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Life DNA Review: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

Updated on June 29, 2021
Written by
Joel
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The popularity of direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits has skyrocketed in the past few years. For less than $100, people can know more about their ancestry. Additionally, they get information about their genetic risk for various health conditions.

Gone are the days when DNA testing or DNA sequencing cost $1 billion. As of 2020, almost 30 million people have taken a DNA test. The global market is expected to reach more than $600 million by 2026. 

Despite the controversies that hound genetic testing, it holds mass appeal. But before buying a DNA testing kit, an informed decision is a must. You must be able to dig into your options thoroughly.

Life DNA Review: What You Need to Know Before You Buy 7

Nearly 30 million people have taken a DNA test.

Medical DNA Test vs Consumer DNA Test

A medical DNA test is more regulated than a number of home DNA tests. It specifically tests for a wide range of genetic mutations. These genetic mutations are often associated with particular diseases and types of cancers.

A DNA test should allow you to discuss the results with a qualified professional. It should come with the test. 

A medical DNA test involves formal genetic counseling and risk assessment before and after the test. Getting tested further won’t be necessary to confirm the results.

Your insurance most likely covers the testing costs, too, so you don’t have to spend anything out of pocket. 

But not all DNA testing kits are created equal. A home DNA test or a direct-to-consumer test may require further testing. This is to confirm a mutation noted in the test. 

A home DNA test tests for select mutations in a limited number of genes related to certain diseases. It is not like a medical DNA test.

It isn’t covered by insurance. A genetic counselor isn’t typically involved, either. What you get is often limited to online education. 

Reading your results online can be challenging as well. You can easily misunderstand parts of the health reports.

For doctors and scientists to closely examine DNA, both tests will require the following:

  • Blood test
  • Hair sample
  • Mouth swab

Health and Wellness Benefits of Home DNA Testing 

The evolution in DNA testing technology has promoted awareness of genetic diseases. Nearly a third of a poll’s respondents said that they or their family members have considered getting tested. This is because testing has become easier and cheaper. 

A DTC or home DNA test kit can be effortlessly obtained and used.  It doesn’t require approval from your health insurance company or healthcare provider.

How does home DNA testing benefit you?

While it isn’t a diagnostic test, people find out right away if the risk of having cancer is high. A home DNA test can also reveal if a person is at risk for Alzheimer’s and other illnesses. 

DNA testing can be instrumental in helping people take the necessary steps to protect themselves and keep healthy. 

A DNA test may be used in educating family members of potential health and genetic risks. This can help them make lifestyle changes if needed.

In-depth knowledge of your risk for diseases can be beneficial in a significant way. Knowing your risk is low equally provides a sense of relief from uncertainty. 

It is important to note, however, that testing won’t eliminate your risks at all. But the information you get from a DNA test is essential. It will empower you to make informed lifestyle and medical changes. Seek help from a qualified health professional.

What is LifeDNA?

LifeDNA is a personal genomics company based in Hawaii, USA. It was founded in 2017 by Cyril Moukarzel, Jared Kushi, and Steve Markowitz.

LifeDNA uses a robust algorithm anchored on 600+ peer-reviewed scientific studies. It generates the following DNA reports:

  • Intelligence
  • Personality
  • Nutrition
  • Supplementation
  • Fitness
  • Skincare 

LifeDNA, unlike other testing companies, goes beyond ancestry and disease risk. It ultimately recommends skincare products and nutritional supplements based on your DNA.

How does DNA testing at LifeDNA work?

  1. LifeDNA sends its DNA test — or analyzes your DNA from other DNA testing companies. These companies 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Living DNA, and Family Tree DNA. 
  2. Researchers compare the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in your DNA with LifeDNA’s database.
  3. Based on your DNA data, you receive a personalized, unbiased report to help improve your skin, body, mind, and health. 

What is a genomic analysis?

Unlocking your DNA requires genomic analysis.

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An organism’s genome holds the blueprint for building and maintaining that organism. In humans, every single cell in the body contains a copy of the entire genome. 3.2 billion DNA base pairs are residing in the chromosomes within the nucleus.

Genomic analysis refers to the process of identifying, measuring, and comparing features such as DNA sequence and gene expression at a genomic scale. 

It involves three main steps:

  1. Given a DNA sequence, identifying which portions of the genome are involved in coding proteins and which aren’t.
  2. Identifying the genome’s main elements.
  3. Splitting a newly sequenced genome into coding and non-coding regions.

Different methods and machines exist for sequencing genomes. The average sequencing project takes 3-7 days to complete, depending on the sample count.

