You are born with every potential version of you already intact. Everything you do in life can impact your genes: what you eat and drink, your work habits, where you live, and all the little choices in between. Our everyday actions and interactions turn parts of our genetic code on and off, changing the likelihood we’ll develop health concerns that lie in wait or even changing our life expectancies. But how can you know what you might have in store?
Toolbox Genomics is a genetic testing service that analyzes both your genetics and the microexpressions of your genes called epigenetics. We tested Toolbox Genomics to see what it’s best for – and where it might fall short – to help you decide if their genetic and epigenetic testing is right for you.
- Excellent depth of scientific information offered at every step
- Analysis of traits provides clear, direct information
- Easy, fast shipping and testing process
- Frequent app updates with new content for free
- DNA-only test is relatively inexpensive
- Get 5% off and free shipping when you sign up for their newsletter
- Epigenetic information is still very limited, especially compared to DNA information
- Requires a smartphone to receive results
- Website and app are clunky and can be difficult to navigate
- Communication with customer support and automatic emails can be inconsistent
Testing with Toolbox Genomics gives you powerful insights into how your genetics and lifestyle can affect your health.
When you test and subscribe to Toolbox Genomics, you’ll be able to benefit from insights that are actionable. Find out how your diet, exercise, sleep, and other factors affect your biological age, vision, hearing, and memory.
- How we evaluated Toolbox Genomics
- Why you should trust us
- What is Toolbox Genomics?
- Who can use Toolbox Genomics?
- What is epigenetics?
- How does Toolbox Genomics work?
- Genetic testing kits
- Genetic results
- Action plans
- The MyToolbox Genomics customer experience
- Does Toolbox Genomics respect privacy?
- Customer support options
- MyToolbox Genomics alternatives
9.1 / 10
Toolbox Genomics is a service that provides genomic testing both to doctors and to individuals curious about their own genes. The quality of science is strong on both platforms. Even the personal version, MyToolbox Genomics, provides dozens of links to real scientific studies backing up the claims they make about each genotype they find. Some of these explanations are a little over-extrapolated – the studies tied to the “workaholic” trait actually are related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, neuroticism, and depressive insomnia, for example – but all have a great grounding in real science.
8.5 / 10
As far as genetic tests go, Toolbox Genomics offers a comprehensive service for relatively cheap. Their DNA test provides more information for less up-front cost than many of their competitors. Plus, no subscription is necessary: the one-time fee gets you access to your information for life. The Toolbox Genomics app regularly updates with more insights and information, and every update after your purchase is free as well.
Toolbox Genomics’ Epigenetic Test, on the other hand, might be something to hold off on for now. The epigenetics test alone tells you information about five broad categories of traits as compared to people your own age, but not much more. Considering the test costs more than the DNA test on its own, the Epigenetic Test still has room to grow.
8.1 / 10
Epigenetics is just starting to creep its way into at-home testing products. The science of understanding them is still new, but Toolbox Genomics uses their physician-oriented mindset to help explain them and their real-world applications to the general public. It might not be much yet, but they’ve set up a great framework to be stellar in the near future.
In the meantime, they have lean offerings of meal plans and exercise strategies based on your genetic results if you get the DNA Test, but neither of those plans are spectacular or particularly involved.
9.0 / 10
If you’re worried about your genetic information falling into the wrong hands, Toolbox Genomics has your back. They use top-notch encryption techniques to safeguard your genetic and personal information, encrypting both any time it enters or leaves their site and using CLIA and CAP-certified labs; all of your personal data is separated from your genetic information so no one can identify you from your DNA. They require your explicit consent to share your information with anyone (with a few legal exceptions), so you can sleep well knowing your genetic information is safe with you and the team at Toolbox Genomics.
8.3 / 10
Although it can be difficult to find on their site, there are several ways you can reach out to Toolbox Genomics’ customer support to get a hand. The number of advertisements, banners, and pop-ups advertising consultations with Dr. Gray to understand or order Toolbox Genomics for providers is hard to miss. It’s obvious that, while they’ll do what they can to help, they’re more interested in getting their products to other potential customers than helping the ones they’ve got. That said, our experience with their customer support always brought useful answers.
