0

SelfDecode Review: How to hack and optimize your health

Written by Samantha Odake, BS | Last updated:

Overview

  1. Products: SelfDecode provides end-to-end DNA testing services, in-depth reports, personalized health recommendations for each user, and a variety of tools to explore one’s own biology. It also has a Pro plan for clinicians who hope to use DNA testing to improve their diagnostic process and patient treatment plans.
  2. Cost: Start free. SelfDecode has a variety of pricing options for users to choose from which range from a free plan, a DNA kit & health insights bundle, annual subscription plans, and lifetime access. Subscription costs include access to continuously updated health recommendations, over 150 detailed health and trait reports, and access to lab analysis and lifestyle assessment tools.
  3. Reports: SelfDecode reports are extremely comprehensive. Users can have access to a wide selection of reports which are specialized based on health areas, topics, or ailments. Some examples include weight, insomnia, and gut inflammation. Alternatively, users can choose to generate all of their reports at once to gain a total understanding of their biology.
  4. Raw Data Access: SelfDecode supplies users with their raw genetic data as well as accepting DNA files clients might already have from other genetics testing services (23andMe, Ancestry, etc.).
  5. Privacy: SelfDecode makes a promise to its users to never sell or share their private information with other companies. In addition, the service collects as little identifying information as possible and protects what information it does collect with strict security measures.
  6. Alternatives: 23andMe (ancestry and wellness-focused genetic testing, customer information is sold and shared with other companies), MyHeritage (testing is exclusively focused on ancestry), Promethease (DNA analysis service, no test kits provided, research-oriented).

Pros

  • SelfDecode’s test reports are unmatched in terms of the topics they cover as well as the level of detail provided within them. Each specific report provides users with all of their relevant genetic variations, risk assessments, integrated wellness instruction, and genetic comparisons rooted in hundreds of scientific studies.
  • Unlike other DNA companies that only take into consideration a limited number of SNPs, SelfDecode uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA file.
  • SelfDecode accepts uploads of DNA files from several other genetic testing companies so users who already have access to their genetic information won’t have to pay for a separate test kit.
  • Users who already had their DNA tested can sign up for a free plan and experience the platform before committing to a plan.
  • SelfDecode’s practitioner plan—Self Decode Pro— allows the unlimited upload of patient files and access to wellness reports for just one flat rate.

Cons

  • SelfDecode does not offer ancestry services nor does it offer psychotropic testing. For individuals looking to use genetic testing to study their genealogy or to assess their possible response to certain antidepressant medications, SelfDecode isn’t positioned to be a good resource.
  • The reports that SelfDecode provides to individuals are oriented towards risk assessment, disease prevention, education, and lifestyle optimization. That is to say, they are not diagnostically focused and are not intended to treat or diagnose medical conditions. That being said, all of the research, suggestions, and information SelfDecode includes in its reports is backed up by clinically valid and peer-reviewed scientific research.

About SelfDecode

SelfDecode was founded in 2016 by current CEO Joe Cohen, then owner and founder of the lifestyle and health-based genetics blog site SelfHacked. Joe was driven to start a DNA analysis company after he was plagued by winning the self-proclaimed ‘genetic lottery’ of bad genes.

As a child, teen, and young adult, he experienced a litany of gene-related issues such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, brain fog, and after being frustrated by the lack of accessible and scientifically valid tools to combat these afflictions, he set out to create a set of comprehensive resources to help himself and others like him deal with their genetic calamities.

Since then, SelfDecode has grown to become an exhaustive resource for individuals seeking to live more biologically sound and superior lifestyles. The team at SelfDecode has been growing steadily for the last four years and includes over 60 highly skilled scientists, MDs, NDs, pharmacists, and software engineers all of who are committed to helping people live healthier lives and grasp the full potential of their genetics.

SelfDecode, SelfHacked, and Lab Test analyzer, another clinically aimed analysis service started by Joe, are amalgamated under parent company Genius Labs, a cloud-based software design service intended for biotech businesses.

Overview of SelfDecode Testing

SelfDecode’s testing processes are entirely comprehensive for every single user. The service doesn’t specialize in testing based on a health topic or subject area, rather, they conduct all-inclusive testing for every single user and give individuals options for specialization with respect to the wellness reports they choose to investigate.

For every single person who uses the Self-Decode testing service, over 750,000 SNPs in their genes will be identified. However, by using AI and machine learning, SelfDecode is able to accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA file. For users who upload their raw DNA data, they will also receive this comprehensive analysis of their genetic file.

Individuals who already had their DNA tested with another company can sign up for a free account at SelfDecode to gain access to 3 DNA health reports, 7 trait reports, and lab analyzer & lifestyle assessment tools.

