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What to Do With Your 23andMe Results
Updated on February 16, 2024
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What to Do With Your 23andMe Results

Undergoing DNA testing like 23andMe offers many benefits. Once you get your 23andMe results, you can look closely at your genetic health and understand your ancestry.

Essentially, these results help you approach life with your eyes wide open. DNA insights can help provide you with more information about yourself and your health.

Please remember, however, that taking a DNA test is not a substitute for visits to your healthcare provider. They will still be the best equipped to interpret your results and provide guidance about what you should do next.

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10 Things You Can Do with Your DNA Test Results

Here are ten of the most important things you can do with your results after taking a DNA test.

1. Change Your Current Health Habits to Reduce Your Most Significant Risks

Many of the health challenges we face are built into our genetic code. Certain diseases and medical conditions run in families, and many people are born with higher genetic risks than others. Health predisposition reports can better inform your choices.

However, it's important to remember that genetic disease risk doesn’t mean your genetic makeup guarantees you’ll have to deal with these issues.1 Genetic health conditions aren't always going to develop, so make sure you ask your doctor, a genetic expert, or your healthcare provider for help.

By knowing more about your genetic information through health reports, you can make lifestyle changes that help you reduce your risk for things like cancer, heart disease, and neurological disorders.

2. Understand More About Yourself

Do you have certain quirks you’ve never understood? Have you always wondered where your freckles came from or why your feet are prone to bunions?2 These things could have a link to genetics.

With a 23andMe test, you’ll understand more about the features that make you who you are. From physical features like eye color or hair color, to certain things like if you're prone to alcohol flush can be interesting to explore.

A wellness report can make all the difference when it comes to figuring out why you are the way you are.

3. Determine Whether You Should Change Your Eating Habits

If you still somehow can't drop those last ten pounds you've been working for despite watching what you eat religiously and trying to stay active, it might not be your fault. In fact, our weight is almost entirely influenced by our genes.

What’s built into our genetic code has a way of normalizing our weight back to a predetermined range. This means that, no matter how much you exercise or count calories, you’ll likely end up in the same weight range most of your adult life.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t eat healthy, exercise, and make smart choices about your current regimen. However, it does mean you shouldn’t beat yourself up when you're doing all you can and the scale still won’t budge.

It's worth mentioning that even if your genes can make it harder to manage your weight, changing your daily habits can help counteract these genetic factors.3

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4. Adopt a New Hobby

Have you ever wondered why some people like to build model ships while others prefer hiking or kayaking? It could be your “hobby gene.” 

Scientists believe that we inherit many of our likes and dislikes. Of course, our environment matters a great deal, and some people resist taking up a particular pastime just because of a relative’s love of it. But according to science, the things you love doing most are likely linked to your genetics.4

5. Know What You Might Pass on to Your Kids

Bringing a child into the world is often considered a joyful experience, but as any parent will tell you, it also comes with plenty of fears. For many parents, some of those fears stem from what they might pass on to their kids.

Some parents are aware that they may have certain conditions in their family medical history that they can pass on to future children. Others are worried about their carrier status and may feel anxious about figuring that out. Carrier status reports are helpful when deciding whether or not to conceive, as they may pass down an unwanted genetic variant.

Genetic testing helps you determine what might be transmitted to future generations and gives you a blueprint for who your child might become.

6. Gain DNA Insights into Your Fears

Have you ever wondered why spiders terrify you or why public speaking seems dreadful? It could be your genes.

Although there is no fear gene, many of the genes associated with fear are encoded in our neurotransmitters and their receptors.

The combinations of these different forms passed from our biological parents predispose us to respond with greater or lesser degrees of anxiety or fear of things in our environment.

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7. Find Out If You’re at Risk for Addiction

Managing addiction is one of the toughest things a person can experience. Unfortunately, many of us are born at risk of having to do so. All types of addiction—from gambling to alcoholism to sex addiction—have a genetic link.

Our environment and the choices we make in life also play a role, but genetic testing can help you determine your risk. Just because you are genetically predisposed to addiction doesn’t mean you will become an addict.

A genetic predisposition is not because of an addiction gene. It's more of the dopamine receptor behavior you inherit from your parents which can lend itself to addiction.

It helps to know your family history, educate yourself about the risks of addiction, and find healthy ways to cope with stress, especially once you know your risk is higher than the average person's.

8. Learn Something About Your Personality

Does it seem like the older you get, the more you behave like your mother or father? Does your spouse drive you nuts because he or she seems to be morphing into your in-laws? There is likely a genetic basis for this occurring.

After studying data from 23andMe and other organizations, scientists found a link between genes and certain personality traits. For example, it seems that extroversion and the tendency to be neurotic are both heavily genetically influenced.

Trait reports have become some of the most interesting parts of many DNA testing results, as some companies try to offer unique perspectives into your genetic variants.

