In 2003, the Human Genome Project completed its thirteen year task of sequencing every single human gene.
Since then, hundreds of genetic testing companies have sprung into life to ride the wave, each with a mission to unlock human genetic potential.
The problem is, they’re all different. So how do you choose the best one for you? Read on for a quick rundown of a few of the main players on the market:
- Fitness Genes
Here’s the TL;DR…
- LifeDNA has a 360-degree view on maximising your potential: Right now, LifeDNA is developing an algorithm to analyze your environment and lifestyle at the same time as your genetics, to give you a truly personalized road map to optimum wellbeing
- DNAfit’s focus on how to eat and exercise will satisfy the most hardened health nut. However, this kind of advice needs environmental input too: the diet and fitness regime that works when you’re 25 won’t work in the same way when you’re 75.
- 23andMe is the biggest and oldest player on the scene, with the customers and financial clout to boot. But while they might have the most data at their fingertips, they don’t necessarily have the insights to match
- Fitness Genes’ reports give detailed information on the kind of workouts and exercise you should be doing to make the most out of the body you were born with, but their advice is based on the relatively low number of genetic traits that they analyze.
CEO Cyril Moukarzel and chairman Steve Markowitz founded LifeDNA in 2017, from Honolulu, Hawaii, where the company still operates today.
From the outset, Cyril and Steve wanted LifeDNA to move with the inexorable pace of genetic science, constantly working new discoveries into their algorithm so their customers and members can maximize their health and wellness with the very latest DNA insights.
Our purpose is to make everyone healthier, happier, and stronger. To do that, we take your ‘environmental’ data like age, health status and lifestyle and combine that with your genetic information to give you a truly 360-degree view on your potential.
We do this through ten extensive, easily actionable, constantly updated ‘live’ reports covering more than 170 unique genetic traits.
How does it work? What do you get?
You can get the full range of reports instantly if you’ve already taken a DNA test from 23andMe, Ancestry.com, or MyHeritage. Just upload your raw DNA data to LifeDNA’s easy-to-use platform.
If you’ve never taken a DNA test, you can also get a kit with a cheek swab sent to your home.
As our name suggests, LifeDNA is with you for life: our platinum membership gives you lifetime access to:
- Nine fully-comprehensive, constantly updated reports on everything from diet to fitness, fertility and personality
- Quarterly consultations with experts to get the best out of all the latest research
- A global community of users and scientists through our private Facebook group
- A personalized app with your own meal plans, nutrient breakdowns, ingredient lists, shopping lists, recipes, and a database of 500,000 different restaurants in North America telling you where and what to eat (coming soon)
- A future-focused service for the digital age with reports based on a dynamic algorithm created by our genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics specialists
Our world-leading specialists bring out new reports and traits at a rate that matches the pace of genetic science.
Here are a few examples of what you can find out about your genetic potential:
- How well you metabolize carbohydrates
- How you burn carbs versus fat
- How caffeine, salt, gluten, and alcohol are likely to affect you
- The amount of fiber you need
- If you’re likely to tolerate lactose
- Whether you’re wired for power or endurance
- When to exercise according to your circadian rhythm
- How prone you are to injury
- Your need for rest
- What happens to your ‘good’ cholesterol when you exercise
- How exercise could lower your blood pressure
Immunity and Vitamins report
- How your body deals with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients
- Which vitamins & supplements to take, how much, and why
- Insight into your immune, cardiovascular, liver, brain, and gut health
- Sun sensitivity
- Acne risk
- Dry skin risk
- Oily skin risk
- And more
Get updates on your risk for:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Other potentially life-threatening diseases
Learn whether you carry specific genes for:
- Sickle cell disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Tay-Sachs disease
Personality and cognition report
Learn if your genes predispose you to 30 personality traits, including:
- Likelihood to develop depression
- And more
Health and wellness report
- General health and wellness potential
- Longevity potential
- Insomnia risk
- Your inflammatory response and ability to detoxify
- Your genetic predisposition for COVID-19 infection
- Your potential infection severity
- Your potential reaction to several COVID-19 treatments
How do they do it?
Scientists are finding out more about the links between our genes and our bodies and minds every day.
We take the latest studies that correlate specific genetic markers with specific traits and expand our algorithm to incorporate the new findings into your report.
