12 months ago I took an antibiotic and came down with a nasty stomach bug. I ended up being hospitalized and started researching the reasons for my illness. Turns out antibiotics wipes out all the good and bad bacteria in your system and sometimes the recovery isn't always optimal. Every since then I've been on a conquest to find out more about the bugs in our guts to improve overall health and wellness.

Check out Thryve here or following us on our Facebook, Twitter, and Blog for up to date research and news on the microbiome.

Disclaimer: I don't have any formal microbiology training, but have brought on super smart people with Ph.Ds in Biology and Bioinformatics from the likes of Stanford and Harvard to make Thryve a reality.

Proof

EDIT: We are ending our AMA now. We tried out best to answer everyone (even the top comments!). That said the amount of interest we had on here was really exciting. Thanks again to the Reddit community for engaging with us and allowing us to share the mission of Thryve with you all. Feel free to reach our directly or [email protected] if you'd like to followup. Cheers!

FAQS:

Why don't you answer the top questions?

  • It was our first time on Reddit posting. Even AMA was completely new to us. We didn't have any idea it was going to blow up so quickly. Getting to all the messages was a bit overwhelming, but thanks for everyone's patience. Otherwise, please see here for our replies to the top comments: here here and here

Where are the studies for your probiotics, can you claim that it "may" help with support gut and immune function?

  • We partner with a leading probiotic research lab called Synbiotech that creates their own probiotics over the past 15 years. We've partnered with them to create Thryve's probiotics.

See here for articles/whitepapers:

What are your pricing and plan options?

  • Maintain ($59.95) - Microbiome gut testing kits sent 4x a year and probiotics sent 12x a year. You receive the testing kit on the first month you start the subscription.

  • Repair ($79.95) - Microbiome gut testing kits sent 4x a year and probiotics sent 12x a year. You receive the testing kit on the first month you start the subscription.

What is the duration of the subscription?

  • We offer monthly plans and annual plans. Annual plans are 20% cheaper on a per month basis.

  • Monthly Plans can be cancelled at anytime. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not happy about our service. No questions asked, we'll provide a refund on a monthly plan or an annual plan if cancelled within 30 days.

For our Maintain Plan, that contains 50B CFU and the following strains and % composition

Strain %
Lactobacillus plantarum LP28 29.00%
Bifidobacterium lactis 27.00%
Lactobacillus fermentum. 11.00%
Lactobacillus paracasei NTU101 11.00%
Lactobacillus rhamnosus 11.00%
Bifidobacterium longum 2.00%
Lactobacillus acidophilus LA25 2.00%
Lactobacillus casei 1.70%
Bifidobacterium breve 1.50%
Streptococcus thermophilus GRX02 1.00%
Lactobacillus helveticus 0.70%
Bacillus coagulans 0.60%
Bifidobacterium bifidum 0.60%
Lactobacillus reuteri 0.60%
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis 0.30%

For our Repair Plan, that contains 100B CFU and the following strains and % composition

Strain %
Lactobacillus plantarum LP28 26.00%
Bifidobacterium lactis 24.50%
Lactobacillus fermentum 10.00%
Lactobacillus paracasei NTU101 10.00%
Lactobacillus rhamnosus 10.00%
Lactobacillus casei 3.50%
Bifidobacterium longum 3.00%
Lactobacillus acidophilus LA25 3.00%
Bifidobacterium breve 2.00%
Lactobacillus helveticus 2.00%
Bifidobacterium bifidum 1.50%
Lactobacillus reuteri 1.50%
Bacillus coagulans 1.00%
Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis 1.00%
Streptococcus thermophilus GRX02. 1.00%

Do you conduct testing to ensure your CFU's are high (like advertised) and their aren't pathogenic microorganisms?

  • Yes, we have 2 independent lab studies (one at the manufacturer and another at the bottling service prior to shipping)

  • We test the following: CFU viability/total count of lactic acid bacteria, yeast/mold, coliforms/E.coli, S.aureus, Salmonella, and L.monocytogenes.

Are you FDA approved?

  • We are not FDA approved

Why not?

