Twenty years ago, the human genome had not yet been fully sequenced.
Today, any person can swab their cheeks at home and within weeks they can know the secrets their individual DNA contains. Secrets like, where their ancestors came from, what relatives they have out in the world right now, and what health conditions they are predisposed to.
In fact, today the problem is not finding a company capable of interpreting your DNA, it's choosing between so many options!
We've been intrigued by one genetic testing company, in particular, Living DNA. Living DNA not only provides insight into someone's ancestry but insight into their health as well!
If you're invested in living and fulfilling and long healthy life, you'll want to learn about Living DNA.
Why Living DNA?
Living DNA is one of the worlds leading personal genomics companies with the focus of using DNA testing to help transform lives. It is a U.K.-based company that seeks to connect its customers to their DNA and all the information it has to offer. The stated aim of the company is to reconnect people to themselves and each other.
This is achieved in two ways.
First, by connecting customers to their ancestry, connecting our world by showing people everywhere they've come from. Second, they show people how to live healthier lives. Specifically, Living DNA seeks to help people avoid all of the diseases and conditions that are preventable and lifestyle-related.
How Does Living DNA Work?
Living DNA works like most other DNA and ancestry kits you may have heard of.
First, your kit arrives in the mail with information and a mouth swab. After swabbing your mouth, you send the swabs back to Living DNA (no need to pay postage, it's part of your kit).
Six to eight weeks later your results will be ready to view online!
Living DNA uses their unique DNA Constellations method to give detailed insights into a person's ancestry. Customers will learn which of 150 worldwide regions their forebears came from.
Excitingly, the company will continue to update results if or when they are able to refine regions further.
Products and Services
Living DNA offers three different kits that each uncover different types of information hidden in your genetic code. There's the full ancestry kit, the wellbeing kit, and the combined kit that offers insights into both your ancestry and your health.
Full Ancestry Kit
The full ancestry kit is $109 plus shipping. It offers customers an overview of their recent and extended ancestry. This includes sub-regional breakdowns of your ancestry (specific locations where you come from) and the option to be matched with relatives.
Results from the full ancestry kit will also continue to be refined and updated (for free) as new research is done and results improve.
The wellbeing kit is $149 plus shipping. The wellbeing test can help a person understand how their genetics and lifestyle choices influence their health. This test covers:
- Vitamin response
- Food metabolism
By utilizing the results of the wellbeing test, an individual can tailor their lifestyle to meet the needs of their body and lead a healthier, higher quality life. Say, for example, you learn that you have a lower blood vessel response. You can then change up your exercise and diet to meet the needs of your cardiovascular system.
We go into more detail about the wellbeing kit's nutrition and fitness testing below.
Wellbeing & Ancestry Kit
Want to learn about your ancestry and your body's wellbeing? For $199 plus shipping, you can get the Wellbeing and Ancestry kit. This option gives you all the same results and benefits as the two products above. The only difference? You save about $60 by buying them together.
This kit also comes in one box instead of two, which will also save you a little bit of money in shipping costs.
DNA Nutrition Testing
As part of the wellbeing kit (and wellbeing and ancestry kit) Living DNA performs nutrition and fitness testing. The nutrition testing looks at how your body processes vitamins, lactose, gluten, carbohydrates, and sugars.
This includes looking at how your body metabolizes vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin A, and Omega 3. Regarding allergies, you'll be tested for lactose intolerance and your celiac disease risk.
Finally, nutrition testing looks at how genetic variants may influence your blood glucose regulation. With this knowledge in hand, you can have better insight into the carbohydrates and sugars you should eat and when/how often you should consume them.
DNA Fitness Testing
The other piece of the wellbeing kit is its fitness testing. The DNA fitness testing looks at oxygen flow, maximum strength, recovery speed, trainability, blood vessel response, and tendon durability.
Based on the results of these tests, Living DNA makes suggestions as to what kinds of exercises can best support you and your goals.
What Is Living DNA’s Specialist Ancestry?
Living DNA has four categories of specialist ancestry where they surpass their competition. These include African ancestry, European ancestry, British ancestry, and Irish ancestry.
For those of African descent, Living DNA offers a level of detail lacking in some other ancestry DNA tests.
Africa is a vast continent with so much ethnic and cultural diversity. However, DNA test results have not always reflected this diversity. Individuals of African ancestry don't want to just know that they come from sub-Saharan Africa. They want to know and are entitled to know their specific regional breakdown.
Living DNA has five times more detail than any other African ancestry DNA test. They have broken the continent of Africa into 72 regions and provide a sub-regional breakdown.
For customers of European descent, Living DNA has recently added nine new European sub-regions. These include new sub-regions within Germany. This is in addition to all the sub-regions previously included in Living DNA's tests.
Within the British isles, Living DNA has 21 distinct geographical sub-regions. This makes some sense since Living DNA is based out of the United Kingdom. Those with British ancestry can get highly specific answers regarding where in the isles their from. For example, are you from South Central England, the South Wales border, Devon, etc.?
Obviously, the British isles include Ireland. Over 60% of Living DNA members have Irish ancestry. This means there are lots of extended families and distant relatives for a person of Irish descent can meet if they opt-in to Living DNA's Family Networks.
One of the greatest concerns many people have about using a DNA kit is their privacy. There's literally no data more personal than your DNA, literally your genetic code. How does Living DNA use your DNA? How do they keep it safe?
Living DNA says that they are committed to treating customer's data with integrity. Specifically, Living DNA:
- Aims to be transparent about how they handle information
- Doesn't sell data to a third party
- Prioritizes security
- Does not automatically opt customers into sharing their data.
- Customers can choose to anonymously share their data to assist researchers
When you search for Living DNA reviews, you will see that they are all quite positive.
Many of the reviews from more major, well-known sites are a year-old or older. This means that some of the complaints or issues from these reviews have since been resolved.
For example, a review of Living DNA from PC Magazine in September 2020 gave Living DNA a four out of five stars review. The reviewer calls Living DNA a very good product and praised its affordability, in-depth geographic reporting, and coverage of 150 worldwide regions.
The review cited their concerns with Living DNA being how slow it was (10-12 weeks) and that some features were temporarily hidden due to an update. Since this review was written, Living DNA now takes 6-8 weeks to get customers their results.
Other customers and reviewers also seem to give Living DNA kits four out of five stars.
Why We Like Living DNA
Living DNA is an affordable and professional company that offers customers rich, detailed information hidden within their genetic code. Most importantly, this information has the ability to make huge impacts on a person's health and being.
If any of this appeals to you, you may want to check out Living DNA further.