More on Alpha Diversity Indices

Alpha Diversity Indices are not useful in determining how to improve your microbiome. They can be useful to see if your microbiome is improving. Below, I have a table from on long time user of the site below. There was COVID around Jan 2023 and other issues too.

We can see that all of the three indices are moving towards 50%ile, that is typical, overtime. What is ideal for each index is poorly defined. As you can see below — indices averages changes by age so an goal would be to have an index associated with a age younger than you are.

See Symptoms versus Alpha Diversity Indices for the first pass on this topic.

How do we get to this table? Go to Multiple Samples tab and then select Multiple Samples Comparison as shown below.

Then just pick the desired samples. They must all be from the same lab.


On the Research Features tab, we have our new panel. The numbers are now lab specific. The Diversity numbers can be very dissimilar between labs. We have also added information on diversity seen for different self-reported symptoms.

This page can be very interesting to explore. For example Some indices decreases as you age, and other increases. If you want to slow aging (and thus age related medical conditions), you want to work at changing the indices a bit (how is not clear).

For a condition like Long COVID we see that the Shannon Percentile is at 32%ile, i.e. a drop in different species. This matches what is seen with ME/CFS

The Literature

We find some of the above results reflected in study

Bottom Line

None of these indices lead to treatment suggestions. They will be cited in studies on occasion. The lab breakdown by symptoms is likely better data then what will be found in studies — because the distribution is dependent on the lab, i.e. part of The taxonomy nightmare before Christmas…