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Health Nucleus Review: Can It Help You Improve Longevity?

Written by Samantha Odake, BS (Mechanical Engineering) | Last updated:

Overview

  1. Products: Whole Genome Sequencing, full body MRI, lab tests, and other diagnostic exams.
  2. Cost: $4,950 to $25,000+.
  3. Reports: The genomics reports include genetic risks for certain diseases.
  4. Raw data access: Health Nucleus claims that each customer owns their testing data, but it’s unclear if this includes their raw DNA file.
  5. Privacy: De-identified data may be used for research and shared with third parties for the same purpose.
  6. Alternatives: SelfDecode – get an analysis of 83 million genetic variants and personalized recommendations based on your DNA and labs.

Pros

  • Plans include multiple testing methods.
  • Access to a network of physicians.

Cons

  • Tests can cost upwards of $25,000.
  • Critics point out the lack of peer-reviewed evidence to support the claims made by the company.
  • Only one location is available, so it can be difficult for most people to get access to the tests.
  • The website doesn’t include important information such as plans and prices, so customers might be confused about what to expect.

About Health Nucleus

Health Nucleus was founded in 2013 by Craig Venter and Peter Diamandis. The company is a subsidiary of Human Longevity Inc, with headquarters in San Diego, California. Health Nucleus was initially focused on DNA testing but soon shifted to include a full body MRI, among other tests.

It should be noted that they have made deals with the pharmaceutical companies Celgene and AstraZeneca to collaborate in their research. Human Longevity Inc claims to have plans to open clinics in both San Francisco and Beijing, China.

Since its conception, there have been a few controversies regarding the company. In 2018, Human Longevity Inc accused Health Nucleus founder Venter of stealing trade secrets and attempting to poach employees.

Review of Health Nucleus Products and Features

Health Nucleus offers a variety of diagnostic tests in their San Diego facility. These include:

  • Whole genome sequencing (WGS)
  • Full body MRI
  • 40 lab tests
  • Metabolomics
  • Microbiome
  • Others

The tests you have access to depends on the package you choose. Customers undergo hours of tests and scans in their clinic in San Diego. After all the tests are completed, the company requires people to return for follow-up appointments to discuss the results.

The company claims to gather 150GB of health data from their customers, but it’s unclear how much of this data is actually analyzed. Keep in mind that not all of your WGS results can give you insights into your health, for example.

Health Nucleus Health Longevity Inc

The WGS from Health Nucleus includes an evaluation of:

  • Risk for diseases
  • Carrier status
  • Pharmacogenomic profile
  • Physical traits

Review of Health Nucleus Reports

The main offering of Health Nucleus is that customers receive consultations with doctors from their network. As the company claims, the physician analyzes the results from all the tests performed and summarizes them so that customers can understand them. Physicians are also responsible for creating a care plan for the patient.

As part of the package, customers get one initial follow-up two weeks after testing to review the initial results, and another consultation in six to seven weeks to discuss all results, including genetics.

The Genomics Reports include insights into your genetic risk for certain diseases and other non-clinical information. They are comprised of reports in 3 different categories: clinical, insights, and personal insights.

The Clinical report includes a disease-associated gene analysis and is divided into four different sections:

  • ACMG59: An analysis of 59 genes defined by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.
  • Disease risks: Information on your genetic risk for 70 diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic, and others.
  • Pharmacogenomics: Insights into drug response.
  • Carrier screening: Tells your carrier status for 242 inherited conditions.

The Insights report provides information about your risk for different health conditions such as coronary artery disease, allergies, eczema, and others.

Finally, the Personal Insights report includes lifestyle and physical traits, and ancestry.

How Much Does Health Nucleus Cost?

Unfortunately, prices aren’t displayed on the Health Nucleus website. The company doesn’t make it clear what plans are available and how much they cost. Genomeweb and other websites share more information about prices.

According to them, the initial program costs $4,950 for WGS, a full body MRI, and a few other tests, plus $2,950 a year for a follow-up. A more extensive program from Health Nucleus costs a whopping $25,000, plus $6,000 a year for follow-ups.

Despite the high cost, this service is not covered by any health insurance plans.

Is Whole Genome Sequencing Worth It?

Not yet.

The whole genome sequencing offered by Health Nucleus is far more expensive than other popular DNA kits on the market. A test from SelfDecode, for example, will cost you $90, which is far more affordable than the $5,000+ cost for Health Nucleus.

Plus, by using AI and machine learning, services such as SelfDecode can accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA.

