Find out what you can learn from a DNA test with our Helix guide and how it stacks up to 23andMe, AncestryDNA and other major competitors.
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With more DNA tests available, it makes it easy for you to see how your genes relate to your ancestors and what your ancestry means. You can pick and choose from multiple tests based on what you want to find and how much you can afford.
All of the optional tests cost extra and can add quite a bit to your costs. It also lacks the large database that other sites have and is currently only available in the United States.
Helix DNA is a newer DNA testing service that includes free options and extra testing for an additional fee. You get multiple wellness and ancestry tests for free once you buy and register your kit.
Taking a DNA test is something that you might think about doing but put off because you think it will take too much time or money. Some of the top testing companies in the world now let you submit a sample from the comfort of your living room or bedroom and have results sent to your email address in eight weeks or less. Those results can help you see if your ancestors came from Africa, Europe or any other continent and which regions connect to your genes. Two of the top names in this industry are 23andMe and AncestryDNA, but they are far from the only options on the market. Helix is just one of the newer competitors that you can use.
Our Helix DNA guide goes over the pros and cons of this service, the cost and what you’ll learn. The minds behind this company claim that they wanted to create accessible testing that anyone could use. This is more than just another DNA test though because it also uses your genes to determine how you can lead a healthier life and what changes you need to make. While Helix DNA isn’t the right test for those with ancestry questions, it’s a good choice for those looking for an alternative to 23andMe health testing.
Before you can take the Helix DNA test, you need to order your testing kit online. Though you’ll want to choose the ancestry test, you can add other options to your package to get information on health and fitness or family and nutrition. It typically takes a full week to get your kit in the mail. The kit includes packaging designed to secure the same during transport and to stop outside factors from contaminating it. While you’re on the website, you should sign up for an account with your primary email address. Once Helix gathers your results, it will contact you through that email address. You can then go online and view your DNA info.
Inside the package is both a funnel and a saliva sample container. If you have any questions about how the process works, you can consult the instructions that came in the package or visit the official website. The funnel attaches to the top of the container and lets you spit into the tube and make sure that each drop falls inside. With other companies, you risk the saliva spilling out over the sides or accidentally spitting on yourself. The kit comes with a shipping label that lets you send it to the Helix lab without paying extra.
Helix DNA is a unique DNA test that is a little different from the services offered by MyHeritage and other companies. This site offers health and wellness testing that can help you get in shape and finally lose those last few pounds. With all the different options that you can add to any package, you can see if you have genetic markers associated with cardiovascular disease and if your genes can affect how quickly you lose weight. Some of the people who would benefit from Helix DNA include those who:
Unlike other tests that primarily focus on ancestry testing, Helix DNA gives you the option of adding this type of testing to your package. Each option that you add will cost extra and add to your total cost. One option is Gene 2.0 from National Geographic. This adds $99.95 to your cost and allows you to view the migration patterns of your ancestors and see the general makeup of your chromosomes. Another option comes from Insitome. Called Neanderthal, it adds $109.99 to your cost. With this test, you can view a complete list of the traits that you have and which traits came from the Neanderthals in your family line. This may include the color of your skin, your cognition and how well you can develop muscles.
Insitome offers two other ancestry tests that you can add to your Helix test, both of which cost $199.99 apiece. With the Regional Ancestry test, you can see the regions where your family came from in terms of clusters or groups that you can see on a map. It also shows you how those groups moved to other regions at different points. The Metabolism test is a fun option that you may want to add. It essentially tells you whether your family descended from hunters or farmers and how that distinction affects you today. You can see how well your body processes fat and whether you can process dairy products based on your ancestors.
With Helix DNA, you can add family testing to your results too. The most expensive option is Carrier Check by SEMA4, which adds $279 to your cost. If you have kids or plan on having children in the future, you may want to take this test. There are genes and chromosomes that you can pass down to your biological children that may increase their risks of developing certain conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Carrier Check acts as a type of genetic screening that does not require a trip to an expensive genetic counselor. It determines whether you have the genes connected to 67 different conditions that your children can inherit.
Another test is Breast Milk DHA+, which Helix offers through EverlyWell for an additional $169 fee. DHA is a type of acid and an omega-3 fat that is similar to the compound found in salmon and other foods. It can improve your eyesight, make your heart function better and reduce your risks of suffering from specific conditions. With the Breast Milk DHA+ test, you can see the amount of DNA in your breast milk. It also gives you an idea of how much DNA you’ll pass on to your children through breastfeeding.
You can hit the gym daily and still have a little bit of a muffin top peeking out over your genes. Many people do not realize that their genes relate to their ancestors, which is why Helix DNA offers fitness testing such as EnduranceDNA designed by Carmichael Training Systems. For an extra $179.99, you can get insights that determine why some workouts are better for you than others and what you should do when exercising. This test offers helpful information that can help you decide how to train, what types of foods to eat and reduce your risk of injury. Other options include:
23andMe made history as the first home DNA testing service that included health and wellness information. Thanks to Helix, you can now go beyond what you would get from 23andMe. This test includes two options for finding health data. The first is the Inherited Cholesterol Test created by Admera Health. For $204,99, the laboratory will test your DNA and determine if you have an inherited risk of suffering from high cholesterol. Those with high cholesterol levels are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular diseases and experience heart attacks later. This is a good test for those who don’t know or aren’t certain about their family’s medical history.
Admera Health also offers an Inherited Diabetes Test for $229.99. Diabetes is a condition that affects millions of people. Type 2 refers to those diagnosed later in life and is often caused by a sedentary lifestyle and being obese or overweight. Those diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin. Though most are diagnosed at a young age, you can develop diabetes later in life. Admera Health designed the Inherited Diabetes Test to look for genetic markers that indicate you have a risk of developing a unique type of diabetes that you inherit from a parent. The results can help you determine the best course of treatment.
