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Vitagene Reviews: Are the tests worth the money?

Our experts tell you everything you need to know about Vitagene’s DNA tests and products.

Last Updated: Jan 3, 2022
Vitagene Reviews

More than 99% of human genetics are the same. Our bodies’ makeups reveal that all humans have similar organs, functions, and designs by nature. But that remaining percent is where all of our genetic variations come from: everything that makes us unique shines. There are slight differences in alleles (single genetic base pairs) that make you who you are, from your hair and eye color to how your body regulates temperature.

Vitagene wants to help you understand those allele-level differences to make more informed lifestyle decisions. They focus on nutrition and fitness but will likely expand their test offerings in the future. By analyzing your genetic information, matching it with published research, and giving you personalized recommendations on how to improve your health, Vitagene seems too good to be true. We looked into their testing services to help you decide if Vitagene is right for you.

Editor's Summary

Overall Rating 8.5 / 10

Vitagene creates low-cost, high-efficiency DNA and other at-home health tests to make your health information more accessible – but it’s also more accessible to others who might want to purchase your non-genetic personal information.

Pros

  • Inexpensive DNA tests that analyze a wide range of traits, even for cheaper packages.
  • Unique partnership with GNC to find the best supplements for your health.
  • Extremely reliable and secure certified labs.
  • Save $20 on your order by signing up for email updates

Cons

  • Difficult to contact customer service.
  • Currently only ships to the United States.
  • DNA test results have inconsistent amounts of information and recommendations.
  • Sells non-genetic personal information to third parties for marketing.
Our Top Picks

Vitagene

With relatively low prices and fast delivery, Vitagene should be an enticing option for many people shopping for DNA test kits.

Since its founding in 2015, Vitagene has made some interesting moves to establish itself as an affordable option in at-home testing, even partnering with GNC. Pricing is competitive.

The Health + Ancestry Report
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$99
The Premium Report
Reviewed by Innerbody Research
$139

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers like you make more informed decisions to live healthier lives. We extensively test each health service we review.

Our team has spent over 272 hours testing and researching Vitagene and its close competitors in DNA testing to give you an unbiased exploration of your at-home testing options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. Through a thorough and deliberate approach to every product we encounter, we evaluate services based on adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally, this review of Vitagene, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

How we evaluated Vitagene

In order to make sure that we rate Vitagene’s products consistently, we focused on the most important aspects that determine value to you as a customer. Naturally, how much they cost is important. The tests’ accuracy and reliability are crucial, as well as whether it’s for novelty or if you can use your results to help improve your life. Privacy and customer support are also important to our evaluation.

Cost

8.5 / 10

Vitagene’s mission relies on inexpensive products. Their DNA kits hit this mark, especially when considering all their personalized recommendations and action plans. However, their smaller biomarker testing kits lean expensive. They also charge a hefty amount for shipping if you only order one kit, which is closer to a retail marketplace policy and rare to see in other DNA testing sites.

Scientific accuracy

8.5 / 10

Every page has some simplified scientific information that withstands criticism. While they occasionally oversimplify details and make some grand causal claims improperly, a vast majority of what they tell you is accurate. Their explanations of epigenetics (how your genetics change in response to the environment, psychological states, and other external factors) are also easy to understand without being patronizing.

Real-life applications

8.6 / 10

For the most part, all of the tests Vitagene offers can impact your daily life. All of the biomarkers they test outside of DNA have direct impacts on your health, whether it’s melatonin and your quality of sleep or hs-CRP and your likelihood of developing a heart condition. Their mission is for you to use your DNA results to impact your daily actions, after all. Not every recommendation is helpful, but most keep their innovation and applicability top-notch.

Privacy

8.3 / 10

If you’re worried about your genetic privacy, Vitagene has you covered. They are thorough in their testing strategy and tell you upfront that they dispose of your DNA sample when they’re done, which isn’t something companies are always willing to disclose. They are also CLIA and CAP certified, creating a comprehensively safe and secure lab environment. However, they sell more of your non-genetic personal information to third parties for marketing purposes than many of their competitors.

Customer service

8.0 / 10

Though Vitagene’s costs are low, so is their capacity for customer service. They are only available during business hours on weekdays via email and phone, and even then, response times can be long. If you’re interested in learning more and your question isn’t too specific, however, their FAQs are detailed with lots of potential answers to make up for it.

What is Vitagene?

