What is SelfDecode?
SelfDecode is a DNA analysis company that helps people improve their health goals using genetics. It lets you upload raw DNA data tested through SelfDecode itself or other genetic testing companies. With this data, a team of health professionals use their expertise and scientific literature to find your genetic weaknesses that may contribute to health issues.
Despite being a late comer in the genetic testing market, SelfDecode is catching up rapidly to its competitors and has some very ambitious goals: “SelfDecode aspires to be the best and most comprehensive DNA analyzer on the planet, we are working toward having all the genes, reports, and features that other DNA analyzers on the market have while maintaining our scientific integrity.”
Has SelfDecode come close to this goal? This selfdecode review will help you find an answer.
How to use SelfDecode?
- Create an account and sign in. A demo tour will walk you through the app.
- Upload your genetic data from genetic testing companies such as 23andMe, FamilyTree and Ancestry, or purchase a SelfDecode DNA Kit directly.
- Provide any medical symptoms that help to target specific genetics and explore your genetic contributions for these symptoms.
- Download your DNA Wellness Reports on topics that interest you, such as inflammation, sleep, mood, and so on.
- Optimize your health based on the insights and recommendations from SelfDecode’s reports and personalized blogs.
How much does SelfDecode cost?
Since features are being released on a regular basis and new studies are published every day, all SelfDecode’s payment plans are designed for you to get updated reports on a regular basis.
- Annual subscription of $59 if you already have raw DNA data from other testing companies.
- Annual subscription of $59 + $90 (one time fee for DNA testing kit directly from SelfDecode)
- Lifetime access and test kit for $289, or just lifetime access for $199.
The main difference between the annual subscription and lifetime access plans is that you can get access to all DNA Wellness Reports with the lifetime access plan. As a subscriber, you get 1 introductory wellness report and 3 complimentary reports every year. Additional reports would cost you extra.
When you visit SelfDecode, a window will pop up for you to enter the email and get a coupon code.
What are some unique features of SelfDecode?
Next, let’s take a closer look at SelfDecode to see whether it has any unique features not offered by other sites.
High number of SNPs tested
SNPs do not represent our entire genome, but they are a huge part of what make us different from each other, hence referred to as “variants”. They also give us different likelihoods of developing certain medical conditions. Thus, all of the genetic testing companies today use SNPs to draw conclusions, be it for health or ancestry.
The number of SNPs can be a good indication of how much information you could get out of a genetic test. SelfDecode tests about 900,000 variants, which makes it very competitive compared to other big companies. To put it into perspective, 23andme tests v5: 650,000 variants, while Ancestry tests for approximately 700,000.
Personalized genetics blog
Some genetic testing companies offer a personalized genetics report, but none currently offers a personalized genetics blog. Since not every piece of health advice would work for everyone and people nowadays don’t have time to read everything on the internet, SelfDecode claims to only provide blogs relevant to your genetics. This is much like Netflix showing you only movies that you would like based on your taste. As a yearly subscriber or lifetime user, you are provided with personalized blogs on a daily basis.
Genetic wellness reports
There are also a number of wellness reports that you could download on topics such as:
- Food, nutrition, fitness
- Cardiovascular health
Currently, the website lists 11 different reports but users could expect more in the future as science advances. SelfDecode also shows you a sample report using the founder Joe Cohen’s DNA data.
The report would first summarize your risks for certain health conditions and give you recommendations in simple English. These recommendations could be in the forms of lifestyle changes or supplementation.
Afterwards, SelfDecode goes into some basic genetics to explain how they got to these conclusions and warns you other things that may affect the results. Although SelfDecode gives you actionable advice, it is important to know that nothing on the site is FDA approved and the advice is best discussed with your healthcare practitioner.
In every report, you will get a list of SNPs that are relevant in determining your risk of certain medical conditions. Of course, you can look up these SNPs in a more scientific database such as SNPedia yourself. But SelfDecode actually has a team of science experts that curate published information and summarize them for you, with references included.
This is probably the biggest difference between SelfDecode vs Promethease, as the later presents information in raw scientific language straight out of publications, without interpretations like SelfDecode. It is up to you whether you prefer down-to-earth interpretations or read papers on your own terms.
Is SelfDecode safe?
SelfDecode makes it clear that your data is safe wherever they can. In fact, they always emphasize that “SelfDecode will never sell your data like others do.” It is not clear who exactly SelfDecode is referring to, but users are reassured multiple times that there are a number of technical security practices to protect your data.
SelfDecode also states that they will honour your requests if you ever want to completely delete files from SelfDecode.
Is SelfDecode worth it?
SelfDecode has only been around for less than 4 years, but the existing features are quite promising. With additional health tracking software, reports, lab testing integrations, and advanced data analyses that SelfDecode is working on, it could become a go-to for genetic health.
But maybe it’s because SelfDecode is still relatively young, there are limited discussions on SelfDecode. Even on Reddit, a platform usually packed with user discussions for other testing sites, SelfDecode is rarely talked about. Thus, it may be wise to wait a bit longer or look around.
According to a few SelfDecode reviews on DNAtestingchoice.com, people seem to rate SelfDecode highly because of its wealth of information and down-to-earth language. However, it is difficult to judge how accurate SelfDecode really is with just a few reviews.
This could soon change, as SelfDecode is building a massive community for its users so that people can share their data with others. This way, physician or health consultants could browse your data (if you let them). SelfDecode’s founder Joe Cohen is a big fan of health coaching.
Who runs SelfDecode?
SelfDecode is founded by the same person who started SelfHacked, a biohacking website that offers genetic interpretation and health coaching.
Joe Cohen started SelfDecode because he thought the other genetic tests on the market did not offer enough genetic interpretations for people who needed easy-to-understand health coaching. Now, he is the main guy behind SelfDecode, SelfHacked, and Lab Test Analyzer. He is joined by a team of geneticists, doctors, pharmacists, biologists and specialists.
In conclusion, SelfDecode is quite an ambitious genetic service provider to keep an eye on. Currently, it offers DNA testing, interpretation and personalized health coaching but its future vision is to ultimately incorporate all available health data. When that comes, SelfDecode may offer well-rounded recommendations on improving health from a genetics perspective.