With subscription access, users can review their results with respect to any health area they choose which not only decreases long-term costs but also gives clinical professionals who use SelfDecode’s service a deeper, more detailed range of information with which to assess their patients.

Review of SelfDecode Test Reports

Self Decode users can generate wellness reports of their genetic analysis that take a focus towards weight, sleep, gut health, heart health, mood, inflammation, and more. Users can easily see all reports available from the DNA Wellness Reports tab after they log in to their account. 

Before the report begins, a navigation bar can be seen at the top of the page. From here, users can easily switch between an overview of their genetic predispositions and personalized recommendations, and a more detailed explanation of the health topic and recommendations. Each report, while focusing on a different subject area, is structured similarly.

Below you can view a sample Anxiety Report. Users can view their genetic predisposition, generate a PDF file for the report, and see the number of references.

SelfDecode anxiety

Readers can then view their genetic predisposition summary, which shows if they have a reduced or increased likelihood of experiencing a health condition. The number of genetic variants analyzed is also displayed in this section, and users can also see how their lifestyle affects their likelihood of anxiety.

As can be seen below, this particular sample report shows an increased predisposition to anxiety based on the user’s DNA and lifestyle.

SelfDecode report

Following this, users can see the summary of their recommendations. This includes a quick overview of their prioritized diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations to help customers address their genetic predispositions. 

From here, users can add recommendations to their regimen, or click to see more details. SelfDecode also provides Impact and Evidence scores for each recommendation. These ratings show how well a recommendation will work for the individual, and how much scientific evidence exists to support this recommendation.

After this summary, users are shown a detailed version of the report. It includes a detailed explanation of how genetics can affect the condition analyzed, with all scientific references included for easy access for those who wish to explore deeper. In fact, scientific studies are embedded throughout the entire report.

As readers scroll through their reports, they will reach their genetic predisposition score for the particular health topic and even more information to help them better understand the subject.

Users can view the number of genetic variants analyzed per report. In this particular case for the Anxiety Report, SelfDecode looks at 807,582 relevant variants to generate the results. Considering all the reports, SelfDecode analyzes up to 83 million genetic variants.

Following this, the Recommendations section begins. Here, customers will find their personalized diet, lifestyle, and supplement recommendations to help them address their health issues. Not only are these recommendations personalized to the user’s unique DNA, but they are also prioritized by taking into consideration what is most likely to work for them based on their genes.

As shown in the sample report below, SelfDecode provides detailed explanations of how each recommendation can help a particular health issue. At the end of each recommendation section, SelfDecode explains which gene variants play a role in the health issue and how users may benefit by implementing the suggestions.

Another standout feature from SelfDecode is the ability for users to add their recommendations to their regimen directly from their DNA reports. To do this, all they need to do is click on the “Add To My Regimen” button (shown above). To access the recommendations added to their regimen, customers can navigate to the My Regimen tab, where they can view and customize each one based on what works for them.

Each recommendation can be easily edited to fit the user’s health regimen. By clicking on Set Frequency And Duration (shown above), a popup window appears for customization. This way, it becomes incredibly easy to keep track of all health recommendations suggested by SelfDecode.

SelfDecode users can also create an all-in-one personalized supplement formula based on the recommendations from their DNA reports.

SelfDecode goes beyond DNA testing and analysis. When signing up, users also receive access to SelfDecode Labs, where they can input their lab results or purchase lab tests from SelfDecode to receive health insights.

This feature goes beyond telling users if their labs are in the normal range. SelfDecode categorizes results in such a way that users can know how far their results fall from their optimal range. Customers will receive a detailed analysis of each marker and personalized recommendations aimed at optimizing their labs.

It is truly amazing the level of depth provided by SelfDecode regarding both DNA and lab analysis. 

SelfDecode Cost

SelfDecode’s baseline annual subscription cost can be as low as $97/year for users who already have access to their genetic data file after retrieving it from a different company. For those who are new to DNA testing, or previously tested with a company that does not provide raw genetic data files, SelfDecode’s DNA test kits cost only an additional $99.

The annual subscription price includes access to all wellness reports and other features offered. Alternatively, SelfDecode’s lifetime access plan which allows clients to generate an unlimited number of existing wellness reports, as well as any future reports that the SelfDecode lab devises, costs $297.

SelfDecode also provides users with the opportunity to try the platform before committing to a plan. If you already have your DNA file, you can sign up for a free SelfDecode plan and upload your DNA for free to receive access to 3 DNA Wellness Reports and 7 Trait Reports, in addition to lifestyle assessment tools.

SelfDecode’s professional plan for clinicians is priced slightly differently. The professional subscription allows practitioners to upload DNA and lab results and generate of an unlimited number of wellness reports for each client.

