REVIEW: Vitagene – More than Just Another DNA Testing Company

Genealogy author and educator Thomas MacEntee reviews DNA test site Vitagene and recommends checking out the various health and lifestyle reports available when you upload your 23andMe, AncestryDNA or MyHeritageDNA DNA test data.
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Vitagene Can Help Shape the Future of Your Health – Upload Your 23andMe, AncestryDNA or MyHeritage DNA data today!

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My readers and followers know that I keep saying that if 2017 was the year of DNA, 2018 will be the year of DNA and Health Issues . . . and my recent experience with the Vitagene products is helping to strengthen that point of view.

I’ve had Vitagene – as well as several other DNA testing vendors – on my radar for some time now. Why? Well I make it my business to understand the DNA and genealogy business and I’m also looking at new companies who are looking to work with genealogists and family historians.

In the past, when I’ve reviewed DNA products, I’ve focused solely on the ethnicity and ancestry aspects of personal DNA testing. But as I’ve studied the personal DNA market, I’ve come to realize that many consumers – especially Millennials and Baby Boomers – are also interested in how their DNA impacts their bodies, health and life style.

Vitagene not only provides a basic autosomal DNA test similar to AncestryDNA and other vendors, but I recently discovered that it offers some unique (and for me, very helpful) health reports. These reports are available bundled with the Vitagene DNA test kit or if you have already tested with 23andMe, AncestryDNA or MyHeritage DNA, you can upload your results and get these informative health reports.

My Vitagene Experience

I was contacted by the folks at Vitagene a few weeks ago to try out their product. I did my usual due diligence and review (looking at feedback from consumers, reviews on Amazon, and others methods I use in my market research business). Then I decided that I really didn’t need another autosomal DNA test; instead I really wanted to see how the Vitagene supplemental reports worked. In addition, since I’d already taken the 23andMe ancestry service + health test, I wanted to see how Vitagene compared to 23andMe.

For those of you who may not yet know, I’ve had a variety of health issues over the past ten years related to being overweight. One method of improving my health was to have a gastric stomach sleeve bariatric procedure performed in July 2015 (click HERE to read more about the procedure). I also know my family history of health issues including obesity, heart disease, colon cancer, and even hearing loss.

I believe that “knowledge is power” so I went ahead and uploaded my AncestryDNA raw data to Vitagene. I selected the Complete Bundle, which offers a health report for diet, fitness & supplementation, a skin report and a free 15 minute nutritional phone consultation.

The process of uploading the data and waiting for results was quick and easy. And similar to how the health reporting works at 23andMe, I filled out a questionnaire about health issues based on my personal knowledge and family history.

I was impressed with how quickly I received my results (just a few hours, but as I always say, “You mileage may vary” – but you should be notified via email in a few days that your reports are ready.) And while there were no real surprises, this is what I liked best:

  • The Skin Report was spot on (sorry for the pun) – I am currently dealing with some Eczema issues and I had no idea that I am at high risk based on my genetics. Same thing for dry skin that is so much worse in the winter months. Now I have a game plan on how to deal with these issues.
  • I really liked the Supplement Report since it took into account my nutritional needs due to my bariatric surgery (I provided this info in the questionnaire). Again, having been to see a professional nutritional counselor, the report was accurate in terms of my issues involving vitamin B12 and the need to take a mega dose of B12 under the tongue each week.
  • The Diet Report and Exercise Report calculated my current BMI (based on my questionnaire answers) and told me how many calories I need to burn each week through exercise to lose 3 pounds each week.

Note: I did not take advantage of the DNA diet coaching consultation (15 minutes free) since I’m already working with the staff at my bariatric surgeon’s office. In addition, I opted not to order my supplements through Vitagene. This is my personal preference; however, I can definitely see the convenience factor that these services provide and I understand why others would take advantage of them.

Why Vitagene? “Build healthier habits by understanding your body”

I always perform my “due diligence” when looking at a new vendor, and I wanted to make sure I was comfortable with some of the claims Vitagene was making, especially around nutrition. From the Vitagene website:

Every year, people spend hundreds of billions on over-the-counter products (e.g. vitamins, etc.), try new fad diets, and adopt new fitness crazes believing that these choices will improve their health and help them reach their goals.

But this behavior neglects one critical factor: we’re all different.

Vitagene celebrates these differences by providing the ultimate tool to discover a healthier future – the most science-driven, complete, and affordable DNA test. By learning who you are and where you came from, you can build the ultimate lifestyle by nourishing your body with tailored diet, exercise, and supplementation.

I’m a big believer in healthy living and I like the fact that Vitagene’s focus is on helping people understand DNA and nutrition. And I really appreciate the fact that they have a large team of medical professionals working with them. As stated on the Vitagene website: “Our team consists of scientists and medical experts who have developed the largest nutrition genetics database available to support your results. Vitagene’s advisory network includes multidisciplinary M.D.’s, Ph.D.’s, research scientists, and business advisors from organizations such as Netflix, UC Berkeley, Stanford, UCSF, and Carnegie Mellon. Their fields of expertise include ancestry, genomics, bioinformatic ingenuity systems, age research, genome technology, biotechnology, bariatrics, as well as functional, integrative, and naturopathic medicine. ” This includes Julie Chen, MD who I know from the SF Bay Area and her various articles on Huffington Post.

IMPORTANT: Recently, I’ve seen many books and sites claim that they can “change” your DNA through supplements and other health-related devices. I know for a fact, and any credible DNA expert will tell you, that you can’t “change” your DNA! But you can change your lifestyle based on your DNA test results and interpretation. I want to make that important distinction and that is why I appreciate what Vitagene is trying to do in helping the consumer understand their DNA results and to take action based on those results.

Conclusion

I can you tell you that I was “doubly” pleased with my experience at the Vitagene site and the resulting health reports I obtained using my AncestryDNA data. First, I believe that Vitagene’s reports re-affirmed results I had already obtained at 23andME PLUS Vitagene had reports on aspects that other vendors don’t have – such as the genetic behind some of my skin issues. Second, I love it when consumers have more options in the DNA industry. Yes many vendors are hopping on the bandwagon of DNA and especially DNA and health issues. Most people think that only 23andMe offers this service through its testing. Not only is Vitagene a great option, since 23andMe won’t allow you to upload data from other sites, Vitagene gives you the option of using AncestryDNA and MyHeritage DNA data to get health reports, and at a lower price than 23andMe.

I strongly recommend that you check out the DNA data upload products available at Vitagene HERE and consider utilizing your DNA test results not just for genealogy research, but to take control of your health.

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About Vitagene

Vitagene’s mission is to help people use their DNA to inform their life choices. In addition to enlightening them with the story of their ancestry and where their people came from, we leverage big data, machine learning, and the latest scientific research and technology to ensure that what they’re buying, taking, and doing is right for their body so that they can truly feel better, be healthier, and finally reach their goals.

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Disclosure statement: I have material connections with various vendors and organizations. To review the material connections I have in the genealogy industry, please see Disclosure Statement.

©2018, copyright Thomas MacEntee. All rights reserved.

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