Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions, you can find answers to some of the most common questions in our FAQ section below. If you can't find an answer, don't hesitate to contact us.

About Ventra Health

What is the mission of Ventra Health?

At Ventra, we believe that every baby deserves the best possible start in life!

As parents ourselves and through experiences in our circle of family and friends, we have noticed that there is a significant gap in the healthcare of babies - the topic of the microbiome is hardly discussed and there is little support for concerned mothers.

With an increasing number of cesarean births and the general overuse of antibiotics, there is a need for a new approach. We wanted to provide parents, especially mothers, with tools to understand and improve their baby's microbiome, which can significantly affect their health and well-being throughout their life.

Our mission is to revolutionize the microbiome health of babies with tailored synbiotics based on the results of the latest microbiological testing technologies. We offer a holistic solution - from analyzing the baby's microbiome to providing suitable synbiotics through our platform. Our innovative approach focuses on giving parents a new understanding of their baby's microbiome health and personalized recommendations to support their microbiome.

Learn

What is the Microbiome?

The Microbiome is a collective term for all microorganisms located in a specific area. With intestinal microbiome or also known as intestinal flora, we mean all microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that are located in the intestine.

For the purpose of our analyses, we use the term Microbiome and intestinal flora synonymously, referring to the bacteria that colonize the intestine. Different sections of the gastrointestinal tract house different bacteria, which are perfectly adapted to each section of the intestine depending on pH level and oxygen presence.

Why is the intestinal Microbiome so important?

Microbiome bacteria play an important role in our health:

  • For instance, beneficial bacteria prevent the settlement of disease-causing bacteria by occupying space in the gut or by strengthening the gut mucosal barrier.
  • Bacteria can digest components from our food that the human body cannot digest (certain plant fibers, for example). In return for the human providing bacteria with food and a comfortable “living space,” certain bacteria supply us with important metabolic products like short-chain fatty acids that we cannot produce ourselves.
  • Moreover, gut bacteria also play an important role in relation to the immune system.

The human body usually lives in harmony with these microorganisms and benefits from their capabilities. However, in some cases, a bacterial imbalance or an infection can disrupt this harmony.

What does this mean for babies?

In a normal, healthy pregnancy, the child in the womb is entirely free of bacteria [5]. With the beginning of the birthing process, the child comes into contact with bacteria from the outside world for the first time.

Babies born vaginally pick up vaginal bacteria from the mother during their journey through the birth canal, while children born via cesarean section first acquire bacteria from the mother's skin when they are placed on the mother's chest after birth [6].

External factors such as the type of feeding (breastfeeding or bottle) and the administration of antibiotics can additionally influence the child's gut microbiome [7].

The microbiome in babies and toddlers changes continuously and develops from a microbiome that is designed for pure milk nutrition to a microbiome that gradually, as the children get older, resembles that of adults [8].

Current studies indicate that the microbiome is particularly sensitive to changes and influences during the early stages of development [9]. This can have later health implications [8].

You can find more about this in our blog post The first 1,000 days: Why the microbiome of babies is especially important.

Do you have scientific sources so I can read up a bit?

Of course! Here you go, you can find the corresponding numbers above in the other answers:

[1] Sekirov, I., et al., Microbiome in health and disease. Physiological reviews, 2010.

[2] Anderson, R.C., et al., Lactobacillus plantarum MB452 enhances the function of the intestinal barrier by increasing the expression levels of genes involved in tight junction formation. BMC microbiology, 2010. 10(1): p. 1-11.

[3] LeBlanc, J.G., et al., Beneficial effects on host energy metabolism of short-chain fatty acids and vitamins produced by commensal and probiotic bacteria. Microbial cell factories, 2017. 16(1): p. 1-10.

[5] de Goffau, M.C., et al., Human placenta has no microbiome but can contain potential pathogens. Nature, 2019. 572(7769): p. 329-334.

[6] Dominguez-Bello, M.G., et al., Delivery mode shapes the acquisition and structure of the initial microbiome across multiple body habitats in newborns. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010. 107(26): p. 11971-11975.

[7] Bokulich, N.A., et al., Antibiotics, birth mode, and diet shape microbiome maturation during early life. Science translational medicine, 2016. 8(343): p. 343ra82-343ra82.

[4] Olszak, T., et al., Microbial exposure during early life has persistent effects on natural killer T cell function. Science, 2012. 336(6080): p. 489-493.

