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DNA Test for Health, Cancer & Disease Screening

Best DNA Test for Health, Cancer & Disease Screening

Looking for a reputable DNA health test?

You’ve come to the right place.

In this in-depth buying guide, we review the best DNA tests for health, cancer, and disease screening.

These include popular tests for genetic predisposition and carrier status as well as niche tests for fitness, nutrition, and skincare, among other things.


What’s On This Page?

Unless you are a geneticist, genetic health testing is a broad and complicated field that’s hard to understand.

It doesn’t help that dozens of companies have come up offering a wide range of genetic health testing services.

On this page, we explain everything you need to know about consumer genetic health testing. We break down what it is, how it works, how much it costs, and why you might need a genetic health test.

We also review and compare the top genetic health screening providers in the United States to help you find the right one for your needs.


Best DNA Health Tests Compared

23andMe

23andMe

Pathway Genomics Fit IQ

Orig3n

Orig3n

Health screening

✓ 

Inherited diseases

✓ 

Doctor-ordered tests

✓ 

Fitness testing

✓ 

Diet & nutrition testing

✓ 

Type of Sample:

Saliva

Type of Sample:

Saliva

Type of Sample:

Cheek swab

Type of Sample:

Cheek swab

Type of Sample:

Cheek swab

Turn-around Time (estimate):

2-3 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

2-3 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

2-3 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

2-3 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

2-3 weeks

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VitaGene

Azumio

Color

TeloYears

24Genetics

Supplements

✓ 

Gluten intolerance

✓ 

Cancer screening

✓ 

Cellular aging

✓ 

Skincare

✓ 

Type of Sample:

Cheek swab

Type of Sample:

Saliva

Type of Sample:

Saliva

Type of Sample:

Finger prick

Type of Sample:

Cheek swab

Turn-around Time (estimate):

2-3 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

4-6 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

2-3 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

3-4 weeks

Turn-around Time (estimate):

6-8 weeks

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Best DNA Test for Health Screening: 23andMe

23andMe for Health Screening

Summary

23andMe is hands down the best choice for general genetic health screening.

Initially, 23andMe offered genetic screening for more than a hundred health risks. But after an order from the FDA, they shut down their DNA health testing arm and relaunched with fewer FDA-approved tests.

Currently, 23andMe offers ten health reports, including a recently launched one for Type 2 Diabetes.

Full Review

Product Description

The 23andMe health screening package is not available on its own. You have to order it along with the ancestry package. It also includes wellness traits reports and over 40 carrier status reports.

In this mini-review, we focus only on their health predisposition reports. There are around ten of them telling you whether you are at risk of certain health conditions, including breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Late-Onset Alzheimer’s, and Celiac disease.

The 23andMe health test looks for genetic variants that are known to increase the risk of these diseases.

For example, to determine whether you are at risk of colorectal cancer, they look at two mutations in the MUTYH gene that are associated with a higher risk of developing this type of cancer.

For breast cancer (specifically for people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent), they look for known mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

23andMe’s health test is the most comprehensive and useful you’ll find. Not only do most of their tests have the FDA stamp of approval, but they are also backed by rigorous research and lots of data.

Ordering Process

Visit 23andMe’s website and order the Health + Ancestry test. 23andMe will send you an FDA-approved saliva collection kit that will arrive in 3-5 days, or sooner if you opt for express shipping.

To take a sample by spitting into the provided tube and seal it. Before you put the sample into the pre-paid mailing box, register it online, so the lab knows that it’s your sample.

During online registration, you’ll be asked to agree to various terms and conditions, including that your anonymized data can be shared with other companies.

After registering your kit, send it to the lab for processing and wait for your results.

Results

In about 3-5 weeks, you’ll get an email notifying you that your results are ready. Log in to your online 23andMe account to explore your results.

Your results will include both ancestry and health reports.

Go to the health sections to see results about your health predisposition, carrier status, and wellness traits.

The health predisposition category is where you need to focus on most. This is where you learn your genetic risk of various health conditions.

As you would expect, the report includes multiple disclaimers regarding the results and how you interpret them.

23andMe emphasizes, both on the report and their website, that the health screening results are not a diagnosis.

A report showing a risk for a certain disease doesn’t mean you’ll get it. Conversely, if the report shows you have a low or no risk of other health conditions, it doesn’t mean you can’t get them.

Always consult your doctor or a genetic counselor before taking any action based on 23andMe’s health report.

Limitations & Issues

1. No professional consultation

Unlike other DNA testing companies that let you call in to talk to a doctor or genetic counselor after you get your results, 23ndMe does not provide professional medical consultation.

If you have a question or issue with your health results, you’ll have to make your arrangements to seek medical advice.

2. Limited usefulness

This is a limitation inherent in genetic health testing in general. 23andMe provides the only partial information regarding your health risk.

Because they don’t sequence entire genes (they only look at specific mutations), they can miss other mutations that can contribute to your risk of developing particular health conditions.

