Metabolic Testing: Finding the Best AtHome Metabolism Test

In this guide our experts will tell you everything you need to know about at home metabolism tests + discount codes.

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Metabolism Testing Innerbody

Your metabolism can affect how you feel, how fast you burn calories, how well you sleep, and hair loss, among many other factors associated with living a high-quality life.

It used to be that if you wanted to take any sort of metabolic test, your only option was to go to a relatively expensive health clinic – assuming there was one convenient to you.

With advances in home testing technologies, however, it is now easier than ever to order a metabolic testing kit online and take the test entirely within the comfort and privacy of your own home.

But should you purchase such a test? This guide is meant to explain how metabolic tests work and the differences between traditional tests and “at-home” tests. We will also tell you which at-home tests are our favorites and why.

Why you should trust us

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 an experienced life sciences writer who earned her PhD in Biochemistry and BS degree in Cell Biology. 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.

Types of Metabolic Tests

Metabolic tests attempt to measure the rate at which your body burns calories and uses oxygen when you are at rest or performing various activities. Currently, there are four popular methods to approximate your metabolic rate.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) Test

This test shows you how many calories your body burns when you are at rest. There are two ways to measure this. The first isdirect calorimetry. For this test, you spend an hour or more inside a direct calorimeter (a large, insulated and air-tight chamber). The calorimeter measures the body heat that is released and uses that information to provide a resting metabolic rate.

The second, more widely used, measure is indirect calorimetry. This method uses devices to measure the volume of oxygen that you consume compared to the volume of carbon dioxide that you expire while at rest. This information is used to provide an estimated resting metabolic rate.

You have to visit a trained professional to take this type of test.

VO2 Max Test

This test is performed during various exercises. It is also called an aerobic capacity test. It provides information on different intensity levels at which your body uses oxygen and burns fat. These types of tests are done during different types of exercise. For example, if you are a biker, they would be done during a ride.

Generally, the individual breathes into a mask during the exercise until the intensity level is too strong, or until the testing is stopped. Based on the amount of carbon dioxide that the individual exhales during each level of intensity, an estimate of how much oxygen and calorie burning happens at each stage can be made.

You have to visit a trained professional to take this type of test.

Lactate Threshold Test

This test is similar to the VO2 Max but is primarily for athletes. It measures the exercise intensity level where the body can no longer supply the necessary oxygen for maximum performance. This is the point where lactate production is at its peak, lactic acid builds up in the body and muscle fatigue sets in. This test should be performed in a medical setting and blood will be drawn at various activity levels.

You have to visit a trained professional to take this type of test.

Influential Metabolic Hormones Test

As the name implies, these tests attempt to measure hormone levels associated with metabolism, typically TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), cortisol, testosterone, and/or progesterone. All of these hormones can influence your metabolism.

If the thyroid gland is not producing adequate hormones, it is very difficult for adequate energy production to be present in the cells.

Testosterone is also essential due to its effects on increasing lean body mass and increasing basal metabolic rate.

Cortisol levels must not be too high, since cortisol has been shown to slow down metabolism by decreasing lean muscle mass and increasing blood sugar levels.

By testing these and other hormones at once, clinicians can get a good picture of how well the body’s metabolism as a whole is functioning.

You can take these tests from the comfort of your own home by ordering an at-home metabolic testing kit.

When it comes to testing your metabolism at home, you have many options. Out of all the testing kits we evaluated, our two favorites are:

Wellnicity’s My Metabolism Test (First Choice) Everlywell’s Metabolism Test (Close 2nd Choice)

These tests are very similar in many aspects. They both:

  • Measure three of the most important hormones associated with your metabolism: TSH, Cortisol, and Testosterone
  • Offer our readers a 15% discount upon checkout when you use our personalized discount code [“INNERBODY” for Wellnicity’s test and “INNERBODY15” for Everlywell’s test].
  • Offer free prepaid shipping both ways
  • Have an independent board-certified physician review all results
  • Only utilize CLIA-certified labs to process samples

Wellnicity vs Everlywell

We like both of these tests very much and you cannot go wrong with either of them. But if forced to choose, our pick is Wellnicity’s My Metabolism Test.

Wellnicity’s test costs a little more (around $10) than Everlywell’s. However, we really like the fact that after getting your Wellnicity results, you get a free consultation with a certified clinician to answer any questions you may have about your results. The Wellnicity test, in our opinion, also does a better job at offering advice on ways to help any issues that the test uncovered.

At this point, we want to stress that these tests and consultations are no substitute for talking with your own medical professional. If you sense anything is wrong, from your test results or otherwise, we recommend you go see your doctor immediately.

If the included Wellnicity consultation and enhanced recommendations do not interest you, then the Everlywell test may work better for you.

Who should consider taking a metabolism test?

Anyone interested in learning more about their body and how it works should consider taking a metabolism test. There is no harm in learning more.

If you are someone who has lost or gained an irregular amount of weight recently or are feeling more fatigued, or hungrier than normal, you might also consider taking a test. Your metabolism is a vital bodily process and many factors can negatively affect it. If you want to become healthier and perhaps lose some weight, a metabolism test can give you information on your baseline. This information can help create an exercise and meal plan that will help you achieve your goals.

What are the caveats of taking a metabolic test?

Doing an at-home metabolism test is not going to give you all the information you need to fully understand your metabolism. These tests only test for hormone levels that can affect the process of metabolism – they will not give you information on your metabolic rate.

At-home metabolism tests are also not free. While some are cheaper than others, they might not be worth the investment if you don’t have any symptoms of hormone imbalance.

In conclusion, metabolism tests can provide incredible insights into how the body works, but they will not paint the entire picture. If you are on the normal side of hormone levels, doing an at-home test is not going to tell you very much. However, if you are experiencing some level of hormone imbalance, metabolism tests can tell you that lifestyle changes may be needed and/or medical help should be considered.

What exactly is your metabolism anyway?

Your body takes the food you consume and turns it into energy through various chemical processes. This process is commonly referred to as metabolism. The speed of this process is called metabolic rate and is different for everyone. The faster your metabolic rate, the more calories you need.

This lack of consistency in metabolic rates between people is why some can consume a lot of calories and not gain weight, while others need less to accumulate fat. Numerous factors work together to determine your metabolic rate, including:

  • Age: The older you are, the slower your metabolic rate.
  • Muscle mass: When you have greater muscle mass, you burn more calories (faster metabolic rate).
  • Body size: The bigger your body, the more calories you burn.
  • Environmental temperature: Exposing your body to the cold forces it to burn more calories to prevent a decrease in body temperature.
  • Physical activity level: The more active you are, the more calories you will burn, because all movement needs energy.
  • Hormones: Some hormones affect metabolism. Therefore, some hormonal disorders can negatively affect the body’s ability to burn calories.

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?