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SelfDecode Reviews: Does this DNA test deliver personalized health hacks?

Find out how SelfDecode’s gene sequencing products compare to other DNA testing services.

Last Updated: Oct 8, 2020

SelfDecode reviews

Our genes influence a lot about our health outcomes, from our ability to absorb nutrients to our susceptibility to degenerative diseases. Millions of Americans have used at-home genetic testing kits to learn more about their health.

If you’re hoping to improve your health and wellness, SelfDecode offers insights into your genetic makeup and provides recommendations that could help you reach your goals. You can use SelfDecode in conjunction with other DNA tests you may have already taken, like 23andMe. You can also purchase SelfDecode’s at-home DNA test kit, which tests a greater number of gene variants.

So how does SelfDecode work? And what information do you get when you submit your DNA sample? We thoroughly tested SelfDecode’s offerings and will share all of the details so you can make an informed decision for yourself.

Review Summary

Pros

  • Subscription service continuously provides new information based on the most up-to-date scientific research
  • 30-day money-back guarantee (excluding the cost of the kit)
  • More in-depth health and wellness advice compared to similarly priced competitors
  • Very focused on privacy and will not sell your data to third parties
  • Reports are accessible and easy to understand, even for non-scientific users
  • You can save 15% using coupon code: IBGF

Cons

  • Reports do not provide any information on ancestry traits
  • With the annual subscription, you continue to pay for additional reports after your five free reports per year
  • You pay an additional cost for the test and the report unless you’ve taken a test with another DNA testing service

Bottom line

We appreciate SelfDecode’s comprehensible and research-backed reports, which uncover how variations in your DNA can impact many health and wellbeing traits. SelfDecode uses these insights to provide you with personalized recommendations, so their service offering is excellent for finding new ways to improve your health and wellbeing. However, we always recommend contacting your healthcare professional about any troubling symptoms. SelfDecode is not a diagnostic service, and their products are not FDA-approved.

Our Top Picks

SelfDecode

SelfDecode’s at-home DNA test covers more gene variants than 23andMe or AncestryDNA.

With useful analytical reports and the potential for combining genetic insights with blood test analysis of over 500 biomarkers, SelfDecode can help you gain valuable insights about your health, which is its sole focus as a test provider.

Why you should trust us

Innerbody Research recently celebrated its 20-year anniversary online. Over the past two decades, we have helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test each health service we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate the service based on our 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 SelfDecode, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.

How does SelfDecode work?

SelfDecode is a genetic testing and analysis company that provides the tools you need to uncover new insights about your health based on your DNA. Founded in 2016, SelfDecode aims to help users “hack” their genes and determine what genetic variants could be causing their health problems. The service delivers personalized recommendations based on your genetic information, allowing you to overcome challenges associated with health, wellness, and lifestyle.

SelfDecode delivers insights through personalized risk assessments and DNA health reports on a subscription basis. The results provide you with your genetic variations and associated health impacts based on information from scientific studies, including risk factors for a variety of diseases and wellness traits. You also get tailored suggestions on how to implement these insights to target specific symptoms and start feeling better.

Sequencing process

Scientists “sequence” data to find out the genetic information contained within a particular segment of DNA, including changes in a gene that could cause diseases.

SelfDecode can analyze DNA data already collected by other companies, including 23andMe, Ancestry, Courtagen, and FamilyTreeDNA. They also offer their DNA testing services to those who are new to genetic testing.

While SelfDecode does not provide the sequencing depth of some of the whole-genome sequencing companies such as Nebula Genomics or Sequencing.com, SelfDecode does sequence slightly more of the genome than their competitors. Their DNA testing kit sequences over 700,000 variants, while 23andme tests around 650,000 variants and AncestryDNA tests 669,000 variants.

With a focus solely on health, SelfDecode’s test does not provide any information about your heritage. If you are interested in exploring what your DNA says about your ancestry as well as health, we’d recommend selecting a different service. You can learn more about those recommendable services at our DNA Health Testing guide.

Membership service

SelfDecode provides a continuous membership service, rather than a one-off report. That means you frequently receive more information as research uncovers new associations between DNA variation and health. Your results are delivered via individual personalized reports, each with a different health or wellness focus. The Symptoms & Conditions Analyzer also lets you search for any health ailments that have been troubling you. SelfDecode will then identify your associated risk variants and demonstrate how your genes play a role.

