Shadow (formerly Thryve) Gut Health Review: Is It Worth It?

Shadow, formerly known as Thryve, is a company that produces gut health tests. These tests are designed to help you determine the best type of probiotic to use. They also make and sell supplements that they recommend to their test users, but their products tend to get poor reviews.

Probiotics are live microscopic organisms found in fermented foods, such as yogurt and sauerkraut. Probiotics can also be taken in supplement form.

A 2019 review have shown that probiotics may have at least temporary health benefits, such as:

  • stimulate the immune system
  • support digestive health
  • improve stool consistency and reduce diarrhea
  • reduce vaginal yeast infections

There has been an explosion of probiotic supplement brands to choose from over the past few years. Since probiotics have many species and strains, it can be confusing trying to figure out which type will be right for you.

Shadow is a health tech company that was previously known as Thryve. The company was founded in 2016 in California.

Ombre makes a home gut microbiome test. Your gut microbiome is made up of microscopic bacteria, fungi, and other living organisms that reside in your large intestine. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for supporting gut health and overall health.

Ombre also manufactures several types of probiotic and prebiotic blends. They recommend specific products to people who have passed their test, based on the results. You can also buy supplements from Ombre without taking their gut health test.

Shadow’s founders, staff, and board are not listed on their website. They list two people as experts, although their contributing roles are unclear. They are nutritionist Kimberly Griffith, MS, and bioinformatics researcher Manoj Samanta, PhD.

The gut health test by mail is available online at the Ombre website. Once purchased, it should arrive in a few weeks.

You will activate your kit online by creating a user account. Your results will appear in your account portal on the website in approximately 3 weeks.

The kit contains a collection receptacle for a small stool sample. If possible, mail your sample back the same day you pick it up. A prepaid envelope is included in the kit for you to use.

Shadow analyzes the bacteria in your stool and makes algorithm-based recommendations about your gut health and which probiotics you might benefit from. They do not look for viruses, fungi or other microorganisms in your sample.

According to the manufacturer, test users automatically receive a gut health report with information about the bacteria they found and sequenced from the sample.

Your gut health report will also contain information about what foods you should and shouldn’t eat.

Ombre offers users the option to purchase a set of 10 additional reports that provide more comprehensive information. The exact content of these reports is unclear. On Trustpilot, the manufacturer calls this information “more in-depth information”.

You can purchase Ombre supplements on a one-time basis or with a monthly subscription. The cost of the subscription is slightly reduced.

When this was written, Ombre products included:

  • Intestinal health test for $99
  • Rise Prebiotics for $49
  • Endless Energy Probiotics for $39
  • Healthy Gut Probiotics for $39
  • Metabolic Booster Probiotics for $39

Shipping and taxes are extra and accounted for at checkout for each product, except for the Gut Health Test, which ships free.

According to the manufacturer, their products are certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) Where Underwriters Laboratories (UL). They are also vegan, genetically modified organisms (GMO) free and gluten free. NSF is the abbreviation for the National Sanitation Foundation, a non-profit organization that has been creating food safety and sanitation standards to promote public health since 1944. NSF certification guarantees that the manufacturer uses only raw materials approved by the FDA, that the products have passed numerous NSF Tests for material safety, design, construction and product performance. UL stands for Underwriters’ Laboratories, a global safety certification company that tests and guarantees that products are safe to use.

Based on our internal verification process and customer reviews on multiple review sites, here is an overview of the pros and cons of Ombre:

Ombre (Thryve) has a 1-star rating from customers, plus a business rating of F, from Better Business Bureau (BBB). The F reflects the BBB’s opinion of Shadow’s interactions with customers, which are uniformly poor.

The company has a better balance sheet Trustpilot, where they score a 3.1 out of 5 star rating. Most reviews here seem to follow two trends. People who have received probiotics love them, but many people have never received their kits or a refund for undelivered products. Bad reviews often focus on poor interactions with the company and a lack of transparency about shipping.

There are other gut health tests you might want to try. They include:

Viome Health Intelligence Test with Gut Intelligence, $179

This home test requires a blood sample as well as a stool sample. According to the manufacturer, your report provides 30 scores and subscores regarding:

  • gut microbiome health
  • biological aging
  • immune health
  • health stress response
  • other health-specific indicators

This test may not be a good choice for you if you are worried about providing a blood sample at home.

Viome also recommends supplements based on test results. These cost $149 per month.

Viome is more expensive than Ombre but seems to provide more comprehensive results. The company is rated A by the BBB.

Thorne Gut Health Test, $198

This home test requires a stool sample. According to the manufacturer, it will use your stool sample to measure a wide range of health indicators, including:

A report including results and recommendations will arrive within 5-6 weeks of your sample analysis.

This test appears to be more comprehensive than the Shadow test, but your results will take longer to arrive.

Thorne probiotics are comparable in price to Ombre probiotics and range between $23 and $47.

This company obtains an A+ rating from the BBB.

Consultation with a health professional or nutritionist

Whichever home test you choose, you may want to follow up with a dietitian, nutritionist, primary care physician, or gastroenterologist. You can also choose to have medical tests performed by your doctor, instead of using Ombre or any other home tests.

This approach can be less expensive, since most health insurance plans do not cover home testing.

Your doctor or nutritionist may recommend that you use probiotics from one of the brands listed by the American Association of Gastroenterologysuch as:

Shadow (Thryve) is a manufacturer of a home gut health test and dietary supplements. Their test is significantly cheaper but has significantly worse reviews than other home microbiome tests.

Some users say they received valuable information in their follow-up report and good results with the recommended probiotics. Others complain about poor customer service and products not being received in a timely manner, if at all.

The company seems to lack transparency about its direction. They also make exaggerated claims about the health benefits customers can expect to receive from their supplements.

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