Once we have your DNA data, any new discoveries are automatically reflected in your reports.
That means you get to maximize your own individual health and wellness based on the very latest science.
- $19 for the first report with your own raw DNA data from 23andMe, Heritage.com, or Ancestry
- $199 for an at-home DNA test and your report bundle
- $60 a year for the platinum subscription. This includes:
- Full access to all nine LifeDNA reports
- Over 160 unique trait reports on your health, intelligence, personality, and body
- Continuous updates as new traits and reports are added
- …and much more
- Full access to all nine LifeDNA reports
LifeDNA Privacy & Security
Privacy and security is our top priority at LifeDNA.
We have an industry-leading security expert on our team who makes sure that our security is at the highest possible level.
Selling customer data is not our business model: we exist to maximize people’s quality of life and increase their longevity.
All DNA data is encrypted and stored separately from consumer information.
Consumers are also free to request their data be deleted at any time.
Advantages of LifeDNA
- LifeDNA’s library of genetic reports is constantly growing alongside the latest research on the human genome.
- Because we believe that genetics are only one crucial component of your wellness potential, we are planning to incorporate your environmental information—like age, health status and location—into the advice we give you as well.
- You can take action on your results right away because our reports are plain, simple: you’ll instantly know how to change the way you eat and live.
- Because we use the world’s best technology and employ industry-leading tech experts, our algorithm and machine learning ensures each report is the most accurate on the market.
- LifeDNA offers a COVID-19 Report which helps people discover their risks for COVID-19 based on genetics, lifestyle, personal habits, and other critical factors.
- LifeDNA also provides an exclusive membership with benefits including 1-on-1 consultations, unlimited updates, genomics newsletters, and Facebook community.
- Our platinum membership uses the latest discoveries in genetic science to give you up-to-the-minute information on how to eat, live and exercise according to your individual DNA.
Disadvantages of LifeDNA
- We don’t provide ancestry information.
- We only ship initial testing kits to the US and Canada (but you can upload your genetic data from other providers).
- We don’t provide information on cancer risk.
Is LifeDNA right for you?
LifeDNA is more than just a genetic testing company.
Our membership plugs you into a constantly evolving source of knowledge that you can use to optimize your health and wellness, for life.
Because we combine your genetic information with vital, non-genetic data on you and your lifestyle, our insights give you a 360-degree perspective on your own, individual potential, as opposed to your genetic potential alone.
While your genetic potential is a vital part of your health puzzle, it only loads the gun. Your environment pulls the trigger. So if you want a truly individualized, bespoke and dynamic service that can maximize your health and wellbeing for life, LifeDNA is right for you.
Looking to improve your overall health and well-being? Click here to get started on your DNA journey!
DNAfit is a genetic company founded in 2013 by South African Avi Lasarow. Based on genetic analysis, it creates personalized diet and fitness plans. DNAfit also has expert scientists and dieticians on their team to offer advice to people who want it.
How does it work? What do you get?
If you order the DNA testing kit online, you get a saliva swab delivered to your home. Once you’ve sent it off, it goes to an accredited laboratory to produce DNA sequencing results within 15 days. You then access your results using your login on the website.
You can choose from:
- Diet Fit ($189), which gives actionable nutritional information, a personalized meal planner with a nutrition report and recommendations for either a low carb diet, low fat diet, or Mediterranean diet.
- Health Fit ($249) is a more expensive service that provides the nutritional information found in Diet Fit plus extras like a health report where you get insight into traits like your predisposition to stress.
- There’s also the CircleDNA test which gives a more comprehensive analysis, with a price to match.
They have a range of plans, starting from $189 for the Diet Fit plan going up to $629 for the CircleDNA test.
DNAfit Privacy & Security
They say that they ‘require your permission to share the results’ with somebody outside the laboratory. They do not sell your information to third parties.
Advantages of DNAfit
- You can get reports on both your health and fitness potential
- You can upload your 23andme raw data, for a fee
- A one-off coaching session comes with the price
- There is a money-back guarantee (subject to terms and conditions).