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 228 hours testing and researching Toolbox Genomics and its competitors in DNA testing to give you an unbiased exploration of your genetic 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 Toolbox Genomics, like all health-related content on this website, was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Founded in 2016 by Dr. Erika Gray and Elvina Hewitt, MBA, Toolbox Genomics is a multi-service genomics company. The company identifies, compares, and correlates your genotypes with known small nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), which are small mutations that we know correspond with specific health statuses and conditions, to show you what makes you who you are.
Currently, Toolbox Genomics offers sequencing and interpretation for both genetic and epigenetic information. Both kits will give you:
- A summary of results
- Genes or loci associated with each result
- An easy-to-read breakdown of what the result means
- Suggestions on how your genotype might influence your daily choices
- Scientific studies listed as references
You can get these kits either separately or in a bundle together at a discounted price.
Health care providers vs. general population
There are two separate versions of Toolbox Genomics’ services: MyToolbox Genomics and Toolbox Genomics. While both use the same overall genetic testing and guidelines, there are some key differences in how they work.
|Toolbox Genomics||MyToolbox Genomics|
|Available to physicians||
|Available to general population||
|Additional panel options||
|Scientific data and studies explaining results||
Toolbox Genomics, while also the name of the company at large, is their physician-oriented genetic testing service. They offer several additional panels specifically for medical professionals (a wide label including everyone from surgeons to dieticians), including:
- Respiratory resilience
- Nutrition optimization
- Detox panel
- Endurance performance
- Health enrichment
- Hormone panel
- Weight management
- Key Opinion Leader – Dr. Rob’s Gut/Brain panel
- Key Opinion Leader – Dr. Rob’s Musculoskeletal panel
- Key Opinion Leader – Dr. Rob’s TBI/Concussion panel
There are also panels that only licensed practitioners can order:
- Cardiometabolic panel
- Cognitive panel
- Energy/fatigue panel
- GI panel
- Immune panel
Medical professionals can also order tests in bulk at special prices, but bulk ordering requires a 15-minute consultation with Dr. Gray beforehand.
MyToolbox Genomics, on the other hand, is designed specifically for the general population. Anyone who wants to check out their genetic and epigenetic information can order a kit. We’ll discuss MyToolbox Genomics throughout this article almost exclusively (unless we say otherwise).
Since there are two separate versions of Toolbox Genomics’ DNA and Epigenetics Testing Kits, you’ll need to make sure that you are purchasing the correct version. In order to create an account to purchase and keep all of the patient data in one place, the Toolbox Genomics kits for medical providers will require you to include your:
- First and last name
- License type (MD, NP, PA, DC, DO, ND/NMD, PharmD, DDM, DDS, FDN-P, other)
- License number
- Email address
- Your organization/practice name
- Address of organization/practice
- Phone number
Select medical practitioner panels require you to have a specific type of medical license to order.
You can test your DNA regardless of where in the world you live if you are ordering the MyToolbox Genomics kit. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that there isn’t desktop access for any of the lifestyle quizzes or accessing results. Smartphone access is required with Apple iOS 11.0 or later and Android OS version 6 or later.
Epigenetics is a much newer field than genetics, only becoming a popular topic of research in the 1990s. It is the study of how your behavior and the environment – your choices and lived experiences – influence your genetics.
It’s easiest to think of epigenetics like light switches: they are small, reversible changes that influence how your body reads genetic code. They don’t alter your genetics themselves. When your body makes proteins, it reads the genetic code; epigenetics are the changes that can tell your body to skip over or add in different parts of the code. Specifically, the body can add or remove chemical groups to the genetic sequence to block or allow the body to read a section of DNA.
There are dozens of ways to alter your epigenetics. This includes everything from aging to what you eat to getting the common cold. It’s thought that Type 1 diabetes, one of the most inheritable autoimmune diseases, is induced epigenetically after a virus changes the epigenetics for insulin-producing pancreatic cells.
Many epigenetic changes are reversible. For example, smoking cigarettes with nicotine can block your cells from reading parts of the AHHR gene, which prevents dioxins (a cancer-causing industrial pollutant) from harming the body as much. If you stop smoking, after some time the AHHR gene can be read like you’ve never smoked, effectively reversing the epigenetic changes.
Toolbox Genomics measures your genetics and epigenetics to inform you about genetic variations you have and how your lifestyle choices have impacted the expression of your genes.
