Genetic screening tests through private clinics come with a hefty price tag, and it’s something insurance doesn’t always cover. If you’re curious about your genetic health or have some genuine concerns, there’s a cheaper way: DNA health tests. They also offer accurate and comprehensive results. So what’s the catch?
The most significant hurdle consumers face is choosing the best company to test their DNA and screen for genetic traits. In a sea of DNA tests, how do you know which one is right for you - and which one is worthy of your trust?
In this article, we will explore what benefits testing your DNA can have and what results you can expect to receive. By reading this, you will be more informed in your decision making when it comes to choosing the appropriate kit for your needs.
It takes some research to pinpoint the best all-around test - but we’ve done the legwork for you. Below you will also find a rundown of the six top-rated DNA tests for health on the current market.
What Are the Benefits to Getting a Kit?
As mentioned above, DNA health testing kits help you discover a wealth of hidden information about your genetic makeup and what health risks you could encounter.
By taking a DNA test for health, you are unearthing data that could potentially save your life. Most diseases, such as cancer, have a greater cure success when identified and treated early. Therefore, a look into your genome could identify where your greatest risks are and help you put in place preventatives to live a healthier life.
Additionally, your test results could also be the determining factor for a closer look at your health from your physician.
In some cases, the results of a DNA health test could influence your decision to have children naturally. Especially if there are concerns about hereditary diseases within your family or if you and your partner test positive as carriers for specific genes that could affect your child's health.
While saving you a significant amount of money, DNA kits can be done from the comfort of your own home and at your convenience. They are non-intrusive and take only a few minutes to complete. They are a fantastic option if you want to test multiple family members, including fussy children. Cutting down the cost and stress a visit to the doctors’ office could have.
What Can Be Found in the Results?
First, an important disclaimer: DNA tests are not meant to diagnose any diseases. Instead, they are intended to evaluate your genes and determine if you’re at risk or are a carrier for certain conditions. These include cystic fibrosis and hereditary fructose intolerance, for example.
It’s crucial to have your results evaluated through genetic counseling if you turn out to be a carrier or have a gene variant that puts you at a higher risk for developing a disease. It’s equally critical not to panic if you get unexpected results. Carrier status and gene variants are not a guarantee you’ll actually develop a disease.
It does, however, give you a head start on any genetic disorders that you have a higher chance of developing. Again, genetic counseling will help you understand what you can do and what to look out for if your genes are a risk.
If you don’t have any genetic variants or recessive alleles in your DNA that make you a carrier of a disorder, it doesn’t mean you have a clean bill of health either. It can bring many people peace of mind knowing they aren’t at an elevated risk of getting certain diseases.
DNA health tests can also be carried out for different factors affecting health other than genetic diseases. They are an invaluable tool for guiding diagnosis for a variety of sensitivities, intolerance, and allergies in adults and children alike.
Some kits will cover specific areas of health. Tests that include nutrigenetics, for example, will indicate food sensitivity levels that you can use to change your diet accordingly. The results are often a relief for those who have struggled to pinpoint the issue themselves. While also preventing you from paying often large medical bills for blood testing or lifestyle monitoring.
Some kits are also tailored to diet and wellness, specifically designed to test your DNA for hormone levels and receptors related to weight and muscle. From these tests, you can discover what will aid you in your fitness goals. Some companies have created full packages, where they will use your results to compile a report. In this report they will detail a specific diet and exercise regime that will support you in achieving your weight loss goals.
Another area of health that is becoming increasingly popular to test surrounds supplements. These test results will indicate if you have anything lacking in your makeup that will have long term, underlying health disadvantages. When you lack in a certain area such as iron, for example, it can be linked to sleep disorders, weight gain, and mental health problems. Some companies have then taken this a step further by offering personalized supplement packages. This type of DNA testing is highly beneficial when trying for a baby and during pregnancy.
Top Rated Tests on the Market
Below are several top-rated companies that provide a multitude of different test results based on findings from your DNA. They have gained their reputation for a number of positive factors, including:
- The number of diseases tested
- Waiting time for kit delivery
- Waiting time for results
- Ease of use
- Detail of report
- Extra tests included - such as ancestry, supplements, etc
For $199, 23andMe offers one of the more thorough services on the market called the Health + Ancestry Service. If your roots interest you, this DNA test shows you the specific regions in the world your ancestors originate. It also gives you the option to connect with other users who share familial DNA, helps build your family tree, and shows you a detailed generational timeline.
