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3 Essential Tips To Know Before Buying A DNA Test

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.

But isn’t DNA set in stone?

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:

What to look out for when choosing a DNA test

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.

Tip #1:
Look for a company that protects your data

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.

Tip #2:
Find a test that tells you your genetic predispositions and what to do about it

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.

Tip #3:
Make sure you’re getting science-backed DNA reports

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.

Top DNA Tests

#1 Rated Choice

#1 SelfDecode

Overview

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.

Company Reputation

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 60 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.

Details/Accuracy of Reports

SelfDecode’s algorithm uses genetic imputation to predict and analyze up to 80 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.

#2 Choice

#2 Nebula Genomics

Overview

Nebula Genomics offers whole genome sequencing, which is far more expensive than other popular DNA tests on the market, and you won’t get much more actionable information from it. You’ll receive a variety of health and ancestry reports from Nebula with a subscription.

Company Reputation

Nebula was founded in 2016 by Professor George Church and two Harvard students, Kamal Obbad and Dennis Grishin. Professor Church is an experienced researcher in genomics. Their goal was to offer whole genome sequencing at a lower price point than was standard at the time. 

A DNA test from Nebula can cost up to $999, plus the price for their subscription. Nebula makes a commitment to privacy and says that you’ll have full ownership of your genomic data. However, in 2019, they partnered with the pharmaceutical giant Merck to provide access to their network of anonymized genomic data.

Nebula sends all DNA samples to a BGI lab in Hong Kong, China.

Details/Accuracy of Reports

The Nebula Library is a weekly updated collection of genetic reports, and they do a good job of using accurate scientific research and citing it properly. However, despite the 200+ reports available when you purchase a test from Nebula, you won’t get recommendations to help you improve your health.

Nebula’s whole genome sequencing will give you a lot of raw data to go through, but they don’t use artificial intelligence and machine learning to actually analyze all of these data points. This means that you might not receive the most accurate results and health insights from the reports.

Take Nebula’s “Thinness” report, for example. It analyzes only 5 genetic variants associated with thinness. For comparison, the SelfDecode Weight report looks at 455,000+ variants to give your genetic risk score and personalized recommendations based on your DNA.

#3 Choice

#3 Dante Labs

Overview

Dante’s main offering is their whole genome sequencing. With the data gained from this test, they offer a multitude of health-related reports such as nutrition and sleep. You can also upload a file from another testing service to get access to some of the reports without having to do their expensive test.

Company Reputation

Mattia Capulli and Andrea Riposati founded Dante Labs back in 2016. Their headquarters is in New York City, but their lab is in Italy. Unfortunately, Dante’s reviews aren’t the most positive. Most customers complain about very long turnaround times and unresponsive customer support.

Details/Accuracy of Reports

Getting your whole genome sequenced by this company can cost you over $1,000. Each of Dante’s reports focuses on a different health topic, but they don’t offer much when it comes to gene-based health recommendations. Dante backs up their conclusions with research, but these studies are not cited in the reports.

Despite giving you access to your whole genome data, they don’t analyze all of this information to give you the most accurate results. For comparison, Dante’s Diabetes report looks at only 61 genes, while SelfDecode analyzes over 1 million genetic variants to help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.

#1 Rated Choice

SelfDecode © 2021 All Rights Reserved

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