was related to my hormones and stress.

When I saw that Thorne offered a home sleep test to assess two sleep related-hormones, cortisol and melatonin, I decided to try it. So I ordered the testing kit, and it arrived in about 5 business days.

The test is simple to take. It requires collecting a urine sample 4 times during the day. The times are when you first get up, about 2 hours after that, before dinner, then at bedtime.

The test kit comes with instructions, paper strips, and an envelope to send the strips back. All you do is urinate on the strips and allow them to dry for 24 hours before returning them via USPS in the enclosed envelope.

On the day of the test and 24 hours before, you should avoid alcohol, protein powder, nuts, nut butters, and a few other foods that could impact results. All the details are clearly explained in the instruction booklet.

Once you are done with your collection, you can expect your results in 7–10 business days via the Thorne website.

The results I received were somewhat surprising. I already knew my cortisol was too high.

The test showed that it was slightly high in the morning upon waking (which probably explains why I can never sleep beyond 6 am).

It was also slightly high around dinner time, which is the most stressful part of my day when I cook dinner and deal with children.

What was surprising was my melatonin. The test found that my melatonin at bedtime was ZERO. I am actually surprised that I can fall asleep relatively easily with melatonin so low.

But it might explain why I have trouble staying asleep if my cortisol spikes early with no melatonin to stop its effects.

The results also provided a significant amount of direction for what I could do to improve my hormones. The recommendations focused on three main areas:

  • Diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Supplements

For my diet, Thorne recommended I follow a Mediterranean Diet, eat melatonin rich-foods, add specific nutrients like green leafy vegetables to my diet, limit caffeine, and avoid alcohol before bed.

The goal of these recommendations is to normalize hormones and reduce inflammation. In addition, they provided an extensive explanation on how to accomplish these recommendations, food lists, and links to additional resources.

For the lifestyle section, they recommended establishing a solid sleep routine and exercising in the morning 3 times a week. They provided lots of specific tips, resources, and links to get more information.

Finally, for supplements, they recommended 2 specific products to increase melatonin and manage cortisol.

After receiving these results, I felt like I was well-informed to take actionable steps towards my health.

Although I did not purchase any of the products they recommended, I did start taking a different product to help reduce my cortisol.

I set a 2-drink limit for alcohol consumption (although I only drink socially on weekends) and cut back my caffeine to 1 cup of coffee a day.

I also drink 1/4 cup of tart cherry juice at night, which is a source of melatonin.

I started wearing blue-light-blocking glasses at night.

I have always exercised, but I was probably doing too much high-intensity interval training (HIIT). So I cut back to just 1 day a week of HIIT to try to normalize my cortisol.

All of these things have me sleeping much better! I have not woken up in the middle of the night in weeks.

I am lucky that I am a dietitian, and with test results like these, I generally know exactly what changes to make or have many colleagues I can ask.

If you are unsure what to do after taking the test, I recommend you meet with your own doctor to review the results or contact one of the Thorne providers to discuss further.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Thorne tests. They are easy to do and provide very actionable and thorough next steps.

Honestly, if I had unlimited funds, I would probably do all of them to see the results.

Side Effects and Safety

Because there are nearly 200 different supplements available through Thorne, it is difficult to list all potential side effects from taking any of their supplements.

On the website, Thorne does take care to list any potential side effects, allergic reactions, or medication interactions for products underneath each product.

Compared to other companies that bury this information in an FAQ page, it was much easier to find the information about these possible adverse effects.

In their facilities, to reduce cross-contamination with known allergens, Thorne performs comprehensive cleaning and allergen testing after manufacturing products containing known allergens.

Supplements are also labeled with Proposition 65 warnings. This warning specifies if certain ingredients include naturally occurring chemicals in amounts that are above Proposition 65 thresholds.

Proposition 65 is a California law that requires the labeling of items that may contain chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive harm.

Naturally occurring heavy metals tend to be common in botanicals and herbal supplements, which may lead to them being added to the warning list.

Before taking any new supplement, I recommend speaking with a physician or primary care professional.

They can review with you any possible medication interactions, contraindications and give you a thorough and personalized approach to your health.

Also, symptoms that you believe are associated with a nutritional deficiency may sometimes be related to an underlying medical condition, so speaking with your doctor is a great first step.

Cost

Your monthly supplement costs with Thorne may differ depending on if you are purchasing bundles or individual supplements.

Individual supplements can range from only $10 to $88 for a monthly supply.

Supplement bundles can range from $57 to $130 per month and help you save up to 10% compared to buying individual supplements.

Test kits are one-time purchases that have the option to purchase supplements based on your test results later.

Thorne’s range of tests varies in price, from the cheapest test (Biological Age, Vitamin D tests at $95) to the most expensive (Weight Management at $315).

There is a 60-day satisfaction guarantee for Thorne supplements purchased in the United States only. Test kits, as well as products purchased internationally, are not covered by their guarantee.

Comparison to Alternatives

While many personalized supplement companies exist, Thorne does bring something different to the table.

They have a wider variety of test kit options to focus on what you’re interested in and not overwhelm you with too much information.

Thorne gives its users several ways to interact with its brand.

If you are looking for a particular supplement and don’t want to take a quiz, the bundles and product store are available.

But if you want something more in-depth, the quizzes and test kits are available as well.

Most other brands do not give these many options for interaction and commitment.

A company like Care/of only offers a quiz, or another like Viome only offers a genetic test (without a quiz).

While Thorne is not the only supplement company to cater to athletes, it is nice to see a personalized brand have a space specifically for athletes with third-party testing and collaboration with national sports organizations.

Thorne’s health kits are a bit expensive compared to some of the competition.

Other tests usually cost between $80–130 and may cover a full spectrum of nutritional genetic testing, while Thorne focuses on certain conditions.

As far as the supplements go, individual supplements appear to be priced pretty fairly.

However, monthly supplement costs may become high if getting bundles or if recommended multiple supplements through health kit testing.

Related: The 7 Best Vitamin Subscription Services of 2021

The Bottom Line

Thorne products appear to be a good option to choose from when looking for a company providing personalized supplements and recommendations.

They are not excessive with supplement recommendations, give you different ways to tailor what you decide to take, and the company is dedicated to advances in research.

Thorne products may also be cost-effective if you don’t go for multiple bundles or health tests.

Of course, a quiz or blood test with algorithms cannot replace the comprehensive care that a health professional such as a physician or registered dietitian can provide.

Thorne acknowledges this frequently throughout its website.

It is a nice touch that they offer a health professional database where people can get consultations with practitioners familiar with the company.

If you decide to take any supplement recommended by Thorne, please consult with your primary care provider to see if they are right for your needs.

A Word from Our RD

Recommendations generated by lab testing, quizzes, and artificial intelligence can be a helpful tool in taking control of your health, but it doesn’t have to stop there.

Lab testing and questionnaires (like intake forms) are usually only the beginning of comprehensive medical care by a health professional.

Please speak with your doctor about any particular health concerns that you may have so that they can be addressed by the appropriate medical professionals.

For personalized nutrition recommendations based on your needs, a registered dietitian is a great place to start.

They have the training to help guide you in making healthier food choices, translate science into action, and address other food-related needs.

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