  • Unfortunately, going through FDA approval is extremely expensive. Although we want to go through FDA approval process to gain more credibility, the funds required are too high for us at this current stage of the company. Plus it makes much more sense to go down FDA approval once we are going the clinical route (diagnosing and treating), which we aren't at the moment. That said, we will definitely be visiting this proposal in the future.

Are you applying to grants or an IRB?

  • Yes! We actually just finished out SBIR and in process of completing the application for an IRB.

Why don't you market this as a "citizen scientist" project?

  • Although we have a strong following with quantified self and citizen scientist, we believe the quickest way to advance this area is to get everyone involved. Unfortunately, not everyone classifies themselves as citizen scientist (which we believe they should!) and we want everyone to be included in our microbiome discoveries.

Are you a medical diagnostic service / company?

  • No we are not. We offer microbiome testing, diet recommendations, and probiotics. We do not provide diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and cures for diseases.

Why do you have disclaimers about your product / service?

  • We are very clear that we aren't solving medical issues and providing "cure-alls". We are in no way a medical device / therapeutic company. So we have to say the following: Thryve is not intended to diagnose a disease or other medical condition, or tell you anything about your risk for developing a disease or condition in the future. Thryve is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment, and should not be used as the basis for a diagnosis or treatment. You should always consult your physician or health care provider about any health issues and before making any changes to your current care.

Do you have any Ph.D's and medical staff?

  • Yes, we have 1 Ph.D Candidate in Bioengineering and another Ph.D from Stanford on our team and another industry veteran Ph.D from Stanford in Bioinformatics.

What type of sequencing do you conduct?

  • We use Illumina MiSeq Machines to conduct 16s rRNA microbial sequencing on the v4 region that brings in roughly 10-15M reads per run.

Do you keep my data and what are your guidelines on privacy?

  • We allow all our users 100% access to their data and fastq files (raw microbial genetic data) and everyone can choose to opt-in as anonymized research participants. Or they can always opt-out.

Do you plan to partner with research / hospitals / academia in the future?

  • Absolutely. We are currently seeking out opportunities in this space to scale faster in our research and build credibility. We are small startup so it'll take some time. Bear with us!

What makes you different from other companies in the space? Like uBiome, AmericanGut, etc...? First off, we love what uBiome, AmericanGut, and others are doing in this space. They have done an awesome job making microbiome science more mainstream, which means more research, funding, and discoveries.

  • More accurate collection method. We noticed that the current dry swab and liquid buffers on the market were not preserving the microbes very well. Microbes tend to change based on temperature, environment, etc... Thus, there was a lot of noise with what was being sample vs. sequenced. We did some internal tests to ensure that our collection method made our sequencing more accurate.

  • Diet recommendations.

  • Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing (still in process), to summarize 3000+ microbiome research articles displayed side by side with your own microbial profile for more education and data for informed decisions.

  • Metabolism and Digestion metrics. We are utilizing KEGG pathways and FishTaco to provide insights to these parameters.

  • More personalized probiotics (still in process). We currently, offer a standard cocktail of strains in our probiotics. The hope is that we collect more data and provide customized probiotics based on the machine learning and data provided by our users.

  • Community Sharing and Journaling. We are building out a chatbot that asks our users daily about their lifestyle information (symptoms, diets, supplements, etc...) and that information gets funneled back into our system which makes the platform more powerful for users who submit their data, but also for everyone else on the platform. For instance, once we collect enough data users would be able to query the following [crohns_disease][USA][Male][top_3_overgrowth_bacteria][lifestyle_data_that_lowered_top3].

  • Yeast and Viruses. We have a yeast protocol coming out in Q3'17 and Viruses early '18

Are you available internationally (UK, Canada, Asia, etc...)?

  • We will be in the next 3-6 months. Email us at [email protected] if you want to be updated.

Are you snake oils salesmen or con men?

  • No. We honestly are working hard on the science and have gathered experts in the field of machine learning, bioinformatics, and biology to help us work toward a common goal. To learn about the microbiome and help others. Feel free to check up our team here

Do you offer discounts for first time customers?

How do you feel after the AMA?

