Health & Healing

Best DNA Testing For Health And Diet: Genetic Health Risks, Nutrition, Fitness & More

When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Here’s how it works.

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is a booming business, but are all of these tests legitimate? Yes, in some cases. Some at-home DNA tests to determine hereditary health risks, paternity, and ancestry are legit. But what about DNA testing brands that claim to analyze your DNA for your nutrition, fitness, and even your biological age?

As a health sciences expert, I’ve done extensive research into DTC genetic testing for years. So, I’ll help shed light on which DNA tests can give you the results you’re looking for and those that may be hit-or-miss based on the current science.

WinnerRunner-UpThird Place
23 and me total health kit boxCircle DNA premium test box and phone.NGX personal nutrition dna test box and iPad.
23andMeCircle DNANGX
Visit WebsiteVisit WebsiteVisit Website
Read ReviewRead ReviewRead Review

How Accurate Are At-Home DNA Health Tests?

Six DNA health tests on a light blue background.

Various types of DNA health testing kits on the market claim to determine your predisposition for diseases and carrier status, give you your cellular age or analyze your DNA for weight loss and fitness purposes. Are they worth it? And are they actually accurate?

To put it plainly, some genetic health risk and carrier tests can be accurate, but with other DNA tests analyzing diet, fitness, and biological age — take them with a grain of salt. The science behind these tests is in its infancy, so keep that in mind. See what I’ve uncovered before putting a dent in your wallet.

Best DNA Tests For Health Reasons

We’ve chosen our top picks based on each company’s scientific reputation and practices, types of tests offered, results, customer feedback, and other factors.

A Word Of Caution

Do not make any major healthcare decisions or changes based on your DNA test results. Always consult with your physician about any results you get from an at-home DNA test. Just because you have a genetic mutation that puts you at a higher risk for developing a condition doesn’t mean that you will.

Winner: 23andMe Review

23 and me + total health test kit box.

Visit Website | View on Amazon

23andMe is a pioneer at-home DNA testing company that launched in 2007. Today, it remains the only DTC DNA testing service with authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for genetic testing for disease predisposition.* Some of these include late-onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Hereditary Thrombophilia, Type 2 Diabetes, and 44 genetic variants found on the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes known to be associated with a higher risk for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer.

23andMe offers two DNA test kits, which use whole genome sequencing to identify inherited genetic mutations. Both offer health predisposition, carrier status, wellness, and physical trait reports; however, if you want full genetic testing for disease risk, you’ll need to upgrade to the 23andMe+ Premium test. This premium test also includes pharmacogenetics reports that can determine how your body metabolizes certain medications.

An exciting new addition to the company’s testing arsenal is 23andMe+ Total Health. This test utilizes a newer cutting-edge genetic analysis technology called Whole Exome Sequencing (WES). According to Yale Medicine, researchers estimate that 85% of all genetic variants that cause diseases can be found in the exome (the coding portion of the genome).

23andMe’s Total Health covers over 55 hereditary conditions and also includes biannual blood test panels and everything you get with 23andMe’s premium test. Unfortunately, Total Health is quite expensive and so new we haven’t been able to find customer feedback about its results.

*Approximately one dozen testing reports are FDA-approved; the others are powered by 23andMe’s research but are not FDA-approved.

ProsCons
Only at-home DNA test to offer FDA-approved genetic health screeningsRequires an annual subscription for updates to your reports
Offers cutting-edge whole exome sequencing (highest-tier test)Subscriptions auto-renew
Other reports include carrier status, wellness, physical traits, and pharmacogeneticsSuffered a security breach of ancestry data for millions of users in fall 2023
All tests give you ancestry resultsSome complaints about poor customer service
Strict security and privacy policy
CLIA- and CAP-certified laboratory
Simple cheek swab

Pricing

23andMe also offers an Ancestry test at $119.00 , which doesn’t include any health information.

Health + Ancestry23andMe+ Premium23andMe+ Total Health
Price $229.00 $299.00 $1,188/year
Health Predisposition Reports10+40+40+
Carrier Status ReportsGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Wellness Reports5+10+10+
Pharmacogenetics ReportsGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Ongoing New ReportsGreen checkmark*Green checkmark
Exome SequencingGreen checkmark
Blood TestingAdd-on2 per year

*After the first year, this feature auto-renews at $69/year.

Our Personal Experience With 23andMe

Screenshot of 23andme health test results.

I did a 23andMe test in 2018, and I still get new information added to my account as 23andMe expands its offerings. It’s wild the things they can infer about my health from my DNA. While a lot of it is true, some minor items are incorrect. For example, 23andMe is fairly spot on with my physical traits, but the random things like whether I consume more or less caffeine or if I prefer sweet vs salty snacks are incorrect.