Vitagene is a personal health testing service founded in 2015 by neurosurgeon Dr. Reza Malek. Backed by giants from the fields of medicine, ancestry, age research, and business, Vitagene sets out to make personalizing your health easy and accessible. They offer several at-home medical tests, looking at common biomarkers like cholesterol and HbA1c (average long-term blood sugar), but their crown jewel is the DNA test.

Vitagene’s mission is to “help people use their DNA to inform their life choices.” By providing a DNA test that points out your genetic risks, livelihoods, and abilities and then following up with a health plan based on research about those genes, Vitagene can be with you for every step of your health journey.

After you purchase and take one of their DNA tests, they analyze your genes in their lab and run them through a comprehensive database of the latest research on genomics, nutrition, and exercise. They present you with some of your genetic information and then offer personalized suggestions to improve your health. In some cases, such as in their partner product with supplement retailer GNC, they even go as far as to suggest what vitamins might be best for you.

Their labs adhere to the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA), federal safety and quality standards for health assessments, and the College of American Pathologists Guidelines (CAP), which are recommendations for making better evidence-based medical decisions. While Vitagene offers no formal diagnoses or health support, it’s promising to see that they hold themselves to the same standard as clinical researchers and hospitals.

Vitagene is also likely on the road to expansion. They offer mailing lists for international customers who can’t currently order any Vitagene tests but want to in the future. A handful of pages and features have been recently removed and left broken links or references to products that are no longer available, such as in-browser customer support and an extra tier of DNA testing. Their site changes regularly, so check often to stay up-to-date.

Who can use Vitagene?

DNA tests require you to share a huge database of information with a company. Even with laws like GINA, which protect you from genetic discrimination, you’ll need to be comfortable with sharing your DNA. Vitagene does not store your DNA sample after being used for testing, but they might anonymize and catalog your genetic information for research-related purposes.

Vitagene is focused almost solely on health-related genetics. Those looking to trace their heritage are best looking at other DNA tests.

Vitagene makes personalized recommendations for you to improve your health based on your DNA and blood or salivary biomarkers, so you’ll find their tests most useful if you are trying to make improvements in your own life. This also relies on a commitment to try new supplements, foods, or exercise techniques based on their findings. Overall, Vitagene promotes self-improvement through self-awareness, so those looking to understand their bodies may find the most luck here.

You can use the DNA kit in all 50 United States, and the other lab tests in every state except New York. None of Vitagene’s products are currently available outside of the US, but they do have an email list for people abroad who are interested in knowing when Vitagene may be available elsewhere.

Vitagene’s DNA reports

DNA kits are the staple of Vitagene’s catalog. Currently, Vitagene offers two different versions of their DNA report: a Health + Ancestry kit and a Premium kit. They previously offered a Premium + Supplements kit but have discontinued it, leaving a handful of empty spaces and broken links throughout the site.

Both kits test your DNA to measure your genes at different points across chromosomes. When a long gene has a variation where one nucleotide changes – called a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) – scientists can pinpoint the variations to determine their role in diseases and overall health differences. Vitagene measures many of these SNPs and compares them against your lifestyle and scientific research. The corresponding traits are grouped by function (such as diet) and shared with you in reports.

These reports vary depending on the kit you get. Both kits include:

  • Ancestry report
  • Diet report
  • Fitness report
  • Supplement report

A Premium kit also includes a skin report and free report updates. These may be useful as the human genome continues to be decoded and contemporary research discovers new genotypes or alleles of note. If this happens, a Premium kit means that Vitagene will automatically update this information for you and let you know.

The Health + Ancestry report currently costs $99; a Premium report upgrades to $139.

Each of the reports within a DNA test measures a wide variety of potential risks and likelihoods of personal health traits. These include:

Diet report

Obesity risk, fat intake, sodium intake, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, alcohol metabolism, caffeine metabolism, emotional eating, gluten sensitivity, lactose sensitivity, weight regain after dieting.

Supplement report

Vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin D, folate, iron.

Skin report

Photoaging, contact dermatitis, freckles, acne, eczema, rosacea, skin youthfulness, sagging eyelids, tanning, dry skin.

Fitness report

Power versus endurance exercise, muscle strength, muscle cramps, exercise interest, blood pressure response to exercise, weight response to exercise.

Ancestry report

East Central Africa, Northern Africa, West Africa, South Central Africa, Central Asia, Northeast Asia, South Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania, British Isles, Siberia, East Europe, Finland, Southeast Europe, Iberia, Scandinavia, West and Central Europe, Asia Minor, West Middle East, East Middle East, South America, North and Central America, Ashkenazi Diaspora, Sephardic Diaspora.