[8] Stewart, C.J., et al., Temporal development of the gut microbiome in early childhood from the TEDDY study. Nature, 2018. 562(7728): p. 583-588.

[9] Roswall, J., et al., Developmental trajectory of the healthy human gut microbiome during the first 5 years of life. Cell host & microbe, 2021. 29(5): p. 765-776. e3.

Baby Microbiome Test

How does the Ventra test differ from the stool tests at my doctor's?

Traditional stool samples are prescribed when there is suspicion of pathogenic agents in the intestine. In this process, certain bacteria in the sample are cultured on a nutrient solution and then identified microscopically.

The approach with the Ventra Tests is entirely different: we do not try to detect or not detect specific individual pathogens. We look at what all is there and how much of it. We believe that one should not wait for pronounced complaints to occur before dealing with the microbiome. Our motto is: the more we know about the inhabitants of the intestine, the better! Bacteria in the intestine live in a kind of domestic community, a huge bacterial flat-share, so to speak.

That's why we are interested in all the bacteria in the intestine so we can get as comprehensive a picture as possible of the condition in the intestine.

What kind of results can the test provide?

The microbiome of every person is individual and is influenced by many factors. For this reason, there is not one perfect microbiome that is desirable for everyone. The bacterial "Whole Genome Sequencing" analysis can provide you with good indications and suggestions regarding the bacterial inhabitants of your child’s gut. For example, with the help of the investigation, we can determine whether potentially pathogenic bacteria are found in the gut or if a group of bacteria has become predominant that is not known to be beneficial. Additionally, the bacterial genomes can be examined for possible antibiotic resistances.

A very important category of bacteria that we identify in our reports are Bifidobacteria, because they program the immune system in our first months of life. The test results from Ventra Health can give you a piece of mind regarding the proportion of Bifidobacteria in your child's microbiome. You will be informed if this is within the age-appropriate normal range and how you can achieve this.

In addition, you will receive tips on how you can naturally have a positive influence on the gut microbiome.

What is tested and how?

You have successfully collected the stool sample from the diaper or potty, filled out the questionnaire, and handed the valuable cargo over to the post. What happens next?

The stool samples are prepared for analysis in the laboratory. For this purpose, the bacteria in the sample are separated from the other stool components. In our analysis, we examine the DNA of the bacteria from the gut and use this for the identification of the bacteria (the method is called Whole Genome Sequencing or WGS for short). This allows us to make precise statements regarding the type of bacteria (which species were present in the stool sample) as well as the ratio of the occurring bacteria (how many of which bacteria were present). This is related to the information you provided in the questionnaire. Together, this then results in a detailed report on the current state of your child's microbiome.

What is not examined?

We exclusively examine the genetic material of the bacteria in the intestine. This means that the test cannot provide any information about your baby's genetic material. Also, virus infections are not currently detected.

Please also note that the bacterial analysis is always only a snapshot. Just as your child develops incredibly fast in the first years of life, so does the child's microbiome. Although the foundation for the later microbiome is laid in the first months, it is still changeable.

For this reason, we recommend regular checks of the microbiome at different times to be able to understand changes.

How and why are the test data stored?

The further development and improvement of bacterial data analysis thrive on the evaluation of large amounts of data. The microbiome varies greatly from child to child.

The data of your child is stored anonymously for future research. This means all identifiable features such as name and address are deleted, and no one can trace back that it was your child. Your child's data is then evaluated together with thousands of other data to explore possible correlations.

Your child and you thus make an important contribution to the research of the child's microbiome.

Are genetic data of my baby processed?

No. Before sequencing, the sample is freed from all human DNA using chemical processes. Thus, it is completely impossible to capture genetic data of your baby at any point in the testing process. The only data captured are the combined DNA of the microorganisms in the sample.

Will my baby’s microbiome change?

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How does the Ventra test differ from other stool tests?

Traditional stool samples are prescribed when there is a suspicion of pathogenic agents in the gut. In this process, certain bacteria in the sample are cultured on a nutrient solution and then identified microscopically.

The approach with the Ventra Tests is entirely different: we do not try to prove or disprove the presence of specific individual pathogens. We look at everything that is there and how much of it there is. We believe that one should not wait for pronounced symptoms to occur before dealing with the gut flora. Our motto is: the more we know about the gut inhabitants, the better! Bacteria in the gut live in a kind of domestic community, a huge bacterial flatshare, so to speak.

