At Home Health Tests: Everything you need to know

Our experts take a comprehensive look at your at home health testing options and give you our recommendations.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Euna Chi, MD
Last Updated: Aug 20, 2019

Home Health Testing Innerbody

It was not too long ago that taking any sort of medical test, from screening for various diseases to testing cholesterol levels, involved calling up your doctor or local clinic, making an appointment, visiting the clinic, and then waiting weeks to get your results back.

Today, we are lucky to be living in the age of Amazon and Uber, where many common tests can be ordered online and you can collect the test sample yourself, in the comfort of your own home. Results are usually sent to you in days, not weeks, and you can quickly learn if a traditional doctor’s visit is warranted.

The number of direct-to-consumer health and wellness tests available online is astounding, and new tests are being developed each month. This online guide is designed to give you a comprehensive overview of what types of tests are available, how they work, and which tests we specifically recommend. We have attempted to divide up the most popular available test types into the five categories below. We encourage you to jump directly to the types of tests that most interest you!

Why you should trust us

Innerbody.com recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles. Our testing team has purchased and compared over 500 health-related tests to date, and we are constantly updating our guides based on the latest test advances. The primary author of this guide is a former Influenza Virologist who has a PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Like all medical-related content on this website, this guide was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for medical accuracy.

Disease Screening (including STDs)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

LetsGetChecked Standard 5 Innerbody

According to the CDC, “If you are sexually active, getting testing for STDs is one of the most important things you can do to protect your health.” In fact, the agency goes on to advise that many at-risk groups get tested at least once a year. To make matters complicated, many STDs are asymptomatic, meaning that one can carry the harmful diseases or infections but experience no symptoms.

With the proliferation of many new direct-to-consumer STD test kit providers, screening yourself or a loved one in the privacy of your own home has never been easier. You also have the choice to test for individual diseases separately, or to test for many of the most common STDs all in one test.

This area of health testing is so popular and so important that we have an entire guide solely dedicated to it. If you are interested in learning more, please take a look at our Guide to finding the best at-home STD test for you.

Our Top Pick

LetsGetChecked: Standard 5 Test

A solid STD test that offers the right trade-off between value and comprehensiveness.

LetsGetChecked is a highly respected at-home testing company that receives high ratings in terms of Value, Accuracy, Privacy, and Customer Support.

Current Deals: Save 20% with coupon code: INNERBODY

Colon Cancer

Colon cancer often shows no symptoms and can be fatal if diagnosed too late. The American Cancer Society recommends testing starting at age 45 (and even earlier if colon cancer runs in the family). Yet colonoscopies are notoriously invasive and sometimes present a significant barrier to regular testing.

Recent studies, however, indicate that more convenient at-home colon cancer tests can be nearly as effective. At-home Fecal Immunochemical Tests (FIT) detect hidden blood in the stool, an early symptom of colon cancer. It is very important to understand that these tests do not determine whether or not you have colon cancer, but rather indicate whether you may require more invasive testing (i.e., a colonoscopy).

Surprisingly, there are not many good at-home testing options available yet. Luckily, LetsGetChecked offers a highly recommended colon cancer test.

Our Top Pick

LetsGetChecked: Colon Cancer Test

The best option you have to test for signs of colon cancer from the convenience of your own home.

LetsGetChecked is a highly respected at-home testing company that receives high ratings in terms of Value, Accuracy, Privacy, and Customer Support.

Current Deals: Save 20% with coupon code: INNERBODY

Diabetes

Diabetes is a common disease in which the blood sugar (glucose) is abnormally elevated. Normally, the body obtains glucose from food, and additional glucose is made in the liver. The pancreas produces insulin, which enables glucose to enter cells and serve as fuel for the body.

In patients with diabetes, glucose accumulates in the blood instead of being properly transported into cells. Excess blood sugar is a serious problem that may damage the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs.

