Crack the Code to Your Health and Fitness
SelfDecode can give you a more in-depth understanding of your overall health and wellness based on your genetics. While popular ancestry sites like 23andMe have recently expanded into health and wellness reports, you won’t get nearly as much health-related information as you can from SelfDecode.
This is a company that aims to help you crack into the deeper details of your genes with actionable data. In the simplest terms: it shows you how to read and understand (or “hack”) your personal genetic code. SelfDecode also covers more health categories than ancestry sites (74 categories and 100s of gene packs as of this writing, compared to around eight categories on 23andMe). This means you get a broader picture of your overall health, not just a handful of common diseases, personality quirks, and physical traits.
If you want the best of both worlds with world-class ancestry results and comprehensive health data, SelfDecode even lets you import your raw genetic data from ancestry sites like 23andMe and AncestryDNA. This can save you substantial time, money, and hassle if you’ve already had your saliva or a cheek swab analyzed by another DNA service. If you haven’t taken a DNA test before or don’t have access to your raw data, you can also order SelfDecode’s mail-in test kit.
One big downside to this test: it’s currently not FDA-approved, so not all health and scientific claims have been validated. So, while you can learn a lot from your genes, you shouldn’t accept the results as an official diagnosis for any disease or potential risk factor. The results are intended for informational purposes only.
It also doesn’t offer access to genetic counselors, although you can hire a SelfDecode consultant to help you understand your results. SelfDecode is powered by highly-educated scientists and genetics experts, but you should consult with a physician, healthcare professional, or genetic counselor before you act on any of the interpretations provided.
So, how does the SelfDecode test work, and what information do you get with the reports? Let’s take a closer look at what to expect.
Step One to Decoding Your DNA
Opening the Box: A cheek swab collection toolkit with instructions and a two-way pre-paid shipping label with tracking.
Completing the Test: Collect your sample by swabbing the inside of your cheeks. Be sure to follow the enclosed directions to ensure you get the best sample possible. Make sure you don’t eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum for 30 minutes before taking the test.
Mailing and Results: Your kit will be registered once you receive it, so mail it back as soon as possible. You can track your test’s progress and enter your symptoms and conditions through SelfDecode’s online portal while you wait for your results.
Your report will be ready around six to eight weeks after SelfDecode receives your sample. At that time, you’ll receive an email granting you access to your results.
Already Have Your DNA Data? Already took a test? Save some time (and money) by uploading your raw DNA file from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or other supported websites. Instead of waiting up to two months, your reports will be ready to review in a matter of minutes.
SelfDecode’s Health And Wellness Tests
You’ll receive an introductory DNA Wellness report with every annual subscription plan, plus you’ll get a 50% discount off additional reports of your choosing. If you’re on a budget, you don’t have to unlock the full range of DNA Wellness reports, just choose the ones that are of interest to you. If you keep your subscription active, you’ll also get three free premium DNA Wellness reports per year.
Alternatively, you can pay a one-time lifetime membership fee for full access to the site, which unlocks every DNA Wellness report, plus all future reports and site updates with no additional charges.
Here are some of the notable reports available to members:
Find out how your genes could impact your body’s inflammatory response. Want to avoid skin breakouts, asthma flare-ups, and gastric distress? This report can tell you more about:
- General Inflammation
- Bone Inflammation
- Brain and Nervous System Disorders
- Respiratory Issues
- Skin Diseases
- Gut Health and Digestion
Are you at risk for heart disease or a stroke? This report can provide critical insight into your potential risks and preventive measures for serious cardiovascular conditions, including:
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Congenital Heart Defects
- High Blood Pressure
- Coronary Heart Disease
Can’t sleep well at night? Feeling fatigued all day? Learn how your genes might affect your ability to get a good night’s rest, including your risk for these sleep-related disorders:
- Teeth Grinding
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Restless Leg Syndrome
Do you have a vitamin deficiency? Or maybe you’re curious about how your body absorbs and processes certain vitamins? This report can tell you more about key vitamins and which supplements you might benefit from, including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B9
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Mineral deficiencies can impact your overall health and immunity, including how vitamins are absorbed by your body. Learn which dietary adjustments and supplements can improve your daily life. Includes reports on:
Do you struggle with seasonal depression or stress? Find out how your genes may be affecting your daily life and coping mechanisms. Includes reports and suggestions for:
- Emotional Balance and Stress
- Depression (Treatment Resistance)
- Seasonal Mood Problems
A sampling of suggestions to help improve your mood.
Could your genes unlock the secret to living a long life? See how various genetic factors could be the key to staying happy and healthy well into the future. The report covers these categories:
- Oxidative Stress
- Cardiovascular Health
- Cell Growth
- DNA Repair
Other Test Kits Available
- APoE – Learn your risks for cognitive dysfunction, Alzheimer’s, and cardiovascular diseases tied to this genotype
- Cognitive Function – Find out which genes could be triggering your brain fog, lack of focus, and other cognitive issues
- MTHFR – Learn how this gene affects your body’s ability to process amino acids and which genetic disorders are tied to its mutations or variations
Similar Tests to Consider:
- Everlywell offers a variety of health and wellness tests; however, some are broken down into single-vitamin tests (B, B9/Folic Acid, D), rather than a batch test. The cost of these tests can quickly add up compared to SelfDecode’s comprehensive vitamin check.
- LetsGetChecked features a wide range of tests related to men’s and women’s health. Like Everlywell, many vitamins are broken down into individual tests, which means you’ll pay more to get the full panel of results.
Reasonably Priced for a Wealth of Information
SelfDecode’s pricing is quite good for what you get – an annual subscription is less expensive than a yearly doctor’s physical and battery of tests, the starting price is US$90.00. Plus, you get three free premium reports each year. As mentioned before, paid-up subscribers also save 50% on additional DNA wellness reports.