That's why we are interested in all the bacteria in the gut so we can get as comprehensive a picture as possible of the condition in the gut.

What is the gut microbiome?

The gut microbiome refers to the community of beneficial bacteria living in our digestive tracts. These microorganisms play a crucial role in our overall health, aiding in digestion, bolstering the immune system, and even influencing mood and behavior. A balanced microbiome is particularly important for babies, as it helps establish a strong foundation for lifelong health.

What results does the test provide?

Every individual has a unique microbiome, influenced by many factors. Therefore, there isn't one perfect microbiome. Our “Whole Genome Sequencing” analysis provides valuable insights into your child's microbiome inhabitants. For example, whether potentially harmful bacteria are present or if a bacterial group has become overly dominant. You will also receive information about possible antibiotic resistances.

Why are age-appropriate reports for babies important?

The microbiome of babies undergoes significant development in the first years of life and is fundamentally different from that of adults during this time. A microbiome test specifically developed for babies takes these unique characteristics into account, thus providing the most accurate information about the health of the child's gut. Here are some reasons why age-appropriate microbiome reports are so important:

  • The microbiome of babies ideally is rich in Bifidobacteria, which are essential for their health and development. This is significantly different from the microbiome of adults, which features a much broader range of bacterial species.
  • With the introduction of family meals, usually from the age of 2-3 years, the child's microbiome begins to resemble that of an adult. Age-appropriate reports can capture these transitions and provide corresponding recommendations.
  • The gut bacteria that are particularly important for babies are not accurately captured by many microbiome analyses. Tests specifically designed for babies use adapted methods to draw a precise picture. For example, the 16S primers V3-V4 often used in microbiome analyses significantly underrepresent gram-positive bacteria like Bifidobacteria. This has impaired the accuracy of scientific studies regarding Bifidobacteria in the past.

Therefore, age-appropriate microbiome reports for babies are not just a means to capture the current state of the gut flora but also an important tool to support the healthy development of the baby. By using specific technologies tailored to the child's microbiome, parents can be sure to receive accurate and relevant information to best support their baby's health.

Difference between diagnostic and wellness tests

Diagnostic tests aim to provide clinical insights into disease risks or conditions and require approval by medical authorities such as the EMA (European Medicines Agency). Our baby microbiome test, on the other hand, is currently designed exclusively for wellness purposes.

Our reports are for informational and educational purposes. The tests we offer are not intended to replace the prevention, diagnosis, or treatment of diseases, nor to substitute a visit to the doctor.

Is my baby's microbiome "normal"?

Every person has a unique microbiome. There are certain indicators that can suggest an imbalanced microbiome. Our tests provide a current “snapshot” of your baby's microbiome and can be a valuable tool for discussing your child's microbiome health with professionals.

Ventra® Baby Drops

How do Ventra Baby Drops differ from other baby probiotics?

The Ventra Baby Drops differ from other probiotics for babies by several key factors that make them special:

  • Bifidobacteria are crucial for the intestinal health of babies and should make up the majority of their microbiome. Our drops are specifically designed to support the development of these essential bacteria, especially in babies who have faced particular challenges like cesarean section, antibiotic treatment, or not being breastfed.
  • A reduced presence of bifidobacteria in babies can increase the risk of allergies and autoimmune diseases. The Ventra Baby Drops help close this gap, thus promoting the long-term health of your child.
  • Our drops were developed in collaboration with university professors, midwives, and nutritionists. This expertise guarantees that the product meets a high standard of quality and safety and promotes a natural microbiome profile.
  • While many probiotics rely on Lactobacilli which are only present in minimal amounts in the natural intestinal flora of babies, the Ventra Baby Drops focus on bifidobacteria. These are a natural and dominant part of babies' microbiome.

The drops are easy to dose and can be administered in water, breast milk, or directly. Enriched with Vitamin D3, they offer additional health benefits and are free from unnecessary additives.

With these differentiated features, the Ventra Baby Drops provide specific and effective support for the development and health of your baby's microbiome.

Is a microbiome test necessary before I give my baby the Ventra Baby Drops?

The use of Ventra Baby Drops does not necessarily require a prior Microbiome Test. Our drops are designed to be universally suitable for supporting the gut health of babies and are generally considered safe. They aim to promote a healthy microbiome, regardless of the specific initial conditions of your baby's microbiome.