Another advantage of choosing Helix DNA is that you can add nutrition testing to your complete package. The foods that you eat can determine why you feel tired in the middle of the day or why you can’t lose those 10 last pounds. One of the tests that Helix DNA offers is Metabolism+, which comes from EverlyWell and costs $229. Designed to look at your hormone levels and how those levels relate to your metabolism, it gives you an idea of why you have a fast or slow metabolism. It also considers your ancestors and how the genes you obtained from them give you more or less energy and determine how much you weigh. Other options include:
A common issue brought up by customers today concerns their overall privacy. When you sign up for other DNA tests, you sign an electronic record that states the company can sell or share your information with others. They can use your genetic data to help pharmaceutical companies research diseases and help law enforcement tracking suspected criminals. Helix DNA is upfront about what data they collect, which includes:
It also gathers information about your genes, which come from your sample. Helix DNA will also keep track of the data that you share as a new member, including your:
Helix DNA can also collect any self-reported information that you shared such as data about your family history of diseases and your eye color, hair color and other physical characteristics.
One of the top reasons to choose Helix DNA is that it does not share your data with any third-party sites or companies. Any data that is unique to you will remain hidden on the site. It also agrees not to lease or sell that data to anyone else. It’s worth keeping an eye on this section of the site in the future as the policy can always change, especially since Helix DNA is so new.
Though Helix DNA charges for many of its tests, it offers three free tests that come with every kit ordered. The first is Helix Ancestry, which provides similar results to those you would find with other tests. With your results, you can see if you share genes with 26 regional and ethnic groups around the world. It also shows you if you have traits in common with those groups and whether any of the traits you have are connected to those specific groups.
Helix Wellness also comes standard with all tests. It gives you similar information to the wellness information that 23andMe offers. This test shows you how your genes play a role in your overall wellness and health. You can learn more about your BMI and why you have a low or high BMI because of your ancestors. The test also shows how your fitness and nutrition relates to your genes.
A unique test included in the basic package is Helix Women’s Wellness, which is only available for female users. With this test, you can view 20 traits specific to women and whether you have those traits because of your genes. You might find out why you suffer from insomnia or have problems with weight gain due to this test.
As you compare Helix DNA to other testing services, you’ll likely want to consider the price. Helix DNA offers a basic ancestry test for around $80, though we did see the basic test priced as high as $99 in the past. If you want the full gamut of testing, you’ll need to add other services. Most of those tests cost $100 or more. 23andMe offers a basic ancestry test for $99 and the option to upgrade to the full health and wellness test for $199. When you pay the $199 price, you’ll get health, wellness and ancestry testing for the same amount. AncestryDNA sells its DNA testing kit for $99 and often runs sales that reduce the price even lower.
The best reason to choose Helix DNA is that it lets you add optional features from a storefront. When you visit the website and create an account, you can then order your kit and register it with your email address. The basic kit comes with Helix Ancestry, Women’s Wellness and Helix Wellness testing for the $80 price that you pay. This makes it one of the more affordable testing kits now available. Ancestry testing reveals the 26 genetic groups in the world that you share traits with and the percentage of your ancestors associated with those groups. With the wellness testing, you can see how your genetic factors compare to the nutrients that you eat, how physically fit you are and your overall weight.
Helix DNA once billed itself as a DNA App Store because you could go online and view dozens of apps that you then added to your package. Though there aren’t as many apps now available, you can still pick and choose from testing apps. If you opt for the basic test, you can go back later and add any other services in the future. Helix DNA will keep your sample stored and let you test in new ways later.
If you become a Helix DNA customer, browse the available apps listed online. You can often download an app for less than it usually costs and upload your DNA results. A good example is MyTraits Sports, which costs nearly $150 for new members and only $20 for existing customers.
The biggest issue with Helix DNA is simply the cost. While you can get ancestry testing for just $80, all the other results that it shares cost extra. One Helix reviewer purchased the test to prepare for a marathon. She spent an extra $220 on an optional test to get help training and received basic information that she already knew. The reviewer claimed that she could get the same information online for free and that it had nothing to do with her genetics. Another unfavorable assessment that we found warned users about buying from the website because it went through so many changes in the recent past that they worried the site wouldn’t exist in the future.
Another issue with Helix DNA is that it isn’t as strong as some of the other available ancestry tests. With more than 12 million people in the databases that 23andMe and AncestryDNA have, you can find thousands of cousins and distant relatives with a sample submitted to one of those sites. Helix DNA has a much smaller database and provides less ancestry data than those sites do. Unless you plan on adding multiple health and fitness tests, you may want to choose a different company.
Seeing your doctor annually for a check-up is something that everyone should do. As millions of people in the United States alone lack health insurance, seeing a doctor isn’t as easy as you might think. With DNA tests designed for health screening, you can find some important information that you can take to a doctor or a genetic counselor. Genetic counselors can help you learn about your risks of suffering from the same diseases that your ancestors did based on your genes. They can often use Helix DNA and similar tests to get an idea of your genetic markup.
While you might think that Helix DNA is a scam because you need to see a doctor for health testing, this test does offer quite a bit of information about your overall health and wellness. You can get even more out of the test when you add any of the optional tests to your package, including those designed for people who want to run marathons and those who need help losing weight. Due to its small database, lack of ethnic regions and limited ancestry data, Helix DNA is better for those who want health, nutrition and wellness information than those hoping to trace their ancestors.