The professional plan is meant to support not just an individual, but an entire medical practice. The plan also provides reduced pricing for DNA kits ordered for clients and promotion of the professional’s practice on the SelfDecode web page.

  • Pro Starter ($299/year)
  • Pro Yearly (599/year)
  • Pro Business ($999/year)

How exclusive is the service SelfDecode provides?

SelfDecode’s model, which tests each individual exhaustively and then generates reports based on this single test, rather than requiring different tests for each report, means that users can gain immediate access to further genetic analysis at any point.

Some services opt to specialize within their tests, pricing them separately, which adds additional waiting time between the user’s decision to find out more and their reception of test results on different health topics. In short, SelfDecode’s users have direct potential access to their entire body of genetic data as soon as they purchase the service. This system design is entirely unique to SelfDecode.

While most companies offer a limited analysis of their customers’ DNA by only looking at one or two SNPs, SelfDecode goes beyond. By using AI and machine learning, SelfDecode is able to analyze up to 83 million genetic variants. The scope of this analysis is not something that can be easily found in most direct-to-consumer DNA tests.

Something else which sets SelfDecode apart from other DNA testing companies is their lab analysis tool, which is included with all subscription levels. By also taking into consideration lab results to make their recommendations, SelfDecode allows users to receive the most complete picture of their health.

SelfDecode Health Recommendations

The health recommendations that SelfDecode provides are illustrated in the summary section of their wellness reports which is pictured above. The suggestions are expansive, that is, they can include very basic behaviors and habits that can be easier to integrate into one’s daily routine.

While practices like getting plenty of regular exercise and increasing one’s exposure to natural sunlight might seem mundane, they can have legitimately profound effects with respect to certain health issues, especially for people who have favorable genetic variants for these recommendations.

Conversely, much of the wellness instruction SelfDecode provides is of a less self-evident nature, and indeed, wouldn’t even be identifiable without a detailed genetic analysis. These sorts of recommendations include specific supplementation advice which is given precisely because it pertains to the gene variations of the user. Most individuals wouldn’t think to supplement their daily intake with n-acetyl cysteine, but a SelfDecode wellness report can tell them just how beneficial such supplementation might actually be.

The way SelfDecode prioritizes recommendations to their users gives them real direction in terms of the actionable steps they can take towards bettering their health. The list organization, which corresponds to priority, lets users know, for example, that increasing their regular cognitive stimulation could be more urgently beneficial than seeking out cold exposure therapy.

Finally, the ability for users to add their recommendations to their regimen directly from their DNA reports offers an easy way for them to view, edit, and keep track of all of their health suggestions and modify them to fit their routine.

SelfDecode Privacy and Security

SelfDecode takes the security of its users’ information very seriously. As a general precaution, the service asks users to enter as little personally identifiable information as is necessary to create accounts and collect payment data. The small amount of personal data that SelfDecode does collect is used primarily to improve the services it provides to its clients and to optimize their genetic assessment of users, as is the case with the collection of demographic data.

As already mentioned, SelfDecode makes a strict commitment to never share nor sell the information of its users to other companies, a practice which is unfortunately common in the realm of biogenetics. The only scenarios in which user information is shared are those in which its transmission is absolutely necessary to execute SelfDecode’s service provisions (ex. third-party payment vendors). In these cases, the involved third parties are strictly bound to maintain user confidentiality.

As far as the protection of user data is concerned, SelfDecode goes to great lengths to ensure the safety of information stored in the cloud and on its servers.

Partnerships

At this time, there are no relevant partnerships to speak of with respect to SelfDecode’s upper management. Joe, the CEO, has no previous ties to other industries or companies which would constitute a conflict of interest. The mission of SelfDecode is a personal one.

Summary of SelfDecode Features

  1. SelfDecode offers a huge variety of health and wellness recommendations which are rooted directly in the reports that users receive and are adaptable to new research as it becomes available.
  2. The company clearly illustrates the science which backs up all of the health and wellness recommendations that it makes. In every wellness report, SelfDecode provides exhaustive citations that link directly to the papers. A critical aspect of every recommendation made is that it shows the causal link between the evidence and the instruction.
  3. SelfDecode gives specific priority to the health recommendations that it assesses as being most critical to clients’ lifestyles. The most pertinent suggestions available to users will be the first ones they see.
  4. SelfDecode takes an authentically holistic approach to genetics-based health. Well-being is about a balanced totality of factors, not just one lifestyle aspect or another. Accordingly, the information SelfDecode offers is meant to be applicable to users’ lives as a whole.
  5. The SelfDecode laboratory carries out significantly advanced testing for each and every client. The test itself looks at over 700,000 SNPs in order to gain an in-depth understanding of users’ biology. Not only that, but SelfDecode’s algorithm is able to predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants from a typical DNA file. This level of detail is reflected in the wellness reports that are provided to SelfDecode users.
  6. SelfDecode supports all of the evaluation and conclusions it offers to individuals by backing them up with peer-reviewed science and clinical research. Clients will never have to wonder if a wellness report is giving them lip-service, because the data is at their fingertips.
  7. SelfDecode will never share its clients’ data with other companies in any way, shape, or form. The company understands that a thorough understanding of one’s own genetics shouldn’t come at the expense of privacy.

