review on 14 April 2020
by Craig Macpherson
At a Glance
GenePlanet is a leading European provider of innovative healthcare and lifestyle solutions based on preventive genetic testing. Over a decade of successful development, the company has expanded its products and services to over 35 countries.
They specialise in preventive genetic tests for the end user. Their goal is to help people protect themselves from preventable health risks and to implement lifelong lifestyle changes for a better and healthier life.
GenePlanet’s website makes it easy to find, discover, and buy their products. You can just skim the description, or dive deep into the list of analyses included in their tests and how they influence your everyday life. Either way, the buy button is always within easy reach. After careful consideration of 6 individual Lifestyle DNA tests which look at specific aspects of lifestyle, I decided for a Premium Pack. I wanted a comprehensive look at my genetic predispositions for sports, nutrition, skin health, metabolism, lifestyle, and heart health.
The checkout procedure was smooth and straightforward.
A couple of days after purchasing my Premium Pack DNA test, I received a sample collection kit. The kit included:
- instructions for taking the sample
- saliva collector
- ID and security code to claim my kit online and connect it to me as a user
- prepaid envelope for sending the sample back to GenePlanet
Taking a DNA sample for the analysis took just a couple of minutes – I simply filled a saliva collection tube, packed it into the prepaid envelope, and sent it back.
The instructions were very clear and informative; each step was both described and presented with an icon.
I especially appreciated the detailed notice about what to be mindful of to ensure correct sampling (no eating before taking the sample, etc.). The instructions also pointed out small details such as the fill line to which you had to fill the saliva collector.
The kit did not require any special handling or skills, and the instructions made the whole process effortless.
The DNA kit was equipped with a unique ID code and security code that I used to claim my kit online. Claiming the kit linked me as a user to the ID code of my DNA sample. The laboratory where my analysis is performed operates with ID codes only and this way users’ personal information is hidden during the process.
After I collected my sample, I packed it and sent it to GenePlanet in a pre-addressed and prepaid envelope included in my kit.
The kit can definitely be given as a gift. Genetic information is gaining value as both medical and lifestyle tool. A Lifestyle DNA test, such as the one I took, takes personalisation to a whole new level, revealing information with significant, lifelong value. What better way to say that you care for someone than to gift them with a way to improve their life and live better?
GenePlanet claims that you’ll receive results after approximately a month after receiving your sample. Sure enough, after a couple of weeks, I received an email informing me that my results are ready and uploaded to my account. I clicked on the link to GenePlanet’s dashboard, where I signed in with the account I created when I claimed my kit.
Overview of the results
On the dashboard, there is a clearly marked section 'My results' at the top of the page. GenePlanet offers different types of tests, so you first choose which results you want to display – in my case, DNA test results.
It took me to a page where I could access all of my DNA test results. Since I ordered a Premium Pack, I could choose which of the 6 Lifestyle DNA tests I wanted to see.
I clicked on the test I was interested in, and it opened into an overview of the results for this test.
The overview was clear and presented with a colour-coded scale. Together with some keywords, this immediately gave me an idea of how favourable or unfavourable specific results were.
On the right side, there was an option to filter my results according to how favourable or unfavourable they are. So by selecting the unfavourable results, I could get an instant run-through of the areas that need my attention.
An in-depth look at each result
When I clicked on an individual analysis (such as omega-3 metabolism shown on the image below), it revealed a detailed and comprehensive picture of this factor. The first thing I noticed was the colour-coded representation of where my result is located on a scale from good to bad. Under it, you can find the description of what each colour segment means.
Under the name of the analysis, there is a more detailed explanation of the result. It told me which genes were tested, which variant I carry, and its practical value (me having two T copies of the FADS1 gene means that I am genetically predisposed to less effective metabolism of omega-3 fatty acids).
Information on the importance of individual analyses
Even though the science underlying the DNA tests is quite complicated, each piece of information that the test provides you with is easily understandable. Getting the full grasp of each result – and it’s relevance – requires absolutely no prior knowledge on the topic.
So, if you don’t remember your high school biology lessons, they have you covered. When I clicked on the info icon next to the name of the analysis, it opened a pop-up window revealing in-depth information about this particular analysis; what omega-3 fats are, what function do they have in our body, and which genes are tested.
That’s a welcome addition for anyone who is not so knowledgeable in regards to the many factors influencing health and well-being. There is no need to Google the information; you get it all in one place.
Immediately below the results were the recommendations. For me, this was the highlight of the test, because while we have access to tons of information around us, all that information is generalised. GenePlanet provides information which is the most likely to help me because it comes from my own body.
One example of my recommendation was to eat plenty of oily fish, and it told me specifically which fish to choose to fulfil my dietary needs best.
GenePlanet’s goal is to offer a comprehensive approach to personal preventive healthcare, which is also evident in the way their different products influence – and complement – each other. Under my personalised recommendations, I found the results of the related analyses (see image #3). Those include the factors which influence the result of each individual analysis. In other words, the related analyses tell you what more can you do and discover to improve each of your results.
There are DNA test results, blood test results, body measurements, and lifestyle questionnaire. All of them are intended to let you dive even deeper and get to know how your body functions and what it needs.
When I registered at the GenePlanet dashboard, I quickly realised that it offers much more than just a review of your DNA results. Besides six different DNA tests (each focused on one specific area of individual’s lifestyle), they offer a selection of other features and even blood tests, which help make your results even more personalised and detailed.
After browsing through my DNA results, I discovered that I could learn more about my health and well-being by answering a couple of questions and entering body measurements.
Entering body measurements and answering a lifestyle questionnaire is free of charge, and it generates an intriguing feature – a Health Score. GenePlanet defines it as a numerical representation of your current health and well-being.
By entering data such as BMI, waist circumference, amount of physical exercise, how and what you eat, and more factors with scientifically proven influence on health and well-being, the platform calculated my Health Score.
It was presented to me in the same visually appealing and easy-to-understand way as DNA results. Based on my score, I received a motivational message encouraging me to improve it.
The Health Score is a welcome feature and the answer to modern society’s most pressing health problems. It lets you take control over your health by
- providing an accurate assessment of your current state, and
- monitoring exactly how the changes and improvements you make based on your personalised recommendations influence your overall health and well-being.
The questions and body measurements all have a solid scientific base, while data objectivity is further improved with blood tests. Where a DNA test reveals your predispositions (what could be), a blood test reveals what’s going on in your body right now (what is).
Building on the foundation of genetic testing, GenePlanet has managed to upgrade their approach to preventive healthcare with other science-based approaches, merging it all into a wholesome and user-friendly tool for better life and longevity.
Geneplanet’s test results were clear, informative, and interesting. Some results confirmed what I already suspected (slow coffee metabolism, being a morning person), and others revealed something new (less effective omega-3 metabolism and a predisposition for endurance sports).
Those insights gave me the power to approach my lifestyle from my body’s point of view, addressing its needs and preferences.
I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information and the breakdown of results with personalised recommendations the test provided. Changing one’s daily habits can be a challenge, but this test made me realise that the formula for success is personalised advice coupled with the awareness that you are acting in your own best interests.
More than anything else, this test felt like an investment in my health and well-being. It helped me understand my body, told me how to cater to its needs, and revealed which factors I should watch closely to avoid potential health problems. For someone willing to change, the test offers excellent value.