“Where do I come from? Where am I going?”
These questions are foundational to the human experience. Where your ancestry and health are concerned, it is now easier than ever before to get answers thanks to the development of at home DNA test kits.
You have probably seen these test kits advertised on television and online, and may be wondering whether they are worth it.
Are they accurate? Are they easy to use? Can they help you protect your health?
In this article, I am going to answer those questions so that you can make an informed choice. First, I will tell you all about at home DNA test kits: how they work, what they can tell you, and what their limitations are.
Then I will tell you about my favourite at home DNA testing company and the kits I recommend for health and well-being. Let’s dive in.
What Are Home DNA Test Kits?
To some, the concept of an at home DNA test may seem obvious. But for others, it might not. I know the first time I heard about it, it seemed like something out of a science fiction movie.
The idea couldn’t be simpler.
You order a test kit online. It is shipped to you in the mail. You take a sample and send it back.
There’s nothing technical about it—at least not on your end. The technical stuff all happens at the lab. You just kick back and wait for your results.
There are a number of popular brands which are offering affordable at home DNA test kits right now. A lot of them are geared toward helping you uncover your ancestry.
The test kit I’m going to suggest is for something even more important: helping you take care of your health.
DNA test kits for health fill a gaping void when it comes to healthcare, and that is providing you with the building blocks for a customized plan for wellness.
That means you can say goodbye to one-size-fits-all diet and weight loss plans, and you can take steps now to protect yourself from diseases which you may be genetically predisposed to. That is the power of DNA.
How The Home DNA Testing Process Works
Let’s talk a little bit more about the process. It varies from company to company, but for HomeDNA Testing, the company I recommend, it works like this:
- You order your test kit through the HomeDNA store online. You can do this in the comfort of your own home on your desktop, laptop or mobile device.
- You register your kit in order to activate it. This step is also done online.
- Wait for your DNA test kit to arrive in the mail.
- When the test kit arrives, open it up and read the instructions carefully.
- Collect your DNA samples. You do this by taking cheek swabs. There are no needles involved, which means zero pain.
- Mail back the samples.
- The lab will check out your DNA against thousands of markers. This process takes around 4-6 weeks. During this time, you also will need to fill out a short survey to describe your health and lifestyle goals.
- The company will email you a report. In it, you can learn about your genetic profile. You also will be given personalized recommendations for health and lifestyle based on your genes. How cool is that?
That’s all there is to it! It could not be easier or faster to learn about your unique makeup.
What Are the Advantages of Home DNA Test Kits Over Traditional DNA Tests?
There are three major benefits to at home DNA testing:
According to the National Institutes of Health, DNA tests can range in price anywhere from $100 to $2,000, sometimes even higher.
Traditionally, it was common to have to pay thousands of dollars if you wanted to get your DNA tested at a hospital or clinic.
It has only been over the past few years that DNA tests have become affordable to the average consumer.
By getting your DNA tested at home, you can save hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars.
Getting your DNA tested at home also spares you the hassle of getting in your car, driving to a clinic or testing center, and waiting to get your samples taken.
In fact, the entire process at home is close to effortless. Instead of taking hours, it takes only minutes.
Plus, if for whatever reason you want to be discreet about your test, you can. Nobody but you has to know that you are delving into your DNA.
Are There Any Limitations to Home DNA Tests?
On the whole, if you are making a casual inquiry into your DNA, I would say that at home testing makes a lot more sense than going to a clinic. You will save a ton of time and money.
The two main limitations I can identify are these:
- Accuracy issues (depending on the company and the method)
- Lack of counseling
Not all DNA companies use the same techniques to draw conclusions from your DNA. Some are using outmoded methods. In fact, even some at home DNA testing companies have pointed out the challenges in providing consumers with accurate results.
That is why it is so important to make sure that you are using a company which is at the cutting edge in the field and is performing analysis in line with the latest research.
It is also helpful to keep in mind that accuracy issues can happen if you go the traditional route with testing as well.
The other limitation of at home DNA testing is that you are given your results in a report, but you do not have a licensed doctor on hand to explain them to you or put them in context.
If you are anxiety-prone, you might assume a certain marker means you will get a certain disease.
But let’s try to remember Gattaca. While that movie was a work of fiction, its message was relevant. Probabilities do not always equal realities.
Keep that in mind when you get your report, and if you do have concerns, get in touch with your healthcare provider.
What Features Should You Shop For in a High Quality Home DNA Test Kit?
Now you know both the benefits and limitations of at home DNA test kits. So long as you choose a quality company, you can keep inaccuracies to a minimum and enjoy the cost savings and other great benefits.