More important to me are the Health Predisposition and Carrier Status reports. I appreciate the in-depth information provided by 23andMe, and it allows me the opportunity to follow up with my primary physician about anything I’m concerned about. The cost-benefit analysis of 23andMe is totally worth it, in my opinion. The information I’ve gained through my test has been helpful and fun to explore.

Kimberly Alt, Safe Smart Living writer

Runner-Up: CircleDNA Review

Circle DNA premium test kit box and phone screen with results.

Visit Website

Lesser-known CircleDNA launched its comprehensive DNA test in 2019. CircleDNA uses advanced whole exome sequencing in its internationally accredited laboratory. This test has a lot to offer, albeit at a hefty cost. Your results include over 500 separate health reports in 20 categories.

It analyzes your risk level for 35+ cancers and 80 other serious diseases and disorders, such as Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. You can also learn your carrier status for 160+ serious heritable conditions, which may be helpful if you’re considering starting a family.

Other reports may help shed light on your certain prescription drug responses, diet, fitness, skin health, ancestry breakdown, and more. The major downside with CircleDNA? It may be cost-prohibitive for some people.

ProsCons
Uses cutting-edge whole exome sequencingExpensive
Get 500 reports No FDA-authorized testing reports
Internationally accredited laboratoryAncestry results are limited compared to 23andMe and Living DNA
Strict security and privacy policySome users say it’s difficult to reach customer support
Get results within 18 business days
30-minute genetic consultation included
Simple cheek swab

Pricing

You can save 40%-50% if you purchase multiple tests.

  • $440
  • Free shipping

Third Place: NGX Review

NGX personal nutrition DNA test test kit box and iPad screen with test on it.

Visit Website

NGX is a Great Britain-based company that focuses on nutrigenetics, the field of science that examines how we metabolize and process different nutrients based on our unique genetic makeup. NGX’s test analyzes your DNA to find a variety of known genetic variants that can impact your ability to use, process or absorb different nutrients.

Your personal nutrition report gives you a breakdown of your daily caloric needs, the percentage of protein, carbs, and fats you should be eating (with recommendations for ideal food sources), your vitamin and minerals needs, and how your body responds to caffeine, lactose, and gluten.

Then you have the option of purchasing the company’s NGX BodyFuel powdered supplement customized for your body’s needs. They even have guidelines on how to take BodyFuel to help you achieve your goals (e.g., build lean muscles, lose body fat, improve physical performance, etc.). BodyFuel isn’t cheap, however. A bag with 28 servings is approximately $65. NGX offers a wide variety of supplements on its website.

Customers rave about NGX, and I’m impressed with the scientific approach they take (even though this field of science is so young). However, it’s important to point out that because NGX is based in Great Britain, those of us in the United States will have pricey shipping fees.

ProsCons
Extensive report includes details about each genetic variant they analyzed and what it means for youNo genetic health risk or carrier status analysis
15-minute nutritionist consultation includedHefty shipping fees
Option to purchase personalized powdered supplement (vegan and sustainably sourced)Supplements are pricey
Strict security and privacy policy
Get results in 10-14 working days
Sample report on website
Simple cheek swab
They destroy your DNA sample once the lab has finished its analysis
Excellent customer reviews

Pricing

  • NGX DNA Test: $154.87
  • Supplements: varies

What About Living DNA, GenoPalate & TallyAge Tests?

GenoPalate Review

GenoPalate DNA test and bottle.

Visit Website | View on Amazon

GenoPalate is a relatively new DNA testing company that’s geared toward your diet. This brand says it analyzes over 158 genetic markers that allow scientists to identify specific genetic traits and sensitivities affecting your ideal diet. These markers provide insights into how your body processes certain nutrients, such as vitamin D or protein.

Your results include 23 personalized nutrition recommendations and insights into whether you’re sensitive to alcohol, caffeine, lactose, and gluten. Your report also includes up to 140 foods matching your DNA-based nutrient needs. GenoPalate says they only use evidence from the highest-quality, peer-reviewed research studies to inform their recommendations.

Based on many unfavorable customer reviews I’ve seen, I think you can do better with NGX. Still, some customers have found GenoPlate’s results to be helpful for them.

ProsCons
DNA analysis based on the most recent researchRequires you to purchase personalized recipes on their website
Ability to upload raw DNA data from many other services (23andMe, AncestryDNA, etc.)Several user complaints about inaccurate and/or results
Get results in 24 hours by uploading your raw DNA data or 4-6 weeks by taking their testMany reports of poor customer support
20-minute dietitian coaching session included
CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited labs

Pricing

  • Essential Nutrition DNA Test & Report: $199
  • Essential Nutrition Report (upload your raw DNA): $199
  • Personalized Recipes: 5 for $39.95 or 10 for $49.95 (required for purchase)

Living DNA

LivingDNA wellbeing test box.

Visit Website

Better known for its robust ancestry DNA testing, Living DNA also offers a Wellbeing DNA testing kit. This kit analyzes your DNA for several genetic variants that are related to nutrition and exercise. These include food metabolism, lactose and gluten intolerances, blood glucose regulation, and a few fitness-related factors.