HbA1c tests measure the levels of blood sugar (glucose) attached to hemoglobin, which can help identify pre-diabetes or determine how well a person’s diabetes is being controlled following a diagnosis. A high HbA1c result indicates that you may have too much sugar in your blood.

The two leaders in at-home diabetes tests are LetsGetChecked, with its Diabetes Test, and EverlyWell, with its HbA1c Test. Both of these tests are good and very similarly priced. We gave the edge to LetsGetChecked for the generous 20% discount it gives our readers (use coupon code INNERBODY upon checkout).

Our Top Pick

LetsGetChecked: Diabetes Test

A leading home diabetes test for HbA1c that can help identify pre-diabetes or determine how well a person’s diabetes is being controlled following diagnosis.

LetsGetChecked is a highly respected at-home testing company that receives high ratings in terms of Value, Accuracy, Privacy, and Customer Support.

Current Deals: Save 20% with coupon code: INNERBODY

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is necessary to make the cells in our bodies. We get cholesterol from two sources. The liver makes cholesterol, and we can also get it from eating foods from animals.

Raised cholesterol levels result in serious conditions such as coronary heart disease and can lead to having a heart attack or stroke. Early detection, however, can increase the chances of better clinical outcomes and allow you to make positive lifestyle changes. At-home cholesterol tests can indicate your risk of developing cardiovascular disease by examining the amount of fat in your blood.

The cholesterol tests from EverlyWell and LetsGetChecked are for the most part equal. We give a slight edge to EverlyWell primarily because it is slightly less expensive.

Our Top Pick

Cholesterol and Lipids Test from EverlyWell

Measuring Total Cholesterol, HDL, Direct LDC, and Triglycerides, this test is recommended for anyone who is monitoring their cholesterol or learning about their current levels.

EverlyWell is one of the largest and most respected at-home health & wellness test company. The company receives high ratings in terms of Value, Accuracy, Privacy, and Customer support.

Current Deals: Save 15% with coupon code: INNERBODY15

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, whichis transmitted to humans through ticks. The symptoms of the disease include fever, fatigue, headaches, and skin rash. If left untreated, the bacterial infection can spread to the nervous system, the heart, and joints.

At-home Lyme disease tests do not test for the bacteria itself, but rather the antibodies that the body produces when reacting to the disease, Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG),

The tests from EverlyWell and LetsGetChecked are very good. If we had to choose one, we would go with EverlyWell’s, primarily because it is noticeably less expensive.

Our Top Pick

Lyme Disease Test from EverlyWell

This comprehensive test measures IgG and IgM reactivity to the three most common strains of Borrelia bacteria (Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia burgdorferi).

EverlyWell is one of the largest and most respected at-home health & wellness test company. The company receives high ratings in terms of Value, Accuracy, Privacy, and Customer support.

Current Deals: Save 15% with coupon code: INNERBODY15

Genetic Testing

General Health Risks

Best DNA Health Test | Innerbody

By analyzing your DNA and looking at what genetic markers are present, DNA testing companies can tell you about your risk of developing a range of conditions. For example, 23andMe covers 12 different disease risks, including your likelihood of developing: - Breast cancer - Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease - Celiac disease - Age-related macular degeneration - Parkinson’s disease

It is important to keep in mind that these tests are not going to determine whether you have a given disease or condition, but rather whether you have genetic factors that may influence your chances of developing certain conditions. In our opinion, the Health Test by 23andMe is by far the most informative test on the market (and also includes a great “Carrier Status” report, see below).

Our Top Pick

23andMe: Ancestry + Health

By far the best at-home DNA test for general health risks, covering 10+ reports covering breast cancer, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and more.

23andMe offers the most well-rounded, comprehensive at-home DNA health test on the market. The Ancestry reports included are also top-notch and a fun bonus that complements the health-related information nicely.

Carrier Status

Carrier status screening is a type of genetic test that can tell you whether you carry a genetic variant associated with certain genetic disorders. Most of the time, these variants will not affect you directly, but you may pass them on to your children.