Genetically, Toolbox Genomics isolates your DNA from saliva. Once they have your DNA isolated, they analyze your nucleotides against well-studied single polymorphism nucleotides (SNPs). SNPs are points of common variation in people where our individual traits come from. They are single nucleotide differences, such as a place that would normally have a cytosine (C) replaced by thymine (T).
We all have hundreds of SNPs in our genetic code; some of these make a difference in how we look or function, others don’t. For example, a handful of SNPs determine whether or not you like the taste of cilantro.
Toolbox Genomics partners with a CLIA- and CAP-certified laboratory that meets all of the gold standards for health and privacy. The researchers in this lab will look at SNPs that they’ve determined have a solid research background and that have been verified against a wide population of people (to avoid telling you information about genes that make a difference in one group of people that might not actually affect you). They use over 1,000 different SNPs in this process to develop your profile.
You won’t have each individual SNP worked out in your profile. While you can reach out to Toolbox Genomics to get that information, they compile your variations with related SNPs to give you information about traits, such as how caffeine affects your sleep.
Methylation – the process of adding methyl groups, the most common form of epigenetic change, leading to previously “off” genes getting read – builds up with time. By looking at the number of methyl groups, Toolbox Genomics and their partner laboratory can determine whether you have a higher, lower, or average amount of methylation than people your age. This is how they figure out your “biological age” – it’s the amount of methylation you actually have. They do this for a few specific functions as well:
MyToolbox Genomics offers three different kits to investigate your genetics: a DNA test, an epigenetics test, and a combination of the two.
|DNA Test||Epigenetics Test||DNA + Epigenetics Test|
|COVID-19 Risk Score||
|16 Health Predisposition Traits||
|Custom Meal Plans||
|Custom Training Regimen||
|DNA Expression Changes Over Time||
|Air Quality Impact||
|Free In-App Updates||
Toolbox Genomics’ DNA Test is its most comprehensive test. It catalogs your traits into fifteen major categories with five to eighteen traits per category for a grand total of more than 115 individual traits. All of Toolbox Genomics’ advertising promotes sixteen categories, but one of those is a summary of high-scoring and common results.
The fifteen major categories are:
- Eye health
- Gut health
- Heart health
- Injury risk
- Mental health
- Muscle health
- Skin health
Each trait’s page includes:
- The level of risk or response you have
- Associated genes
- An explanation of what the risk or response is measuring
- A fast summary of what your genetic risk means
- Recommendations for moving forward
- A list of scientific references
Of course, this information is great to have, but Toolbox Genomics wants to take it one step further to help you see an impact on your daily life. They provide three sets of recommendations for you in vitamins to take, foods to eat, and exercises to do based on your genetic results.
Toolbox Genomics’ Epigenetics Test measures the way your DNA expression changes for five different traits:
- Biological age
- Eye age
- Hearing age
- Memory age
- Inflammation score
Each of these separate “ages” tracks the average amount of methylation, or expression, of genes for each category. Biological age, for example, looks at the methylation of genes related to vitamin D, metabolism, and physical ability.
The epigenetics test also measures your air quality and provides you with an air quality index (AQI) for your geographic location based on location data from your phone. The app provides information for you to better understand how to protect yourself as necessary based on the local AQI. If you have a genotype that is protective or sensitive to pollutant-based carcinogens, it’ll let you know as well, though no matter what genotype you have, smoking and smoke-based pollutants can still cause damage to your lungs.
While Toolbox Genomics only measures five traits at this time, they are constantly working to expand and improve upon their database. All updates and additional information using the genetic data they have on-hand will be added free of charge.
In total, the epigenetics-only test costs $249.
If you know you’ll want to test your epigenetics more than once since they change based on your lifestyle and habits, Toolbox Genomics offers a subscription service for epigenetic testing:
- Test every three months (four times a year) for $195/test or $65/month
- Test every six months (twice a year) for $204/test or $34/month
- Test once a year for $216/test or $18/month
These tests are paid for monthly using a subscription service plan. Unless you order a genetic test with each shipment in your epigenetic subscription, be prepared to pay an additional $29.95 for shipping for every package.
Genetics + Epigenetics Test
The genetics and epigenetics test combination kit includes the best of both worlds. This bundle provides all of your genetic information breakdown, epigenetic markers, and personalized information about how to best improve your health at a discounted price of $299. If you were to buy both packs separately, it would cost almost $450.
