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LiveWello Review: the ultimate genetic toolbox to managing your health

Did you know that your DNA holds an infinite amount of information about your health? Learn how LiveWello can reveal these secrets.

What is it LiveWello?

LiveWello is a toolbox that helps you and your doctors better manage your health. It does so by analysing the 3 billion base pairs in your genome that tell powerful stories.

There are millions of scientific findings linking genetic variations and risks for diseases. LiveWello consults these findings from multiple genetic reference databases and applies them to your DNA. This way, you can get personalized results on your genetic predispositions to developing certain diseases. You can then share the results with your health practitioners and family for better diagnoses, and even preventative interventions. 

What does LiveWello offer?

LiveWello tries to help people with many practical tools that help organize every piece of information about their health. It is quite different than other third-party raw DNA interpretation sites that just spit out very technical results. 

LiveWello’s “What does it do” page lists 6 services that seem quite basic, but you actually get a whole lot under the Genetic variance report category (if you pay).

  • Personal health record: A place for you to note down your health conditions and share with your family and doctors
  • Genetic variance report: Reports based on your genetic data after analyzing gene-health association studies, interpreted into plain language by physicians
  • Document library: A digital, searchable repository for your health documents
  • Emergency health: A place for medical records that would be helpful in an emergency 
  • Surveys: Assessment tools that could generate health reports to assist your practitioners or research programs
  • Health villages: A way to build your community in which people can share your health information

Among them, the genetic and health reports are definitely the core. This is where you can get insights into your genetic predispositions and potentially make a change to your lifestyle. 

These insights are based on over 600,000 genetic variants (known as SNPs), thousands of published papers and experts’ interpretations. We’ll take a closer look at these reports later in the review.

How much does LiveWello cost?

To access the genetic reports, LiveWello gives you two options:

One-time payment of $19.95 for LiveWello Gene App services, including

  • SNP Sandbox
  • GWAS tools
  • Gene library
  • Some (28) of the health reports 

Health report subscription is an upgrade available at $5.95 per profile monthly or $60.00 per profile yearly

  • Everything from the LiveWello App
  • Access to all health reports (all 132), curated and updated weekly by health professionals 

How to use LiveWello?

Step 1: Get a genetic testing from one of the following commercial companies and download your raw DNA 

  • 23andMe
  • Ancestry.com
  • Family Tree DNA
  • Gene By Gene

Step 2: Sign up to the website by entering your username, email and a password.

Step 3: Use your LiveWello login to access the dashboard and upload raw DNA. 

Step 4: To access gene reports, you need to purchase the Gene App with a $19.95 one-off payment. You can also add on LiveWello subscription at any time.

For a step-by-step guide on how to add DNA to LiveWello, check out this blog

After the signup process, you will also receive a series of emails containing links to resources. These include useful tips on how to use LiveWello, interpret results, and where you can get help.  

Peek at a LiveWello sample report 

Health Reports

This is where the core value of LiveWello is at. Health reports are results of your genome-health associations, written in simple language.

Although the terms of service made it clear that the information is not medical advice, these health reports are usually taken to doctors for medical advice. You can see below a sample report based on a gene called COMT. The report explains: 

  • The function of the gene
  • Relevant questions for your doctors
  • Your own version for this gene and what it means
  • Further research articles relating to this gene

There are a total 132 health reports like this, but 104 of them are subscription only.

Variance Reports

While the health reports put results in plain language, the Livewello gene variance reports are more technical and detailed. They provide more information about your specific variants at various SNPs. The version of the SNP you have is identified with a rsID. For example, there are many clotting-related SNPs and each SNP has multiple variants. Your variant version is one of them. 

To learn more about your variant, you can click on the rsID and see more information such as:

  • The typical allele and your variant allele
  • Percentage of people who have the variant version like you
  • Health implications
  • Links to research on this variant

As you can see, not having the SNP version that the majority of the population has doesn’t mean it is bad. In this case, our example variant is linked to a reduced risk of lipid metabolism problems.

Customize reports to your liking

LiveWello is known for being thoughtful for its users. You don’t just get static reports, but many opportunities to customize your reports to your liking!

Compare reports

You can compare up to 5 variance reports. This is a great tool for comparing genetics among your family

The SNP Sandbox

This tool lets you create custom gene variance reports, for example, only genes related to allergy. 

Genome wide studies (GWAS)

You can search for particular health conditions and genetic variants that are most frequently associated with them.

Gene library

This is a huge catalogue of gene templates contributed by other LiveWello users, using SNP Sandbox and GWAS tools. You can use them to create custom gene variance reports quickly.

What do people say about LiveWello?

There are mixed LiveWello reviews from users. Most people like how it appears more friendly than other sites, but complains about the price and subscription model.

Pros

  • Clear layout, visually pleasing interface
  • Wide range of features that goes beyond just Livewello DNA analysis
  • A strong sense of community with built in LiveWello discussion board
  • Plenty of references that accompanied the results, links to studies, and further resources
  • Numerous ways to customise your experience and visualise your results

Cons

  • Not cheap compared to other similar service providers like Promethease ($5)
  • Focused on health, no results on ancestry
  • 1 payment for every profile/dataset, not every account 
  • Most health reports are only available for subscription users
  • Some technical terms are not well explained
  • Difficult to navigate the site in the beginning (could be due to the broad range of features)

This thread on Reddit is helpful if you are looking to compare between different third-party raw DNA analysis sites:

  • LiveWello vs 23andme 
  • LiveWello vs promethease
  • LiveWello vs genetic genie
  • LiveWello vs xcode

Is LiveWello safe?

According to the privacy policy, your data will not be sold, rented or shared without permission. No privacy issues have been reported by other LiveWello users, so it seems safe.

Who runs LiveWello?

LiveWello was founded by a couple who wanted a better care for their autistic son. The mum was also one of the 20 youngest power women in Africa 2012. This is why LiveWello focuses on building a community.

Conclusion 

You can definitely tell that LiveWello has been around for a while. There are a wide range of features, as well as many users and health professionals on board. LiveWello is a one stop shop for exploring your genetic data, keeping your documents organized and connecting with other health professionals. The community-building focus creates a welcoming sense that makes the platform less intimidating than other hardcore DNA analysis sites. However, the one-off price that you pay is relatively high compared to other sites and does not offer a whole lot. To get all of the updated health reports, you will have to pay an on-going subscription fee. In addition, if you are looking to find relatives or an ethnicity estimate through your DNA, LiveWello is not the right place.