The newly discovered information is fascinating and changes how many people view personality disorders.

9. Choose a Better Career

Of course, it’s no surprise that if your genes affect your personality, your hobbies, and other aspects of who you are, they’ll also affect the career you choose.

If you didn’t consider these things when choosing your career path, it might be time for a change. You’re more likely to feel fulfilled doing work suited to who you are according to your genetically predisposed strengths.

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10. Celebrate Your Heritage

Finally, learning about your genetic makeup is a great way to know more about your roots. Have you always wondered where your ancestors were from? DNA tests can estimate the geographic regions you may have originated from.

Do you know what challenges they faced and what historical events they witnessed? A genetic test is a great way to get in touch with your heritage so you can celebrate who you are and what makes you unique.

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Why Take a DNA Test?

DNA testing is a powerful tool for taking control of your health and wellness. It also satisfies the natural curiosity we all have about our roots.

Here are some of the benefits of taking a DNA test:

  • Better idea of any genetic predispositions or health conditions you may have
  • Ways to personalize your health, lifestyle, and nutrition according to what you may be at risk for
  • More information on your family's origins and ancestry
  • Legal and forensic cases
  • Prenatal testing to better understand your baby's health risks
  • Find out more about any genetic mutation or genetic variant you may have inherited

DNA tests are great sources of information, but remember to consult a healthcare provider to interpret your data best.

Genetic testing is also a good idea, even for conditions that don't totally rely on genetics to develop. For example, certain hereditary cancers (like ovarian cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or even pancreatic cancer) are labeled "hereditary" because a prevalence of it in your family history may increase your risk, even if many cases of these cancers are spontaneous.

Are At-Home DNA Tests Reliable and Accurate?

Yes. If you take the test properly and choose a reputable genetic testing company, you can get pretty accurate results that will teach you a lot, even as much as a lab test.

Some DNA tests will vary, but many cover health risks, ancestry possibilities, and some other fun reports that set the service apart.

DNA testing companies like 23andme present your genetic health risk results in very digestible reports. Despite their readability, you should still seek advice from your doctor before jumping to any conclusions and taking uninformed medical action.

Many at-home tests may offer just a single report or several, depending on the bundle or package you purchase.

Are At-Home DNA Tests Better than Lab Tests?

It depends on what you need or want to prioritize. If you prefer more privacy and the comfort and convenience of your home, at-home tests may be the best choice.

If you prefer a more controlled environment and to not handle your sample directly, a lab test may be for you.

Either way, as long as your sample is properly handled, your results will come out pretty reliable and accurate. If you do so, you can better understand your ancestry, genetic health risks, or other reports you purchased.

How Do At-Home DNA Tests Work?

At-home DNA testing kits usually require a simple DNA sample, like a saliva sample or blood sample. They'll ask you to collect this at home (or wherever is most convenient for you), seal your sample, and then mail it to the company.

After some analysis and processing time, they'll send you your results. Depending on the company, they'll send it to you digitally, or you can access it from their online portals.

About 23andMe

23andMe is a DNA testing company that empowers you to learn more about yourself, your ancestry, and your genetic predispositions. Giving you the chance to connect with your DNA on a deeper level helps you make better decisions about your health and lifestyle.

Key Features:

  • Learn about your genes – Learn how genetics can affect your likelihood of developing certain health conditions. These conditions include Alzheimer’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and more. It may also help you know your cancer risk.
  • Discover your traits – Find out what your genetic markers have to say about things like smell and taste preferences.
  • Know your child’s health risks – Your test results will tell you what conditions you may be predisposed to passing to your children.
  • Download your data – 23andMe allows you to download your raw data. This DNA data can then be uploaded to sites like Ancestry.com or Living DNA.

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What To Do With Your 23andMe Results
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What to Do With Your 23andMe Results 10

Keep in mind that 23andMe is not meant to be diagnostic. Any results should be considered in the context of your life and family history.

Our environment plays a major role in who we are and what we’ll have to deal with throughout our lives. But 23andme, like other DNA tests, is a great way to get an understanding of the foundation of who you are and build on it to live your happiest and healthiest life. Your choices matter even more when you understand your genes. 

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Updated on February 16, 2024
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4 sources cited
Updated on February 16, 2024
Dr. Dhingra
Dr. Harshi Dhingra
Medical Reviewer
Dr Harshi Dhingra is a licensed medical doctor with a specialization in Pathology. Dr. Dhingra has of over a decade in diagnostic, clinical, research and teaching work, including managing all sections of Pathology laboratory including histopathology, cytology, hematology and clinical Pathology.
Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad
Content Contributor
Angela is a full-time digital content manager and editor for Know Your DNA. She also contributes freelance articles to several local and international websites when she has the time. She's always been a voracious believer in finding the truth and ensuring the science is sound.
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