You’ll receive your genetic and epigenetic results separately. Genetic results typically arrive in three to four weeks; epigenetic results arrive in another five to six after your genetic results (eight to ten weeks total).
Your genetic results are displayed on individual pages. Each category has multiple genes that they draw influence from, but since the body is created not by individual genes but the interactions of them, Toolbox Genomics’ summary-style pages make sense.
Some of the genes that Toolbox Genomics analyzes are almost entirely biological in nature. These are the “genetic results.”
Snacking risk, saturated fats response, sugar response, yo-yo diet response, vitamin B12 deficiency, selenium deficiency, beta-alanine benefit, genetic Type 2 diabetes risk, genetic infection risk (cold/flu)
Carbohydrate response, saturated fats response, unsaturated fats benefit, protein response, sugar response, overeating sweet foods, bitter taste, snacking risk, metabolic rate, fat distribution, yo-yo diet response, lactase persistence
Caffeine sensitivity, genetic bone mineral density, genetic obesity risk, genetic type 2 diabetes risk, genetic infection risk (cold/flu)
Muscle power, muscle stamina, O2 usage, anaerobic threshold, recovery rate, muscle mass, injury risk, soft tissue inflammation, lean body mass, power-to-weight ratio, exercise effect on weight
Vitamin D deficiency, vitamin A deficiency, iron deficiency, magnesium deficiency, potassium deficiency, sodium deficiency, vitamin B6 deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, folate deficiency, selenium deficiency, omega-3 benefit, calcium deficiency, BCAA’s benefit, choline benefit, glutamine benefit, creatine benefit, beta-alanine benefit, arginine benefit
Not every piece of genetic information that Toolbox Genomics looks at is directly related to a strictly biological process. Many of them also have psychological, environmental, and choice-influenced elements. These traits, while genetically influenced, are much more susceptible to being “hidden” or not relevant at one moment in time while popping up later.
Since they can’t be guaranteed, these traits are referred to as “health insights.” You might find more relevance in some of these than others.
Physical decline with age, keeping cognition with age, testosterone and aging, bone strength decline with aging, back pain and aging, stress and aging
Sight degeneration with age, cataracts risk, open-angle glaucoma, beta-carotene conversion, eye health and B-vitamin deficiency
Gluten intolerance risk, gut irritability risk, gut health risk, stress affecting gut health, caffeine affecting gut health
Irregular heart rate, genetic high blood pressure, salt causing high blood pressure, cholesterol LDL/HDL imbalance, cardiovascular health issues
Immune function, vitamin D benefit to your immune system, B vitamins benefit to your immune system, selenium benefit to your immune system, the PTPN22 gene and your immune system, vitamin E affecting immune function, vitamin C affecting immune function, inflammatory infection response
Lower back pain risk, bone and joint strength, Achilles tendinopathy, knee injury, type of injury rehab
Attention span, workaholic traits, caffeine affecting focus, dealing with memory tasks, night productivity, warrior vs. worrier
Myostatin-related performance, natural testosterone level, exercise-induced muscle pain, stress-related muscle pain risk, coenzyme Q10 deficiency risk
Sun damage risk, rate of skin aging, skin beta-carotene conversion, gluten-related skin condition risk, likelihood of freckles, collagen breakdown, skin glycation with age, skin ancestry, risk of wrinkles with age, dermal sensitivity risk
Night owl likelihood, sleep duration, fragmented sleep risk, narcolepsy risk, stress affecting sleep risk, caffeine affecting sleep risk
Stress response to pressure, stress affecting memory risk, ability to deal with stress, stress leading to physical symptoms, stress and the heart, caffeine and stress
While epigenetic results are difficult to break down because individual methylation varies so intensely, Toolbox Genetics still has some broad recommendations for people to improve their epigenetic ages.
Reflective of overall health. Recommends vitamin D, calorie restriction, lowering metabolic rate, meditation, physical activity, increasing antioxidant levels.
Reflective of eye degeneration over time. Recommends decreasing inflammation and oxidization through limiting blue light and consuming vitamin A, green tea, and zinc.
Reflective of auditory system aging, which is influenced by everything from environmental sound levels to prescription medications. Recommends folate and astaxanthin (an antioxidant).