Additionally, some of their tests are only useful for specific ethnicities.

For instance, if you are not of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, the breast cancer test is not helpful. Only Ashkenazi Jews carry the gene variants they look for.

That’s why 23andMe encourages following up on any concerns with a medical professional.

Bottom Line

23andMe is the best DNA health test for most people. They offer the most comprehensive and accurate genetic health screening.

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Best DNA Test for Inherited Diseases: 23andMe

23andMe for Inherited Diseases

Summary

23andMe also tests for inherited diseases as part of their health screening package.

Details about any inherited diseases you may be carrying are provided in the carrier status reports.

These reports are important for those planning to get children as they can tell you whether there’s a risk of passing on a genetically inherited condition to your kids.

Full Review

Product Description

If you order the 23andMe Ancestry + Health package, your results will include carrier status reports.

23andMe looks for genetic variants, or mutations, that have been linked to genetically inherited health conditions.

They test for more than 40 conditions, including sickle cell anemia, hereditary hearing loss, Cystic Fibrosis, and Tay-Sachs disease.

Like their core health screening, the test for inherited diseases does not diagnose any condition in you, nor does it guarantee that a specific health condition will or will not occur in your child.

If the report says you carry variants associated with a genetic condition, it means there is some risk you might pass it on.

As with any other health-related DNA test, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor or a genetic counselor before you make any decision based on the results.

Ordering Process

You cannot order the inherited diseases test on its own. It’s part of the health + ancestry package.

If you are interested in learning whether you are a carrier for certain genetic diseases, order the health + ancestry test (see above for the ordering and registration process). You’ll receive your carrier status reports along with the rest of the results.

Results

23andMe carrier status report
Sample 23andMe carrier status report

For each health condition they tested, the report will tell you whether any variants were detected, how many variants were detected, and the ethnicities that are most affected by the condition.

Each report also includes some general information about the disease, such as symptoms and treatment.

Limitations & Issues

1. The Test Can Miss Relevant Variants

The 23andMe health test only looks for specific variants rather than examining your entire genome. It is highly likely that they might miss variants relevant to a particular condition.

2. The Test Doesn’t Look for Copies

Copy-number variation occurs when sections of the genome are repeated.

So if you have a variant associated with a specific inherited health condition in a section of your genes, there’s a chance that variant/mutation has been repeated elsewhere.

This is important because having copies of a mutation can result in overexpression, where the resulting health condition in your kids can be more aggressive.

Conversely, copy-number variants can reduce the risk of a specific health condition occurring.

The 23andMe carrier status test will not tell you if any of the variants that have been found have copies, meaning you can’t be sure of the outcome.

Bottom Line

The 23andMe carrier status test is a great choice for people planning to get kids. Though it is not conclusive, it informs you whether there’s some risk of passing on genetic conditions.

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Best Doctor-Ordered Health DNA Test: Pathway GenomicsFit iQ™

Pathway GenomicsFit iQ™ Health DNA Test

Summary

Working with your doctor to learn more about your health through DNA is a smart decision. A doctor will interpret the results better and give you helpful (and safe) recommendations.

Pathway Genomics makes doctor-ordered tests easy. If your doctor or clinician has signed up with Pathway, they can order a test on your behalf, receive the results, and interpret them for you.

Pathway even offers the option to pay with insurance, which is a good thing since their tests are pricey.

Full Review

Product Description

Pathway Genomics has been around since 2009. They have developed a wide range of health products based on DNA testing.

Their products touch on different areas of health, including skincare, mental health, pain management, and cardiac health.

One of the most popular products is Fit IQ, which focuses on diet and fitness.

The test gives you personalized insights into which types of workouts your body responds to best, which diet will give you the best chance of losing weight and which dietary pitfalls to avoid (e.g., for slow metabolizers, taking caffeine at night).

Once you get your results, you can create a personalized diet or fitness plan.

While Pathway Genomics makes bold claims about what the Fit IQ can do for you, the report is full of the usual caveats, the main one being that DNA is not the only determiner of your fitness and overall health.

Your lifestyle, environment, and other factors can influence weight loss, fitness characteristics, and other traits.

Ordering Process

There are two ways to order the Pathway Fit IQ test. You can order it yourself on Amazon or have your doctor order it for you.

If you order the test yourself, the sampling kit will be sent to your home. Following the instructions on the kit, take a cheek swab, put the swabs into the collection tubes, and secure the tubes in the bag.

Mail the sample to the lab and wait for your results.

If you opt for the doctor-ordered route, your doctor will take care of the whole process for you. The only thing you need to do is provide a sample, either saliva or blood.

Your doctor will tell you when the results are ready.

Results

Your test report will be dozens of pages long and chock-full of detailed analysis and personalized nutrition and fitness recommendations.

If you ordered with your doctor, they’d help you sort through all the information.

But you can also understand most of it yourself.

The report tells you what information the lab found in your DNA – for example, you are a fast metabolizer –and what it means about your diet or fitness.