The one-time lifetime access pricing compares to a lot of popular ancestry and ancestry+health kits. In some cases, such as with 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA, you’re paying a one-time fee for DNA testing with basic health and ancestry information, and you can download your raw data and upload it to SelfDecode.
On the other hand, sites like AncestryDNA and MyHeritage charge hundreds of dollars per year for full access to their ancestry databases. You may be able to justify the ongoing costs if you want to keep digging into your family’s history, but if your main focus is health-related insight, you could pay a similar amount just once to SelfDecode (and upload your raw DNA data if you already have it), and you won’t have to pay again for future reports, tests, or ongoing subscriptions.
SelfDecode’s packages break down as follows:
- Annual Subscription: If you already have your DNA data, you can upload it and save on the kit fees. You also get three free premium DNA wellness reports per year.
- Annual Subscription with DNA Testing Kit: Yearly subscription with an additional one-time fee for the DNA testing kit, plus three free premium DNA wellness reports per year.
- Lifetime Access: A one-time fee lets you upload your existing DNA data to SelfDecode. Gives you full access to the site and all of its features, plus all current and future DNA wellness reports.
- Lifetime Access with DNA Testing Kit: A one-time fee including the DNA testing kit. Receive full lifetime access to every SelfDecode feature and premium DNA wellness reports.
- Pro SelfDecoder: Monthly and yearly subscriptions for healthcare practitioners who want to partner with their patients using their DNA data. Features special pricing on DNA test kits with unlimited profile uploads.
Not Super Quick, but Thorough
I could only find one way to get in touch with SelfDecode on the website: by email. There is a Facebook page linked on the website, a LinkedIn profile, and a defunct Instagram account, but thankfully, a quick email was enough to answer my questions. I had to wait a couple of days for a response, but I did get an automatically-generated message letting me know that a representative would reply within 48 hours, which they did.
I found the site a bit confusing to navigate; there’s quite a lot of information to work through. There are some good FAQs, but you have to click around for answers that should be easier to find, in my opinion. I wanted to know if the test kits were available worldwide (they are now but used to be US-only) and how long results would take to get. I eventually found the information about the results taking six to eight weeks, but not until after I sent the email.
SelfDecode’s support staff is polite and helpful.
There’s a member forum available as well, but you’ll need to have an active subscription to take advantage of it. If you’re a potential customer with questions, email is really the only option since there’s no live chat or phone numbers to call.
Demystifying Your DNA Data – A Worthwhile Effort
SelfDecode has ambitious goals to provide the public with a comprehensive resource and database for “hacking” your DNA. There aren’t many sites that explain your DNA without an extremely generic explanation or one that requires an advanced science or medical degree. I think it’s worth your money and time to gain knowledge you can take to your doctor to help improve your life and understand how your particular genetic makeup makes you tick.
It would be nice if you could import SelfDecode’s reports into ancestry sites, especially if you’re a carrier of diseases and disorders that run in your family. But, if you already have access to ancestry sites, SelfDecode is another component toward understanding what makes you, you.
How accurate is a SelfDecode test?
SelfDecode’s test is 100% based on science and clinical expertise. This ensures you have the best and most accurate information currently available. Future research and studies may change how the information is interpreted, so it’s a good idea to keep up with changes that might be relevant to your health and genetic markers.
How does a SelfDecode test work?
SelfDecode’s test is similar to how you’d do a saliva-based DNA test, like 23andMe or AncestryDNA. However, instead of spitting into a tube, you swab your cheek according to the instructions provided with each DNA kit. After collecting and packaging up your sample, simply drop it in the mail and wait for your results in about six to eight weeks.
How does SelfDecode compare to more well known competitors?
SelfDecode is similar to its competitors in how it provides you with health-related insights, which sites like 23andMe and FamilyTreeDNA also do. Ancestry-focused sites, however, don’t offer as much in-depth health information beyond the basics like personality, physical traits, and common health conditions.
SelfDecode, on the other hand, is strictly focused on your health.
It offers you the opportunity to dig deeper into your raw genetic data, plus it teaches you how to understand and interpret this data to help you “hack” your way toward better health and wellness. In other words, SelfDecode is the ideal companion piece to go with ancestry-related sites, as it can help you form a more complete picture of who you are, where you came from, and how you can live your best life.
How much does a SelfDecode test cost?
The basic SelfDecode service starts at US$90.00 for a one-year subscription to the site. There’s an additional one-time fee of just under $100, if you also purchase the DNA testing kit. Alternatively, you can upload your raw DNA data from any of the supported websites for no extra charge. As a paid-up subscriber, you’ll get a considerable discount on additional reports, plus you’ll be eligible for a few free premium DNA reports per calendar year.
Additionally, you can pay a one-time fee for lifetime access to the site, which starts at a couple of hundred dollars (an extra fee applies if you purchase a DNA testing kit as well). With a lifetime membership, you’ll have access to all of the current features, plus you’ll get future updates and premium DNA reports at no extra charge.
If you’re a healthcare provider, SelfDecode also offers the SelfDecode Practitioner membership, which starts at about $100 per month. As a Practitioner-tier member, you’ll get a price break on test kits you can offer to your patients.
Who should consider taking a SelfDecode test?
If you’re interested in taking charge of your health and well-being, SelfDecode could be a great option for you. You’ll learn how to read and interpret your unique genetic code, something that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars if you were to consult with a genetic counselor or general practitioner.
While it doesn’t replace official medical advice, SelfDecode aims to help you make more informed decisions about your health using your DNA as a guide.
This also means you don’t have to accept generic medical or fitness advice that might not work for you, you’ll have access to actionable advice that’s focused on your particular needs.