athletic-performance-genes

Athletigen review – Is genetics key to athletic performance?

Rating based on out Athletigen review

7 facts from out Athletigen review

  1. Location: Canada
  2. Product: DNA genotyping test and raw DNA data upload
  3. Reports: focused on optimizing athletic performance 
  4. Userbase: users include Olympians, professional athletes, and university athletic teams
  5. Data access: users can download their DNA raw data
  6. Cost: one basic free DNA report for users who upload DNA data; other test and reports cost $19.99 – $174.99
  7. Alternatives: Nebula Genomics (free reporting for data uploads, whole genome sequencing for $299), Vitragene ($49 – $289), FitnessGenes ($49 – $199)

Athletigen introduction

Athletigen is a Nova Scotia-based sports genetics company that offers genetic testing for athletes. This company was founded in 2014 by Dr. Jeremy Koenig. Dr. Koenig received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Dalhousie University. It is unclear how many users Athletigen has. However, the company has testimonials from Olympians, professional athletes, and well-known coaches. Athletigen offers its own DNA testing as well as DNA upload for users who have purchased DNA tests from other companies, such as 23andMe or Ancestry.com. Users can choose between seven different reports. The free “Fuel. Perform. Restore.” offers samples of the information from the paid reports. Read more in out Athletigen review!

Athletigen reports overview

Before we dive into Athletigen reporting, let’s briefly review Athletigen products.

Fuel. Perform. Restore. (free): This report is free and requires users to upload existing DNA AncestryDNA or 23andMe data. This report is rather short and gives you a taste of what can be found in Athletigen’s full reports.

Welcome-$19.99 (Free with purchase of Athletigen DNA Collection Kit): The Welcome report is meant to be a broad overview of the services provided in the other Athletigen reports. The report analyzes 40 genetic markers to provide insight into 19 different traits.

ALTIS Sports Performance ($79.99): This report is produced in collaboration with ALTIS, a sports performance-centered company that provides education to athletes and coaches. The ALTIS sports performance report was developed with Dan Pfaff, the former director of the United States Olympic Training Center. The report looks at 50 genetic markers and tells you about 22 traits such as response to caffeine, and muscle growth. 

Optimum Movement and Recovery ($79.99): This report is produced in collaboration with Dr. Kelly Starrett, a physical therapist and co-founder of MobilityWOD, rebranded as “The Ready State.” MobilityWOD is an acclaimed fitness website focused on helping athletes resolve pain and perform better with customized mobility routines. This report analyzes 70 genetic markers to provide insights into 25 traits such as injury risk and bone health. This report also includes over 40 hours of video content from MobilityWOD, and explains how to use training to prevent injury.

Nutrition ($69.99): The nutrition report looks at over 100 genetic markers. The report includes details on how efficiently your body absorbs different vitamins and minerals. Included are possible food sensitivities, such as lactose intolerance, which often has a genetic component. Recommendations on how to increase your nutritional intake are also included. 

Athletic ($64.99): This report contains the most information. The Athletic report analyzes over 100 genetic markers to provide insight into 40 traits. The report covers a variety of measures of athletic performance and athletic abilities. These include factors that influence muscle growth, endurance capacity, and other training influences. The report also includes recommendations to optimize your performance based on the results of the test. 

Wellness ($59.99): The Wellness report analyzes approximately 40 genetic markers to provide insight into 32 different traits. These traits include an increased risk of hearing loss, bone health, and metabolic health. Food sensitivity information is also included. This report is intended to address the customer’s overall health, not just their athletic performance.

Getting started

To get started with Athletigen, you have two options. You can buy their DNA testing kit, which costs $174.99 and includes the Welcome report. The other option is to upload DNA raw data, from 23andMe or AncestryDNA and pay only for DNA analysis.

If you purchase the Athletigen test, you’ll receive it in the mail. The DNA kit consists of a cheek swab which is used to collect a DNA sample. After collecting a sample you will ship your kit to a US-based lab. Results take 6-8 weeks to arrive after the swab is received at the lab.  

The Welcome Report is generated when your results come in. You must register your kit’s barcode using Athletigen’s website so that the results are linked to your account.

After your DNA sample has been processed, you can choose what additional reports you want to purchase. The pricing of Athletigen reports ranges from $19.99 to $79.99. The reports are available for download as a PDF after purchase.

If you want to upload existing DNA data, Athletigen provides a step-by-step guide on how to download raw DNA data files from 23andMe and AncestryDNA. Data from other DNA testing providers do not appear to be supported.

Review of Athletigen Athletic report

Let’s review the Athletigen Athletic report. Below is an example of a page in the “Athletic” report. Each page tells you about a specific health-related trait. Here is a breakdown of what is included.

  • Trait: The heading of each page describes an athletic trait, in this case, “Ligament injury.”
  • Gene: Underneath the heading, the gene or genes examined in the report are listed. In this case, a specific single nucleotide polymorphism is listed as well.
  • Outcome: This section contains several pieces of information. The main piece of information is the athletic outcome your genotype is associated with. 
    • Your Genotype: This section is not included for all traits. If it is included, it lists your determined genotype for the tested genetic variant. 
    • Scientific Confidence Grade: This is a grade for how much scientific evidence there is connecting your genotypes to the described outcome. It is unclear how this grade is calculated. References to the scientific publications are not provided
    • Percentage: This is the percentage of the population that shares your genotype.
  • Recommendation: This section includes recommendations to help you stay healthy, or improve your athletic performance, based on your genotype. These can include warm-up recommendations or nutrition advice.
  • Summary: This is a short paragraph on how the analyzed gene relates to the trait being described. This section also explains why variation in this gene may affect your health or athletic performance.
Example results from the Athletigen Athletic report.
Example results from the Athletigen Athletic report.

