Jump to topic
Jump to topic
The popularity of direct-to-consumer DNA testing kits has skyrocketed in the past few years. It’s easy to see why: for less than $100 a pop, folks can discover their ancestry and genetic risk for a plethora of 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 to make an informed decision about buying a DNA testing kit, you owe it to yourself to dig into your options thoroughly.
Nearly 30 million people have taken a DNA test.
A medical DNA test is more regulated than a number of home DNA tests. It specifically tests for a broad range of genetic mutations you’d often associate with particular diseases and types of cancers.
If your healthcare provider recommended a DNA test, being able to discuss the results with a qualified professional comes with it.
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 direct-to-consumer (DTC) test or home DNA test may require further testing to confirm a mutation noted in the test.
Unlike a medical DNA test, it tests for select mutations in a limited number of genes that are related to certain diseases and cancers.
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.
But both tests will involve a blood test, hair sample, or a mouth swab in order for doctors and scientists to examine a person’s DNA closely.
We took every DNA test so you don't have to. Read our 2021 review of the best DNA tests.
The evolution in DNA testing technology has promoted awareness of genetic diseases. A poll indicated that nearly a third of Americans say they or their family members have considered getting tested, now that testing has become easier and cheaper.
Because it doesn’t require approval from your health insurance company or healthcare provider, a DTC or home DNA test kit can be effortlessly obtained and used.
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.
So DNA testing can be instrumental in helping people take the necessary steps to protect themselves and keep healthy.
Getting a DNA test can also present an opportunity to educate family members regarding potential risks, so they, too, can 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 with proper guidance from your doctor or healthcare provider, the information you get from a DNA test will empower you to make informed lifestyle and medical changes.
LifeDNA is a personal genomics company based in Hawaii, USA. It was founded in 2017 by Cyril Moukarzel, Jared Kushi, and Steve Markowitz.
Using a robust algorithm anchored on 600+ peer-reviewed studies, LifeDNA generates intelligence, personality, nutrition, supplementation, fitness, and skincare DNA reports.
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?
Unlocking your DNA requires genomic analysis.
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, 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:
Different methods and machines exist for sequencing genomes. The average sequencing project takes 3-7 days to complete, depending on the sample count.
LifeDNA Reports - $99
If you upload your DNA from 23andMe, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Living DNA, and Family Tree DNA, the results are generated instantly.
After submitting your raw DNA data, you get reports that include these 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,
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
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 to fatty foods, Antioxidant status, Tendency to binge eat, Weight change, Spice sensitivity, Unhealthy food intake
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
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
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:
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
In response to the pandemic, LifeDNA announced the availability of the Covid-19 Susceptibility Report.
Predisposition to coronavirus infection, Infection Severity, Reaction to Oseltamivir, Reaction to Chloroquine, Response to Hydroxychloroquine, Response to Lopinavir
The Carrier Status report became available to LifeDNA customers in late 2020.
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
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.
LifeDNA Reports & DNA Test Kit - $199
Aside from the aforementioned reports, this plan includes a DNA Testing Kit from LifeDNA, which will cost $149.
How does it work?
It takes around 2 weeks to process your LifeDNA test results.
Platinum LifeDNA Membership - $60/year or $25/quarter
Platinum members of LifeDNA enjoy the following perks:
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 3 months for a Deluxe Beauty Box.
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, getting tested can eliminate the 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, considering the in-depth reports and personalized beauty and nutrition recommendations that are included.
While Life DNA reviews are mostly positive, there are DNA testing companies that provide DNA analysis for free or at a lower price. The catch: they don’t come with personalized supplements or beauty products, and their reports may not include the genetic traits that LifeDNA covers.
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 if you don’t upgrade for $10 a month)
New research in genetics constantly evolves. The kind of DNA tests available today didn’t exist 10 years ago. Even then, the advances in genetic testing played a role in the diagnosis and treatment of certain diseases.
But there are other factors that impact gene expression, such as 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 ahead, 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.
Cheap DNA Kits (all under $60). Read our 2021 Guide.