For example, Living DNA looks at the genetic variant that can impact how your body metabolizes several different vitamins and minerals. While these results can be hit-or-miss, I recommend going with Living DNA’s Wellness & Ancestry Kit to get the best bang for your buck. This company specializes in African, British, and European ancestry with extensive subregional breakdowns. They also offer DNA matching.

ProsCons
Ideal if you want ancestry and wellness resultsNo genetic health risk or carrier status analysis
Gives you nutritional and exercise advice based on your resultsLimited wellness results compared to our top 2 picks
Strict security and privacy policyNo information about the science behind their wellness analysis
Get results in 6-8 weeks
Simple mouth swab

Pricing

  • Wellbeing Kit: $129
  • Ancestry Kit: $99
  • Wellbeing & Ancestry Kit: $179
  • View all options

TallyAge Test Review

TallyAge test box and kit contents.

Visit Website

Tally Health is one of many fairly new DTC DNA tests that measure DNA methylation patterns associated with aging and disease to determine your biological versus your chronological age. DNA methylation is the chemical modification of our DNA that alters gene expression. Many factors can contribute to your individual aging process, including genetics, diet, exercise, environmental exposures, and more. Well-established scientific evidence confirms that DNA methylation biomarkers can determine biological age.

The TallyAge Test uses artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology and compares the DNA from your cheek swab to the company’s existing DNA methylation database of 8,000 people to determine your biological age.

To get more than your biological age, you must sign up for a monthly subscription to get actionable insights into lifestyle changes if you’re aging faster than you should be. Not surprisingly, this includes their Vitality longevity supplements, which include such ingredients as calcium alpha-ketoglutarate, quercetin, and resveratrol.

While these ingredients have been shown in research studies to promote longevity and improve healthspan in small mammals, it’s important to note that these supplements aren’t FDA-approved.

ProsCons
Determines how well your body is agingExpensive
Developed by Dr. David Sinclair, a renowned Harvard longevity researcher Launched in 2023 so we can’t find many customer reviews about this product
Database is larger than competitors
Get results in 4-6 weeks
Strict security and privacy policy
Membership includes personalized action plan and high-quality supplements
Simple cheek swab

Pricing

One-Time Purchase3-Month Subscr.6-Month Subscr.12-Month Subscr.
Price$229$199/mth$159/mth$129/mth
No. of TallyAge Tests1124
Personalized Action PlanGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark
Daily SupplementsGreen checkmarkGreen checkmarkGreen checkmark

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions people often ask about DNA health testing. Don’t see yours here? Ask us in our comments.

What Do And Don’t Genetic Predisposition Reports Tell You?

Genetic health risk reports inform you if you have variants associated with a higher risk of developing a disease, but they don’t describe your overall risk of developing the disease. They’re not intended to inform you of your current state of health and shouldn’t be used to make medical decisions.

What Are Carrier Status Reports?

Being a “carrier” means you carry one genetic variant for a health condition. Carrier status reports can’t tell you if you have two copies of any genetic variant. Rather, they tell you about variants that may not affect your health but could affect the health of your future family. However, they can’t predict anything about the risks of your child being born with or developing a particular disease.

Whole Genome vs Whole Exome vs Targeted Sequencing: What’s The Difference?

Want to understand the differences between the different types of next-generation sequencing (NGS)? This brief video gives you a quick explanation.

What Else Can You Learn From 23andMe And Other DNA Tests?

23andMe is a unique DNA testing company in that it not only offers DNA medical testing, but also gives you insight into your family’s ancestry. You can learn where your ancestors lived and locate living relatives. However, if your major reason for doing a DNA test is for hereditary purposes, I’d recommend AncestryDNA’s test.

Why Trust Safe Smart Living?

Sally has over 20 years of experience in health sciences communications. From researching and writing about scientific advances by world-renowned faculty at UNC-Chapel-Hill and the VCU Health System to spending many years as a public relations and marketing specialist at the UVA Health System. Sally has conducted extensive research into at-home DNA testing for humans and pets since 2015.

Sally Jones

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s graduate school for journalism and public relations, Sally began a long career researching and writing about hard-to-understand topics, such as insurance and finance. Her additional experience in marketing, fundraising, public relations and financial planning at various foundations and nonprofit organizations over the years has given her the practical tools to inform consumers about making the smartest business and personal financial decisions. Her work has appeared in many notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, People, Forbes, Huffington Post, and more. Speaking of smart living — growing up in the (at-the-time) per-capita murder capital of the U.S. (Richmond, VA) taught her a thing or two about the need for personal and home safety. Sally stays on top of all the latest gadgets and services to protect her and her teenage daughters from potential predators and thieves. And she brings this knowledge to every article she writes.

Related Articles

Subscribe
Notify of
2 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
Index
Send this to a friend