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Thryve Gut Health Review: Pros, Cons, and How It Works

Written by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD

Last Updated on May 21, 2021

Our Expert Rating:

4.2

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 the Price:5.0
  • Brand Transparency:3.0

Thryve uses a gut microbiome test to provide personalized probiotic and diet recommendations. While Thryve is a good starting point, it is best to work with a professional to improve your gut health.

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Thryve Gut Health Review: Pros, Cons, and How It Works

Pros

  • Personalized recommendations based on your microbiome
  • Medical advisory board works with company
  • Tailored probiotic products for different health concerns

Cons

  • No healthcare providers to help customers
  • Optimal dosages for probiotic strains have not been determined
  • All products use “proprietary blends,” therefore exact dosages are unknown

How It Works

Thryve is an innovative company that uses a mail-in gut microbiome test to provide personalized recommendations for probiotic supplements and dietary changes.

The idea was inspired by the CEO’s own health concerns, which he was able to correct by improving his gut health.

Once you purchase the Thryve gut kit, they send you a collection box to collect a small stool sample. You mail in the stool sample, and they provide a “map” of your gut microbiome.

From there, they also make recommendations for the types of bacteria that should be included in your ideal probiotic supplement and the foods you should include and avoid to improve your gut health.

Once you send in your stool sample, Thryve compares your results to the American Gut Project, allowing them to calculate microbial diversity, total number of species, and percentage of beneficial bacteria.

The company has mapped out over 3,000 kinds of bacteria to evaluate their function in the body.

They have also evaluated over 1,000 foods and 500 supplements to determine the impact each has on gut bacteria.

You can find your results on the Thryve website.

Their algorithm makes personalized recommendations for how to manage your symptoms, enhance beneficial bacteria, and reduce pathogenic bacteria in your gut to improve your health.

It also recommends foods to eat or avoid and potential health problems you may encounter based on your microbiome profile.

While it seems Thryve has evaluated significant clinical data to make these recommendations, I am hesitant to recommend making dietary or lifestyle changes based on a computer algorithm, particularly if you are trying to manage severe health concerns.

I did not see any mention of Thryve providing consultations with healthcare providers to help users understand their results.

My Experience with Thryve

I tried the Thryve microbiome test myself. The collection kit arrived and included simple to follow instructions for collecting the sample.

I was able to do it on the same day of arrival and send it off.

Thryve test
Thryve collection kit. Photo by Ana Reisdorf

The results took about 3 weeks to come back and were presented on a user-friendly website.

The information provided included:

  • Overall gut health score.
  • My personalized Thryve probiotic recommendations.
  • A personalized food plan that included 220 foods to eat and 46 foods to avoid. 
  • A bacteria level score.
  • A list of possible symptoms I might experience due to the current condition of my gut bacteria.
  • The total number of species they discovered in my sample.

The test provided some insight into the current health problems I am experiencing. Over the last few years, I have struggled with insomnia and unwanted weight gain.

Thryve test results
Screenshots of Thryve website: 1. Home screen. 2. Research to support Thryve recommendations. 3. List of bacteria in my sample, deficiency, and how I compare to the average person.

The test identified that I am low in a type of bacteria called akkermansia, which has been linked to these two conditions.

It also identified that I was low in many gut bacteria related to digestive symptoms, such as bloating. I do not experience many digestive concerns, so this finding was a bit off.

Thryve provides a list of bacteria you are high or low in and how you compare to the “standard.” It recommends a tailored probiotic supplement to help improve your gut health.

The list of foods to add included those that increase this particular type of bacteria. The list of foods to avoid included those that decrease this type of bacteria.

Thryve also provides information on the strength of research to support its claims around the connection between specific foods and gut bacteria.

The food recommendations included recipes and tips for how to add specific foods to your diet.

Thryve test results
Screenshots of Thryve website: 1. Top vegetables to include in my diet. 2. Top vegetables to avoid in my diet. 3. Detailed information about food to avoid.

The probiotic blend recommended for me did not include this particular bacterial strain, but others I was also low in. Upon further research, it seems this strain is not used in probiotic products.

Overall, I found the Thryve test interesting and that it lined up with my current health concerns.

But other than trying to include and avoid the recommended foods, I am not sure how to proceed with correcting the imbalance since this particular strain is not found in probiotic supplements.