If you are a fast metabolizer, it means your body metabolizes caffeine faster, so you can take it closer to bedtime without it affecting your ability to fall sleep.

The report also tells you how your body metabolizes different food components, including fats, vitamins, and sugars. You can use this information to modify your diet to lose weight more effectively. They even provide a ready-made meal plan so you can start immediately.

The results include plenty of analysis into your genetic fitness profile with recommendations on how you can improve your workout routine to get fitter and reduce the risk of injury.

By the way, if you have any questions about the report, Pathway Genomics has dieticians on the standby that you can contact for a detailed walkthrough of your report.

Limitations & Issues

1. Expensive

The Pathway Genomics Fit IQ test is more expensive than most direct to consumer health tests. But the wealth of information they offer justifies the price tag.

2. The Test Doesn’t Account for Other Factors

This is a limitation that’s common with all fitness and diet tests. The focus on DNA excludes numerous other factors that, in most cases, have a bigger impact on your fitness level and weight.

So it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get the promised results if you follow the recommendations in the report.

To their credit, Pathway acknowledges that DNA testing is not the be-all and end-all of fitness and health.

Bottom Line

The Pathway Genomics Fit iQ™ test is a great choice for anyone who wants to improve their diet and fitness.

Pathway Genomics is also a great choice if you’d prefer to order a health DNA test through your doctor.

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Best DNA Test for Fitness: Orig3n

Orig3n DNA Test for Fitness

Summary

Orig3n’s DNA tests are nowhere near as rigorous or as comprehensive as 23andMe’s health tests.

There have been reports of inconsistent results from the same sample, and former employees have accused the company of tampering with the DNA results.

As with any other DNA health test, only use the Orig3n fitness test results as a starting point to improve your fitness. If you want to make major changes to your fitness routine, consult your doctor or physio.

Full Review

Product Description

Orig3n sells several types of DNA fitness tests targeted at running, snowboarding and skiing, recovery, and joint care.

The best one for most people is their main DNA fitness test that covers endurance, muscles, metabolism, power, and recovery.

The test tells you how your genes affect various aspects of your fitness and performance, such as injury risk, athleticism, and muscle growth.

The Orig3n lab tests 27 genes, a tiny sliver of the estimated 30,000 genes comprising the human genome.

The test focuses on genes that influence fitness, including MSTN (muscle strength), CRP (inflammation), and COL5a1 (flexibility).

Ordering Process

Orig3n requires a cheek-swab sample for their DNA fitness test.

The first step is to order the test. The price includes free shipping and covers lab fees.

You’ll be sent a sample collection kit. Take a cheek swab as per the instructions, register your sample, and send it back to the lab.

Your results will arrive in 2-3 weeks.

Results

You can view your results online on Orig3n’s website or their android or iOS app.

The test report contains results on the 27 genes that were tested. The report will tell you whether a specific gene was present and what it means for your fitness.

It’ll also include fitness recommendations with a warning that you should consult a doctor or personal trainer before making a change to your workout routine.

Here are the main things you’ll learn from the results.

  • How your genes affect your recovery rate after exercise.
  • How your genes affect your metabolism. This can help you determine why you lose weight slower or faster than other people.
  • The link between your genes and muscle strength.
  • How your joints respond to exercise. This can explain why you get sore after a workout or why your workout partner is much more flexible than you are.
  • How your genes affect your level of endurance. Important for athletes.
  • Whether you perform better in speed-based or distance-based activities, the lab analyzes genes related to your fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Limitations & Issues

1. Shallow Report

The results only gloss over the various genes that were tested, providing only a short commentary on what the lab found, what it means for you, and recommendations.

The ‘recommendations’ part is especially sparse. Considering it’s what most people are interested in, Orig3n could provide a bit more detail.

2. Limited Accuracy

The 27 genes Orig3n tests don’t come anywhere close to giving you a full picture of how your genes affect your fitness.

The test leaves out about 99.9% of the other genes in your body. It’s highly likely that some of these genes also affect your fitness.

This limits the accuracy of the Orig3n test. That’s why you mustn’t rely solely on it to make decisions about your fitness and workouts.

Bottom Line

The Orig3n DNA fitness test is a great choice for anyone who wants to understand and improve their fitness through DNA.

We recommend it for those who are looking for an affordable DNA fitness test.

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Best DNA Test for Nutrition & Diet: Orig3n

Orig3n DNA Test for Nutrition

Summary

Orig3n also sells several nutrition tests that provide personalized DNA nutrition analysis and diet recommendations.

These tests cover vitamins, caffeine metabolism, hunger and weight, and lactose intolerant.

But the one you’ll find most useful is the Nutrition DNA test.

As with the fitness test, it is not as accurate or comprehensive as a 23andMe health test. Only use it as a starting point for your diet. Consult a nutritionist or doctor for further advice on how to improve your diet.

Full Review

Product Description

Ever wondered why caffeine doesn’t seem to have any effect on your ability to fall asleep?

Do you wonder why you never feel full after a meal?