Here is what to look for to ensure that you are getting a quality test from a trusted brand:
- Choose a company which conducts its analysis in labs which are CAP-accredited and CLIA-certified.
- Analysis should be conducted according to the most up-to-date research. You should deal with a company which is constantly refining its techniques for the highest possible accuracy.
- The actual test kit should be manufactured in compliance with FDA regulations.
- Pick a company which will cater to your needs. If you want detailed health recommendations for example, it doesn’t make sense to get a kit which only looks at your ancestry. Make sure that you will actually get a personalized report, not something generic.
- A price you can afford. Most DNA test kits cost $200 or less, so it should be relatively easy to find more than a few reasonably priced options. For that reason, I suggest you focus mainly on features and benefits.
- Customer service. If at any point you have a question or concern and need a fast response, you will want to be working with a team that has you covered.
What is the Best Home DNA Test Kit for Health?
I’ve ordered DNA test kits from a number of brands now, so I have had plenty of opportunity to cross-compare features, pros and cons.
By far, I have had the best experiences with HomeDNA.
Here is what I love about this company:
- HomeDNA offers a variety of DNA tests for different purposes, mainly focused on health.
- The HomeDNA lab is the DNA Diagnostics Center (DCC®). This laboratory has been in operation since 1995, and has processed more than a million samples. You may have heard of them. Celebrities like Anna Nicole Smith and Prince have used them, and they’ve been featured on TV. All research and analysis is conducted by PhDs.
- You can order a HomeDNA test kit online or pick it up at a store near your location.
- Shipping on HomeDNA test kits is free. That includes the postage when you mail in your samples.
- The company has outstanding customer service. Other companies I ordered from didn’t bother telling me when they’d received my samples. HomeDNA emailed me right away when they got mine. They also emailed me when the results of the analysis were available in my online account.
There are three HomeDNA tests which I recommend for health:
- GPS Origins Advanced Ancestry Report
- HomeDNA™ Healthy Weight
- HomeDNA™ Skin Care
The Healthy Weight test is aimed at those who are struggling to lose or maintain weight based on “one-size-fits-all” diets. Based on your genotype, the lab will compile a report which gives you specific suggestions for your diet and workouts in order to optimize weight loss.
The Skin Care test assesses collagen, elasticity, pigmentation, sensitivity, and other areas of skin health based on your genetics. This allows you to make educated decisions in purchasing supplements, topical ointments and other skincare treatments which will best fit your skin profile.
These are both awesome products if you are just interested in those specific areas of health. But my top recommendation by far is the company’s flagship test kit, Vitagene® Health Report + Ancestry.
When You Order Vitagene® Health Report + Ancestry, Here Is What You Get:
- An all-in-one test for ancestry and health. The lab will examine over 700,000 genetic markers. That is a lot of data. You’ll be given a full breakdown of your genetic heritage by region.
- An in-depth diet report. You will be given a customized food plan which you can follow to mitigate obesity risk, gluten sensitivity, lactose sensitivity and more. Your personalized diet will help you control cholesterol and triglycerides to prevent cardiovascular disease.
- A personalized exercise program. Based on your physiology as well as your answers to the questionnaire, this program will help you optimize the intensity and frequency of your workouts to maximize your gains and achieve your goals. It will also direct you toward different types of exercise which may suit your body.
- A customized supplement report. Ever wonder exactly which nutritional supplements you should be taking to maximize your health? Finally the guessing game can end. Your report will tell you which supplements are most important given your genetic profile.
I’ve ordered test kits from other companies that promised me “customized plans” but gave me little more than “eat fruits and vegetables.”
When I ordered Vitagene® Health Report + Ancestry, I was blown away by the level of detail in the reports.
I love how this company has taken the leading edge of nutritional research and matched it up with individual genotypes and tailored it to the lifestyles and goals of customers.
Since receiving my report, I’ve made major adjustments to my diet, started a new exercise program, and switched out several of my supplements.
I can’t even tell you the difference it has made in my life.
I’m feeling physically better than I have in ages. The renewed energy, the weight I’ve finally dropped on the scale, and my falling triglycerides have been amazing.
But that isn’t all. I’ve saved money on healthcare products I didn’t really need to be buying, and I’ve gotten away from diets and workout programs that were never going to work for me.
I am so much less stressed. The peace of mind is a huge deal. I feel like I am finally able to take care of my body and mind in a way that is uniquely right for me.
Where Can You Order Vitagene® Health Report + Ancestry from HomeDNA?
Knowledge is power, and the truth you learn from your genes can revolutionize your life. It’s time to take control of your diet, exercise and supplements, and finally get on track toward your health and wellness goals. Ready to take the next steps and get your own personalized Vitagene® Health and Ancestry Report?
Click below to order now!