Home DNA Health Genetic Test
Home DNA Health Genetic Test: Full Review
If I had to summarize my experience with HomeDNA and their beneficial services; it would be largely positive reporting. HomeDNA’s Healthy Weight test provided me with extensive and useful insights pertaining to my current health status. By ‘extensive’ I mean; detailed information that could have easily overwhelmed me; if it hadn’t been for clarity in presentation that easily relays information to a layperson with no expertise in in-depth healthcare and weight maintenance. I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about my current health status. Additionally, I am grateful for beneficial insights and recommendations into how I can harness the facts of this Healthy Weight test report to better my own health status, to lose weight and to live a fitness conscious lifestyle. The recommendations given by HomeDNA were practical and easily applicable. Their importance stems from the fact that these recommendations were customized and based off my own health needs and current health status. These recommendations included a practical and easily applicable meal plan and a daily workout plan which I definitely intend to execute.
I do take minor issue with the ‘Food’ results which came with recommendations to increase calorie intake at more than recommended amounts, but again; this was an issue worth ignoring in an otherwise outstanding report. It should be noted that I received an invitation to participate in the free ‘Healthy Weight’ test.
HomeDNA is a recently launched brand under the umbrella of DNA Diagnostics Center; popularly known as DDC. DDC was founded 20 years ago by Dr Richard Lee and is one of the pioneers in consumer DNA testing services. The company is now being run by Connie Hallquist; who is effectively ensuring that DDC continues to serve the public with DNA testing expertise including but not limited to paternity and maternity testing, ancestry testing and health testing. DDC operates out of its laboratory facilities in Fairfield, Ohio.
After a period of indulgence in excess food and drinks over the Christmas break; I took my pick of the Healthy Weight test from HomeDNA’s arsenal of ancestry, skincare and health testing. The goal was to prepare for my New Year’s resolution of healthy eating by taking a diet and fitness health test which could arm me with customized recommendations to meet my fitness goals.
Prep and prior knowledge of the Healthy Weight test from HomeDNA was very convenient with ready access to all the information I needed on the HomeDNA website. The website provided me with relevant information such as the encouraging fact that the Healthy Weight test would analyse my genetic makeup to come up with exercise and diet recommendations. This proved to be very reassuring owing to the fact that I was signing up for a truly customized test that would provide me with the insight I needed to facilitate my own fitness and physical wellbeing. The Healthy Weight test proved to be comprehensive from the get go. Facts pertaining to the test were neatly split into seven categories; allowing me to source information in the order that I wanted to. The scientific reasoning behind the test adequately explained what I needed to know in terms of reliability of the Healthy Weight test. I went ahead with the test with a basic yet adequate understanding of how my DNA information could be utilized to come up with customized healthy living recommendations.
It is fair to say that the website constructively clears any curiosity pertaining to the Healthy Weight test with images of the test kit, images of the contents of the test kit and information of how the test is conducted and processed for results.
Owing to the informational website; I had accurate expectations of the test. I knew that there would be an instructional booklet, an envelope that would serve to send my DNA samples back to the lab, sample swabs and even postage paid in advance for after the test was completed by me at home. The website was truly an effective preview of what I could expect from the Healthy Weight test kit.
Ordering the test online was streamlined and non-complex. A few clicks and I had added the test to cart and was on the checkout page. Shipping was free and all that was required of me; was to put on in my address and phone number on the checkout form. Additionally; the product was scheduled for arrival at my address in 7 – 12 days and shipping was free. On the payments page; I had multiple options to enter either card details or to use PayPal to make a payment.
The swab samples were convenient to utilize however there were no instructions to convey the need to dry them out. The samples were contained in an envelope, this envelope was repackaged in a card envelope; which left no outlet for moisture to escape. This proved to a minor concern in regards to the integrity of the DNA samples I had to send back to the lab.
The testing process required registration of my samples on an account that I needed to set up; prior to sending the samples for testing. This account was the platform on which I could view the results of the test. This was a streamlined and convenient process. The samples were intended for reposting in a prepaid envelope; which I did. The registration required providing personal physiological details such as gender, age, height, weight, date of birth and ethnicity; which I did as well. I was assured that these personal facts wouldn’t be included in my report.