The Orig3n nutrition DNA test has some of the answers you are looking for. The test analyzes 24 genes in your genome, specifically those that are linked to your diet and nutrition.

They include MCM6 (lactose intolerance), BCM01 (vitamin A), and ADIPOQ (weight gain).

You’ll receive a personalized report based on the genes the lab has discovered in your DNA.

Ordering Process

The ordering process for the nutrition test is similar to that of the fitness test.

Once you order the test online, you’ll receive a sample collection kit at your home. Take a cheek swab, register your sample, and send it back to the lab.

It’ll take about 2-3 weeks after your sample arrives at the lab for the results to be ready.

Results

You can read your results online or on Orig3n’s app.

One thing we love about Orig3n is it’s simple and easy to understand reports. You don’t have to be a geneticist or health expert to understand what the report says.

The report includes what the lab found (specifically, which of the 24 genes they found), details on how specific genes affect your nutrition and personalized diet recommendations.

Unlike most diet DNA tests, the Orig3n test results don’t include a personalized diet or meal plan. It just gives you an idea of which foods to add or remove from your diet.

Here are the key insights included in the report.

  • How genes affect your sensitivity to alcohol and caffeine.
  • How your body breaks down good and bad fats.
  • How your genes affect your appetite, hunger, and cravings. This can help you determine why you may not be losing weight as effectively as you may like.
  • How your body absorbs and processes different vitamins. This can help you determine which supplements you may need. The test covers five vitamins – A, B6, B12, C, and D.

Limitations & Issues

1. Shallow Report

The Orig3n nutrition test has the same limitations as their fitness test. The first one is the lack of details in the report.

The results provide just a few details about the genes that were found in your DNA. Their recommendations are simple and sometimes generic one-liners.

2. Limited Accuracy

The second limitation is the level of accuracy.

You’ll probably find that some of the results are in stark contrast to what you know about yourself. For instance, the predicted reaction to caffeine may be the complete opposite of how you feel after drinking coffee.

That’s because Orig3n analyzes less than 0.1% of all your genes. So there’s a lot about your genes that the test does not uncover.

Bottom Line

The Orig3n nutrition DNA test is a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable nutrition and diet DNA test.

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Best DNA Test for Supplements: VitaGene

VitaGene for Supplements

Summary

DNA testing can give you limited insight into which supplements will benefit you most. Our top pick for DNA-based supplement recommendations is VitaGene.

The supplement report is only one part of the VitaGene DNA Test results. Your results will also include an ancestry breakdown, a fitness report, and a diet report.

Full Review

Product Description

VitaGene’s DNA test combines four reports: ancestry, diet, fitness, and supplements.

Unlike Orig3n’s sparsely detailed results, VitaGene’s reports are more comprehensive and generally more useful.

They even include personalized meal plans, diets, and exercise routines based on your DNA.

The supplements part of the result recommends specific vitamins and minerals based on your genes, medication, and lifestyle information.

Ordering Process

The ordering process is pretty much the same as any other DNA test.

Once you order the test online, you’ll receive the sampling kit in 3-5 days. Take a cheek swab and register the sample online before you mail it to the lab.

Results take about 2-3 weeks from when the lab receives your sample.

If you order the test from the official website, there’s a cheaper option to upload raw DNA data. They accept data from 23andMe, MyHeritage, and AncestryDNA.

You’ll get a health report containing diet, fitness, and supplement results (no ancestry).

If you’ve already taken a DNA test with one of the three companies, this is a much cheaper option compared to ordering a test kit.

It’s also faster. Your results will be ready in 1-2 days.

Results

The results are conveniently divided into different sections to make it easier to go through them.

If you are interested in your ancestry, take a look at the ancestry section with a breakdown of your ethnic composition.

If you want to improve your diet, go to the diet section for insights into how your genes affect your nutrition. It also includes ingredients lists, and recipes.

There’s also a section for fitness. Here you’ll find out how your genes affect your fitness plus recommendations on how you can improve your performance.

Information about the best supplements for you is in a dedicated section. Here, you’ll discover which vitamins and minerals are best for your health and wellness.

Overall, the report is broad but not in-depth. It does provide more information than Orig3n, but don’t expect a deep dive into your DNA and SNPs.

But this simplicity is a plus for most people as it makes it easier to glean useful information from the results.

Limitations & Issues

1. Results are not Detailed

This test is meant to provide only a starting point into your supplementation needs. So the results are not detailed.

The same applies to fitness and diet reports. They include only basic information.

This makes the VitaGene test less than ideal for those who want a deeper understanding of their health and wellness.

2. A Bit Pushy

VitaGene sells supplements through a third party. It’s no wonder that the supplements report at a time feels like a marketing gimmick to get you to purchase their supplements. It can feel a bit pushy.

Thankfully, VitaGene doesn’t contact you even if you don’t buy their supplements. So you can easily ignore whatever sales talk is in their reports.

Bottom Line

VitaGene is a great choice for anyone looking for an affordable health test to help them pick out the right vitamins for their wellness needs.

