There are many DNA tests on the market. Some focus on ancestry, while others focus on health insights.
Vitagene offers a variety of at-home health and wellness test kits, including a DNA test that does both. It reports on your genetic ancestry and influences on diet and exercise. A simple cheek swab sample is required. Vitagene also tests for food sensitivity, thyroid levels, and more using self-administered saliva or blood samples.
Here, we take a deep dive into what sets Vitagene tests apart from others on the market and whether the tests are worth your time and money.
Vitagene is a health and wellness test service co-founded in 2014 in San Francisco.
The company provides at-home test kits where DNA samples are collected and shipped to a lab for testing. The process they use to analyze the data is called genotyping. The genetic samples are analyzed and reports are generated with personalized health recommendations based on the results.
Vitagene’s main test is their DNA test, which generates ancestry, diet, and exercise reports. Other tests include COVID-19, vitamin D, inflammation, and more. Test kits are shipped to you with instructions and supplies to collect a DNA sample, such as a cheek swab, saliva, or finger prick.
The DNA tests are relatively low cost, and Vitagene offers a wide variety of tests to consumers living in the United States.
Vitagene is for anyone in the United States looking for a low cost entry into DNA testing for health and wellness. The cost of the tests varies between $ 49 and $ 169. Each test gives consumers insights into their own health.
It’s also for those interested in the personalized reports that come with Vitagene tests. The DNA test includes customized meal plans, nutritional guides, and exercise programs based on your unique results. The company has tests for those who want to improve their:
- energy and stress levels
Since Vitagene doesn’t sell genetic information, they may be of interest for those who want to partake in DNA testing without their private information being sold. However, Vitagene does sell nongenetic information.
Vitagene tests are highly accurate. The process uses genotyping, which is an established and reliable method to test DNA down to the 0.1 percent.
Independent board certified physicians review and approve all tests in your state.
To ensure the results are accurate, Vitagene uses clinical labs that meet the standards set by CLIA and CAP.
Using Vitagene’s services is quick and easy.
Start by ordering a test kit from Vitagene. Most have free shipping and accept HSA and FSA as forms of payment. Tests are available in the United States only, but some tests aren’t available in the state of New York.
When your test kit arrives, open it and read the instructions carefully. Follow the instructions to collect your DNA sample. Some tests, such as the DNA test, require a cheek swab. Others use a finger prick to collect a small sample of blood or may require a sample of your saliva.
After you’ve collected your sample, pack it up according to the instructions. Use the prepaid return shipping label to ship the sample to a clinical lab. There, it will be analyzed and reviewed by a board certified physician in your state.
The time in which you’ll receive your results will vary depending on the type of test. The DNA test can take up to several weeks, but most other test results are available within 5 days.
When your results and reports are ready, you’ll be notified and directed to the secure digital platform where they’re housed. You can choose to share your results with your doctor or family. Your results never expire, though you may receive updates for some tests.
Vitagene partners with GNC, a health product retailer that sells vitamins, supplements, and other products. Vitagene may offer personalized vitamin and supplement recommendations in your reports. In some cases, discounts are given on these products.
Vitagene DNA tests are sold on Amazon, and many reviewers report positive experiences with the brand.
Many enjoy the personalized reports that help them adjust their diet, exercise, and supplement routine.
“Though this kit didn’t exactly give me the key to the ‘fountain of youth,’ it did give me really valuable insights into my health and how I should alter my current diet and exercise routine to live my best life… I had already done quite a bit of research on my own about what supplements I should be taking and seeing that Vitagene recommends what I’ve been taking is really reaffirming. They even recommended one additional supplement which I’m excited to try out, ”K. Hart writes.
Others aren’t impressed with the tailored plan. Some feel it’s a sales tactic, and others express concerns that the report is recycled information from their surveys.
“While the report was interesting, I found the supplement recommendations disappointing – they were entirely based on my survey responses. I would recommend not doing the survey until you receive your results, ”Teresa writes.
There are also several complaints on the Better Business Bureau website related to registration and shipping issues. Vitagene representatives have responded to each of them in attempts to resolve the issues.
Health and Ancestry Test
Most at-home DNA tests offer the option to include health reports for an additional upgrade cost. The Vitagene DNA test includes both ancestry and health reports in the base $ 99 price. There is an option to add a Premium Skin Report for an additional $ 49.