5 days after dispatching the samples; I received a confirmation email assuring me that my samples had arrived at the DDC laboratory in Fairfield, Ohio. Ten days later; I received an email notification that my Healthy Weight test results were in. The ‘faster than expected’ test results were a pleasant surprise. According to HomeDNA I was instructed to expect a 6 week waiting period. Viewing the reports were as simple as going back to the account I had created and had registered my samples on before dispatching them. The report was in PDF format and a bright first page, personalized with my name, date of birth and test report number; led me into the rest of what was a very comprehensive report. This was followed up by an introduction that covered 4 main areas of what to expect from the test; segregated as, ‘Weight Loss Ability’, ‘Food’, ‘Nutrients’ and ‘Response to Exercise’. Each area would be scored based on the results of the genetic testing. Additionally; explanation for scores given along with a strategy for improving personal health and physical wellbeing would be laid down in detail.
The report had a ‘What is a gene?’ section that clarified the characteristics of genetics and its bearing on physical health. This was a great introduction to the scientific reasoning behind my results; which I appreciated. This section also set the tone for the level of comprehensiveness of the rest of the report and I had no reason to complain.
Results Section: Report Summary
My report commenced with a summarization of my results; which were laid out in color-coded tabular format. Three columns labelled ‘Category’, ‘Rating’ and ‘Genes’ were further divided in 4 areas of health reporting as evident from the image below.
The report further impressed me by including each gene tested to come up with specific results in different categories.
Results Section: Weight Loss Ability
On top of the results was the ‘Weight Loss Ability’ category. The actual results was preceded by an explanation on how genes have an impact on weight loss, how my results for the ability to lose weight had been determined and the actual results which were sub-categorized as ‘LOW’, ‘BELOW AVERAGE’ or ‘NORMAL’.
I got a ‘LOW’ rating which would have been even more disappointing if I was facing weight loss issues; which I am not. My ‘LOW’ rating was comprehensively explained; from which I gathered that ‘unfavourable gene combinations’ might make it difficult for me to shed extra weight. The result clarified that losing weight was difficult in my case; but not impossible and that environmental factors also feature in the ability to lose weight or maintain weight loss.
In the absence of this explanation; it’s easy to see how I could feel discouraged about my results. However, these results are sure to serve as a reminder to eat and drink with caution and to stick to my daily workout to avoid weight gain; which would then be difficult to shed.
Following the results were dietary suggestions and workout tips. These recommendations were based on my physiological information that I had furnished with the samples and my genetic makeup. These recommendations were quite helpful and more personalized than I had expected. Specific recommendations such as advice to workout for a duration of 200 to 300 minutes every week along with an emphasis on cardio over other exercises were apparently tailored for my weight loss needs and weight loss ability. Weight training was also recommended and its benefits for me were highlighted.
The ‘Weight Loss Ability’ category results ended with the Related Genes/SNPs section that delved into the scientific research that upheld my results. The comprehensibility of this information was ideal and this in-depth insight didn’t escape my understanding; which is limited to that of a layperson.
Results Section: Food
In the next section of the report; ‘Food’ was the apparent priority. The emphasis here was on weight loss facilitating foods. This section was laid out in a different manner. A table and a pie chart were the obvious choices in comparison to a meter. The pie chart indicated recommendations for ‘Lean Protein’, ‘Complex Carbs’ and ‘Healthy Fats’ intake. My highest percentage of food group consumption recommendation was carbs at 50-60% which instantly put me at ease as a pasta addict. Additionally; recommendation for protein consumption was limited to 20-25% while fats consumption was set at 25-30%.
It came as a surprise to me that based on my genetic makeup; a diet composed of 3,139 calories per day could facilitate with weight loss. To me this analysis seemed high and also contrary to nationally recommended calorie consumption for women which is set at 2000 1,400-2000 calories per day. It occurred to me that I could have perhaps incorrectly entered my weight and height stats but there wasn’t a venue to go back and view my initial input.
Following the pie chart was a table that provided recommendations for my macronutrient consumption based on number of calories.
The amount were displayed in terms of percentage, calories and grams which made it convenient to compare the recommendations with the labels on different food products.
The summary of the ‘Foods’ category was composed of 3 sections which provided details on the utilization of protein, fat and carbs. Once again the format for the pages were as previously displayed; with the help of meters indicating my results based on each food group.
Explanation for these results were provide alongside dietary and workout suggestions and relevant genes. As per the reports; my ability to utilize protein was slightly advanced, my ability to use fats was normal and I also showed a proclivity to utilizing carbs.