  • Fantastic. Honestly, it's been an awesome learning experience for myself and the team. We saw a split between 40% had negative sentiments about our product, 20% on the fence (need more credibility and data), 40% positive response and wanted to learn more. Although trolls are impossible to avoid on the internet, we genuinely believe there were scientist / concerned folks who had really great feedback and input. We thank everyone for their contributions. Maybe we'll do another AMA sometime in the future, once I crawl out of the fetal position :)

Comments: 1465 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

your_fish_monger473 karma

Do the Reddit AMA mods charge you any kind of fee to allow you to use this post as a pretty blatant advertisement? How much do they charge?

ThryveInside117 karma

Just my dignity.

steezy133127 karma

How do your probiotics compare to off the shelf ones in stores? And how about VSL-III?

ThryveInside7 karma

Hi Steezy, great question!

Our probiotics come in 50B and 100B Colony Forming Units (CFU) per serving. Off the shelf probiotics are normally around the range of 5-10B. Our CFU's are higher which means more of the probiotics can survive the harsh stomach environment (mouth, esophagus, stomach acids, small intestine, and into the colon) where they can confer a benefit.

Also we have (15) multi-strain of Bifidiobacteria and Lactobacillus, whereas OTC ones only have roughly 1-5.

Our probiotics have also been tested on bile acid tolerance, adhesion ability, immunity, and storage stability which all translates to "can the bacteria make it to the colon unscathed" through shipping and handling to consumption.

VSL-3 is a great product and they've done an awesome job. That said, we have comparable CFU's per serving, more strains, and better survivability technology all for a cheaper price point. If you are familiar with VSL-3 their sachets go for $80-150 depending if you buy online or at a compound pharmacy.

SpendLessWorkLess6 karma

Do you know if there's been any progress in treating Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis with probiotics (including fecal transplants)?

ThryveInside9 karma

IBD is an autoimmune disease and we've seen great progress with FMT's in treating those conditions.

That said, there are also a lot of failures. Because autoimmune diseases are complex due to genetics, microbiome, etc... FMT may not be the end all be all solution for curing the disease.

I'd say probiotics and FMTs are a part of the tool kit to improve quality of life for autoimmune diseases such as IBD (Crohns and UC).

saltybrains6 karma

Is there any truth to 'eating poo' in order to repopulate your bowel with someone elses "good bowel flora(bacteria)" ?

... and if so, is it effective for what various things ?

ThryveInside26 karma

If you are referring to Fecal Microbiota Transplant (FMT) then yes, there are a lot of scientific backing on it's efficacy on Clostridium Difficile which is a stomach bug that takes over someone's gut after a round of antibiotics. It's a serious infection that is >90% efficacious in curing the problem.

Otherwise, there's been a lot of research showing the importance of a healthy and balanced microbiome and that "eating poop pills" has been helpful in a number of conditions; however, at this time we need more data / evidence.

I would check out OpenBiome (they are one of the largest stool banks), who provide poop pills. Also Dr. Tom Louie who was the pioneer in developing a triple encapsulated FMT pill. Seres Therapeutics is another company developing their own FMT pills, but failed in phase 2 clinical trials because they only extracted spores of bacteria vs. the entire microbiome (bacteria, yeast, viruses, etc...)

Casual--Observer4 karma

So I took the ubiome fecal diagnostic tests and all I got back was a spreadsheet with values. Does your system provide a better interpretative database of results?

ThryveInside7 karma

uBiome has done a great job bringing the microbiome to everyday consumers. Love the work they are doing. That said, I was also a uBiome customer and found their product lacking.

At Thryve, we provide you very detailed reports on all the bacteria in your body (similar to uBiome), but we also provide details on why those bacteria matter. For instance, we show you trends on different categories of bacteria and how they are changing for better or worse based on your samples. Furthermore, we tell you how your microbes are digesting and metabolizing foods (proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, etc... and we provide diet / recipe recommendations based on the latest research on which fibers help improve your microbiome.

