You’ve probably wondered before: “What can my DNA tell me about my health?”
Maybe you have a health condition that runs in your family. Or maybe there’s some specific health issue that you’re looking to improve. After all, you can’t perform your best if you’re not feeling your best.
Something got you started in this search for optimal health. Trial and error can get you so far, but maybe you feel a little fed up with all the contradicting information you find on the internet. Plus, what works for someone else might not work for you.
Your DNA makes you who you are, so why not look at it to see what’s the best thing you can do for your health? Within your genes, there’s a lot of hidden information about how you handle stress, your gut health, and what’s the best exercise for you.
The list is endless. And so are your possibilities after getting your DNA tested.
You may think that just because a DNA test says you’re more or less likely to be overweight, for example, that there’s nothing you can do about it.
Well, it’s quite the opposite.
Knowing if you’re more likely to have a certain health condition based on your genetics can be scary, but this can actually help you make the necessary adjustments in your lifestyle to counteract your bad genes.
DNA testing has been growing in popularity in the past few years. It’s no wonder, with all the amazing things you can learn from it:
With the increase in popularity, there are more and more DNA companies coming up, each with their purposes. Maybe you want actionable insights into your health or just want to find out more about your past. There is always a DNA test that will fit your needs.
But before choosing a DNA test, let’s go over 3 top tips to help you make the best informed decision.
You may have heard horror stories about companies that share data with third parties. There are even cases of big DNA companies that pair up with pharmaceutical companies to turn your data into profit.
When spitting into a tube, you may not want to give your genetic information to companies who favor their own interests above your health and privacy.
You want to look for a genetic company that has top-notch data protection protocols and keeps up to date with modern security standards. There are reputable companies that make a commitment to not sell your data to third parties. This way, you can make sure your DNA data is protected and won’t be handed over to big corporations.
So, you found out you’re genetically predisposed to a health condition. Now what?
Most DNA companies out there don’t really tell you what you can do to optimize your health. At most, their “recommendations” are just a copy and paste of the most common recommendations you can find anywhere on the internet.
But your genes can influence how well you respond to certain health optimization strategies, so be on the lookout for a company that actually takes into consideration all of the relevant genes to tell you what you can do to improve your health.
Did you know that many DNA companies out there don’t have a lot of scientists on their team? It can be hard to give a scientifically valid DNA report that way. After all, you want to have the best science team handling your data, don’t you?
On top of that, many DNA companies are using extremely outdated methods to analyze your genes, which means the health insights you’re getting are really not accurate.
Follow the experts, and there’s a high chance you’ll find a product that can give you the most science-backed information. When it comes to your health, this is something you shouldn’t want to compromise.
SelfDecode is the only direct-to-consumer DNA company that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning in genomics. If you choose to get your genes analyzed with SelfDecode, you’ll receive your genetic risk score and prioritized health recommendations based on your DNA.
By analyzing millions of data points, SelfDecode can provide you with the most accurate health insights that are personalized to your genes. For the scientific curious, SelfDecode backs their claims with peer-reviewed scientific studies, which are available throughout the reports.
SelfDecode was founded in 2016 by Joe Cohen, who, after improving his own health with genetics, set out to help other people do the same.
Today, SelfDecode has a team of over 80 highly skilled scientists, MDs, PhDs, NDs, and software engineers working to make sure the information provided is the most accurate and up to date with the latest scientific research.
As opposed to other companies, SelfDecode doesn’t share data with any third parties and employs only the most modern security standards to keep your data safe.
SelfDecode’s algorithm uses genetic imputation to predict and analyze up to 83 million variants from a typical DNA file with an accuracy of 99.7%. This means you’ll receive more data from a standard DNA kit that only tests 700,000 SNPs without having to pay for whole genome sequencing.
Each report from SelfDecode looks at over 1 million genetic variants to give your recommendations, which is thousands of times more than other competitors do. It also means that your genetic health risks and recommendations are more accurate than any other company.
SelfDecode is also the only DNA company that gives you prioritized recommendations specifically tailored to your genes. Instead of just copying and pasting generic recommendations from Google, SelfDecode actually analyzes your genes and ranks the recommendations from most effective to least effective based specifically on your body. SelfDecode actually analyzes your genes and ranks the recommendations from most effective to least effective based specifically on your body.
23andMe was one of the first direct-to-consumer DNA testing services out there for both ancestry and health. The health reports give you an analysis of how likely you are to develop a trait or condition, but limited or no recommendations on how to improve your health.
23andMe doesn’t let you upload your raw genetic data to get access to the reports, so you’ll need to get your DNA tested with the company. This can be frustrating if you already have access to your DNA file from another provider.
If you’re concerned about privacy, it’s worth noting that 23andMe has many partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to give access to your genetic data.
23andMe has been around for a long time. Anne Wojcicki and Linda Avey founded the company in 2006, in Sunnyvale, California. Today, they have one of the largest user DNA databases, but not without controversies.
23andMe has partnerships with multiple pharmaceutical companies, the most notable being GlaxoSmithKline, one of the largest drug makers in the world. 23andMe has granted them exclusive rights to mine customer data for drug targeting. If you don’t want your data being shared with third parties, 23andMe might not be for you.
Other partnerships include Genentech, Pfizer, and TrialSpark.
Health reports from 23andMe include insights into your health predisposition, general wellness, and carrier status. The number of genetic variants analyzed vary a lot depending on the report. Most only include one or two SNP, but some can look at 1,000 variants.
Keep in mind that 23andMe gives you little to no guidance on how to manage your genetic risks. You’ll only get general lifestyle tips in your reports and no personalized health plan.
CircleDNA offers whole exome sequencing, which can give you a lot of raw DNA data to go through. The number of reports they offer is impressive (over 500), but they only analyze a few genes in each one.
CircleDNA was founded in 2014 by Danny Yeung and Lawrance Tzang. Circle is owned by Prenetics Limited and they process all DNA samples in their lab in Hong Kong, China.
You can get over 500 reports from 20 health categories, plus complimentary consultations with genetic professionals.
CircleDNA’s WES gives you more raw data than a standard SNP chip test. However, the reports only analyze a handful of genes, so keep in mind that you may not be getting the full picture if you choose this company.
By using this company, you’re consenting that your data will be governed by the regulations of Hong Kong, China, even if they may differ from those of your country of residence. As it is, CircleDNA may share your personal information if required by the Chinese government.
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