Reflective of cognitive health and overall working memory. Recommends exercise, l-glutamine, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Reflective of overall inflammation, as it can cause tissue degeneration when too high for too long (as well as depression, various cancers, heart disease, diabetes, neurological diseases, and arthritis). Recommends omega-3 EPA, DHA, and ALA; palmitoleic acid (omega-7); decreasing omega-6 foods; exercise; vitamin D; dietary fiber.
While it’s interesting to know what you’re genetically predisposed to and how your current actions are influencing your genes, Toolbox Genomics wants to take that information a step further. In doing so, they’ve worked to create three relatively simple plans to help you live your best life, knowing what you do about your genetic risks and benefits. They can help you pick out the best vitamins, meals, and exercises personalized for your body.
Without having to stray from the genetic results section, you can find a curated list of vitamins that you’re predisposed to having in low levels or at low absorption rates. These are vitamins that you should focus on including in your diet or boosting through supplementation in order to have optimal levels in your body.
Toolbox Genomics also helps you to create a meal plan based on your dietary and nutritional genetic predispositions. You can pick a goal out of four possible:
- Weight loss
- Fitness & endurance
- Build muscle
- Health & wellbeing
Once you’ve picked your primary goal, they ask how many meals you can realistically eat in a day (from two to six) and your activity level before generating several long lists of foods you can choose from to create a week-long meal plan. Each meal is based on your genetic predispositions to things such as type 2 diabetes, saturated fat response, and tendencies toward intolerances to help you create the most healthy lifestyle aligned with your goal.
As a bonus, each meal plan includes recipes for every food item with a full nutritional breakdown and a “favorites” option so you don’t have to lose the best-tasting items.
Toolbox Genomics can help you create a workout plan based on your muscular and nutritional needs, as well as your age, gender, height, and weight. They can help you create a plan for:
- Overall workout
- Injury prevention
- Wellness (coming soon)
Each of these plans include breakdowns of what exercises you should do and why, how many sets and repetitions of each to do per day, and how many days every week you should do them. The overall workout section includes a full weekly breakdown, complete with rest days.
Recently, Toolbox Genomics has added a Virus Risk Score calculator that helps you come up with a rough estimate of your risk for contracting – and having serious side effects from – COVID-19. While they never explicitly say it’s for COVID-19, their graphic design makes that parallel abundantly clear.
The Virus Risk Score calculator adds up your lifestyle attributes, inflammatory and immune genetic tendencies, and environmental factors to help you determine your COVID-19 risk. This number varies constantly. One of our testers saw the number drop from 145 to 102 (from “very high risk” to “high risk”) within a matter of a few hours while staying at home.
While not currently available, Toolbox Genomics is working to release lifestyle tracking in the future. This will allow you to retake the lifestyle quiz at different points in time and see how it both changes and aligns with your changes in epigenetic results.
There aren’t any special requirements to order your home kit from Toolbox Genomics. They make it easy for you: just click “shop,” add the kit to your cart that you want, confirm your selection, and check out with your mailing address and card information like any other online store. You will need to use a debit or credit card to purchase your kit; they don’t accept alternative methods of payment like G Pay or PayPal.
Since MyToolbox Genomics isn’t a medical company, they cannot take insurance payments.
Shipping is expensive at $29.95, but there are frequent sales and coupon offers for free shipping. If you order a subscription kit of epigenetic tests, be aware that every kit will charge $29.95 separately.
Once you’ve placed your order, you’ll get an email confirmation for your order. There are no tracking numbers automatically generated for your order (though you can pay extra to get one, you’ll have to email customer support before purchasing first). Our testers’ kits arrived in two business days.
Taking the test
Once your kit has arrived, hold off for a second before opening the box. You’ll need to create an account first. This connects your kit to you so that you can get your results.
Insider Tip: Though it may be tempting to create an account before you get your kit, wait until it’s been delivered. You won’t be able to formally create your account until you have a kit ID to enter.