Comparisons

 

SelfDecode

InsideTracker GenoPalate

Promethease

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes No No

No

Genes & genetic variants analyzed

Up to 83 million genetic variants 261 SNPs 100+ SNPs

100,000+ SNPs

Products

Free DNA & lab analysis, DNA testing, wellness reports, research-based health recommendations, professional plans for clinicians DNA testing, wellness reports, lab tests DNA testing, diet and nutrition reports

DNA analysis, SNP variation assessment, links to scientific research

Raw data access

Yes Yes, for $499 No

N/A

Cost (USD)

Start Free $49 – $589 $79 – $149

$0 – $12

SelfDecode Reviews

Trustpilot – 414 Customer Average Rating of 4.8 of 5 Stars

SelfDecode reviews on Trustpilot feature, almost without exception, clients who are extensively satisfied with the quality and quantity of information they’ve been able to access through the service. Some users were even surprised at the value of the reports provided to them because of less satisfying experiences with other companies.

DNAtestingchoice.com – 4.6 of 5 Stars

Similarly, the reviews on DNA testing choice were characterized by users who were impressed and pleased by the ease of access they experienced when using SelfDecode, as well as the accuracy of their testing results.

Read what people are saying about SelfDecode on Reddit

SelfDecode’s co-founder has engaged in some positive exchanges with Reddit users on the 23&Me subreddit.

Read what people are saying about SelfDecode on Twitter

Some Twitter users made interesting comparisons between results they received from SelfDecode and those from other DNA testing companies.

Alternatives to SelfDecode

23andMe – 23andMe opts to provide customers with tests that focus both on ancestry information as well as health and wellness analyses. The minimal wellness recommendations they provide aren’t personalized to clients and they also, unfortunately, choose to sell some client information to other companies.

Promethease – Promethease is a less inclusive DNA analysis program which is usable by individuals who’ve already gained access to their raw genetic data through a different service. It is focused on analyzing user SNPs and makes direct use of clinical research.

SelfDecode Review Summary

Biotechnology is an exploding industry right now, and it’s only going to keep growing. There are now so many companies that provide DNA testing services, why choose SelfDecode among all the options?

First, because the SelfDecode team of over 60 highly skilled scientists, MDs, NDs, and software engineers has spent the last 4 years optimizing everything, their product, support network, service, and structure, all with client experience as the focal point.

The reason the company’s subscription model is structured to give clients immediate access to reports, which are accessible, understandable, and meticulously detailed, is because these are components which make the experience of individuals who use SelfDecode the most rewarding.

Second, SelfDecode was created for the same reason that present-day users seek out its service: understanding one’s own biology is the key to becoming the best version of oneself. There are lots of strategies you can employ to try to balance and structure your life, in other words, to optimize your lifestyle. However, the basis of this process has to begin with a proper grasp of what tools you have to work with, and those tools are your genetic predispositions. The significance of this idea is that where other testing services hope to keep you merely entertained and engaged, SelfDecode’s entire program is about utility and user agency.

Another feature that sets SelfDecode apart from other DNA companies is that SelfDecode uses AI and machine learning to accurately predict and analyze up to 83 million genetic variants and provides personalized and prioritized health recommendations based on DNA and labs.

Finally, SelfDecode wants to make its service as accessible as possible. The costs users incur and the prices the company lists aren’t arbitrarily chosen; they are selected to authentically reflect the quality and breadth of the service you’ll receive and the tools you’ll gain access to. When you choose to purchase SelfDecode’s service, you are genuinely going to receive something special.

If you already had your DNA tested, you can sign up for a free plan with SelfDecode before committing to a paid subscription.

Related

About the Author

Samantha Odake

Samantha Odake

BS
Samantha is an engineer turned writer with a passion for helping people.

RATE THIS ARTICLE

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(No Ratings Yet)
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.

Related Articles View All

caret-downclock-grayclosecomment-bubbledown-anglefacebook-squarehamburgerinstagram-squarelinkedin-squareminuspauseplayplustwitter-squareup-angle