Examples of diseases that can be passed on in this way include cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, and hereditary hearing loss. Most commonly, if both parents are carriers for a certain disease-causing variant, there will be a 25% chance that their child will be affected by the disease.

Taking genetic screening tests can allow couples to take steps to minimize the chances that their children will inherit a disorder, or allow them to plan for the future, often with the help of a genetic counselor or their healthcare provider.

Our recommended 23andMe Health Test screens for a whopping 44 different inherited conditions and is very solid in many other areas as well. We don’t think you will be able to find a more comprehensive genetic health test.

Our Top Pick

23andMe: Ancestry + Health

This test's Carrier Status Report covers an outstanding 44 different inherited conditions + Health Risks, Wellness, Traits, and Ancestry reports.

23andMe offers the most well-rounded, comprehensive at-home DNA health test on the market. The Ancestry reports included are also top-notch and a fun bonus that complements the health-related information nicely.

Nutrition

While some DNA tests specialize in analyzing a broad range of genetic traits, others attempt to dive deep into specific areas. Nutrition is one of the most popular specializations, and these tests aim to provide insights into the ways your DNA may have an effect on how your body responds to foods and nutrients.

For example, our favorite “Nutrition” DNA test is offered by Orig3n and provides analysis reports about Food Aversion, Food Metabolization, Hunger & Weight, and Vitamins. The company Vitagene also offers tests that include “Diet” and “Supplements” reports.

Results from these tests may help you make more informed decisions about your diet. However, some physicians worry that test takers can wrongly attribute symptoms such as bloating and fatigue to genetic factors, when they in fact warrant a trip to the doctor to rule out more serious causes.

These tests can be fun if you are a little curious about how your DNA, lifestyle, and biomarkers are all interacting, but please use common sense. If you have legitimate concerns about food allergies or intolerances, you should speak to your physician first.

Our Top Pick

Orig3n: Nutrition DNA Test

Orig3n Nutrition analyzes 18 different genes related to hunger, food aversion, weight, food breakdown, and vitamins.

Founded in 2014, Orig3n innovative direct-to-consumer DNA testing company that offers a wide range of DNA tests (20 in total), which relate to lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, skin health & appearance, and behavior.

Current Deals: Save 15% with coupon code: INNERBODY

Fitness

“Fitness” is another very popular DNA test specialty. These tests analyze different genes related to metabolism, exercise recovery, and muscle strength. Our top recommended test, Fitness from Orig3n, covers these areas along with “power performance,” “joints,” and “movement.”

Most tests from the company Vitagene also offer what it calls the Fitness Report. This report covers some of the same areas as the Orig3n test but focuses more on selling you nutritional supplements that support the report findings.

Again, we would like to make the same caveat that you must: 1) take the resulting recommendations with a grain of salt, 2) keep in mind that lifestyle and environmental factors weigh heavily in most fitness-related outcomes, and 3) consult a professional physical trainer or medical professional before making any drastic changes to your fitness regime.

Our Top Pick

Orig3n: Fitness DNA Test

Orig3n Fitness analyzes over 20 different genes relating to exercise recovery, metabolism, muscle strength, and power performance.

Founded in 2014, Orig3n innovative direct-to-consumer DNA testing company that offers a wide range of DNA tests (20 in total), which relate to lifestyle, nutrition, fitness, skin health & appearance, and behavior.

Current Deals: Save 15% with coupon code: INNERBODY

Cellular Aging

Incredibly, it is now possible to learn about how well your cells are aging using DNA testing. The tests are based on telomeres, which are cap structures that protect the ends of our chromosomes from being degraded. Your telomeres naturally wear down and shorten as you age. Each time a cell divides and DNA replicates itself, telomeres get a little shorter.

By measuring the length of your telomeres and comparing this result to others of your age and sex, it’s possible to estimate how well you appear to be aging compared to others of your demographic, according to the company database.

It is important to keep in mind that scientific evidence shows that other factors within our control can affect our telomere length positively and negatively, including stress management, diet, exercise, and sleep quality, to name a few.