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Best DNA Test for Gluten Intolerance: Azumio

Azumio for Gluten Intolerance

Summary

The relation between genes and gluten sensitivity is fuzzy as far as current research goes.

While scientists have identified a couple of genes involved in a majority of Celiac disease cases (different from gluten intolerance though they share some symptoms), we are still don’t know all the genes that are behind gluten intolerance.

Some of the genes thought to be involved in gluten sensitivity include HLA-DQ2, HLA-DQ7, and HLA-DQ8.

Azumio’s DNA test looks for these and other genes to determine whether you have a gluten intolerance.

Full Review

Product Description

Azumio doesn’t carry out the DNA test. Helix is the company that does it.

Unlike other DNA testing companies, Helix does full sequencing rather than just looking for specific genes, which are known as DNA genotyping.

DNA sequencing yields much more information and is, therefore, more useful.

Azumio uses raw data from the Helix test to check whether you carry genes associated with gluten intolerance.

In addition to gluten intolerance, Azumio also provides a DNA-based diet and workout plans and reports on iron intake, cholesterol, and lactose intolerance.

Ordering Process

Once you order the Azumio test on Amazon, you’ll receive the sampling kit in your mail in a few days.

The kit requires a spit sample, not a cheek swab like most other DNA tests. Secure your sample, register it online, and send it to Helix for testing.

Your results will be ready on the Azumio website in 4-6 weeks.

Results

Your Azumio results will include the following:

Diet and calorie tracking: This is provided through Calorie Mama, a popular food AI app that helps you track your calories. The app includes personalized meal plans, calorie, and diet tracking and nutritional information of thousands of foods.

Workout plans: Exercises recommendations tailored to your DNA profile.

Lactose and gluten intolerance: This is the section of the report to focus on if you want to find out why your body reacts negatively to foods with gluten. Though not conclusive, the report can give you an idea of whether you are genetically predisposed to gluten sensitivity.

Iron intake and cholesterol: Learn how your genes affect your body’s intake of iron and its ability to clear bad cholesterol from the blood.

Limitations and Issues

1. Not Conclusive

Like many other DNA tests, Azumio’s test doesn’t hold all the answers you seek.

Research on the link between genes and gluten intolerance is ongoing. Researchers are not yet sure which specific genes cause gluten sensitivity. That’s not to mention the many lifestyles and environmental factors that influence your chances of developing the condition.

Azumio’s test only gives you a rough idea of whether you are at genetic risk of gluten intolerance.

If you are experiencing certain symptoms like bloating when you eat foods with gluten, your doctor can recommend a more certain test to determine whether it is celiac disease, gluten intolerance, or some other condition.

Bottom Line

The Azumio test is a great choice for anyone who wants to find out if they are genetically predisposed to gluten intolerance.

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Best DNA Test for Cancer Screening: Color

Color for Cancer Screening

Summary

Genetic cancer screening has picked up as DNA tests have gotten more advanced and, most importantly, cheaper.

For way less money than a traditional DNA cancer screening test, Color sells a comprehensive cancer risk test kit that looks for 30 genes associated with ovarian, breast, prostate, and other types of cancers.

Color is a doctor-ordered test, which ensures you have a medical professional to guide you through the results.

Full Review

Product Description

Color is one of the most comprehensive consumer DNA cancer tests. It covers 30 genes linked to various types of cancers.

These include the well-known BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

They also test for genes that have been linked to prostate, ovarian, stomach, and colon cancer.

Ordering Process

You have to order the Color test through your doctor or an independent physician.

If you’d prefer not to order through your doctor, Color can recommend an independent physician who will order the test for you and receive results on your behalf. You will not be charged extra for this.

Once a physician has ordered the test, you’ll receive a kit at home.

Spit into the tube provided and use the prepaid mailer to send it to Color for testing. Remember to activate the kit on Color’s website before you send it back.

Your results will be ready in 2-3 weeks. Log into Color’s website to see the test report.

Results

The report tells you which mutations the test found and what they mean for your cancer risk. It’ll let you know which types of cancers you are at risk of.

Most importantly, the report includes a personalized screening and prevention plan that addresses the risks color uncovered.

If you need more help understanding the results, Color offers 1:1 genetic counseling via phone. This is free.

You can also discuss the results with your doctor and ways to reduce your risks. The report includes recommendations on how you can work with your doctor to come up with a tailored prevention plan.

Limitations & Issues

1. Not Conclusive

Inconclusiveness is a limitation we’ve mentioned with other DNA tests as well. It’s the reality of DNA health testing.

Color’s test is a good first step for determining your cancer risk. But it is nowhere near conclusive.

For one, it’s not full genome sequencing. So it may miss other mutations or copies of the mutations they test, which can affect your risk level.

Additionally, it does not take into account lifestyle and environmental factors that experts say factor heavily in one’s cancer risk.

So just because the test discovers certain genes, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the type of cancer associated with them. The same goes if they don’t find certain mutations. It doesn’t mean you are in the clear.