Creating an account is simple: open the app and select the option that you’ve received your kit. Enter your name, email address, and set a password. On the next page, you’ll be prompted to enter:
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Address (to match shipped kit to account)
After you’ve created your account, you can register your kit. The kit itself is laid out cleanly, wrapped in a smooth, suave box. Everything you’ll need for collection is tightly packaged in insular foam. Inside, you’ll find:
- Saliva funnel
- Test tube labeled with kit ID and bar code
- Instruction packet
- Prepaid return mailer
Screw the saliva funnel into the top of the test tube. This is a step up from most saliva test kits, which expect you to spit into the tube itself. You’ll need to collect 4ml of saliva, which isn’t a small amount. If you struggle to produce that much, our testers found it helpful to think about their favorite foods and (love them or not) lemons.
After you’ve collected your saliva, unscrew the funnel. Screw the cap back on the test tube. From here, you can scan the kit ID into your account (or enter the code manually) to connect your kit to you. Stick the test tube in the return envelope and drop it in the mail.
After you create your account and register the kit ID, you’ll be prompted in-app to answer a lifestyle survey. This is optional but helps to inform some of your results, including your action plans. This survey asks about things such as:
- Height and weight
- Activity level
- Exercise type and frequency
Genetic and epigenetic results will arrive at different times. Your genetic results will hit your inbox three to four weeks after they have been processed by the laboratory (which takes about a week from the time you mail it). Epigenetic results process five to six weeks after that.
When your results are ready, Toolbox Genomics will send you an email to let you know. One of our testers didn’t receive an email that their genetic results were ready until 21 days later, so we recommend checking the app regularly around the four-week mark if you haven’t yet gotten an email notification just in case. However, this seems to have been an exception rather than the rule, as our testers received notifications for their epigenetic results same-day.
Your results will be immediately available on the MyToolbox Genomics app. Rather than a blank or loading screen, you’ll be able to see all of the major categories:
- Virus risk score
- DNA results
- Health insights
- Genetic action plan
- Epigenetic results
- Meal guide
- My training
- Lifestyle tracking (coming soon)
Clicking on any one of these categories will take you to a list of subcategories, which you can click to get to your individual results.
If you are interested in viewing your results on your computer or sending them to someone else, you can download the results. This emails you a hefty, nearly 200-page packet with all of your genetic results or a 20-page epigenetic report.
Genetic privacy can be a tricky subject: you want to know all of that information about yourself, but it can feel overwhelming to think of all the other parties who could also learn that raw, intimate information. Have no fear: Toolbox Genomics provides exceptional privacy protections.
On a genetic information front, Toolbox Genomics keeps your raw genetic information (sequences of nucleotides) but destroys your sample (saliva) as soon as they’re done sequencing. This way, no one else can test or otherwise use your genetic sample. If you don’t want them to have your genetic information, just shoot customer support an email and they’ll destroy it, no questions asked. Likewise, if you don’t want to keep your account, they can deactivate it upon request. All labs used are both CLIA- and CAP-certified.
Your genetic information is anonymized and de-identified early in the testing process to protect your privacy. This means that the scientists who sequence your DNA don’t have any personal information about you like your name, age, or email address. If any external contractors need to be brought in, such as additional lab support, they will also only get the information they need to provide their services.
Every piece of information that goes into and out of the site is heavily encrypted using AES256 or AES128 encryption, the two toughest encryption methods to break. All site data and personal information are encrypted individually both at rest and in transit.
Likewise, Toolbox Genomics does not share any genetic information with third parties for commercial purposes. The only time someone could see your information without your explicit consent is if required by law through a legal or enforcement process.
Unless you want to book a consultation with Dr. Erika Gray, it can be difficult to figure out exactly where and how you can get in touch with Toolbox Genomics’ customer support. Luckily, if you go through the FAQ, you can find an email address. Replies to emails can be a touch slow at times, but in our testers’ experience, they found that Toolbox Genomics answered all of their questions thoroughly.
Some (but not all) pages on the website offer an in-browser instant chat. They typically reply instantly, but if you don’t hear back within a few minutes, they’ll answer via email so you don’t have to keep the tab open.
Your other option to get help is to call Dr. Gray herself. She offers a few different modes of communication:
- Recorded livestreams
- 15-minute scheduled consultations to go over your results, discuss health plans, or order in bulk (if you’re a medical practitioner)
- A phone number for general questions
It’s a unique model of customer support as she is a co-founder of the company. With her PharmD and years of experience, you’ll be in good hands. She knows the process better than anyone else, so you won’t have to worry about any under- or misinformed customer service agents giving you the wrong information.