The introduction to the ‘Foods’ section made my results quite clear but this information served as a reasonable explanation for the results I was seeing. Additionally; these pages provided even more details by correlating my results to the foods that were best for me. I value this information and find it both interesting and insightful. Explanations for Glycaemic Index or GI proved to be enlightening. This information could help me deduce which types of carbs are better for consumption and which are not.
I had a vague idea of GI and the different types of carbs but I could never really distinguish between good and bad carbs till now. This knowledge will definitely come of use when planning my diet in the near future.
Results Section: Nutrition
The ‘Foods’ section was followed up by the ‘Nutrition’ report. This section emphasized on my vitamin and mineral consumption.
Once again; the actual report was preceded by a summary in the form of a table that indicated my ‘Tendency’ for various integral nutrients. The table indicated that I showed a normal ‘Tendency’ for balanced levels of folate, vitamin D and C and also pointed out to my vitamin A levels which were below average and my ‘Tendency’ for low levels B6 and B12 vitamins.
It was an eye-opener to know that these nutrients had an impact on body weight. Earlier; I was under the impression that these nutrients mainly facilitated skin and bone health. Furthermore; I got to know more about my bodies ability to absorb and process nutrients which may not correlate with how much of these essential nutrients I am getting from the foods I eat.
In the past; I have been doubtful of the impact of supplements and this report reinforced my belief that food was the best source of essential nutrients.
The report also came with an advisory on supplement consumption which pointed out to the toxic effects of supplement overdose and the propensity of supplements to interact with other medications.
Additional and more detailed explanatory notes emphasized on each result within this section. Alongside explanations, suggestions and the meter; there were recommendations for the foods that I should eat more of.
These recommendations are definitely helpful, I now know better in regards to the importance of vitamins and I intend to plan my diet accordingly.
Results Section: Exercise
With knowledge of the ‘Nutrients’ section of my reports; I moved on the ‘Exercise’ results. These results were summarized to start with; though slightly longer and conspicuously different than the correlating summaries in the other sections.
The summary started with a brief paragraph detailing how varying exercises are effective for weight loss. Then came a diagram indicating recommendations for the duration, frequency and intensity of a weekly cardio workout program; customised for my fitness needs.
For me; this was a great summarization of the relevant reports of this section. Plenty of information here to formulate my own workout plan for the future. I do intend to have this summary printed out and posted in a prominent position as a reminder for my fitness goals.
Alongside a summary composed of Cardio workout recommendations were recommendations for strength training inclusive of effective workout programs.
With the more detailed results; I was in for disappointment. My ‘Fitness Response: Cardio’ was rated below average and my ‘Fat Loss Response: Cardio’ was rated low. This meant that I had to put in more effort than normal to get fitter with cardio and lose weight with a cardio workout. However, this is explanatory for my ‘natural aversion’ to working out on a regular basis.
On a positive note; according to the results; my body reacts well to resistance training at normal levels and my reaction to ‘HDL Response: Cardio’ was enhanced. My knowledge of HDL Response Cardio is limited but relevant information on the subject cleared my confusion.
I understood that HDL or High Density Lipoproteins is categorized as good cholesterol with the function of moving cholesterol from the blood vessels to the liver to be processed. In the absence of HDL; bad cholesterol form plaque in the arteries leading to varying health complications. This information was enlightening and to know that my ‘HDL Response: Cardio’ was enhanced was encouraging.
Results Section: Custom Meal and Exercise Plans
For me; the final section of the report which was composed of weekly meal plans and workout routines; seemed most beneficial. The meal plan emphasized on simple and easy to prepare meals (minus recipes) along with a list of ingredients and corresponding information related to calories, grams of macronutrients and the quantification and measures implemented to work out this quantity.
I was a bit disappointed that measures listed were according to US scales as I was expecting a UK test. However, I wouldn’t call this an issue to dwell on. After all; I still had a valuable guide which would help me implement the recommendations of this report in my daily diet.
To top it off; there was an excellent exercise plan along with the meal plan. This plan was composed of strength training and cardio workouts with various workout routines ideal for varying scenarios. For instance; one table emphasized on workouts best carried out with gym machines and another was a combination of gym and home workouts.
The conclusion to the report included comprehensive definitions for the varying workouts mentioned; alongside multiple scientific references that backed up the results of the report. All of the references were categorized to correlate with the different sections of the report.