Review of Athletigen “Fuel. Perform. Restore.” report

Let’s also review the Athletigen intro report. This free DNA health report is 6 pages long, which is shorter than the other reports. It also has a slightly different format compared to the other Athletigen reports. 

The report is divided into three different sections: Fuel, Perform and Restore. Each section contains two test results and recommendations. Below is an example of the reports in the Fuel section.

Example of the Fuel section. The fuel section is focused on nutrition.
Example of the Fuel section. The fuel section is focused on nutrition. 

The Fuel section has a report on vitamin B12 and another report on vitamin D levels. Let’s break down the summary for vitamin B12.

  • Topic: The header for the section. This tells you what health topic the section will focus on. In this example, the focus is on Vitamin B12.
  • Genes examined: In the upper righthand corner, the report tells the names of the genes examined in this DNA health report. In this case, the listed genes influence how your body metabolizes vitamin B12. 
  • Results: This is directly underneath the topic and genes examined sections. The results tell you how your body metabolizes vitamin B12. In our example, this person takes longer to absorb vitamin B12. It is unclear what standard absorption level is being used for a baseline. Information on analyzed genetic variants and user genotype are also not provided.
  • Recommendation: This section explains why vitamin B12 is important for optimal body function. It also gives a recommendation based on your results. In our example, adding a high-quality vitamin B12 supplement is recommended due to genetic predisposition to lower vitamin B12 absorption.

On the left side of the report is a map of the world. This section relates your genetic makeup to your DNA ancestry. Specifically, where in the world your genotype frequently occurs. 

Each page of the report contains an advertisement for a full Athletigen report that would include similar information.  In this example, the “Nutrition” report is advertised. 

Review of Athletigen Privacy Policy

Third-parties are allowed access to “Aggregated Genetic and Self-Reported Information.” This is data from your genetic and self-reported information that is combined together with data of other users. Nothing that would identify you is included. Your personal information can also be used for conducting “Athletigen Research.” 

Athletigen states that “Except for de-identified and/or anonymized information as described in this section, we will never release your Genetic and/or Self-Reported Information to a third party without asking and getting explicit consent from you to do so unless we are required to by law.”

According to Athletigen’s privacy policy, self-reported information consists of medical conditions, sports information, ethnicity, and family history. Any information entered into Athletigen surveys or forms is considered self-reported data. 

If a written request is provided to the customer service team, Athletigen will close your account and delete your genetic information.  

DNA data download

Athletigen does allow users to download their raw DNA data.

Athletigen reviews

Athletigen has been featured in Sports Illustrated several times, as well as Men’s Journal and STAT. Some of the news coverage has been critical, suggesting: “there is little science to back up the claims that genetic analysis could identify if a particular athlete is…wired to have trouble recovering from tough workouts.”

Athletigen partnered with Baylor University football in 2016. There have been no news articles about Athletigen since 2018.

Even on Reddit, there are few posts talking about Athletigen within the last year. It is unclear if Athletigen is currently used by many people.

Several bloggers have written about their experience with Athletigen: Garage Gym blogger finds Athletigen lackluster.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Personalized nutrition and fitness recommendations based on your genetic profile
  • Range of price points
  • You can upload DNA raw data (from 23andMe or AncestryDNA)
  • You can download raw data if you purchase the Athletigen DNA testing kit
  • One free raw DNA report available for users who upload their raw genetic data 

Cons

  • Less reviewed than other companies with no recent reviews 
  • Have to buy different reports to receive complete results

Nebula Genomics

We finish our Athletigen review with a comparison to Nebula Genomics and other DNA testing companies.

Nebula Expand

You can upload the raw DNA files from 23andMe or AncestryDNA to discover more about your genome with the Nebula Genomics expanded report. Using statistical models, we fill in the blanks from microarray-based DNA genotyping tests. This report will give you access to hundreds of traits not explored by any other service, including Athletigen. We also provide updates based on new scientific discoveries every week. 

Whole Genome Sequencing 

Our goal is to empower our customers to have the option to go beyond genetic tests offered by companies like Atheltigen. Nebula Genomics offers the most comprehensive genetic testing. With our 30x Whole Genome Sequencing service, you have access to 100% of your DNA. 

We believe that you should have the power to explore your genome on your terms. With Nebula Genomics, our genome exploration tools provide you with a dynamic experience to explore your genome. You can examine genes of interest, identify relevant mutations, and search for genetic variants. You can even view your sequencing data from your own computer. 


Athletigen23andMeAncestryDNANebula Genomics
DNA testing methodDNA genotyping; upload of third-party DNA dataDNA genotypingDNA genotyping30x Whole Genome Sequencing 
Can third-parties access data?Yes, de-identified and aggregated Yes, aggregatedYes, anonymized Only with your permission
Weekly updates based on the latest discoveriesUnclearNoNoYes (learn more
Tools to explore dataNoLimitedLimitedYes
Ancestry ReportingNoYesYesDeep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing. 
Data accessYes (TXT or CSV files)Yes (23andMe format file)Yes (Ancestry format file)Yes (FASTQ, BAM and VCF files)
Focus on privacyNoNoNoYes
Cost$19.99 – $174.99$99, $199, or $499$99 or $149$0 – $299

Athletigen vs 23andMe vs Ancestry DNA vs Nebula Genomics

Did you like our Athletigen review? If so, please also take a look at our other reviews.

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