There is only one test that we know of that measures telomeres, and that is Telomere Health. Luckily, it is very good, and we have no issues recommending it.

Our Top Pick

TeloYears: Telomere Health

The only direct-to-consumer test on the market that measures and analyzes telomere lengths.

TeloYears has developed state of the art technology to give you a unique perspective on your health and well-being. It also offers an above-average ancestry-focused test if that interests you.

Hormone Imbalance

Women's Hormonal Testing

Our Top Recommended Test: Female Hormone Test from LetsGetChecked

There are many hormones associated with the health and well-being of women. Among the most important are FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), prolactin, estradiol, LH (Luteinizing Hormone), and progesterone. When one or more of these hormones are imbalanced in your body, this may prevent you from feeling your best.

Testing for each of these hormone levels can get expensive. For this reason, we like the Female Hormone Test, because we think it offers the right balance between comprehensiveness and cost. It covers four of the more important ones (FSH, prolactin, estradiol, and LH) at a very reasonable price [see latest price].

However, if you do not mind spending significantly more, EverlyWell’s Women’s Health Test measures a whopping 11 key hormones, adding cortisol, TSH, and testosterone, to name a few. You will not find a more comprehensive at-home women’s hormones test.

Men's Hormonal Testing

Our Top Recommended Test: Testosterone Test from LetsGetChecked

When thinking about the male hormones, testosterone is probably the first one that comes to mind. This makes sense because it is the main sex hormone for men and helps the reproductive function. Testosterone is also responsible for facial and body hair, sex drive, energy level, muscle mass, and bone density.

For most men, we would simply recommend a standard testosterone-only test, as it will get you most of what you will want to know at the lowest price. The test offered by LetsGetChecked is our favorite, but EverlyWell’s similar test is also very good.

There are other hormones that are also important to a man’s health, including DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone), SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin), and estradiol. If you are looking for a more complete (and more expensive) male hormone testing kit, EverlyWell’s Men’s Health Test is our top choice. We especially like how it includes measuring cortisol levels, which are related to stress and sleep (see below).

Cortisol

Our Top Recommended Test: Cortisol Test from LetsGetChecked

Cortisol is made in our adrenal glands and is released in our bodies naturally each day. Cortisol affects energy levels by regulating the release of glucose as a main source of the body’s fuel that helps keep us going during the day. Cortisol is also the body’s main stress hormone.

If you are just looking to test your cortisol levels, LetsGetChecked’s cleverly named Cortisol Test is easy, accurate, and very reasonably priced.

Higher-than-normal cortisol levels are also associated with having trouble falling asleep and overall sleep loss. The testing company EverlyWell offers what it calls its Sleep and Stress Test, which not only tests for cortisol but also melatonin, cortisone, and creatinine. The test attempts to evaluate the fluctuations of these hormones at different times of the day in order to provide recommendations on ways to get a more restful night’s sleep and reduce general stress. If you are more interested in sleep, this test probably makes more sense.

Thyroid Tests

Our Top Recommended Test: Thyroid Test (TSH) from LetsGetChecked

The thyroid is a small gland with two lobes connected by a bridge of tissue that sits below the larynx at the front of the neck. Although not big in size, the thyroid gland plays a major role in ensuring the proper function of the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, and skin.

One of the most important hormones secreted by the thyroid is called logically called Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH), which is responsible for controlling hormone production by the thyroid gland. TSH is considered the most sensitive marker for screening for thyroid-related diseases and conditions.

Both LetsGetChecked and EverlyWell offer quality at-home Thyroid tests. All else being equal, our recommendation leans toward the LetsGetChecked test. This is mostly due to its lower cost, though EverlyWell’s test is a solid option as well.

Food Sensitivity & Nutrition

Food Sensitivity

Our Top Recommended Test: Food Sensitivity Test from EverlyWell

Food sensitivities are, for the most part, non-life-threatening food intolerances that can make you feel very uncomfortable. Symptoms of food sensitivity include things like nausea, hives, and trouble breathing.

