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SelfDecode Review: Everything You Need to Know

Written by Nico Golinski | Last updated:

Overview

  1. Products: DNA testing, personalized wellness reports, personalized genetics blog
  2. Cost: $97 for an annual subscription, $297 for lifetime access, $90 for a DNA test
  3. Reports: personal genetic health risks
  4. Raw data access: yes, free to download
  5. Privacy: data encryption, limited employee access, data never sold to third-parties

Pros

  • Personalized health recommendations based on your genetic risk
  • Hundreds of personalized blog posts on a wide variety of issues
  • Easy-to-understand presentation of genetic information through Wellness Reports
  • Privacy-focused
  • Ability to analyze lab tests results (coming soon)

Cons

  • No ancestry reporting (planned at the end of 2020)

About SelfDecode

SelfDecode was founded in 2015 by Joe Cohen. After improving his own health through genetics, Cohen set out to help others do the same. He started the website selfhacked.com, which publishes articles about health and biohacking, and then expanded to SelfDecode to help others improve their quality of life in the same way he did through analyzing their DNA.

Review of SelfDecode Products & Features

SelfDecode offers their users the ability to explore their genetic health risks in an accessible way. They focus on providing personalized lifestyle, diet, and supplement recommendations to help improve your quality of life.

A subscription to SelfDecode provides you with access to Wellness Reports, the personalized genetics blog, the SNP explorer, and a conditions and symptoms analyzer, among other features.

Wellness Reports aim to explain how your genes may affect you when it comes to a particular health topic, such as sleep, longevity, or mood. These reports contain easy-to-understand information about your personal genetic risk and prioritized recommendations that help you counteract that risk.

The personalized genetics blog includes hundreds of posts on a wide variety of topics. Every blog post is personalized to you, including tables that explain the variant you have of the gene(s) in question. These posts can help you gain more insight into more specific topics and how your genes relate to them.

The SNP Explorer and a list of potentially bad and/or rare genes is provided to allow you to look through your raw data, if desired. You can also type any condition or symptom into the Conditions Analyzer and see how your genes relate to it.

If you do not have a DNA file already or you would like an updated analysis, you can purchase a DNA testing kit from SelfDecode that uses a genotyping chip tailored to the database.

As a bonus, SelfDecode has merged with their sister company, LabTestAnalyzer. This will give SelfDecode subscribers the ability to get more out of their lab test results at no extra charge.

LabTestAnalyzer allows you to upload lab test results and see whether you fall within the optimal range for a particular marker. If you are outside of the optimal range, the service suggests lifestyle changes that can help you get there.

Review of SelfDecode Reports

Each SelfDecode Wellness Report covers a different topic in detail, except the Introductory report, which gives a brief overview of a number of topics.

New reports are being released regularly, but currently there are fourteen topics available: Vitamins, Inflammation, Sleep, Cardiovascular, Mood, Minerals, Cognitive, APOE, Fitness, MTHFR, COVID-19, Longevity, Thyroid, and Gut Health.

Each report begins with a summary of its analyzed traits and how your genetics predispose you to them. In the Introductory report, your vitamin levels, eating habits, fitness abilities, fat burning abilities, and cognition are summarized.

These tables provide a clear and easy way to get an overview of how your genes affect you when it comes to particular aspects of your health.

The report will then summarize SelfDecode’s top suggestions based on your personal genetic risk. For example, in the introductory report, they recommend that I consume more folate and vitamin A.

Every report explains how the science of genetics works and how it can help you. It reminds the reader that environment and lifestyle factors can change the way your genes affect your life.

This introductory report contains various sections that go into more detail than the summary, but here is the section on caffeine as an example.

For each topic, after giving a general overview of the related genetic information, the report will provide a chart showing relevant SNPs and your personal genotype and explain the impact this typically would have. Links to references for each conclusion are always available.

Here is another example for the topic of anxiety:

It is easy to see here that I am predisposed to have increased levels of anxiety because of my variant of this particular SNP, rs140701. A simplified explanation of the association between the gene and the symptom is included as well.

At the end of every report, there is a list of diet, lifestyle, and/or supplement recommendations. These are intended to help you make a change in your life based on the information gained by analyzing your DNA.

These recommendations are prioritized by their effectiveness, although they all have the potential to make a difference. SelfDecode recommends that you start with the first few recommendations as they are likely to have the most significant impact.