To their credit, Color includes several disclaimers in their report. Your doctor or a genetic counselor will also likely warn you that a consumer DNA test is not conclusive.

Bottom Line

Color is the best test for anyone who is looking for affordable genetic cancer screening.

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Best DNA Test for Cellular Aging: TeloYears

TeloYears for Cellular Aging

Summary

According to the cellular senescence theory of aging, aging body cells cause aging and age-related diseases.

Every time a cell divides, the ends of chromosomes (called telomeres) get shorter, eventually leading to cell senescence (aging), cell death, and, sometimes, the formation of tumors.

Research has linked telomere shortening with general body aging as well as heart problems, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other health problems.

The good news is, you can slow down telomere shortening by improving your lifestyle through exercise, a better diet, and certain supplements.

But before you take any actions, it is important to know the state of your cells, or in other words, how old or young they are.

That’s what TeloYears does.

They measure your cells’ biological age using Telomeres. Based on the results, the test report recommends a lifestyle improvement plan that will, hopefully, reduce cell aging, thus improving your overall health.

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Product Description

Telomere science has not found a conclusive answer to why we age. It’s still a theory, but it holds a lot of promise for human health and anti-aging therapies.

Several authoritative studies have found strong links between telomere length and health.

If you can slow down how quickly your telomeres shorten, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy better health and a longer lifespan.

The TeloYearsDNA test probes the length of your telomeres to come up with a cell biological age.

The idea is that, once you incorporate the lifestyle recommendations you’ll receive in your results, you should see an increase in telomere length ora slowdown in how quickly they shorten.

That’s why TeloYears recommends retesting every 6-12 months to see what impact your lifestyle is having on your biological age.

The second free DNA test is included in your first order. You’ll receive another kit in 6 months so that you can send another sample for testing.

Oh, by the way, TeloYears also sells an Advanced ancestry test. But we will not cover it here. Our focus is on the cellular aging test.

Ordering Process

Visit the TeloYears official website to order the test.

As I’ve mentioned, your order includes two tests: an initial test plus another test in six months. TeloYears will automatically send you a kit after six months.

You also have to add a Telomere Support package to your order. This package includes supplements that are known to increase telomere length.

The cheapest supplement package starts at $25 a month (free shipping or all packages). You can cancel the supplement subscription, but you won’t get the free repeat test after six months.

Once you place your order, you’ll receive a sampling kit in your mail. Following the instructions included, take a drop or two of blood from your finger.

Register your kit and send it back for testing. You’ll receive results in 3-4 weeks.

Note: The TeloYears test is doctor-ordered. But you don’t need to do anything. TeloYears has independent physicians, one of whom will review your order information and order the test for you.

Results

Here’s what you get in your test report.

  • The average length of your telomeres and how it compares to other people in your gender and age group.
  • Cell biological age in TeloYears. Your biological age can be lower or higher than your actual physical age.
  • An explanation of Telomere science and how certain lifestyle habits affect telomere length.
  • Actionable recommendations for improving telomere length, including exercise, sleep, stress reduction, and other suggestions.

After six months, you’ll get another kit. Once you submit the second sample, you’ll receive a new report showing how your telomere length has changed.

Limitations & Issues

1. You Must Pay for Supplements

If you want the TeloYears report but prefer to buy your telomere-lengthening supplements or none at all, it’ll not be possible.

You have to add a supplement package to your order. You only pay for the first month when ordering, but you have to keep your subscription active if you want the free 6-month test.

So the actual cost of the test is much higher than it seems. But this is not an issue if you’d like to try the supplements.

2. Not Available in New York

Ordering TeloYears from New York? Sorry, that won’t be possible. TeloYears doesn’t say why, but it probably has something to do with state law.

Maryland residents are also not so lucky, but at least, you can still order the test with only a little more inconvenience added.

You must complete an order form and have it signed by a licensed medical practitioner. Submit the completed form with your sample.

Bottom Line

TeloYears is a great choice for anyone who wants to learn their biological age through DNA and use it to improve their health.

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Best DNA Test for Skin Care: 24Genetics 5-in-1

24Genetics for Skin Care

Summary

Genetics affects several aspects of your skin, including elasticity, aging, sensitivity to UV, and vulnerability to problems such as acne.

Knowing how your genetics are likely to affect your skin health can help you create an effective skincare routine.

The 24Genetics 5-in-1 DNA Test is our top recommendation for those who want DNA-based recommendations for improving the feel, appearance, and health of their skin.

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Product Description

The 24Genetics test includes five tests.

  • Ancestry –the test matches your DNA to DNA from over 1,000 locations around the world.
  • Health and wellness – the test includes genetic health risks, carrier status for various health conditions and traits.
  • Nutrition – this test analyzes your DNA and recommends the best foods and nutrients to add to your diet.
  • Sports – this test analyzes your muscles, metabolism, heart health, and injury risk and recommends the best training plan.
  • Skincare – this test analyzes 20 DNA-based traits that affect your skin to help achieve healthy glowing skin.

