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Best DNA Tests for Health: Ranked by Accuracy

Robert Bergen
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DNA tests entered the scene a few years back. It’s fascinating, after all, to finally see the family tree on paper without having to guess or rely on the classic family tales for answers.

The best testing companies offer comprehensive testing as a solution to the mystery, but they can also help in predicting possible genetic health complications. The information provided by a test will differ from company to company.

Until now, the market isn’t yet flooded with options, so it’s not an overwhelming mission. We offer a glance at the top companies for the best DNA test kits for health. Home DNA testing has never been easier and your DNA results may surprise you.

 

First Look:

Table of Contents

Top 3 DNA Tests for Health

1. 23andMe — Best Test Overall

23andMe was one of the first companies to offer services for your average consumer. It still remains in the spotlight as a result of its comprehensive DNA testing options.

There are two primary services to choose from:
  • DNA Ancestry + Traits Kit
  • DNA Health + Ancestry Service

DNA Ancestry + Traits Kit

This is the company’s basic testing kit that builds your family tree from around the world. It pulls information from over 2,000 global regions based on 30 plus traits that include details such as sneeze reflex and your ability to match a musical pitch.

Your results will include your ancestry percentages to the 0.1 percent and provide a clear image of your ancestral history going back eight generations.

Your paternal line and maternal line, or what’s known as “haplogroups”, point to how your ancestors moved geographically over time [1]. This includes any famous individuals in your tree and your percentage of Neanderthal DNA. 

Also included is a DNA relative finder, providing you with links both near and far, their names, and geographical locations. This family history may help you build new connections, to old bloodline.

DNA Health + Ancestry Service

If you’re interested in genetic markers beyond the standard DNA test, the 23 me DNA Health option will fit that bill. This DNA test includes your health ancestry and genetic health risks, which can help you determine any possible complications ahead.

Your carrier status will also display any genetic variants, as well. These may not affect you but could affect the health of your family members, such as your children [2]. Having this information can support your family’s health plan and provide you with knowledge of diseases to avoid through healthy actions and habits.

How it Works

Order your saliva collection kit from 23and me. It’s the same DNA test kit for both services and arrives within three to five days, unless you need an express delivery which is also available.

The testing kit comes with thorough instructions, spit tube parts, and evidence packaging. You’ll register your tube through the website using the barcode in the kit. After completing the test, you’ll return it back to the company’s lab in the prepaid package included.

Your results are ready after three to five weeks and you’ll be notified via email. All of your information will be available in your online company account.

23andMe Testing and Privacy Standards

DNA testing companies should adhere to rigorous testing and privacy standards, it’s a personal investment, after all. 23andMe adheres to the following:
  • FDA-approved for the genetic health risk, carrier status screening, and DNA kit.
  • Saliva samples are CLIA-certified and go through CAP-accredited labs.
  • Well-established genotyping.
  • Individual DNA results are kept private unless issued by consent or a valid court order.
  • The company abides by GINA, a law protecting an individual from insurance discrimination.

Bottom Line

23andMe is a well-known company in the world of DNA testing and still proves to come out on top where comprehensive testing matters. The company’s testing and privacy standards are thorough and legitimate.

The basic DNA package is a suitable starter option for anyone, while its health addition covers genetic disposition to certain health complications. This test is for those in need of a full healthcare picture, based on ancestry.

BEST TEST OVERALL

2. AncestryDNA — Best in Privacy for DNA Tests

AncestryDNA is another well-established company offering DNA testing to the masses. Recently, they’ve updated their ethnicity estimates by breaking down their former geographical regions into more precise locations, offering details that didn’t exist before.

Similar to 23andMe, Ancestry DNA offers two options:
  • AncestryDNA
  • AncestryHealth

AncestryDNA

The AncestryDNA test kit is your standard package offered by the company. This home DNA test reveals your origins with DNA matches across the world. You’ll receive geographical and historical insights into your family tree.

