Compare the best DNA health tests. Here you'll find reviews of DNA tests that can help you improve your diet and fitness, discover your genetic risk for certain diseases and whether you carry any inherited conditions, and identify how you might respond to certain medications.
DNA testing has a range of lifestyle applications, the most common being to predict which diseases you might suffer with; your ‘genetic predisposition’. Providers need a cheek swab sample, a saliva sample, or in some cases, a blood sample from a ‘finger prick tester’ or a lancet device. Your results are either emailed to you or displayed in an online account, 6-12 weeks later.
Other types of DNA test for health include:
- ‘Drug Response’ testing, to identify how you might respond to certain medications.
- ‘Diet Recommendations’ or ‘Nutrigenetic Analysis’, to help adjust your diet to your genetic response to factors like saturated fat intake.
- ‘Fitness Planning’, to help tailor your fitness regimen to aspects of your genetic physiology, like how you react to power or endurance training.
Please note that DNA tests for health will not help you diagnose or treat a disease you believe you’re suffering with. The tests do not replace a medical professional, so you should seek professional advice if you have concerns about a condition you may be experiencing. Instead, DNA tests for health provide lifestyle guidance and an indication of the diseases you might suffer with in the future.
Does it matter which type of sample I provide?
The short answer is no, but you should be aware that the lancet device hurts a little (despite what a provider’s website might say!) and is probably not for the squeamish. Cheek swab and saliva samples are painless, and the finger prick tester only smarts a tiny bit.
Are the tests accurate?
To a degree. The tests are looking for mutations in certain genes and what these mutations mean have been proven by research studies. Some of the studies have been conducted by dozens of world-renowned institutions many times over, with tens of thousands of participants of most ethnicities. Others have been undertaken by fewer institutions on a smaller scale, and although there’s proof that a mutation is linked to a condition, this may only be preliminary research.
Different providers may use different studies to interpret the mutation they identify, which will mean they’ll give you different ‘estimated’ disease risks. Be sure that you’re comfortable with the limitations of each test before ordering, and when reviewing the results, check for the ‘confidence’ levels or that the study they’ve used for the risk assessment is credible.
If the results tell me I have a high risk of suffering with a disease, will I?
Not necessarily, your genetic risk assessment isn’t the whole story, environmental factors such as lifestyle and diet will also affect your chances of suffering with a disease. You should also bear in mind that only a fraction of your genes will be analysed, as we’re still discovering exactly what everything in your DNA does. For example, genetic predisposition tests for breast cancer will only look at dozens of genes, when thousands are thought to contribute to your breast cancer risk.
What if I don’t want to know certain results?
In most cases you’ll be able to request that certain results are not included in your test if you’d rather not know. Some providers will only give results for conditions where you can make lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of suffering with them. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are examples of conditions where there’s little you can do to manage your risk, and so testing for these diseases tends to be on request only.
Watch out for shipping fees added at the checkout. Some providers with offices in the US will use labs overseas, so if having your samples tested in the US is important to you (and the provider’s website isn’t clear) check out our listings for these details.