What is my likely response to alcohol and caffeine consumption? How efficiently can my body detoxify itself? Should I focus on strength training exercises or endurance activities? How long does it take my body to recover from vigorous exercise?
Did you know that a simple, at-home genetic test kit may hold the answers to these questions?
At Persevera, we insist on creating a blueprint for health and wellness that is tailored to each of our members. When it comes to at-home DNA test kits, then, we are primarily interested in whether— and how— genetic test results might help our members make better-informed decisions about their training regimen, recovery time, diet and sleep habits.
To shed some light on the matter, we purchased at-home genetic test kits offered by two different companies. This blogpost describes our year-long experience with DNAFit’s Fitness Diet Pro kit, which was originally ordered in June of 2016. In a related blogpost, we describe our experience with 23andMe’s Health + Ancestry at-home service.
Persevera founder and CEO and professional personal trainer since 1988
DNAFit analyzes genetic data from an individual’s saliva sample and generates personalized reports based on scientific standards and statistical analysis. With DNAFit’s Fitness Diet Pro kit, I received two reports: a Diet report and a Fitness report.
My Diet report included information on 1) dietary recommendations, 2) carbohydrate and saturated fat response, 3) detoxification ability, 4) lactose tolerance, 5) celiac predisposition, 6) alcohol, caffeine and salt sensitivity, and 7) anti-oxidant, omega-3, vitamin B and vitamin D needs.
My Fitness report included information on 1) power vs. endurance response, 2) sports injury resilience, 3) recovery speed and recovery nutrition needs, 4) aerobic potential, and 5) fitness genome breakdown.
Pricing and Process*
I paid a total of $404 for DNAFit’s Fitness Diet Pro test kit in June of 2016. The cost of the kit itself was $399, and the cost for Royal shipping from the United Kingdom to New York City was $5. Express shipping was alternatively available at the time starting at $47 via Federal Express International Economy.
After placing the order, I created an online account with a username and password.
Sixteen days after placing the order online, I received the test kit in New York City from the United Kingdom.
I then collected my sample. The process required me to 1) rub the inside of my cheeks for approximately one minute with a swab, 2) break the swab at a designated point, 3) insert the portion of the swab containing my sample into a tube, 4) insert a silica gel capsule into the tube with my sample, 5) seal the tube with a cap, and 6) affix a bar code to the tube as an identifier. All the required items were included in the kit that I received from DNAFit. The entire process took ten or fewer minutes, and the instructions were easy to follow. The only problem that I encountered occurred when I attempted to break the swab as per the instructions—it was tougher than I had imagined!
I next returned my kit to DNAFit in the United Kingdom via US airmail. I had to complete a customs form, and total postage was $13.50.
Eight days after sending my sample to DNAFit, I received an email indicating that my sample had been received by DNAFit’s lab for processing. The email stated that my results should be available in approximately ten business days.
Two weeks later, I received an email from DNAFit stating that my results were ready. After logging into my online account, I found that my results included a detailed Diet report and a detailed Fitness report, both of which can be downloaded as PDF files, along with an Infographic that provides a summary of my Diet and Fitness results for easy reference.
Along with viewing my results, I had the option to complete an Olympian Benchmark questionnaire and I was able to consider other services offered by DNAFit, including options to purchase, for an additional fee, 1) a daily meal planner tailored specifically to my DNAFit Diet profile, and/or 2) an Expert Consultation.
In the ensuing weeks, I received communications from DNAFit 1) requesting feedback on my DNAFit experience, and 2) offering a free consultation with a DNAFit Sports Scientist to discuss any questions that I might have related to my results.
As of the date of this blogpost, I am enrolled in DNAFit’s online course to become a DNAFit Academy Certified Trainer.
* Persevera understands that DNAFit now has a shipping location in the US to which US-based customers can return their samples, obviating the need to complete a customs form and pay for airmail shipping.
What I Liked
DNAFit’s genetic testing process was well-explained and the instructions were easy to follow. Completing all the required steps, from creating an online account to collecting my saliva sample, took very little time.
The information contained in my detailed Diet and Fitness reports was comprehensive and instructive. Not only did the reports contain my personalized results, they also provided background information on understanding genetics, definitions and explanations to help me interpret my results and notices of the limitations of applying DNA test results to diet and fitness regimens. Importantly, my reports included specific actionable recommendations based on my genetic profile.
The Infographic, which provides highlights from both my Diet and Fitness reports, is a handy quick reference tool.
Application to My Regimen
Below are some of the personalized results and recommendations that I received after DNAFit analyzed my saliva sample.
I am lactose tolerant but may have a possible celiac predisposition.
My genetic profile indicates that I have a medium to high sensitivity to carbohydrates. It is recommended that I consume no more than 6% of my daily calories through refined carbohydrates and that I aim for a daily glycemic load maximum of 70.
I have a low sensitivity to saturated fats.
While my genetic profile indicates that my vitamin B and D needs are normal, my omega-3 fatty acid needs are raised to help combat inflammation.
On the power/endurance spectrum, my genetic profile falls more in the zone of power (60%) than endurance (40%). My genetic tendency for power activities means that I may be able to optimize my training regimen by placing a priority on strength and resistance training.
My profile also indicated that I have high aerobic potential. This result indicates that I should consistently incorporate endurance activities into my training program despite having a focus on power training.
My post-exercise recovery profile indicated that I recover at a medium pace (on a scale ranging from very slow to very fast). To complement my genetic profile and aid recovery, it is recommended that I consume adequate amounts of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids in my daily diet.
My genetic profile indicated that I have a higher than average risk of a sports-related soft tissue injury, which should be taken into consideration when planning my training routine.
What to Know
DNAFit’s genetics reports are focused on diet and fitness, and do not contain information related to, for example, ancestry composition, carrier status or health risk concerns. DNAFit does, however, offer alternatives for users who wish to obtain reports that include such broader information but who also desire DNAFit’s deep-dive on nutrition and fitness. Users who have already used 23andMe’s testing service, for example, can simply create a DNAFit profile, connect with their 23andMe results, and receive their DNAFit reports instantly with no additional sample taking or lab processing required. As of the date of this blogpost, the cost charged by DNAFit to order DNAFit’s Fitness Diet Pro service by using 23andMe’s genetic results is approximately half of the cost of ordering DNAFit’s test kit from the outset. Of course, users who begin with 23andMe’s kit must also pay for 23andMe’s services. You can learn more about our experience with 23andMe’s Health + Ancestry kit by reading our related blogpost.
DNAFit readily acknowledges that an individual’s genetic profile is only one of the factors required to develop an optimal health and wellness regimen. Epigenetic factors, such as age, prior health conditions, lifestyle and environment, along with the individual’s goals, must also be taken into consideration.
Potential users may wish to review DNAFit’s ethics, data protection and privacy policies prior to using DNAFit’s services.
I contacted DNAFit’s customer service via email from time to time with questions. I found its representatives to be responsive and helpful.
Updated Pricing and Product Information
Details provided in this post are accurate as of the dates and locations stated. Information is subject to change by the manufacturer/service provider, and Persevera undertakes no responsibility to update the details of this post. Visit DNAFit's website for the manufacturer’s/service provider’s updated pricing and product information.
If you decide to use an at-home genetic testing kit to help refine your health and wellness regimen, we would love to hear about your experience! Email us your feedback.