Report offerings

SelfDecode offers a range of reports that you can receive with your subscription, including:

  • Health overview: This catch-all report provides information about genetic variants linked to fitness, nutrition, and personality traits. For example, SelfDecode can use your genes to determine how well your body burns fat during exercise.
  • Inflammation: Whether it comes from mild stress or chronic health conditions, inflammation has significant impacts on your mental and physical health. This report gives insights into your risk for inflammatory conditions such as digestive problems, skin diseases, and bone/joint inflammation.
  • Cardiovascular: It’s important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine, but did you know your genes have a major influence on your cardiovascular health? This report explains your risks for cardiovascular conditions such as stroke, coronary artery disease, and congenital heart defects based on your gene variants.
  • Sleep: Your DNA influences your sleep, including how you respond to circadian cues. SelfDecode’s Sleep report can give you sleep improvement techniques by showing how your genetic variation affects your sleep quality. They analyze traits like insomnia, teeth grinding, and sleep apnea.
  • Vitamins: The Vitamin report explains how gene variants affect the ability of your body to absorb and metabolize a range of vitamins. It provides specific information, including descriptions of how certain genes and variations might affect your body’s vitamin levels.
  • Minerals: The Minerals report explains how your genes can affect the levels of important minerals in your body, such as iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium, and calcium.
  • Mood: In this report, SelfDecode reveals how your genes can influence your emotional state. Understanding this can help you to take a more systematic approach toward improving your mood.
  • Other reports: SelfDecode also offers many other specific reports, including fitness, cognitive function, longevity, thyroid, COVID-19, and gut health.

SelfDecode products and pricing

With SelfDecode, much of the cost will depend on whether you bring pre-existing DNA test data and whether you choose to subscribe annually or with a lifetime membership. An Annual Subscription to SelfDecode costs $97 if you have already taken a DNA test with another provider. Meanwhile, a Lifetime Access plan costs $297.

If you need a DNA test kit from SelfDecode, the test will cost an additional $90, regardless of the subscription plan you choose.

Note that you can reduce the price of any of these products by 15% using our coupon code: IBGF.

Professional Plans, which cost $99 per month or $599 annually, allow health practitioners to manage the services for multiple clients on the platform. Professional users also get exclusive discounts on DNA tests.

Products

DNA Test

SelfDecode’s DNA Test Kit is a good value for those interested in health insights. In terms of scope, it encompasses over 700,000 significant gene variants, including:

  • MTHFR
  • COMT
  • ApoE
  • HLA variants
  • Vitamin D Receptor (VDR)

This makes it slightly more expansive than 23andMe or AncestryDNA, which include about 650,000 variants and 669,000 variants, respectively.

Annual Subscription

With an Annual Subscription, you receive five Premium DNA Wellness Reports per year. You also receive 50% off the cost of any additional reports.

Lifetime Access

The Lifetime Access subscription plan provides unlimited access to all current and future DNA Wellness Reports.

Lab Test Analyzer

A subscription to SelfDecode means you also get access to the company’s Lab Test Analyzer program. With Lab Test Analyzer, you can upload lab test results in order to get personalized health recommendations. This service is valuable for people who are experiencing health symptoms even though their lab tests come back in the “normal” range. You can use this service by itself or in conjunction with the DNA analysis service to determine your own optimal range of over 500 “markers”. Shorthand for “biomarkers”, these markers are single measurements that together provide indications about the degree of health or potential disease in our bodies.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about each marker, as well as the health implications of your results and personalized recommendations to optimize your health. After implementing these suggestions, you can use future tests to track your levels and measure your improvements over time.

SelfDecode Professional Plan

Designed for medical professionals, this plan permits unlimited DNA file and lab test uploads, allowing practitioners to work easily with multiple clients. This service also allows users to download an unlimited number of DNA Wellness Reports. Professional members may be featured on the SelfDecode website under “Recommended Professionals,” providing a potential boost to their business or services.

Getting started with SelfDecode

All of SelfDecode’s plans can be easily purchased directly through the SelfDecode website. Once you sign up, there will also be a useful orientation tour for you to use in getting acquainted with the app and how to use SelfDecode’s services.

If you already have genetic data

If you have taken a test from another company – including 23andMe, Ancestry, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, Illumina, LivingDNA, Nebula Genomics, Dante Labs, and more – you can upload your data to SelfDecode and select the type of membership you wish to purchase. Then you can start to explore your personalized health reports.

If you need a DNA test

If you haven’t had a DNA test before, your first step will be to place an order for a SelfDecode DNA test kit. The kit will ship to you and usually takes only a couple or few days to arrive (if you live in the United States). This at-home test is a simple cheek swab test. Be sure to register your kit before returning the kit via mail for analysis.

Results

After SelfDecode receives your sample, test results take about six to eight weeks, at which point you can access your results through the SelfDecode portal online. Your subscription will include access to insightful reports. The number of reports automatically included depends on your subscription level. The annual subscription comes with 5 reports, but you’ll get 50% off additional reports you wish to purchase.

Privacy considerations

SelfDecode states that they will never sell your data to other companies or sell it to third parties. You fully own your genetic data and have access to the raw material and reports. They take privacy very seriously. Only vetted and trusted employees can use the backend of the site, and they stress how few people have access to your data. Their technology also meets modern security standards.

They collect the minimum amount of information required to deliver your results, and you can even use a pseudonym if privacy is a concern for you. If you later decide you want to delete your information, they will remove it from their database.

HSA, FSA, and health insurance

Your HSA or FSA may be able to cover the cost of your SelfDecode testing, but you will need a letter of medical necessity. It is unlikely that your health insurance will reimburse you for your SelfDecode test because there are currently several barriers in the way.

How we evaluate health services and products

At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For health-related products and services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:

Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) and product(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service and/or product high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?

User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?

Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?

Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?

Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?

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