Home Health news ‘I tried an at-home DNA health check and the results were amazing’

‘I tried an at-home DNA health check and the results were amazing’

by Editor

DNA test

Reporter Fiona tried the Evergreen Life DNA test (Image: Fiona Callingham)

Growing up it’s not uncommon for various family members to pick out certain traits you have, whether physical or personality based, and comment on how you “take after” a relative. Some might be obvious, like hair or eye colour while others can appear more far-fetched.

Although this may just seem like a bit of fun there’s often no way of ever knowing how much truth there is in this. And that’s what I always thought, until I was offered the chance to try an at-home DNA testing kit.

The kit, provided by Evergreen Life, promised “actionable insights” into five key health areas, with “fast” results. It sounded pretty straightforward.

And it was – after being posted one of these kits to my house all that was required was a sample of my saliva deposited into a tube. I packed this up into the box it came in and sent it back in the post using a label provided.

I also needed to register my kit with the Evergreen Life app to make sure I’d get my results via my mobile phone once they were ready. And that was all it took on my end.

Stephen Critchlow

Founder of Evergreen Life Stephen Critchlow (Image: Evergreen Life)

Meanwhile my sample was shipped off to a certified laboratory where an analysis of the DNA was conducted. Around four weeks later I received an email and a notification on the app to say the results were back.

With a little trepidation, mixed with curiosity, I opened the app to see what there was to learn about myself. The results are broken down into five categories: metabolism, fitness, diet, skincare and, interestingly, happiness. Within the app you can then click on to each category to find out what specific DNA markers you have.

This is where it gets really interesting. Some of the markers I found were almost expected – but others less so. For example, under the diet section I was informed I had an increased risk of deficiency for almost every vitamin, including vitamin C, D, E and B12.

The latter was known to me as I was once diagnosed with a serious vitamin B12 deficiency years ago, requiring injections to get me back to full health.

DNA test

The Evergreen Life test breaks down your DNA results, explaining them on the app (Image: Evergreen Life)

Other fascinating insights this section can provide includes whether you have a tendency to overeat, a lactose intolerance, a preference for sweet or salty foods and if you handle alcohol well – it turns out, I do not.

But these tendencies are, as the name suggests, just tendencies. I spoke to the founder of Evergreen Life, Stephen Critchlow, who clarified: “Although these are tendencies or traits, it doesn’t mean you actually have that problem.”

The idea behind the test was to allow people to see what they could be at risk of healthwise, meaning they can take positive steps to prevent or reduce the problem.

He said: “We have designed the test to make sure that you find out about tendencies or traits where you can change your diet and lifestyle to steer you away from undesirable outcomes they may give you. All of them can be influenced by changing your lifestyle since your DNA plus your lifestyle equals your outcome.

“It’s an eye opener. You might think, ‘Well it’s just me’ – and it is you but there are things you can do.”

Acute pain in a knee joint, close-up. Color image, isolated on a pastel background. Pain area of red color

I had recently been suffering knee pain. The results showed I could be prone to injury (Image: Getty)

The vitamin deficiencies are a good example of this – if your results show you have a tendency to be deficient you can make sure you take supplements or change your diet.

But something I was not expecting from the test came under the happiness section. More specifically, apparently I have a DNA marker that makes me “likely to be less optimistic”.

Firstly I did not realise this was something that your DNA could predict – a sentiment shared by Stephen.

He told me: “Even when we started to do this, I never realised that you could have a tendency for something like optimism from your DNA. It’s amazing.”

But what made this stand out to me was the fact it is something that has been noted as a family trait by some relatives, who mainly claim it is something that runs in the men in my family. Turns out it affects me too!

Another definite trait of mine picked up by the test was the tendency to be a “night owl” – again something I did not realise would be in my DNA.

In terms of other actionable results I could use came under the fitness section and showed I am at “increased risk of joint injuries” and “increased inflammation”.

When speaking to Stephen he advised that maybe I need to take some care when it comes to exercise and allowing decent recovery time between workouts – a problem I have been experiencing recently especially with my knees.

He believes tests like these could help people stay healthier for longer, as well as lessening pressures on the NHS. “If you think about the cost of your knees to the NHS if you didn’t look after them,” Stephen, a former pharmacist, said.

“These are some really simple changes. Imagine if every single person did that, they’d get 10 years of extra healthy years.” He has applied findings from his own DNA results to influence how he takes care of himself too.

“I feel as fit as I did when I was 20 but I also have a healthy diet and lifestyle, tailored by my DNA,” the 63-year-old added.

Currently around three million people globally are signed up to Evergreen Life. Test kits cost £69.99.

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