As one of the most well-known DNA testing services, 23andMe analyzes your DNA for a wide variety of traits. There are two versions of 23andMe, one which covers only ancestry information and one which also includes your health information (23andMe Health). Ordering both 23andMe and 23andMe Health costs a total of $199, a drop in price from Toolbox Genomics. Since they’re so well-known, 23andMe is considered by many insurance companies and the FDA to be medical advice, earning the high status of being the only genetic testing service that accepts HSA and FSA payments.
While 23andMe covers more genetic ground than Toolbox Genomics, investigating for health predispositions, carrier status, and pharmacogenetics, they do not measure any epigenetic markers. If you’re interested in learning more about your biological age or keeping an eye on where and how your body changes over time, Toolbox Genomics might be a better fit.
What if you could unravel all of your genetic information and have the ability to read everything it codes for? Nebula Genomics offers just that: full-genome sequencing that reads 100,000 times more positions than leading at-home DNA tests like 23andMe and AncestryDNA for $299. They read six billion genetic positions and give you the tools to be able to understand what’s happening at most of them.
Of course, this level of detail comes at a price. You need to subscribe to their monthly service in order to continue reading your DNA. This subscription updates regularly, providing new insights as we learn more about genetics, but you lose access to all of Nebula’s tools without the subscription. So while it costs less at the outset, you’re likely to spend more money over time if you want to benefit from continued studying.
For more information about Nebula Genomics, read our review here.
Elysium is dedicated to helping you learn how you age and improving the aging process. (After all, knowledge is power.) They offer a six-week epigenetic test that measures your biological age, the equivalent of one measure from Toolbox Genomic’s epigenetic test. The process to use Elysium Index is remarkably similar to Toolbox Genomics – just send in a saliva sample and you’ll be on your way.
While your results come in three to four weeks faster than Toolbox Genomics, you get significantly less information. You’ll only receive your biological age based on epigenetic averages rather than a panel of several epigenetic ages. Plus, Elysium Index costs $499 for non-subscribers. It comes down to a comparable $299 if you package it with Elysium’s Basis supplements, but on its own, Elysium still charges twice as much as Toolbox Genomic’s already-steep prices.
InsideTracker offers extensive blood testing to measure your biological responses in real-time alongside a hefty DNA analysis. You can then track how well your body responds to vitamins, healthy diet choices, and new exercise methods using objective blood biomarker measurements. Their DNA analysis appears at first glance to be double the size of Toolbox Genomics’, but InsideTracker measures their DNA Kit using individual genes rather than the number of assessments they provide.
If you want to check in on your vitamin or inflammatory markers as they are today, this might be a good option. Athletes in particular often find a lot of success from InsideTracker’s premium personalized meal and biomarker optimization plans. Just know it comes with a hefty price tag: the most thorough blood test costs $589, a DNA Kit costs $249, and there’s no bundle discounts.
Interested in learning more about InsideTracker? Check out what we thought here.
If you’re interested in tracking how quickly you’re aging over time, TruMe offers a repeatable epigenetic “biological age” test at a low cost. For $99, you can take a saliva test that measures a handful of epigenetic loci to measure how your body is responding to how you’re taking care of it. While there isn’t as much information that you can get out of it – TruMe only offers the DNA biological TruAge test – you can get your results in one to two weeks, which is lightning fast for any kind of genetic test. This, when paired with the impressively low cost, means that if you’re interested in keeping tabs on your genetic age over time, you can do so without having to pay thousands of dollars. Plus, TruMe recommends you only take the TruAge test every six months, unlike Toolbox Genomics’ recommendation of three months, further decreasing your overall costs.
If you have any concerns about your family history or unusual symptoms, it’s always a good idea to bring your primary care provider into the conversation. No genetic test is a diagnostic tool, and they can discuss any concerning results with you. It may be nothing to worry about, or they may be able to guide you through a more robust testing process to determine if the genetic test is correct.
A genetic counselor may also be wise to consult if your genomic results leave you feeling unsettled. Your primary care provider can refer you to a genetic counselor, or some hospital systems will offer contact information for you to make an appointment directly. Many of them specialize in oncology or birth defects, but they will be able to test for a wider range of traits more precisely than any non-medical service like Toolbox Genomics. However, the wait to see a genetic counselor may be long and, much like Toolbox Genomics, the appointment may not be covered by insurance.