From committing to an earlier bedtime, taking the stairs instead of the lift, or drinking an extra glass of water a day, many of us are regularly trying new health hacks to improve our wellbeing. As technology improves, the means by which we can improve our health is constantly widening, and one increasingly popular way of doing so comes in the form of health DNA tests.

Home DNA testing has become a booming consumer industry in recent years, with more and more individuals from across the world sending off saliva swabs to learn more about themselves. DNA testing kits are so popular in fact, that the industry is forecasted to be worth just under £17 billion by 2024.

But perhaps the most significant way consumer DNA testing is enhancing our lives is in its ability to provide health-related information about ourselves, which can then inform certain life choices, such as those around our diet and fitness regimes. So, whether your birthday is coming up, you fancy treating yourself this payday, or are just generally looking at ways to improve your health, read on to find out exactly why buying a health DNA test might just be the ideal gift from you to you.

Receive a bespoke fitness plan

Ever wondered why you can’t bulk up, no matter how many hours you’ve been spending at the gym? It might well be because of your genes, and having them analysed could help you finally reach your workout goals. One of the biggest names in DNA fitness tests is DNAFit, which is the highest ranked fitness testing kit on DNA Testing Choice, the largest comparison site for home DNA tests. DNAFit stands apart from its competitors by working with dieticians to generate a bespoke fitness plan based on its analysis of customer DNA samples.

This can help you learn about your body’s physical capabilities, such as how efficiently you recover from exercise, how your body copes with endurance training, and your resilience to injury. Whilst the science behind testing kits has been criticised by some, they have been championed by both the public and high profile athletes. Sportspeople, including footballer Rio Ferdinand, have credited DNAFit with improving their fitness regimes.

Learn more about your nutritional requirements

The recent advances in what home DNA testing can reveal mean that companies can now offer unparalleled insight into your body’s nutritional requirements. Take Vitagene, whose Health Report DNA testing kit can run your DNA through a state-of-the-art algorithm in order to decipher your nutritional needs. By comparing genetic data with an extensive database containing the most up-to-date research on topics including genomics and nutrition, Vitagene maps your unique health traits to create diet, nutrition, and supplementation guidelines that meet your exact health requirements.

For instance, you can learn whether you need a greater intake of foods containing vitamin C, antioxidants, or monounsaturated fats, as well as your genetic tolerance to things like carbs, gluten, or saturated fats. All of this information is then used to create bespoke diet plans in line with your genetic makeup. Although—just like the fitness testing kits—the credibility of these diet testing kits has also been questioned in some quarters, they have proven immensely popular.

Find out if you’re predisposed to certain illnesses

Health DNA tests can also tell you whether you’re predisposed to certain health conditions. Should the

test come back positive, you can then take preventative measures to lessen the effects. For instance, DNA tests from Helix can inform you whether you have the defective gene that causes familial hypercholesterolemia. This causes high levels of the “bad” cholesterol and can lead to heart disease later in life. Finding this out early means you can take steps to reduce your saturated fat intake, exercise more regularly, and possibly take medication to help lower your cholesterol levels.

Once you have taken a DNA test, the vast amount of raw data generated can be further analysed, helping you uncover health problems. Genetic Genie’s methylation gene analysis tool looks at your raw data to tell you whether or not you have a functional methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) enzyme—this helps produce neurotransmitters which are integral to brain function. It also detects S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a compound that regulates hundreds of other enzymes in the body. A mutated MTHFR enzyme can cause low levels of neurotransmitters, SAMe, and other vitamins, which can make you predisposed to conditions like depression, infertility, and forms of cancer. It can also cause high homocysteine—a common amino acid in your blood—levels, which can lead to heart disease. Discovering this also allows preventative measures to be taken—for example, individuals can quit smoking or exercise more to reduce homocysteine levels.

If you’re looking to make some health adjustments, then a health DNA test kit is the perfect way to identify the exact changes your body needs. As well as potentially enabling you to fend off serious illnesses, it can really pay to treat yourself to a health DNA testing kit this year.

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