0

Is DNA Health Testing Right For You?

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

Important: Personalized health report services, such as SelfDecode, enable users to obtain detailed information and reports based on their genome. These companies do not treat, diagnose, or cure any conditions, but are for informational and educational purposes alone unless otherwise specified.

What is DNA Health Testing?

DNA health testing looks for specific genetic anomalies that have been linked to a disease or trait. Once you know which health conditions you are at risk of developing, you can make active lifestyle changes to counteract these genetic predispositions and live a healthier life.

This article describes what to expect from a DNA health test. Readers are encouraged to further research the topic on their own before making a final decision.

What Does DNA Health Testing Tell You?

A DNA health test can be useful at any stage of one’s health journey. For example, diagnostic DNA tests are used to confirm or rule out a genetic disorder after a person has experienced symptoms. What’s more, genetic testing can be used to screen healthy individuals for a condition with a delayed onset.

Having in-depth knowledge of your risk of developing a genetic disorder is undoubtedly valuable. However, genetic testing can also help you understand how lifestyle can affect gene expression.

Factors such as nutrition, weight, and sleep are strongly associated with variations in the DNA. It is important to understand the difference between what each company has to offer and how it can help you achieve your health goals.

For example, SelfDecode offers genetic reports that analyze your genes and gives recommendations to help you optimize specific health areas.

In the comparison table below, you can see a few DNA testing companies and what they offer. Despite focusing on DNA health testing, they all have specific features and benefits.

SelfDecode

Gene FoodOrig3nWeGene

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

YesYesNo

No

Personalized blog posts

YesNoNoNo

Products

DNA testing, wellness reports, and health recommendationsDNA testing and a nutrition reportDNA testing, fitness and nutrition reports, traits, supplements

DNA testing, WGS, health and wellness reports, ancestry

Health Screening

YesNoNoYes

Symptoms Analyzer

YesNoNo

No

Clinical vs Direct-To-Consumer DNA Health Testing

One way for people to gain access to their genetic information is through a healthcare provider: a medical professional assesses a patient and decides which test is appropriate based on the diagnosis.

The provider collects the DNA sample for testing and interprets the results themselves. Sample collection can consist of a blood draw, a saliva sample, or a buccal swab. In some cases, the patient does not have access to their results, as they are sent directly to the provider.

While clinical genetic tests are expensive, they are sometimes covered by insurance, in which case the patient may have minimal out-of-pocket expenses to worry about. However, many patients who used these services complain about miscommunication between the testing company and the insurance provider. You can read a few customer reviews about GeneDx to learn more about this clinical DNA testing company.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) DNA health testing works differently. Customers collect their own DNA sample and send it to the laboratory themselves. After the analysis is complete, they receive their results directly on a secure website, via email, mail, or even a phone call.

This way, people can access their genetic information without the need to involve a healthcare provider or insurance companies, as DTC DNA health tests are often less expensive than their counterparts.

SelfDecode's DNA health testing kit

SelfDecode DNA Test Kit

Another advantage of DTC DNA health testing is that it delivers all the information without the technical jargon, unlike most of the clinical tests that are aimed at medical professionals. Many DTC companies also provide recommendations based on the results to help customers manage their health conditions and improve their overall well-being.

For example, SelfDecode finds a balance in delivering genetic data in a way that is easily understood by those without a scientific background. For those who wish to dive deeper into genetics, SelfDecode includes all the scientific references used to generate the health reports.

Either types of DNA health testing have their benefits. It is up to you to find out which service meets your current health needs. The table below compares a few DNA testing companies and what they can offer.

SelfDecodeGeneDxGenomindIntegrated Genetics

Personalized and holistic health recommendations

YesNoNo

No

Personalized blog posts

YesNoNoNo

Access to Practitioner Network

YesYesYes

Yes

Available directly to the consumer

YesNoYes (limited)No

Professional Plans

YesNoNo

No

How Does Direct-To-Consumer DNA Health Testing Work?

While most DTC DNA health tests are sold online, a few companies offer their products at physical stores. For example, HomeDNA sells genetic tests at convenient locations across the United States. You can read a full HomeDNA review to learn more about the company.

The sample collection is usually noninvasive and involves a simple saliva sample or a cheek swab. Customers mail their samples themselves, and the laboratory analyzes the genes to look for particular genetic variations. The number of genes and SNPs analyzed may depend on the purpose of the test.

Some companies also use a process called genetic imputation to help you get more out of your DNA file. As an example, SelfDecode uses AI and machine learning to accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA test. SelfDecode offers reports on different topics, such as cholesterol, weight, anxiety, and many others.

In some cases, a genetic counselor or another healthcare provider from the company will reach out to the customer to explain the results and answer any questions they have.

There are many technical differences between DNA testing companies and what they offer. From the number of SNPs tested to additional features, the table below offers a comparison between some companies.