The test uses a self-administered cheek swab that is sent to a clinical lab for testing. It takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks to get your results.
Your results also include custom plans tailored to you. These reports contain meal plans and exercise programs to help you meet your fitness and nutrition goals. They may also recommend supplements to help you increase your energy levels, improve your sleep, and reduce stress.
At-Home Food Sensitivity Test
A finger prick is used to draw a blood sample for the Vitagene At-Home Food Sensitivity Test. Foods will be scored on a scale from normal to high reactivity. The scores can help you pinpoint foods that may trigger symptoms like bloating and stomach pain.
Sleep & Stress Test
This at-home test uses a saliva sample to assess your levels of hormones related to stress and sleep. The markers include melatonin and cortisol, hormones that affect sleep and stress, respectively. Your results will be delivered within 3 to 5 days of the lab receiving your sample.
Covid-19 Saliva Test Kit
This is the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency use authorized at-home COVID-19 saliva test, according to Vitagene. The kit uses a saliva sample to determine if you have a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The test ships with the highest priority postage. You’ll receive digital results within 72 hours.
Vitamin D Blood Test
This test uses a finger prick to check your vitamin D levels. You’ll receive results within 3 to 5 days of mailing in your blood sample.
HbA1c Blood Sugar Test
This test kit uses a finger-prick blood sample to check your levels of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c). HbA1c is a form of hemoglobin (a blood pigment that carries oxygen) that is bound to glucose. Blood HbA1c levels are reflective of how well diabetes is managed.
This test kit uses a finger-prick blood sample to check your levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). In primary hypothyroidism, TSH levels are elevated. In primary hyperthyroidism, TSH levels are low.
This test kit uses a finger-prick blood sample to check your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which is produced by the liver. Elevated CRP levels can be measured in blood in response to inflammation. CRP levels are known to increase dramatically in response to injury, infection, and inflammation.
Heart Health Test
This test kit uses a finger-prick blood sample to check your levels of total cholesterol, including LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol. Low HDL cholesterol puts you at a higher risk of heart disease. Blood measurements of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) are often performed to assess the risk of future heart disease.
Vitagene has a phone number and email address for customer service. The website lists the company’s customer service hours from 9 am to 6 pm PST from Monday to Friday.
The customer service options and availability could be improved. However, some reviews on Amazon state that the company has responsive customer service.
After your samples have been analyzed, Vitagene discards them.
Vitagene uses an encrypted and secure digital platform to deliver your results and store your data. The brand is HIPAA-compliant. They don’t sell your genetic information, but they may sell nongenetic data for marketing and other purposes.
In 2019, Vitagene was under fire for exposing DNA information of thousands of individuals. The information was exposed between 2015 and 2017, and the exposure was fixed in 2019 when the company became aware.
Vitagene does not accept health insurance. However, you may be able to submit a claim to your health insurance company to receive a reimbursement.
Some tests are eligible for HSA and FSA.
Does Vitagene sell your information?
Vitagene does not sell your genetic information. They may anonymize your results for their database. The company may also sell your nongenetic information.
Do weight loss DNA tests work?
Some people turn to DNA tests for health insights that they can then use for weight loss and other diet or exercise goals. Health reports from DNA tests can be helpful to determine nutritional deficiencies, food sensitivities, and more. This information can help you better understand your body’s genetic makeup in relation to weight loss, but losing weight ultimately comes down to putting that information into practice.
How expensive is genetic testing?
Most genetic tests cost around $ 99, but some are as low as $ 59 or as high as $ 199. The price varies depending on the company and what is included in the test. You can pay for some tests using your HSA and FSA accounts, but they’re usually not covered by health insurance.
There are a lot of at-home and DNA test kits out there, so what makes Vitagene different? Vitagene is affordably priced. The brand is mainly known for their At-Home DNA Test, which includes ancestry and health reports. Other DNA test kits charge separately for these reports.
Vitagene is also transparent about price and privacy. The Vitagene website clearly lists prices and information about what the brand does and doesn’t do with your data. Your genetic data is never sold, and your sample is discarded after it’s analyzed. Your nongenetic data may be sold to third parties, and some data was found to be exposed in 2019.
Overall, Vitagene is a sound option that checks all the quality control boxes when it comes to at-home DNA testing. However, their customer service and availability could likely be improved.
Lacey Muinos is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting herwebsite or herblog.