In the context of the VentraCare Program, however, a Microbiome Test can offer additional value. The test provides deep insights into the specific composition of your baby's gut flora and enables the effectiveness of the Ventra Baby Drops in modulating the microbiome to be precisely assessed. This can be particularly useful for making individual adjustments and tracking your baby's health progress.

While the Ventra Baby Drops can be used without a prior test, combining a Microbiome Test with the subsequent application of the drops as part of the VentraCare Program offers a comprehensive strategy to optimally support your baby's gut health. Therefore, testing before starting the drops can create an informed basis for targeted support of your baby's microbiome.

From what age can the Ventra Baby Drops be used?

The Ventra Baby Drops are designed to meet the needs of individuals of all ages – from newborns to adults. They can be safely used from the first day of a baby's life, offering valuable support for the development of a healthy microbiome.

It is particularly noteworthy that the Ventra Baby Drops are also optimally suited for pregnant women. They contain specific intestinal bacteria crucial for the baby's development and are transferred from the mother to the child during birth. By taking the drops during pregnancy, a mother can contribute to supporting the transfer of these important bacteria to her baby.

In summary, the Ventra Baby Drops offer a flexible and comprehensive solution to promote intestinal health across various life stages, from birth and even before during pregnancy.

What is the best way to administer the Ventra Baby Drops to my baby?

The Ventra Baby Drops are very flexible in application. They can be dropped directly into your baby's mouth, mixed with some distilled water or breast milk, or even dropped onto the breast if you are breastfeeding. This way, your baby can directly absorb the drops while sucking.

For optimal effect, the drops should be administered before feeding.

You can also mix them into baby food or porridge, but you should ensure that these are not heated anymore to preserve the effectiveness of the bacterial strains. The recommended dose is 5 drops daily (approx. 0.25 ml).

How long should the drops be taken?

The Ventra Baby Drops are designed as a 3-month course to achieve sustainable and long-term improvement of the gut flora. Although short-term changes may be noticeable, we recommend completing the course for the full period to achieve the best results.

How long do the Ventra Baby Drops last?

An opened bottle of Ventra Baby Drops should be used within one month. It's possible that the oil may become cloudy over time, which is normal. Remember to shake the bottle well before each use.

In its unopened state, the product is shelf-stable until the expiration date indicated on the packaging, typically this period is 1-2 years.

What side effects can the drops have?

The Ventra Baby Drops are generally very well tolerated and designed to support your baby's well-being. If, however, short-term digestive adjustments such as bloating occur, this is usually a normal sign of microbiome adjustment. However, if you have any concerns, we recommend consulting a doctor.

Our drops are produced by a certified manufacturer under strict GMP standards. Furthermore, all bacterial strains used in the drops have received the prestigious QPS status (Qualified Presumption of Safety) from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). This is the highest safety standard that bacterial strains can achieve. So you can be sure that you are doing the best for your baby.

What do the small, beige sediments in the Ventra Baby Drops mean?

The small, beige sediments you may notice in our Ventra Baby Drops are completely natural and a sign of the quality of our product. These sediments consist of the probiotic cultures contained in the drops. Over time, it is normal for these cultures to settle at the bottom of the bottle.

To ensure that your baby receives the full effect of the probiotic cultures with every dose, it is important to shake the bottle well before each use. This helps distribute the cultures evenly throughout the liquid.

Are the Ventra Baby Drops vegan?

We understand how important it is for many parents to know whether the products they choose for their babies are vegan. Our Ventra Baby Drops contain Vitamin D3, which is essential for the development and growth of infants. However, Vitamin D3 often comes from animal sources, especially from lanolin, which is extracted from sheep's wool. This means that our drops cannot be classified as vegan.

Although there are alternative plant sources for Vitamin D, such as Vitamin D2 or specially manufactured plant-based Vitamin D3 from lichens, these are not always available with the same efficacy as animal-derived Vitamin D3. Vitamin D2, although vegan, is proven to be less effective in raising blood Vitamin D levels compared to Vitamin D3. Therefore, we have chosen to use Vitamin D3 to ensure the best possible support for your baby's health and development.

We are aware of the importance and demand for vegan options and are continuously working to adapt our products to meet the needs of all parents and babies. In the meantime, we recommend checking the product composition for specific dietary needs or restrictions and discussing it with a doctor or nutritionist if necessary.