I also don’t know how long I have to wait before testing again to see if there is any improvement.

I think the Thryve test would be most beneficial if it included a consultation with a gut health expert to help guide customers on how to improve their gut bacteria and best apply their results.

Evaluation of Specialized Probiotics

Thryve has a medical team of advisors featured on their site that includes several experts in the microbiome.

But it is unclear if these experts worked as consultants in development or have an ongoing relationship with the company.

There is no consultation with healthcare practitioners, like physicians or dietitians, to help customers interpret their results.

These types of consultations would really enhance the service offered.

Thryve offers a line of five different probiotics, each with a specific focus. There is scientific evidence to back up the specific formulation of these products for their intended purpose.

The probiotics include:

  • Ketone Booster for weight loss and increased fat burning. Ketone Booster contains four strains of Lactobacillus that have been found to help with weight loss.
  • Healthy Gut for digestive health. Healthy Gut contains a high dose of probiotics for digestive health. It also contains strains like L. plantarum that help reduce the amount of pathogenic bacteria in the gut and B. breve that can help reduce inflammation in the gut. 
  • Ultimate Immunity for immune health. Ultimate Immunity contains strains like L. paracasei and L. acidophilus, shown to have immune-enhancing effects.
  • Endless Energy for improving energy levels. Endless Energy contains several strains, like L. acidophilus, that help you better use energy from food.
  • Mood Enhancer for improving your mental health. Mood Enhancer contains Lactobacillus plantarum and paracasei that have been found to help improve symptoms of depression.

While there are studies to back up the types of microbes included in each formula, there are currently no standardized dosage recommendations for each strain.

Thryve’s products are all “proprietary blends,” so you don’t know how much of each strain you are getting, only the total number of bacteria.

Side Effects and Safety

As far as the probiotic products offered by Thryve, I don’t have any significant safety concerns.

Those with compromised immune systems should speak to their doctor before taking probiotics in general. Otherwise, probiotics are safe for most people.

The products contain milk and soy, and therefore should be avoided by people with allergies to those ingredients.

My main concern with Thryve is that most people shouldn’t be taking health advice or be make dietary changes based on recommendations by an algorithm.

I would be wary of restricting your diet too much based on the results of this one test with no other guidance.

My recommendation would be to use the Thryve test as a jumping-off point and bring the results to your doctor or dietitian, who can create a more personalized plan for you.

Cost

The Thryve Gut Health Test costs $99. This is slightly less expensive compared to its competitors that offer similar services.

The probiotics offered by Thryve cost $39 a month, and you can save 10% with a subscription.

A quality probiotic will usually cost somewhere between $30–$50, so this seems fairly on par.

Thryve has a no returns policy unless they determine they made a mistake with your order. This is a pretty stringent return policy, as most companies usually allow 30 days.

Comparison to Alternatives

There are several companies offering at-home tests similar to Thryve. Based on my research, Thryve is the least expensive.

Thorne offers a gut health test for $197. Thorne is a well-established supplement company that works with many respected health and nutrition experts.

Thryve does not have the same level of involvement with experts as Thorne.

But, based on just reading the information on both websites, I don’t see a significant difference between the Thorne and Thryve tests, other than the price.

Biohm has a similar test for $129, which also tests for fungi and yeasts, not offered by Thryve.

The Biohm test offers a consultation with a registered dietitian to go over your results for an additional fee.

Being able to consult with a professional would be my recommendation if you are looking to get the most out of your at-home GI mapping.

The Bottom Line

Thryve offers customers a good jumping-off point for improving gut health and other concerns.

With so many probiotics on the market, being able to narrow down the exact strains you need is useful.

I don’t think the science is quite there to make firm recommendations on strains and dosages across the board.

Additionally, I would be wary of taking diet advice from an algorithm that cannot assess your entire health history and make personalized recommendations for you.

If you want to give it a try to see if it helps you feel better, I see no significant downside to Thryve.

A Word from Our RD

Ideally, you would try Thryve while working with either a doctor or dietitian to help address your health concerns.

The report from the GI test would be a helpful tool for a dietitian working with digestive health, allowing them to guide you towards the best foods for you.

I would recommend using it in conjunction with treatment by a healthcare provider.

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