All in all, 24Genetics analyzes up to 700,000 genetic markers.

Ordering Process

The ordering process is similar to that of most other DNA tests: you order the test online and receive a complete sample collection kit in your home.

24Genetics requires a cheek swab for the sample. It’s super easy to collect and is perfect for older customers who may be unable to produce enough spit for a sample.

Secure the sample and schedule a pickup from your home.

From the time the lab receives your sample, it takes 6-8 weeks for your report to be ready.

Results

Considering that this is a 5-in-1 test, the test report takes more than a quick flip-through to take in.

If you were most interested in your skin health, head over to the skincare section.

To generate a skincare report, 24Genetics analyses genetic markers that affect your skin’s UV sensitivity, protection from oxidative stress, and how well your body absorbs vitamins important to skin health.

The report then provides personalized recommendations to help you take better care of your skin.

24Genetics recommends sharing the report with your skincare specialist to get the most out of it.

Limitations & Issues

1. Basic Report

Though the report covers many areas of your health, wellness, and ancestry, it does not delve deeply into specific areas.

If you are hoping for a detailed report on how your genes may be affective your skin health, you won’t get it.

The skincare section includes mostly just the basics with just a few suggestions to improve your skin care regimen.

2. Inconclusive

24Genetics analyzes only a small portion of your genome. They leave out many genes that may also affect your skin health.

So the report you get is by no means conclusive. It’s not a guarantee that the recommendations it provides will work for you, especially for hard-to-treat conditions like high UV sensitivity and chronic acne.

Bottom Line

The 24Genetics 5-in-1 test is a great choice for those who want to find out how their genes affect their skin health and what they can do to counter negative effects.

As a bonus, you also get DNA insights into your health, workout, diet, and ancestry. 

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State of the DNA Health Testing Market

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Consumer DNA testing started with a company called GeneTree, founded in 1997.

GeneTree provided ancestry DNA testing. You could create a family tree, search a database for family members, and share messages and pictures with family members.

GeneTree is no longer around(Ancestry.com acquired its assets in 2013), but consumes gene testing has exploded.

Today, people order DNA tests for more than just to discover their ancestry and unknown family members. Health and wellness DNA tests have become more popular.

There are also all sorts of niche DNA tests popping up, including personality DNA tests, sports DNA tests, and skincare DNA tests.

According to some estimates, the DTC (direct to consumer) DNA testing market is expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2024.

DNA health tests have become especially popular as customers want to find out if they are at risk of genetic diseases or if they are likely to pass on any conditions to their kids.

The ability to bypass the traditional doctor-ordered tests and order a DNA health test yourself has been a big draw for consumers.

The direct route has also meant that DNA tests that may cost thousands of dollars through a doctor can be gotten for around two to three hundred dollars.

The growth in popularity of consumer DNA health tests has not come without issues. The biggest one is that DNA health tests don’t provide all the answers people are seeking.

So without a doctor or geneticist to guide you, you are working with incomplete and inconclusive information.

Just because a DNA health test says you are at risk of certain cancer or Alzheimer’s, it doesn’t mean you’ll get it no matter what you do.

Conversely, just because the test results don’t say you are at risk of a certain condition doesn’t mean you are in the clear.

That said, DNA health testing has helped many people become more aware of their health status and take early preventive steps for conditions like breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.


What Can You Learn from DNA Health Tests?

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What you learn from a DNA health test depends on what kind of test it is. Here’s what you can learn from different types of DNA health tests.

Genetic Predisposition

The 23andMe health test looks for specific genetic markers associated with various health conditions. Their health report will tell you if you are at risk of breast cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Celiac disease, and others.

Several other companies also test for genetic predispositions, but 23andMe is the best.

Note that none of these companies provide an actual diagnosis or a guarantee that you will (or won’t) get a particular disease.

That’s why it is important to discuss the report with your doctor before making any lifestyle changes or taking a major action based on it.

Carrier Status

One of the things the 23andMe health report will tell you is whether there are any diseases you risk passing on to your kids.

Again, this is not a diagnosis or a guarantee that you will (or won’t) pass a health condition on to your kids.

But knowing your carrier status can help you take precautions if you are planning to start a family.

As with genetic predisposition testing, several companies provide carrier status screening. But 23andMe is the best provider of carrier status DNA testing.

Personalized Diet and Supplement Recommendations

The science of DNA diet and nutrition testing is far from clear. That has not stopped dozens of companies from providing DNA diet testing.

These companies analyze your DNA to determine your body’s metabolism of different foods like fats and carbs, nutrient absorption, and fat distribution.

They then provide personalized diet recommendations for weight loss, improved energy levels, and overall wellness.

Some companies also test your DNA to provide personalized supplementation recommendations. Of course, most of them sell the supplements they recommend, so one can make a case for bias.

As with health tests, note that the results of a diet DNA test don’t tell you everything. It’s not a guarantee you’ll lose weight if you follow the recommendations.