Part of our value is also allowing customers to input their health information (disease, symptoms, diets, supplements, medications, etc...) and we bring all that data back into our platform to make it more meaningful for our users. For instance, we'd be able to tell you a certain population of people, what their microbiome looks like, and how they were able to influence it through lifestyle. That data gets pulled back into your dashboard so you can take action.

gazooontite4 karma

Do you have a comment about Candida overgrowth?

ThryveInside8 karma

Other than we need more research on it!

We are launching yeast sequencing in Q3'17 so we'll be able to see Candida.

823642 karma

What scientific criticism/skepticism has your product received?

ThryveInside2 karma

  • Probiotic efficacy. Specifically, probiotics by Thryve.

  • Deriving disease states, prevention of said states, and overall improvement in health from the 16s rRNA data. We don't claim to diagnose, cure, treat, prevent diseases but still comes up as skepticism.

Phasal2 karma

My girlfriend has SIBO and she's tried everything to get her microbiome back in balance. She's been through a cycle of killing things off and trying to repopulate it. Do you have any experience with SIBO and any knowledge about how your services or products might help?

ThryveInside6 karma

Although I can't comment directly on diseases and "cures", I will say that SIBO is a tricky diagnosis. Since it's not widely accepted as a condition and some of the tests are not highly accurate.

Our tests will look at the microbial signature of the gut and probiotics have shown to be beneficial in certain conditions. Our product/service would help explore what could work, but it would be a collaboration to figure it out.

That said, we offer heavy discounts for new users to test out the product and see if it helps (PM for details). We have a flexible, non-commitment, and money back guarantee plan, so if it doesn't work you can always cancel.

ElDonManuel2 karma

Any plans on providing your service in Canada?

ThryveInside6 karma

Absolutely! We are launching international in Q3'17.

TiePoh2 karma

What's it like running a pyramid scheme?

ThryveInside3 karma

I got you fam. Let me hit up Pharaoh and get back to you.

BurnTheBoss2 karma

Why on earth are you proud of comming out of Techstars?

ThryveInside1 karma

We love Techstars!

Plus my mama is proud of me.

Umpskit2 karma

Why should I care about my gut health?

ThryveInside13 karma

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates.

On a serious note, there has been an explosion of research showing that the gut microbiome (trillions of bacteria, yeast, and viruses) are related to a whole host of modern and chronic diseases. Such as, Autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, etc... Furthermore, we've started to see an extinction of microbes in the guts of people living in western civilization due to antibiotics, low-fiber diets, lifestyle, etc... These microbes are essential to synthesizing vitamins, digesting foods, immune regulation, hormone and neurotransmitter production, and many more.

By taking care of your gut, you are taking care of your health & wellness in the long-term and improving quality of life.

TinyApps_Org1 karma

Your website mentions that the probiotics are non-GMO and lactose-free. Are they vegan as well? If not, what is keeping them from being so? It seems there are a number of vegan probiotic options on the market.

ThryveInside4 karma

Being vegan compliant is huge for us and we know that some of our customers require it. That said, the only barrier to being certified as "vegan" is that we haven't gone through the certification process. Thus, we can't call ourselves vegan yet.

Mooclucking1 karma

Is the correct term actually 'gut' when talking about these issues? I feel like there would be a more sciency term.

ThryveInside6 karma

"Microbiome" or "Microbiota" could be the scientific nomenclature.

Otherwise, gut is more relatable. Since everyone knows they have a gut, but not everyone knows they have a microbiome.

DangerousLogic3 karma

Gastrointestinal system. Or tummy.

ThePsylosopher1 karma

Have you done any research on how calorie restriction or fasting affects gut bacteria? I've read that prolonged water fasting can have significant effects on gut bacteria.

ThryveInside1 karma

We've seen a lot of studies on it and we plan to do similar studies on diets such as keto, paleo, calorie restriction, fasting, etc...

s13rw811 karma

Do guts give you courage ? I hear people saying all the time, "...you dont have the guts!" and things like that. Is this true?

ThryveInside1 karma

I think we are starting to see that the reality of gut-brain is more connected to those idioms than we think.

xspacess0 karma

is this not a repost?

ThryveInside0 karma

I had to remove my previous one cause I got the date wrong.