If you’ve already had your DNA tested by 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or MyHeritage, you can upload your report for an analysis of diet, supplement, and fitness genetic markers for just $49. You’ll have your answers in one to two days, which is incredibly fast compared to the three to six weeks it takes for full extraction and analysis.

Other tests

The other offering at Vitagene, in combination with their DNA testing, is additional at-home health tests. These tests are easy to do yourself from the comfort of your own home – no lab work required – but provide vital insights into your health and wellbeing. None of these tests are diagnostic, so please reach out to your primary care provider if something appears off.

The at-home tests Vitagene offers include:

  Cost Method of Testing Total Biomarkers Tested
Food sensitivity $149 Finger prick 96
Vitamin D $59 Finger prick 1
HbA1C $49 Finger prick 1
Heart $99 Finger prick 5
Sleep and Stress $169 Saliva 2
Inflammation $99 Finger prick 2
Thyroid $99 Finger prick 4

Most of these kits test some combination of high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), cortisol, melatonin, and cholesterol. The inflammation test, for example, measures both vitamin D and cortisol, whereas the vitamin D test only tests for the vitamin. A sleep and stress test measures both melatonin and cortisol, and the heart panel measures cholesterol (total, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) and cortisol.

Vitagene’s thyroid test is one of the more unique tests, as it looks at four different thyroid hormones:

  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which tells your thyroid how much hormone to make
  • T3 and T4, which are the primary thyroid hormones
  • Thyroid peroxidase (TPO), which is an enzyme that can be found in the blood if a thyroid problem is autoimmune

TPO measurements are rare in professional lab settings unless you know you have a thyroid problem, but the most comprehensive home thyroid tests tend to include it. To learn more about when and why it can be useful, visit our full guide to thyroid testing at home.

Food sensitivity tests

Vitagene’s food sensitivity test is the most informative non-DNA test they currently offer. This test checks your immune response to 96 different foods, from gluten to egg yolks to almonds. This is the same food sensitivity panel that several competitors offer, so we suggest comparing prices before you decide to use one company over another.

The test measures potential intolerances by reading your immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels in response to the foods. There is a common misconception that IgG responses will definitively tell you about your food intolerances. IgG is produced in a normal reaction to all foods; IgE is the immune response that demonstrates an allergy or intolerance. Vitagene stays on top of it by measuring a “normal” versus “high” level of reactivity, but the science isn’t one hundred percent right.

Vitagene Food Sensitivity Results

All tests ship with a prepaid return envelope. You can expect to get your results three to five days after Vitagene’s lab gets your samples. As with DNA testing, all of your results come with personalized recommendations to improve your wellbeing.

COVID-19 testing

Vitagene also offers at-home COVID-19 tests. These are FDA-approved diagnostic tests, so if your result comes back positive, that means that you have an active COVID-19 infection and should proceed appropriately. These tests can also be used in most cases to fulfill travel requirements.

One COVID-19 test costs $89. In some cases, your insurance may fully cover the cost of a COVID-19 test. If your insurance does, Vitagene recommends you find a COVID-19 test elsewhere as they will not process insurance claims.

Because of the time-sensitive nature of COVID-19 testing, Vitagene includes a prepaid overnight shipping envelope in their testing kit. You can expect your results to come back within 72 hours.

GNC4U

Vitagene partnered with the supplement powerhouse GNC in 2019 to create a new program: GNC4U. Much like the rest of Vitagene’s mission, the program aims to help you use your health information to pick a personalized vitamin, diet, and exercise regimen in both free and paid plans.

First, you’ll need to sign up for GNC4U’s program. This opens with a survey that asks for:

  • Health goals (up to two)
  • Gender
  • Birthday
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Personal and family history of any medical issues

The remaining questions in the survey ask for more information about the health goals you’ve chosen, such as smoking status, concerns about cognitive health, and a more intense dietary breakdown.

Once you have completed the survey, you will be prompted to create an account with your name and email address. Within twenty minutes or less, GNC4U will comb through all 6,000 articles in Vitagene’s research database, match up your lifestyle information with the research, and prepare diet, exercise, and supplement plans based on your answers.

Plans and cost

While the diet and exercise plans offer general suggestions on how many calories you should eat or how often you should do your favorite kinds of workouts, your supplement plan is unique. GNC4U puts together a personalized list of GNC-brand supplements based on your goals and reported behaviors. This list acts as a shopping cart, so if you feel it’s missing a key component or if you already take a supplement you’d like to add, you can plug it in as well.

