I tried a test that let me peek inside my microbiome, the ‘forgotten organ’ that scientists say is the future of medicine — and what I learned shocked me

If you’ve ever taken a probiotic, eaten yogurt, or added pickles to your sandwich, you’ve taken a step toward nourishing the vital community of life in your gut collectively known as your microbiome. In recent years, scientists have called the microbiome the “forgotten organ” thanks to its emerging role in affecting everything from your mood to your risk of disease.

It’s believed that the communities of bacteria living in our guts and elsewhere influence everything from our mental health to our ability to process fat and gluten.

So when I recently got the chance to try a microbiome testing kit at home for free, I took it. Called the “Explorer,” my kit was made by Silicon Valley startup uBiome. Since its founding in 2012, uBiome has raised nearly $110 million in funding and transformed from a meek startup to a key player on the life science venture scene.

Investors call uBiome a game-changer. Before the company existed, we had virtually no central repository for data on the microbiome — data that could ultimately lead to new treatments for deadly diseases.

“We will look back and say, ‘I can’t believe we lived our lives without this knowledge,'” Bryan Johnson, the cofounder of a venture firm called OS Fund that led uBiome’s latest funding round, told Business Insider.

My uBiome test results came with a significant surprise. Here’s what the experience was like.

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