Can I overdose and are there interactions with medications or other supplements?

An overdose of Ventra Baby Drops is unlikely, but the recommended daily dose of 5 drops should not be exceeded.

If taking medications or other supplements at the same time, we recommend consulting a doctor to exclude possible interactions.

VentraCare

What exactly does the VentraCare program entail?

The VentraCare program is a comprehensive support for your baby's microbiome health, specifically designed to promote the development of a healthy microbiome through regular monitoring and targeted nutrient supply. Here's an overview of the core components of the program:

  1. Individually tailored durations: The program is based on a subscription model with 3-month durations. In the first month of each duration, you will receive a Microbiome test and a 3-month pack of our Ventra Baby Drops. This combination is aimed at providing a detailed insight into your baby's microbiome health while supporting it with our high-quality synbiotics.
  2. Expert consultation: After the test results are available, we offer the opportunity to discuss them in a personal conversation with one of our experts. This conversation serves to explain the results in detail and answer any open questions.
  3. Flexible design: In the two following months after the test and the drops delivery, no further deliveries take place, which evenly distributes the costs over the duration. This structure also explains the minimum duration of 3 months each, to ensure continuous support.
  4. Automatic renewal: The program automatically renews for another 3 months, with a microbiome test and the drops being delivered again in the first month of the new duration.
  5. Customizable options: We inform you in advance of each renewal so that you have the opportunity to adjust, terminate, or extend the program according to your needs. For example, if a test is not desired in each duration, you can simply switch to a drops-only option, which adjusts the price accordingly.

Our goal with the VentraCare program is to offer flexible, needs-based support that optimally promotes your baby's health and development.

What exactly do the VentraCare starter and follow-up sets contain?

The VentraCare program, in addition to the flexible subscription model, also offers the possibility to order individual components in the form of sets to meet individual needs and preferences. Here are the details of the available sets:

VentraCare Starter Set

The starter set is specifically designed for new users who want a comprehensive insight into their baby's microbiome health. It includes:

  • Two Microbiome tests: The first test captures the current state of your baby's microbiome. The second test is used to assess the progress and positive changes in the microbiome after using our Ventra Baby Drops.
  • A 3-month pack of the Ventra Baby Drops: Our carefully developed synbiotics support and promote a healthy microbiome, thus contributing to your baby's overall health.
  • Two expert consultations: For each test, a personal conversation with one of our experts is provided, in which the results are discussed in detail and all your questions are answered.

VentraCare Follow-Up Set

For those who have already conducted a microbiome test and wish to continue support for their baby's microbiome health, we offer the follow-up set. It includes:

  • A microbiome test including expert consultation: This allows for continuous monitoring of your baby's microbiome health and the ability to adjust support as needed.
  • A 3-month pack of the Ventra Baby Drops: For continuous promotion of a healthy microbiome.

These sets offer a flexible alternative to the subscription model and allow you to choose and adjust the support for your baby's microbiome health as needed.

For which age group is the VentraCare program suitable?

The VentraCare program is designed to be suitable for all age groups, but it offers particularly valuable support for babies who were born via cesarean section or have received antibiotics. Here are some key points about the program's suitability:

  • Applicability across ages: Our program is designed to benefit people of all ages. From newborns to adults – everyone can benefit from the offered microbiome tests and synbiotics.
  • Specialization for babies: The Ventra Baby microbiome tests use age-specific reference data to accurately determine the proportion of Bifidobacteria in the microbiome. These specific data enable us to offer tailored insights and recommendations for babies.
  • Optimized for the baby microbiome: The Ventra Baby drops are formulated with strains specifically tailored to the baby's microbiome. They are especially effective in breastfed children or those receiving prebiotics such as HMO (Human Milk Oligosaccharides) or FOS (Fructo-Oligosaccharides)/GOS (Galacto-Oligosaccharides) through infant formula. This combination can lead to a significant and sustainable increase in the proportion of Bifidobacteria – an effect that mimics natural birth and breastfeeding.
  • General support for digestive health: In addition to specific support for a "microbiome recovery" after cesarean section or antibiotic treatment, the Ventra Baby drops also generally promote digestive health. Moreover, they contain a daily dose of vitamin D3, making them a valuable addition to overall health.

Our goal with the VentraCare program is to offer comprehensive support that is both focused on specific needs and on promoting general health, thus supporting well-being and development from the start.