As more research in genomics is done and databases expand, WGS will become more useful. Right now, you’re getting very little for the significant extra cost required to have your whole genome sequenced.

Health Recommendations from Health Nucleus

Health Nucleus claims to offer their customers a way to get ahead of their health problems, but critics have pointed out the lack of peer-reviewed validation from the company to back their claims.

The Genomics reports include medically significant results and non-clinical traits. You’ll receive insights into your genetic risks for certain diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular, metabolic, and immunologic diseases, among others.

A Health Nucleus physician reviews your results and presents you with their findings and a care plan based on the results.

Review of Health Nucleus Privacy & Data Security

Health Nucleus is HIPAA compliant and claims to have implemented security measures to safeguard consumer data.

The company claims that each patient owns their medical record and testing data, but they maintain that Human Longevity Inc has legal retention requirements for all clinical and research data.

Your de-identified data may be used by Human Longevity Inc for research and may be share with third parties for the same purpose.

SelfDecode vs Health Nucleus

  1. SelfDecode delivers natural supplements, diet, and lifestyle suggestions based on your genes that you can implement right away. Health Nucleus physicians provide an assessment based on multiple test results during consultations.
  2. SelfDecode tells you why they make each recommendation so that you can understand the science behind the suggestion. Health Nucleus bases their insights on multiple test results.
  3. SelfDecode prioritizes recommendations based on their analysis of all the relevant genes instead of one gene at a time (through reports). Health Nucleus insights are provided by physicians.
  4. SelfDecode takes a holistic approach to give recommendations that are best for your genes AND the health topic. Health Nucleus takes into account different test results for their analysis.
  5. SelfDecode has the world’s first and only personalized genetics blog that allows you to get new gene-based recommendations daily. Health Nucleus does not have a health blog.
  6. SelfDecode is the most comprehensive and looks at more genes & SNPs. SelfDecode uses AI and machine learning to predict and analyze up to 83 million variants to deliver the best analysis of genetic risks. Health Nucleus offers WGS, but prices can go upwards of $25,000.
  7. SelfDecode supports everything with peer-reviewed scientific studies in their research and checks for contradicting information. Critics have pointed out the lack of scientific validation from Health Nucleus to back their claims.
  8. SelfDecode never sells your data or gives it away. Health Nucleus may share de-identified or coded data for research purposes.

Comparisons

 

SelfDecode

Health Nucleus

QBio

Evergreen Life

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

Professional consultations available

Professional consultations available

No

Personalized blog posts

Yes

No

No

No

Products

DNA testing, wellness reports, health recommendations, lab test analyzer, patient and provider options

Whole genome sequencing, full body MRI, a variety of other diagnostic tests

Full body MRI, biochemical screening, genetic screening, consultations

DNA testing, wellness reports, health record app

Raw data access

Yes

Unclear

Yes

No

Cost (USD)

$97 – $387

$4,950 – $25,000+

$3,450 per check-up

$175

Health Nucleus Reviews

There aren’t any Health Nucleus reviews from customers, even though they have been around since 2013. On the company’s Facebook page, one person pointed out how they find “ludicrous” that there aren’t any reviews even after many years in business.

Alternatives to Health Nucleus

  • SelfDecode: The best direct-to-consumer DNA test that analyzes up to 83 million genetic variants to give you personalized health recommendations.

Health Nucleus Review Summary

Health Nucleus offers insights into your health based on multiple tests and scans. A physician from their network summarizes the results to the customer and creates a care plan based on the test results. While the testing options can be extensive, it can cost you upwards of $25,000.

To get access to the various tests, you’ll need to visit their only clinic in San Diego, California. Unlike other companies that offer DNA testing, you cannot collect your sample from home. An alternative such as SelfDecode can give you insights into your health from the comfort of your home.

It’s worth noting that even after many years in business, you won’t find online Health Nucleus reviews from customers. Some experts are also dubious about the lack of peer-reviewed validation from the company to back their health claims.

SelfDecode provides you with health recommendations based on your DNA and labs through reports you can access any time you want. For those who want to dig deeper into the science, you can find peer-reviewed scientific references embedded throughout the reports.

SelfDecode uses AI and machine learning to analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA test to give you personalized health recommendations. This means you’ll receive more data without having to pay for more expensive whole genome sequencing.

To give you a complete picture of your health, you can also input your lab results into SelfDecode Labs to get an analysis of over 500 lab markers. You’ll also receive personalized insights on how to get them to their optimal range.

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About the Author

Samantha Odake

Samantha Odake

BS (Mechanical Engineering)
Samantha is an engineer turned writer with a passion for helping people.

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