DNA test kits are bringing science to the mainstream commercial landscape. For less than a couple of hundred dollars, you can send off your DNA to receive analysis on your ancestry, ethnicity, health, cellular age, IQ and so on.
Two of the largest companies, MyHeritage and 23andMe, focus on both ancestry as well as health. Meanwhile DNA test kit giant, Ancestry, only focus on your family heritage. There are, of course, plenty of other companies, but when dealing with sensitive data and difficult analysis, it might be the larger, more established companies that offer a better service.
Essentially, in exchange for a quick cheek swab, you will have an abundance of results on your health, genealogy and ethnicity. It seems although each month that goes by, more things can be discovered with such a DNA sample. The top companies are ultimately competing which is the best, and has resulted in a plethora of diverse insights and interesting reports.
MyHeritage is the more expensive option. For £179 + shipping, you get a DNA health and Ancestry kit. 36 personalised reports are produced based on their scientific research. They also claim to be the only major test that offers polygenic risk reports for breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Whilst it’s expensive compared to many other companies, they do have 109 million users around the world. This has given them a database of 10 billion historical records and 3.7 billion family tree profiles.
It comes as no surprise then if their health reports will be state-of-the-art, in regards to the average market competence too. Well, that’s the issue, it’s just a presumption because their other services are so good. The health test is actually a newly introduced service with little user feedback yet, so it might be too early to say for sure.
23andMe is absolutely an industry veteran. They too have a very large database with a ton of positive customer reviews. Usually, 23andMe is known for being pricey, but there is currently a £99 promotion offer for an all-round test on your health, traits and ancestry. After the promotion, it is £149.
Included is 10+ health reports, testing type 2 diabetes, BRCA1/2, Celiac disease, Parkinson’s and many other health conditions. You will also get 40+ reports on carrier status, 30+ on your personal traits such as your facial features and hair loss, as well as wellness and of course, ancestry.
The amount of reports and the diversity does outperform MyHeritage, and is currently the cheaper option.
What you could get out of a Health DNA Test Kit
Making use of the science available could land you with more insight and information on your vulnerabilities as well as your strengths. Understanding that you have a genetic preference for sweet foods and you’re more at risk for diabetes could cause you to completely alter your diet.
This information can be used to enhance your fitness and diet by understanding your genetic makeup. Understanding your microbiome too, and how your body reacts to food can help ensure you feed it accordingly. It’s amazing how many people have intolerances and predispositions throughout their whole life without even knowing it.
Some DNA health tests can actually provide specific dietary recommendations, such as what foods you could most benefit from. We all know the rough basics, but when there’s a near infinite number of variables, we all react differently to foods. Some of us feel incredible on low-carb diets, whilst others feel nauseous. You may go as far to discover your new breakfast recipe that could optimise your fitness results.
You can also receive results on your fitness directly, too. You may receive results that predispose you to aerobic fitness, thinking that you were more cut out for strength and explosive exercise. This kind of information could give you the long-term view of your fitness, and may even result in changing up your position if you play sports.
Whatever your decisions and focuses are, have more knowledge is always a good thing. Of course, all DNA test kit results have to be taken with a pinch of salt, as you’re never 100% sure how they interpret the genetic data (some companies may vary slightly in their interpretation, making it not an exact science). The point is to give clues about yourself. To raise awareness to pitfalls and your strengths, so you can customise accordingly. Real-life feedback will always be more important, so don’t overrule your own intuition.