The 23andMe health traits service includes reports of your carrier status for over forty diseases and genetic disorders. It also screens for your health predisposition and gives you wellness reports based on your genes. You could get insight into the following:
- Celiac Disease
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Breast Cancer
- Parkinson's Disease
For the slightly lower price tag of $179 plus shipping. MyHeritage DNA offers a similar DNA testing and genetic screening combination kit.
The test assesses your risk for things such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
but that’s not all. The full report includes four polygenic risk reports, fourteen monogenic risk reports, and eighteen carrier status reports.
MyHeritage is continuously working on adding more to those lists. In the near future, the company could be considered the best overall screening brand on the market for health testing. For now, it’s a formidable alternative, depending on what genetic screenings you’re interested in and your budget.
Futura Genetics offers its clients a comprehensive health test of 28 of the most common conditions worldwide for a hefty $375. The test is a non-invasive procedure that can be done from home using a spit kit.
Futura Genetics pride themselves on the quick turnaround they provide. You’ll receive your test reports in 4 weeks, which is much faster than most of the competitors on the market. Its testing covers a variety of cancers, plus diabetes type 1 and 2, and several age-related diseases.
Upon receiving your detailed report, you’ll see your risk percentage displayed in comparison to the ‘average risk’ as well as advice on how to lower your lifetime risks due to environmental factors.
If you’re looking for answers quickly and are worried mostly about types of cancer, then this is the test for you if you can foot the hefty bill. The price is an excellent reflection of the level of detail you’ll receive when your testing is complete.
HomeDNA splits its DNA testing for health into three species categories. It offers food and pet sensitivity testing and skincare packages for $99, plus a healthy weight package for $119. HomeDNA also offers a multitude of different options for ancestry.
HomeDNA is the perfect choice for those who are aware of sensitivities and want to take preventive steps to avoid them, such as specific food intolerance. Whereas its healthy weight testing package takes a more in-depth look into your genetic makeup, compiling a weight loss plan specific to your genotype.
Results from all testing are reported to take six weeks to return. These tests are tailored towards individuals who want to make changes in their lives after recognizing there are issues with their health.
HomeDNA is different from many other DNA testing companies as its tests are not for genetic health risks and don’t report the likelihood of developing specific illnesses or diseases. Instead, HomeDNA makes its clients aware of sensitivities, intolerance, and allergies, as well as what is causing them.
Vitagene is similar to HomeDNA. Its testing focuses on ancestry, diet, exercise, supplements, and skin irritations.
For $89, you can receive an in-depth analysis of your overall health and details about your ancestral history. Adding skin testing to your package will cost a further $109, but you’ll receive reports outlining triggers to any skin irritations.
The Vitality Bundle for $209 replaces the skin report with a personalized supplements package, which will see you receiving supplements to make up for anything missing in your diet reports.
Medically speaking, DNA testing through Vitagene is an appropriate option for anyone who wants to better their health, diet, and lifestyle rather than finding out genetic risks or sensitivity triggers. Expect your health report back in the average time of 4-6 weeks.
Last on the list is 24Genetics. This company's DNA testing kits offer its clients high quality genotyping that detects genetic health risks, genomes that affect diet, nutrigenetics, and skin irritations, as well as ancestral tracking. You get all this for a reasonable price of around $199.
Focusing on its health testing, 24Genetics boasts the ability to analyze 700,000 genetic markers in the full gene sequencing package. This will provide you with an incredibly detailed health report and will also aid scientific discovery as your data is invaluable to research.
For a smaller price tag, 24Genetics offers genetic testing for over 200 diseases and can analyze your carrier status, biomarkers, skin health, and diet.
24Genetics is an all-rounder that offers a holistic variety of testing. It’s affordable in comparison to others, but there’s a long waiting time for results of up to 7 weeks.
If you are curious about your genetic makeup or concerned about hereditary diseases being passed down through your family. Ordering and carrying out a DNA test for health is a far cheaper option than running countless tests through your physician.
If you are concerned about your genetic health because of an unwell relative, your insurance may cover immediate family testing for those who they consider at the greatest risk. But what about those they don't consider at risk, at that time?
DNA health test kits come in an array of packages; you should think about what you would like to know from the results before going ahead and ordering. If you want to discover what is causing your upset stomach or itchy skin, then a kit focusing on allergens and intolerance is for you compared to a package that tests genetic health risks.
However, if you are looking for a testing kit with the best overall DNA genetic screening, then this is currently being offered by one of the oldest and most reputable companies in the field: 23andMe. It offers well-rounded health reports, is good value for the price, has hefty security measures, and stellar customer service.
Keep an eye on MyHeritage and 24Genetics, though.
With the advances in DNA technology that these two companies are working on might make them the better choice a year from now. In the meantime, your DNA testing needs could make them another worthwhile choice.