Personalized Fitness and Workout Recommendations

Diet DNA tests typically go hand in hand with fitness DNA tests.

With a fitness test, a lab analyzes your DNA looking for genetic markers that affect muscle growth, heart health, recovery rate, and fatigue.

From this analysis, the test report recommends the most effective workouts to improve fitness, enhance athletic performance, and reduce the risk of injury.

Most tests recommend working with a professional fitness trainer to get the most out of your results.

Wellness Traits

Ever wonder why coffee never makes you lose sleep or why your earwax is dry and flaky instead of sticky and wet?

A wellness traits DNA test can tell you all these as well as other aspects of your wellness, including gluten intolerance.

23andMe includes a wellness traits analysis in their health test. It covers sleep patterns, coffee metabolism, food sensitivities, and other things.

Skin Health

Yes, you can get a DNA test specifically for your skin.

The test will analyze how your DNA affects various aspects of your skin, including moisture retention, elasticity, and appearance. You’ll get recommendations on how to take better care of your skin, including the best skincare products to use.

Cellular Aging

This is another of those niche DNA tests that have become widely popular in recent years. Cellular aging testing analyzes your DNA, specifically the ends of the chromosomes (called telomeres), to determine your biological age.

You’ll then get recommendations on how to stay biologically young, which keeps you in good health and reduces the risk of various diseases like type 2 diabetes and cancer.


What Health Conditions Can a DNA Test Detect?

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A DNA test can only detect health conditions with a genetic component behind their occurrence. But, as researchers are learning, virtually all diseases have something to do with genetics.

It can be a single gene (e.g., sickle cell disease) or a combination of various gene mutations plus lifestyle and environmental factors (e.g., type 2 diabetes).

So it’s impossible to list all the health conditions you can find out you are at risk from through a DNA test.

The most common ones are cancer (breast, ovarian, prostate, and others), Alzheimer’s disease, Celiac disease, Parkinson’s disease, and heart disease.

A DNA test can also tell you if you are a carrier for conditions like Cystic Fibrosis, Fructose Intolerance, and sickle cell anemia. Being a carrier means there’s a risk your kids could develop the same condition.


How Accurate Are DNA Health Tests?

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DNA health tests are generally very accurate. They do a great job looking for specific genes that are linked to various health conditions.

But this doesn’t mean they are perfect at predicting which disease you are at risk of or whether you have high sensitivity to caffeine.

Because most DNA tests only look at a small portion of your genome, they miss many other genes that can affect your health.

That’s why a DNA test may predict that you have blue eyes, but, in reality, you don’t.

Things get more serious when it comes to health testing. A DNA health test can miss crucial mutations that can affect your predisposition to a disease.

For example, the 23andMe health test only looks for two BRCA gene variants (BRCA1 and BRCA2) when testing for breast and ovarian cancer.

But there are more than a thousand BRCA variants that affect your breast cancer risk.

So while the 23andMe test is very accurate at determining whether you carry the two variants, it’s not as accurate at determining your risk of getting breast cancer.

The same applies to other health conditions.

Here’s the bottom line: the main limitation of DNA health tests is not accuracy (they can easily spot specific genes) but comprehensiveness.

Unless you are willing to pay more for genome sequencing (it analyses all protein-encoding genes rather than just some of them), you’ll have to accept the limited usefulness of consumer DNA health tests.


Types of DNA Health Tests

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Clinic DNA Tests

These tests are offered in a clinical setting, meaning you have to travel to the clinic to provide a sample for testing and collect your results.

Clinic DNA tests are typically more expensive (you can sometimes pay with insurance), and some can only be ordered through a doctor.

The main advantage of the clinic DNA test is that it usually includes genetic counseling by a doctor or genetic expert. You are not left to interpret the results on your own.

At-Home DNA Tests

These are the most popular type of consumer DNA tests. People love them for their lower cost (tests rarely cost more than $400) and convenience (you don’t have to go anywhere).

An at-home DNA test undergoes the same rigorous lab testing process as a clinic test. The only difference is that you collect the sample yourself at home.


Conclusion

DNA Test for Health

We are not yet at a point where we can say that DNA tests are accurate predictors of health. Most consumer tests are limited in what they can tell you.

But they’ve come a long way in a few years. With an affordable DNA test, you can take steps to prevent disease, improve your diet, enjoy better skin health, and improve your fitness.

Use our buying guide above to find the best test for your needs. Here’s a quick summary of our favorite DNA health tests.

  • 23andMe: best for health screening
  • 23andMe: best for inherited diseases
  • Pathway Genomics Fit IQ: Best doctor-ordered test
  • Orig3n: best for fitness testing
  • Orig3n: best for diet & nutrition testing
  • VitaGene: best for supplements
  • Azumio: best for gluten intolerance
  • Color: best for cancer screening
  • TeloYears: best for cellular aging
  • 24Genetics: Best for skincare testing
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About the Author Charles M.