AncestryDNA offers an updated reading into ethnicity, based on algorithms that cover over 1000 regions, that are then divided further. These details provide an in-depth look into your DNA with precise percentages including the migration paths of your ancestors.

Eye color, aversion to cilantro, and other details are covered in the revealed traits. The interactive content is mapped out in your results for an entertaining experience.

You’ll also have access to your “Family History Learning Hub” via the website, which will renew itself over time with any updates or new pieces of information that the company launches.

AncestryHealth

AncestryHealth offers a more comprehensive DNA picture with health traits and ancestry health risks. This includes next-generation sequencing. DNA sequencing uses your family history to predict health outcomes for yourself and of family members for years to come [3].

This testing is a result of genetic technology that delves deeper into your DNA than the basic services allow, and with an 80 percent detection rate, according to the company. Variants that have the highest chances are reported.

The following conditions are included in the DNA testing:
  • Hereditary ovarian and breast cancer
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Risk of heart disease
  • Risk of blood clots

How it Works

Make a simple order for delivery to your home. Complete the spit test by following the careful instructions inside the package. Mail your evidence back to the company and wait six to eight weeks for the results.

The company will email you when your DNA test is ready. You’ll then have access to all online databases with no expiration date.

AncestryDNA Testing and Privacy Standards

Unfortunately, the company offers few details around its testing standards. As far as we can tell, the DNA testing isn’t FDA-approved, however, there are very few negative reports on accuracy.

AncestryDNA does, however, provide an in-depth, transparent outline on the company’s website for what information they gather, how, and what is shared [4]. This includes what service providers are involved and if and when law enforcement gets involved.

Bottom Line

AncestryDNA is yet another standout company for DNA testing at home. There isn’t anyone who wouldn’t benefit. For those purchasing multiple family health tests, you’ll gain some savings on the cost with this company.

Also, if privacy matters are of utmost importance to you, AncestryDNA is a viable solution.

BEST IN PRIVACY

3. TeloYears DNA — Best DNA Testing for Aging

TeloYears sets itself apart from other DNA testing with a particular focus on cellular age and genetic health. The company does this by using a blood test to extract DNA. With this sample, it analyzes your “average telomere length”.

Telomeres Explained

Telomeres are nucleotides that exist at the end of your chromosomes that support genetic information. A single nucleotide is grouped with others to help protect DNA strands as you age [5].  Factors that influence telomere length include:
  • Exercise
  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Nutrition

Examining the length of these nucleotides and comparing the results with others at your age and gender helps the company determine how well your body is coping with the aging process.

TeloYears then offers advice based on this and provides the option for further support through the guidance of a “TeloCoach”.

How it Works

Upon ordering, the company sends you a complete test and tracking program to your home. A simple blood prick is all that’s required, which is then sent back in the careful packaging provided.

TeloYears releases your results within a few weeks, combined with recommendations for health guidelines that you will track over a period of three to six months. After you complete this program, you will then retest for any indication of improvement.

Bottom Line

TeloYears provides advanced DNA testing that is geared towards individuals who are concerned about their aging process. For middle-aged men and women, this could be an appropriate option to help slow down any disadvantages you may be facing at this time.

BEST FOR AGING

What DNA Test Is the Most Accurate?

The most accurate DNA test depends upon your needs. Overall, 23 and me offers the most comprehensive test and transparent testing standards. Their rigorous qualifications are touted by many across the internet.

If you need to test for specific conditions or diseases, AncestryDNA provides an 80 percent detection rate. This accuracy is critical for those looking to make lifestyle changes in order to live a longer, healthier life.

Overall, false results are plausible, which is why it’s recommended to go with a company that works with certified labs. 

What Diseases Does 23andMe Test For?

The 23andMe DNA health package tests for numerous diseases and conditions. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • BRCA 1/BRCA 2
  • Celiac disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • G6PD deficiency
  • Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease

The company offers genetic counseling to anyone who receives a report and would like a follow-up consultation.