The personalized supplement plan is a monthly auto-ship service that will mail you all of the bottles in your plan once a month with a $9.00 personalization and packing fee (but no other shipping costs).

If you want to get even more information out of GNC4U, Vitagene offers a supplement DNA test specifically for GNC4U. This test costs $89.99 and contains the same information as a Health + Ancestry kit. Already have your DNA from a previous test? Upload your information and receive a full analysis for only $4.99.

Taking the DNA test

First, you’ll need to order your DNA test. Vitagene accepts all major credit cards, as well as PayPal, Apple Pay, and Sezzle. The payment page is verified by both McAfee and Norton, indicative of Vitagene’s commitment to privacy and data encryption.

Free shipping only applies to orders of two or more kits. If you want free shipping, you’ll need to add on one of Vitagene’s other kits or be prepared to pay $9.95 for standard (four to seven day) shipping, or $14.95 for priority (two to four day) shipping.

After you’ve ordered your test, you’ll be prompted to create a password-protected account with some basic personal information, including your name, address, and assigned gender at birth. At the same time, you’ll get an email with a link to an online lifestyle questionnaire. This questionnaire asks for information like:

  • Height and weight
  • Medical history
  • Health goals
  • Lifestyle (such as supplement use, medications, and substances)

It’s important to answer the questionnaire honestly, as your responses to this survey influence your personalized results later.

Once your kit arrives in the mail, you’ll need to register it with your product ID. You can find the product ID on top of the product box under the Vitagene logo or on the test tubes themselves. The page that pops up when you sign in to your account – or, if you didn’t register after purchasing, the page after creating an account – will prompt you to enter your product ID. This is all you need to link your kit to your account. Now, you’ll be able to access your results through your account once they’re ready.

Insider Tip: If you create a Vitagene account before purchasing your kit, the company shows you the full list of retailers that sell Vitagene kits. You could use that list to compare prices between verified retailers and ensure you’re getting the best deal.

Taking the DNA test itself is simple. Vitagene uses a cheek swab test, which is a common method for testing DNA and viruses like the flu. Follow the instructions inside the kit on proper methodology, but know that a sixty-second swab is about as extensive as you’ll need to gather enough material for testing. The swab may cause a dry mouth after but should not create any long-lasting discomfort.

Results

Though Vitagene claims that results come back in a few days on their homepage, this is misleading: their DNA testing takes three to six weeks to get results. (Their other tests take three to five days to process.)

Once your DNA has been processed and analyzed, you’ll get an email letting you know that your results are ready. Log in to the site, and you’ll be able to read through your genetic information. There’s not a large amount of information available upfront, but the sleek graphic design makes it easy to find exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, your results are broken up by report, with wheels measuring your likelihood for a particular trait. Click on a trait to read more about it, complete with colorful charts.

Be careful how you read your results, though: Vitagene can sometimes overstate their recommendations. For example, if you have the SNP they associate with gluten intolerance, your results will say “Gluten - likely intolerant.” Your recommendations will then conclude that you should choose gluten-free grains and use digestion supplements. However, research shows that while almost 90% of people with celiac have this SNP, a majority of those with the SNP do not have gluten intolerances.

Customer service

While Vitagene is focused on self-improvement, we feel there’s a lot of room for it in their customer service.

There are very few options available to get in touch with Vitagene’s customer service representatives. They have a phone number, which is difficult to find on their website, and a contact form that resolves over email. At one point, Vitagene had an in-browser chat service for support, but it was removed from the site without fanfare.

The contact form itself is bare-bones: all it asks for is your name and email, your message, and a general topic for your message:

  • COVID-19 test
  • DNA test
  • Supplements
  • Health and Wellness test
  • GNC4U
  • User Dashboard
  • Other

If you prefer, you can also send an email to their general support line. Both their phone line and email support are available from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM Pacific Time on weekdays only.

All customer service representatives we interacted with were kind and knowledgeable, but it took longer than we expected to get in touch with them, even with the contact form.

What they lack in immediate human contact, they make up for in FAQs. They have a separate FAQ for their at-home COVID-19 test from their general common questions. Both pages are easy to navigate and answer a wide variety of questions in depth.

Privacy

Vitagene not only follows the standards for genetic testing privacy but goes above and beyond to keep your information safe. Even their payment page is secured by two antivirus programs and has the seal of approval from them both.