- There are no ongoing subscription fees as they don’t offer membership
Disadvantages of DNAfit
- You can’t upload your raw DNA data to use through other companies
- Sometimes the health recommendations are generic
- The cost of the premium CircleDNA report with ‘whole exome sequencing’ is high ($629)
- Some customers report long wait times
Founded in April 2006, 23andMe offers DNA analysis and interactive tools to help consumers understand their genetic information and ancestry. They have a huge database of genomic information and are involved in genetic research.
The company works with several large pharmaceutical companies, which may be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your stance on sharing data.
How does it work? What do you get?
Their lab extracts DNA from cells in your saliva sample, then processes the DNA on a genotyping chip that reads hundreds of thousands of locations in your genome. After they analyze your genetic data, they generate your personalized reports.
23andMe offers Ancestry and Health reports separately. You can buy an Ancestry report for $99 or an Ancestry + Health report for $199. You need to collect a saliva sample for both.
23andMe Privacy & Security
23andMe only shares your data if you give them permission.
According to their site:
‘Your data is fiercely protected by security practices that are regularly reviewed and updated. Your genetic information deserves the highest level of security, because without security, you can’t have privacy. 23andMe employs software, hardware, and physical security measures to protect your data.’
Advantages of 23andMe
- They have a good range of genetic predisposition and carrier status reports.
- FDA authorization: 23andMe is one of the few that actually has FDA-authorized reports, a factor that makes it stand out among competitors.
- If you give 23andMe permission to share your DNA for research purposes, your DNA could be used to help develop new treatments for diseases.
- Discounts available: 23andMe often has special sales and discounts that reduce costs.
Disadvantages of 23andMe
- It might take three to five weeks to process your kit and send your results.
- Little information or insight into the findings: Their reports are really just stark data, with few actionable insights.
- 23andMe’s health predisposition and carrier reports only test for specific variants, which may be a problem for people of non-European ethnicities.
- Customer service issues: Reviews report problems with 23andMe’s customer service.
FitnessGenes is a direct-to-consumer DNA testing company that was launched in 2013 by Dr. Samantha Decombel and Dr. Dan Reardon. The company operates out of the United Kingdom.
The company analyses your DNA to give you tailored workouts and nutrition plans, as well as access to a genetic coaching team and an online community
How does it work? What do you get?
After you provide a saliva sample from the kit you’ll get mailed to your home, it will be processed by a certified UK laboratory. The lab will extract the DNA from cells in the sample and analyze the genetic information.
You can also upload your raw data, if you already have it.
Then you’ll get a report based on 40 different genes that relate to fitness and nutrition.
The report using your raw data costs $49. If you need a test, the Fitness Genes DNA Analysis costs $199.
You can also buy the Fitness Genes DNA analysis with 4, 8, or 12 weeks detailed, personalized daily workout plans and nutrition plans for $229, $259, and $289 respectively.
FitnessGenes Privacy & Security
The company states that it will not provide your name, contact information or genetic data to any third parties without your consent. With your consent, they retain your DNA sample for up to 12 years, for potential research and development.
Fitness Genes won’t store your details along with your sample. Although you will be able to opt-out of research and development, if you do consent, you will not be compensated, even if your DNA is used in a study that results in commercial benefits.
Advantages of FitnessGenes
- Free information about the role of genetics in things like gut inflammation, vitamin absorption, obesity risk, and muscle growth through the website
- You can use your DNA results from 23andMe, Atlas Biomed, AncestryDNA, Family Tree DNA, iGene, Living DNA, MyHeritage or Vitagene.
- The fitness and nutrition information you get is in-depth and comprehensive
- FitnessGenes offers extra support to help you meet your exercise and diet goals, with access to nutritionists and personal trainers, for a fee.
Disadvantages of FitnessGenes
- If you live outside of the US, Canada, and the UK, you will have to pay extra to ship your test kit back to the lab.
- Although there’s a DNA health report where you can find out your genetic predisposition to high blood pressure and obesity, there’s no information about genetic diseases.
- If you want to be part of a growing movement of people who use the latest discoveries in genetic science as they happen to maximize their health and happiness, LifeDNA is for you.
- If you’re into health and fitness and you only need a one-off report, and you’re happy to only see your genetic potential without environmental factors taken into account, DNAfit could be for you.
- If you want to play a role in global health research and you’d prefer an FDA-accredited institution, try 23andMe.
- If you’re looking for a lower price and you already have your genetic data from another provider, FitnessGenes might fit the bill.