Is CRI Genetics a Legitimate Company?


CRI genetics has a thorough website explaining how the company functions and what it has to offer [6]. It makes a lot of promises that are backed by positive reports on the site.

However, there are numerous negative reviews across the internet. Some include that they’re unorganized and not transparent about their testing standards and more.

Use discretion when ordering a test from CRI Genetics.

What Does a DNA Test Reveal?

Your basic DNA test kits will reveal up to eight generations of family tree history. This includes migration patterns, traits including aversions, and more. Some offer family member identification, as well.

DNA tests for health are more in-depth, as they examine one’s carrier status and genetic variants. This includes testing for possible diseases and conditions that could affect you and your family members [7].

Which Is Better AncestryDNA or 23andMe?


23andMe comes out on top where its comprehensive health test is concerned. The company’s testing standards are the most transparent and this matters for accuracy.

AncestryDNA, however, seems to offer more privacy and has a higher detection rate for disease testing, in so far as we can conclude.

Why You Shouldn’t Get a DNA Test?

We can only think of a few reasons as to why you shouldn’t get a test:

  • You’re overly concerned about privacy matters.
  • Your family ties include long-standing trauma.
  • You don’t want to spend the money.

What Does GINA Protect Against?

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) went into effect in 2009 and is a federal law made to protect individuals from genetic discrimination.

This form of discrimination is when an insurance company or employer treats you differently, based on a gene mutation or risk of a genetic disorder.

The law includes two primary parts:

  • It’s illegal for insurance companies to make decisions about an individual’s eligibility based on DNA test results.
  • It’s illegal for employers to use DNA test results against you when they’re deciding who to hire or promote.

Companies like 23andMe clearly state on its website that it abides by the GINA act.

DNA Health Revealed

Home DNA testing is a simple and efficient way to learn more about your family tree and possibly meet relatives from around the world. You can also use it to educate yourself on potential health conditions, as well.

It’s important to choose the best company that partners with certified laboratories, in order to gain the most accurate DNA testing available. You also want to ensure that your results are kept private.

Out of all the testing companies, 23andMe has rigorous standards and a high reputation for these reasons. Across the board, they offer the strongest testing, in our opinion. This includes ancestry services, with dozens of traits, providing a deeper glance into your maternal and paternal lines, up to eight generations.

AncestryDNA offers a transparent privacy agreement and also provides a high detection rate, though they aren’t certified by the FDA.

Empower yourself and your family with test kits and DNA findings today, you won’t regret having the results. A doctor can further instruct you on health decisions, based on the data provided.

References

  1. Y Chromosome Consortium. “A Nomenclature System for the Tree of Human Y-Chromosomal Binary Haplogroups.” Genome Research, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Feb. 2002, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC155271/.
  2. Henneman, Lidewij, et al. “Responsible Implementation of Expanded Carrier Screening.” European Journal of Human Genetics : EJHG, Nature Publishing Group, June 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4867464/.
  3. Phillips, Kathryn A, et al. “Genomic Sequencing: Assessing the Health Care System, Policy, and Big-Data Implications.” Health Affairs (Project Hope), U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4113721/.
  4. Privacy Statement (US), www.ancestry.com/cs/legal/health-privacy.
  5. News Center. “Telomere Extension Turns Back Aging Clock in Cultured Human Cells, Study Finds.” News Center, med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2015/01/telomere-extension-turns-back-aging-clock-in-cultured-cells.html.
  6. “CRI Genetics™: DNA Testing For Ancestry: Home DNA Test Kit.” CRI Genetics™ | DNA Testing For Ancestry | Home DNA Test Kit, www.crigenetics.com/index-sep17-ctr?utm_term=cri+genetics.
  7. Team, Family Health. “How Accurate Are DNA Self-Testing Kits?” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 21 Aug. 2020, health.clevelandclinic.org/how-accurate-are-dna-self-testing-kits/.

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