In response to some foods, the body produces IgG antibodies against the antigens. Food sensitivity tests attempt to measure and analyze the IgG antibodies in order to provide recommendations on ways to change your diet to improve overall health and well-being.

The information you gain from these kinds of tests can largely be worked out by using an elimination diet, but this can take a long time to complete. Therefore, if you are anxious to pinpoint your problem foods quickly and think it’s worth the money, a food sensitivity test can be a way to jump-start the process.

For more information, you may want to check out our Guide to Finding the Best Food Sensitivity Test.

Food Allergies

Our Top Recommended Test: Food Allergen Profile from Personalabs

Food allergies are different from food sensitivities in that they are much more severe and can be life-threatening. You may have heard stories about a child becoming fatally ill after mistakenly eating something that contained peanuts. That is an allergy.

In response to food allergies, the body produces IgG antibodies to fight off the antigens. IgE-based food allergy tests are for those looking to diagnose or confirm a specific allergy, or those who have a family history of allergic reactions. Allergic symptoms vary significantly from person to person but can include nausea, hives, trouble breathing or swallowing, and vomiting. The most common foods that cause allergic reactions are tree nuts, peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, fish, wheat, and shellfish.

Vitamin Deficiency

Our Top Recommended Test: Vitamin D Test & B Vitamins Test from EverlyWell

Vitamin deficiency tests are pretty self-explanatory–they attempt to measure the amount of certain vitamins via a small, painless blood sample. The two most popular of these types of tests by far are tests for Vitamin D and B vitamins.

Vitamin D plays an important role in the body’s ability to regulate the absorption levels of calcium and phosphorus, which in turn greatly influences the ability to maintain healthy bone structure, reduce inflammation, and promote cell growth. Vitamin D deficiency is also believed to contribute to serious illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, various types of cancer, diabetes, infertility, and more.

The B vitamins (B6, B9, B12, etc.) play an important role in maintaining cellular health, including boosting the immune system, making red blood cells, and helping nerve cells function properly.

Generally, we prefer the at-home tests provided by EverlyWell, because they are thorough and represent a great value. However, LetsGetChecked also offers some very solid tests. In fact, if you are only looking to measure your B12 levels and also want to measure your Vitamin D and Folate Serum levels, the Essential Vitamin Test offers the best value around.

Heavy Metals Testing

Our Top Recommended Test: Heavy Metals Test from EverlyWell

Heavy metals exist naturally in our environment. Small quantities of some metals, such as copper, selenium, and zinc, are actually necessary for our health. Other chemicals, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium, aren’t nutritionally beneficial and can be toxic in sufficient quantities. Heavy metals are used in various industries, so they are common pollutants found in water, food, air, and soil. They can damage organs and lead to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

There are a number of options for at-home testing solutions. The two most popular ones are those offered by EverlyWell and Personalabs. Not all kits measure the same metals, so it’s important to review which metals are included in the test. Prices often depend on how many metals are included in the test. All tests can be carried out by collecting a sample at home, and the tests are performed in fully certified labs. Your results will be sent to you within a few days, and all companies provide a report that fully explains the results to you in a comprehensive and understandable way.

For more information on heavy metal testing, take a look at our Guide to Finding the Best Heavy Metal Testing Kit.

How do we choose our recommendations?

We customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the test. For most health-related tests, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Accuracy: Do the testing companies use the latest and most accurate testing technologies available? How accurate are the tests compared to alternatives?

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the test provider offer discounts to our readers?

Customer Support: How well does the testing company help you choose the best test? How clearly are the results presented? How well does the testing company help you understand results and get treatment if necessary?

Privacy: Are all test kits sent in discreet packaging? Will your data be stored securely? Could your data ever be shared without your permission?

Test Results Speed: How fast will you receive your test results from the moment you click “buy?” Are the waiting times stated by the testing companies accurate and consistent ?

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