Vitagene stores all genetic samples anonymously and discards all samples after they’ve been analyzed. Not all genetic research companies are this up-front about what happens to your sample after they are done testing it.

Your personal information (such as what you fill out in the online lifestyle survey after purchasing a testing kit) may still be sold to third parties. There is a form to opt out of this, and your genetic information is never sold, but it is something to keep in mind.

Vitagene may share some of your information with other researchers. If Vitagene wants to use your genetic information for research purposes, they will ask you for your explicit consent first. However, they may de-identify and share your non-genetic personal information as part of a large packet of data to collaborative researchers without letting you know.

How Vitagene compares to alternatives

23andMe

As one of the DNA testing world’s brightest stars, 23andMe analyzes your DNA for a wide range of traits, including:

  • Ancestry
  • Physical traits (such as flat feet and eye color)
  • Health predispositions (such as gestational diabetes and eczema)
  • Carrier status (if you carry – but don’t display traits for – genetic illnesses such as sickle cell anemia)
  • Wellness (such as caffeine sensitivity)
  • Pharmacogenetics (how you metabolize drugs)

23andMe sells two different genetic packages: one with health information (23andMe Health) and one with only ancestry information. A combination of 23andMe Health with ancestry costs only a little bit more than Vitagene’s most comprehensive package at $199. Since they are so well-known, 23andMe health is often practically regarded as medical advice. They are the only genetic testing service that accepts HSA and FSA insurance payments.

While 23andMe covers more ground genetically, there are no wellness plans or biomarker tests available through the service. Vitagene also does not diagnose or analyze any sensitive genetic information; 23andMe may point out delicate and disturbing information, such as if you have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes (which are very closely tied to breast and ovarian cancer). Be ready to reach out to a genetic counselor or your medical provider for more insight.

For more information, we have a full review

InsideTracker

If you’re interested in both blood testing and DNA, InsideTracker has a deep well of information to pull. We have a full InsideTracker review if you’d like to dive deeper. They are shaped similarly to Vitagene – they measure your biomarkers, examine that data against a body of contemporary research, and then present you with an action plan to move forward – but the difference lies in depth of information and price. Vitagene has a much narrower catalog of blood biomarkers to test, whereas InsideTracker has 43 for its Ultimate plan, but that limited catalog means that Vitagene costs significantly less. Just a DNA kit from InsideTracker, which measures a smaller range of SNPs dedicated to health, costs $249. A more complete Ultimate plan with DNA and blood testing from InsideTracker costs over $800.

WellnessFX

WellnessFX takes the personal preparation aspect of Vitagene’s genetic testing and applies it to biomarker testing for deep insights into your personal health information. Like Vitagene, they have a strong focus on preventative care. They provide access to health professionals over both email and instant messages to talk with you about your results and questions. They offer tests that analyze from 25 to 92 different biomarkers – a dramatic step up from Vitagene’s one to five – through lab blood testing. If none of the tests nail down exactly what you want, you can also create a personalized plan for a variable fee. Likewise, if you want to know more about your heart health, women’s health and fertility, or omegas, WellnessFX has smaller and less-expensive focused bundles. While WellnessFX offers a larger variety of pricing tiers and more biomarker testing options for women, there is no DNA testing through WellnessFX. There is also no follow-up or way to set goals or recommendations for lifestyle changes.

Everlywell

If the products that draw you in from Vitagene’s catalog are their various at-home biomarker tests, Everlywell may be your new best friend. The retailer sells dozens of at-home finger-prick tests to check your blood glucose, food sensitivities, fertility, and more. These tests are in the same approximate price range as Vitagene’s, between $49 and $259, but with an expanded range of concerns you can check. No matter what your results, Everlywell will not give you an action plan like Vitagene, but insists that you follow up with your primary care provider. They’ll even render your results in a physician-standard format for you to print. The only downside is that Everlywell does not test DNA.

MyToolbox Genomics

MyToolbox Genomics only offers genetic testing, but goes much deeper in their genetic search than Vitagene does. MyToolbox Genomics uses a similar structure to Vitagene by looking at health-related SNPs and creating targeted suggestions for you to improve your health based on your genes. It also offers another product to look at your epigenetics, or genetic expressions that are changed by your lifestyle and environment, to see what you might be able to change and help yourself in the long run.

However, MyToolbox Genomics is much more closed off than Vitagene. It is extremely difficult to find much information on the service unless you’re a medical provider. They do not offer any blood tests, and even the base tier of service is more expensive than Vitagene’s Premium DNA test. Check out our full review for more details about the company and its products.