What are LifeDNA's products? 

LifeDNA Reports - $99

The results are generated instantly. Just upload your DNA from 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Living DNA, and Family Tree DNA.

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What’s included? 

  • Personality, intelligence, nutrition, supplementation, fitness, and skincare DNA reports.
  • Report on 130+ genetic traits, including an actionable recommendation for each trait report.
  • Unlimited access to updates

After submitting your raw DNA data, you get reports that include these traits:

1. Health and wellness- 22 traits

  • Smoking Behavior & Nicotine Dependence
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Insomnia
  • Appendicitis
  • Resting heart rate
  • Attractiveness to Mosquitoes
  • Inguinal Hernia
  • Motion Sickness
  • Inflammatory response,
  • Cannabis Dependence
  • Mental Health
  • Job-related exhaustion
  • DNA Damage and Detoxification Ability
  • Menstrual cycle length
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Kidney Stone Predisposition
  • Male Pattern Baldness
  • Longevity
  • Alcohol response
  • Alcohol addiction
  • Sleep Duration
  • Sleep Depth
  • Nearsightedness

2. Personality & Cognition- 36 traits

  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Openness
  • Extraversion
  • Neuroticism
  • Loneliness
  • Resilience
  • Instant Gratification
  • Risk-taking
  • Morningness
  • Social rejection
  • Impulsivity
  • Fear of Pain
  • Positive Affectivity
  • Reward Dependence
  • Harm Avoidance
  • Hearing Function
  • Sensitivity to Stimuli
  • Educational Attainment
  • Hypnotizability
  • Perceptual
  • Speed
  • Creativity
  • Cognitive Control
  • Optimism
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Emotional Support Seeking
  • Depression
  • Maternal Sensitivity
  • Hearing function
  • Gambling
  • Mathematical Ability
  • Intelligence
  • Verbal memory
  • Musical Ability
  • Multitasking
  • Intergenerational transmission of qualities

3. Nutrition- 27 traits

  • Carbohydrate metabolism
  • Protein Intake
  • Saturated fat metabolism
  • Sodium sensitivity
  • Peach Allergy
  • Peanut Allergy
  • Shrimp Allergy
  • Gluten sensitivity
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Response to Ketogenic Diet
  • Caffeine sensitivity
  • Phytoestrogen need
  • Sugar preference
  • Hunger
  • Satiety
  • Vegetable consumption
  • Fiber need
  • Sensitivity to bitter foods
  • Snacking behavior
  • Appetite
  • Preference for fatty foods
  • Antioxidant status
  • Tendency to binge eat
  • Weight change
  • Spice sensitivity
  • Unhealthy food intake
  • Soda consumption

4. Fitness - 24 traits 

  • Lactate Clearance
  • Power vs. Endurance
  • Metabolic Rate and Metabolic Syndrome
  • Aerobic Capacity
  • Muscle Strength
  • Weight Loss and Exercise
  • Blood Pressure and Exercise
  • HDL Cholesterol and Exercise
  • Insulin Sensitivity and Exercise
  • Motivation to Exercise
  • Exercise Heart Rate Profile
  • Injury Predisposition
  • Hand Grip Strength
  • Bone Density and Fracture Risk
  • Leisure-Time Physical Activity
  • Testosterone
  • Habitual Physical Activity
  • Post-Exercise Recovery Rate
  • Exercise-Induced Ischemia
  • Inflammation and Pain Tolerance
  • Energy Balance and Production
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Triglyceride and Exercise
  • Flexibility

5. Skincare - 14 traits

  • Skin Sensitivity
  • Skin Dryness
  • Oiliness (sebum production)
  • Acne
  • Skin Pigmentation
  • Skin Elasticity
  • Sun Sensitivity
  • Rosacea
  • Stretch Marks (Striae distansae)
  • Skin Aging
  • Freckles
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Facial Wrinkles

6. Immunity & Vitamins (Supplements)- 34 traits

  • Vitamin C levels
  • Vitamin E levels
  • Zinc levels
  • Iron levels
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Copper levels
  • DHA levels
  • Liver enzyme levels
  • Vitamin B6 levels
  • Vitamin B12 levels
  • Vitamin B9 (folate levels)
  • CoQ10 levels
  • Probiotic need
  • Magnesium levels
  • Iodine levels
  • Thyroid function
  • Melatonin levels
  • Male Fertility (male reproductive health)
  • Erectile dysfunction (male reproductive health)
  • Folate need (female natal health)
  • Iron levels (female natal health)
  • Choline need (female natal health)
  • Calcium levels
  • Vitamin D levels
  • Phosphorus levels
  • Vitamin K levels
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Proteinuria
  • Visual acuity
  • Vitamin A levels
  • Biotin levels
  • Vitamin B5 levels
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis

Other reports are also available:

7. Disease Predisposition-10 traits

  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Celiac Disease
  • Familial Hypercholesterolemia
  • Iron Overload Disorder
  • G6PD Deficiency
  • Hereditary Amyloidosis (TTR-Related)
  • Hereditary Thrombophilia
  • MUTYH-Associated Polyposis
  • Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease
  • Parkinson's Disease
  1. Covid-19- 6 traits

In response to the pandemic, LifeDNA announced the availability of the Covid-19 Susceptibility Report. 

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  • Predisposition to coronavirus infection
  • Infection Severity
  • Reaction to Oseltamivir
  • Reaction to Chloroquine
  • Response to Hydroxychloroquinef
  • Response to Lopinavir

9. Carrier Status - 11 traits

The Carrier Status report became available to LifeDNA customers in late 2020.

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  • Sickle Cell Disease and Other Hemoglobanopathies
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Tay-Sachs Disease
  • Canavan Disease
  • Familial Hyperinsulinism
  • Hereditary Sensory Neuropathy
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Hereditary Fructosuria
  • Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease
  • Familial Mediterranean fever

10. Fertility (exclusive to women) - 9 traits

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Early Menopause
  • Premature Ovarian Insufficiency
  • Ovarian Reserve
  • Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
  • Recurrent Implantation Failure (IVF)
  • Endometriosis Placental Abruption
  • Preeclampsia

It’s worth noting that the Fertility report, designed for women, only became available in May 2021.

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LifeDNA Reports & DNA Test Kit - $199

Aside from the health report and other reports mentioned above, this plan includes a DNA Testing Kit from LifeDNA, which will cost $149. 

How does it work? 

  1. Wait for the DNA Test Kit from LifeDNA.
  2. Swab your cheek.
  3. Send the testing kit back for genetic testing.

It takes around two weeks to process your LifeDNA test results.

Platinum LifeDNA Membership - $60/year or $25/quarter

Platinum members of LifeDNA enjoy the following perks:

  • 1:1 consultation with a genetic expert
  • Unlimited updates and additional traits
  • Disease, Carrier Trait, Fertility, Gut Health, and Covid-19 Reports
  • Access to LifeDNA smart nutrition app (launching soon)
  • Complimentary membership to LifeDNA’s exclusive community on Facebook
  • Free Genomics Newsletter subscription
  • VIP customer service

Personalized Supplements & Skincare Products

LifeDNA recommends natural, US-made skincare products and supplements based on your DNA reports. The prices vary from $39/mo for personalized supplements to $289 every three months for a Deluxe Beauty Box.

Is it worth the money? 

The decision to test your DNA comes with a cost and ideally involves endorsement and guidance from a professional. This keeps anyone from making health-related choices based on inaccurate, incomplete, and misunderstood test results. 

But if you’re worried about a particular ailment, get tested. This can eliminate uncertainty and identify family members who are also at risk. It may not predict the age of onset, but it can guide diagnostic tests and medical care. 

Thus, paying $99 to get insight into your genetic risk for diseases can be a worthy investment. The cost is fair and competitive. You get in-depth reports and personalized beauty and nutrition recommendations. 

Are there any alternatives to LifeDNA?

While LifeDNA reviews are mostly positive, some DNA testing companies provide DNA analysis for free or at a lower price. However, they don’t come with personalized supplements or beauty products. Furthermore, their reports may not include the genetic traits that LifeDNA offers. 

But if you’re looking for any alternatives to LifeDNA, these testing companies are worth checking out:

  • Genetic Genie (an anonymous, free tool for genome analysis).
  • MyTrueAncestry. (provides free DNA analysis with a 48-hour validity; paid options range from $37- $596).
  • GEDmatch Genesis (finds DNA matches for free but offers limited analysis beyond relative finding. You need to upgrade for $10 a month).

New research in genetics constantly evolves. The kind of DNA tests available today didn’t exist ten years ago. Even then, the advances in genetic testing played a role in diagnosing and treating certain diseases. 

But other factors impact gene expression. This includes age, exposure to substances, and environmental influences. (LifeDNA points out that your results won’t be 100% accurate because of this.).

So as much as genetic testing can help in planning, it’s a bit premature to build solid plans around your DNA results. Genetics is a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle that makes up life, but it’s just one part of who you are.

Joel
Content Contributor
Joel is a writer with a passion for the science of DNA and the power of its manipulation.
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