SelfDecode’s reports utilize a lot of well-referenced scientific information but presents it in a way that is accessible for anyone, even if they have no prior knowledge of genetics. This makes SelfDecode a great way to get a lot out of your DNA analysis because the recommendations can be implemented with relative ease by just about anyone.

Cost of SelfDecode

To use SelfDecode, you need to be subscribed. SelfDecode offers two subscription options: an annual subscription ($97 USD) or a lifetime subscription ($297 USD).

When subscribing, you can add a DNA test to either subscription for $90 or upload one file from another service for free. A second DNA test for the same subscription costs $139 and an additional file upload costs $49. There is no limit to the number of DNA files you can have with one subscription.

There is an additional shipping cost for DNA kits which varies based on your location, but return shipping costs are covered.

With an annual subscription, you are given access to one introductory Wellness Report and five other Wellness Reports. A lifetime subscription is a one-time payment that gives you unlimited access to all current and future Wellness Reports.

Both subscription types provide unlimited access to SelfDecode’s personalized genetics blog, SNP explorer, conditions analyzer, and other future features, including analyzing lab test results.

Health Recommendations from SelfDecode

One of SelfDecode’s most useful features is the recommendations they make based on your personalized genetic analysis. These recommendations are centered around diet and lifestyle changes and the introduction of natural supplements.

Each Wellness Report is concluded with a list of recommendations based on the genes that report focused on. For example, the Sleep report recommended that I get more exercise to counteract the effects of the gene that causes me to be more prone to restless leg syndrome.

These recommendations are prioritized at the end of each Wellness Report so that you can know where to start and which recommendations are most worth your time and money. SelfDecode suggests that you start with the top three recommendations from each relevant report.

The recommendations often suggest increasing your intake of a certain substance through food or supplementation, or working to develop a new habit, such as regular daily exercise.

Each recommendation is made because it beneficially interacts with the genes that are relevant to the health issue at hand, so everyone’s recommendations are personalized. All of the recommendations are based on scientific research that has demonstrated each substance or behaviour’s ability to interact positively with the relevant gene.

Review of SelfDecode Privacy & Data Security

SelfDecode advertises that they take the security and privacy of your data seriously and take multiple precautions to ensure that your data is well-protected and it is for your eyes only.

SelfDecode promises that they will never sell your data or enter into partnerships with companies that could benefit from access to your data, such as pharmaceutical companies.

The lab that processes your data does not store it alongside any of your personal information. Once the lab sends the data to SelfDecode, they destroy it, so the only copy of the information is the one uploaded to your account.

The data is always transferred in an encrypted form. It is only available in an accessible form within your account and if you choose to download your DNA file from SelfDecode’s site yourself.

SelfDecode also promises that only trusted and well-vetted employees will ever have access to your account information.

In addition, you can permanently delete your data any time you want to.

Comparisons

SelfDecode

23andMe

AncestryDNA

Personalized & holistic health recommendations

Yes

No

No

Personalized blog posts

Yes

No

No

Products

DNA testing, wellness reports, research-based personalized blog posts, health recommendationsDNA testing, health reporting, traits, ancestryDNA testing, ancestry reporting

Raw data access

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cost (USD)$97 – $389$99-$248

$59

SelfDecode Reviews

Trustpilot – 4.7 of 5 stars

Reviewers on Trustpilot have a generally positive opinion about SelfDecode. Many reviews mention how they appreciate the actionable suggestions and easy-to-understand reports provided.

Product Hunt – 4.6 of 5 stars

Reviewers on Product Hunt really appreciate that SelfDecode allows them to do something meaningful with their genetic data.

SelfDecode Review Summary: 10/10

SelfDecode is an excellent choice for those who are looking for accessible and actionable information about their personal genetic health risk.

Whether you have never had your DNA analyzed before or you feel lost about what to do with the information you have from another service, SelfDecode makes the impact your DNA has on your health easy to understand.

This is a service that is perfect for those who are health-focused. The amount of information can be overwhelming at first for some but once you get a deeper understanding of the features, SelfDecode becomes a very powerful tool for improving your health.

The personalized health recommendations are what separate SelfDecode from the rest and give it excellent value for your money. These recommendations make it simple to improve your quality of life using the new data you will receive from analyzing your DNA.

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