SelfDecode

PrometheaseStrategene

Found My Fitness

Number of genes or gene variants analyzed

Up to 83 million

107,010 SNPs28 genes

N/A

Allows users to bookmark genes

Yes

NoNo

No

Flags genes that are potentially problematic

Yes

NoYes

No

References to scientific studies to support claims

Yes

NoNo

No

Allows you to compare your DNA data with others

Yes

NoNo

No

Raw data access

Yes

N/AYes

N/A

What To Look For in DNA Health Testing

If you are interested in DNA health testing, there are some points to consider. It is important to research if the company is clear about the services they offer. One way to do this is to look for sample reports so you can make sure the information provided will be of value to you.

Another important thing to look for is if the company presents the scientific evidence linking the variations tested to a disease or trait. As research continues to expand, more can be learned about how genetics and overall health are connected.

For instance, the IKZF3 gene has been linked to joint health and can affect one’s chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis. As another example, variants in the MICB gene have been associated with higher odds of developing lupus.

When choosing a DNA test for health, it is important to note if the company remains up-to-date with new findings so you can receive the most accurate and relevant information regarding your health.

In addition to constantly updating the health reports to reflect the latest scientific information, SelfDecode has the world’s first personalized genetics blog to keep you informed on health issues relevant to you. This way, you have access to many resources to help you understand your DNA analysis.

If you want a more thorough analysis of what you need to know before making a purchase, read this informative article about how to choose a DNA health test.

Privacy

A main concern for most people is privacy. As there have been cases where companies sell personal and genetic data, it is important to review the company’s privacy policy. You should research how your genetic data is kept safe and how it may be shared if that is a priority to you.

Some people find it essential to know who will own their genetic information once they have their DNA tested and if they will have access to their raw DNA data. You should feel free to reach out to the company with any inquiries you have about data privacy and security.

Pricing

Keep in mind that the best value depends on your needs. With the advances in science, the number of conditions and traits analyzed by DNA health tests also increases. The wide variety of tests can cause some confusion when trying to pick out the best option, as some companies might have a lower price point than others but not offer the information you need.

As the market grows, DNA health testing becomes more accessible to the general public. Price alone is not enough to make an informed decision about which DNA health test to choose. You should take into consideration what the company has to offer, and if it has value to you.

SelfDecode

GenomelinkDante Labs

Helix

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

NoNo

Yes, but not holistic

Personalized blog posts

Yes

NoNo

No

Products

DNA health testing, wellness reports, health recommendations

DNA upload, health and ancestry reports, traitsWGS, WES, health and fitness reporting, genetic health risks

DNA sequencing, ancestry, health, and wellness reports

Raw data access

Yes

N/AYes

Yes, for $499

Cost (USD)

$97 – $387

$0 – $14 per month$700 – $1,000+

$145 – $245

Benefits of DNA Health Testing

With at-home DNA health testing becoming more popular, it is apparent that people are shifting towards a more active approach to their health. Since at-home tests usually do not require a referral from a healthcare provider or approval from an insurance company, they are more accessible to the general population.

Another advantage is that DTC DNA tests are often less expensive than the ones accessed through a medical professional, and the sample collection is usually simple and noninvasive. While some tests require a blood draw, most only need a saliva sample or cheek swab.

In addition to bringing awareness to genetic disorders, DNA health testing can offer actionable insights into your health, disease risks, and other relevant traits. Different from the general advice you would get from an internet search, this information is personalized to your genetic profile.

Furthermore, DNA health testing can provide doctors with a powerful tool to help them better diagnose their patients and come up with a treatment plan personalized to their patient’s genetic make-up.

Limitations of DNA Health Testing

Despite being a great asset, DNA health testing has its limitations. Genetic data only delivers partial information about your health. It is important to consider other factors such as lifestyle, environment, and family medical history when making changes. Moreover, many companies only look at one or two genetic markers to generate the results.

With a subscription to SelfDecode, you also get access to Labs 2.0. This feature helps you understand your lab test results and learn about their health implications. This way, you have a more complete picture of your current health so you can make informed decisions about your habits.

Conclusion: Is DNA Health Testing Worth It?

When choosing a DNA health test, you should make a decision based on the company that best fits your current needs. While there are some limitations to genetic testing, it is clear that it is allowing people to have more control over their health.

After reviewing what to expect from a DNA health test, you can see if it is right for you. As science continues to push forward, more information will be available about genetics. Currently, there are a multitude of companies to choose from, and it is up to you to decide which one can help you achieve your health goals. If you’re interested in truly personalized recommendations based on an analysis of up to 83 million genetic variants, you should check out SelfDecode.

Why SelfDecode?

SelfDecode

23andMeDNAFit

Xcode

Number of genes and genetic variants analyzed

Up to 83 million

40 genes + 44 genetic diseases25 genes for fitness and 33 genes for diet

N/A

Includes diet & lifestyle recommendations

Yes

NoYes

Yes

Does not sell user data

Yes

NoYes

Yes

Informative blog tailored to your genes

Yes

NoNo

Yes

References to scientific studies to support claims

Yes

NoNo

No

Price (USD)

$97/year

$100$189 – $249

$20 – $40

Related

About the Author

Samantha Odake

Samantha Odake

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

RATE THIS ARTICLE

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
Loading...

FDA Compliance

The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.