Frequently Asked Questions
What is Map My Gut?
Map My Gut provides a personal comprehensive analysis of your gut microbiome. Through determining the variety and number of microbes living within your gut, we can form links between your nutritional status, immune system function and some disease states. From only a small sample of a bowel movement, we use the latest state of the art DNA sequencing technology to discover your individual microbiome that is unique to you. From your results Map My Gut scientists at the forefront of microbiome research will deliver a comprehensive constructive report on improving your personal gut microbe diversity for better health and longevity.
Who is Map My Gut?
Map My Gut is a new microbiome analysis service set up by one of the largest microbiome research projects in the world called TwinsUK. The Map My Gut team is at the forefront of microbiome research trying to link quantities and diversities of gut microbes to certain diseases, life stages and immune-compromised states. Brainchild of Professor Tim Spector, Map My Gut was created to connect you with the latest research in this new scientific frontier, the next step to understanding and improving your health through your own personal microbiome analysis.
What are microbes?
You may find this great Youtube clip on the microbiome useful.
What is involved?
To test your microbiome we need a fresh stool sample, as a stool shows a similar diversity of microbes to your gut having just been expelled from your bowels. Stool samples must be fresh, or the bacteria in the stool starts to die which can skew the results and affect your analysis.
A simple sampling kit can be posted to the comfort of your own home, along with easy to use instructions, plastic gloves, ice pack and sample tube with a scoop are all provided to make the process as easy and worry free as possible.
Using the scoop, a small portion of your latest bowel movement is placed into the container provided (no more than the size of a teaspoon) which is then posted to us in a prepaid envelope via a courier to begin the analysis process. For optimal results, stool samples must be sent back to us on the same day as collected. We provide a courier service within the London area to reduce the transit time to the lab so that the freshness of the sample is maintained, and keeps your results as accurate as possible.
Where are the stool samples processed?
All samples get sent back to the Map My Gut laboratory in London right opposite Big Ben at the St. Thomas’s Hospital for DNA sequencing and analysis by our leading microbiome scientists from the TwinsUK and British Gut Project.
How much does the test kit cost and what does it include?
Our tests are only available privately, i.e. they’re currently not available on the NHS.
The cost price of the test kit is £250 (including VAT) which includes the following:
- the cost of sending the kit to you and of sending the samples back to Map My Gut,
- the laboratory testing
- the production of the report
- a personalised interpretation of your results by a microbiome expert.
Where do I get my report and who sends me back the report with my results? How does this work?
The test kits are exclusively available from one of our accredited health professionals. This means that you must contact one of our practitioners. They’ll be able to order the test kit for you. Your results are sent to your practitioner who will discuss the results with you during a consultation which is not included in the £250.
Consultation fees for each of our accredited health professionals vary, and are typically from £100 per hour and up. Please check with your health professional for the exact cost. If you’re thinking of having a Map My Gut test you will need to account for the £250 plus the consultation fees, so you should be prepared to pay a total of £350 and upwards for the service. Some health practitioners offer packages of 3 and more consultations which are more economical and ideal if you require ongoing support.
Do I pay MapMyGut directly for my test kit or do I pay my practitioner?
Only MapMyGut-accredited health professionals can order our tests for you. Some may take payment for them themselves, some will give you a link so you can pay online on our website. Either way the price is the same £250.
Who is MapMyself Ltd. and why is that name in my receipt?
MapMySelf Ltd. is the legal name of MapMyGut, which is as trading name of that legal entity. If your health professional has given you a link to pay for your test online, you will get a receipt from MapMySelf Ltd. Don’t worry, it is legit! It’s just the legal name of MapMyGut.
Where is the MMG test currently available?
Currently the MMG test is only available within the UK.
How long does it take to get my results back?
Our tests are available exclusively via one of our accredited health professionals, you can find your nearest Map My Gut registered health professional on our website. Once you’ve got the kit from your practitioner and you’ve sent the sample back to us, your results will be sent back to your practitioner normally within 4-6 weeks.
Your Map My Gut health professional will contact you when your results are available to arrange a consultation during which they’ll discuss the results with you, giving you personalised dietary and lifestyle recommendations afterwards.
Interested in what your personalised results interpretation might look like? Please ask your health professional for a copy of the sample report.
Do I need to do anything to prepare for the test?
No preparation is necessary, just take a scoop of a fresh stool sample and send it back to us within the same day. We do recommend however that you do your sampling on a “normal day”. This means not taking your sample on the morning after drinking 2 bottles of wine, 4 cappuccinos, a whole family bag of crisps, or 5 bananas. Do it on a day that is not out of your ordinary routine so the sample is most relevant.
Can anyone take the test? Can I test my child’s gut microbiome?
Am I still eligible for the test if I have any disease/illness?
Yes, anyone is eligible to take the test. Please inform your Map My Gut healthcare professional of any disease/illness prior to the test so that we can tailor your analysis accordingly.
Are there certain medications that can interfere with my results?
Yes, certain medications can interfere with test results. Studies show that prolonged antibiotic use can affect results. Please inform your Map My Gut healthcare provider if you have taken antibiotics within the last 6 months as well as any other medication you are currently using.
While antibiotics are an important tool within our healthcare system for tackling bacterial infections, they should be used cautiously. Similar to a small atomic bomb within your gut, antibiotics not only kill the ‘bad bacteria’ but also wreak havoc on the microbiome by killing most of the good bacteria too.
Are there any health-risks associated with taking the test?
No, there are no health-risks associated with taking the test, provided that you follow the safe handling instructions enclosed in your leaflet.
Are my test results confidential? What kind of protection measures do you have in place to ensure my privacy?
Yes, your test results are entirely confidential under The Data Protection Act 1998. You can check our full terms and conditions here.
Trouble shooting – Common Problems
What happens if I collect my sample and I forget to send it on the same day?
We will still be able to analyse the samples, but for the best accuracy and reliability of results we strongly recommend sending in your stool sample as soon as possible within the same day. Leaving your sample longer than 24 hours can give your results a distorted view of the bacteria living in your gut, as certain bacteria in your stool sample can quickly begin to multiply.
Can I send my sample back without the ice pack?
No. We highly recommend sending the sample back with the ice pack included in your kit securely wrapped around it to ensure the sample remains cold, preventing bacteria from growing and multiplying. Once the ice pack is fastened around your sample, simply package it back up into your Map My Gut- Testing Kit Box before sending via courier.
I can’t find my sampling instructions? What should I do?
Taking a sample is very straight forward and all sampling instructions should be included in the kit. If your sampling instructions have gone missing, a full step by step instructional video will be available on our website very soon.