Everlywell review

Everlywell review – At-home lab testing made simple?

Rating based on our Everlywell review

7 Facts from our Everlywell review

  1. Everlywell location: Austin, TX
  2. Products: 30 at-home testing kits for a variety of health conditions
  3. Ordering: you can order online at everlywell.com or amazon.com; also available at some retail stores like Target 
  4. Reports: provide insights into biomarker levels associated with health conditions, may be used for health-related purposes in consultation with medical professionals
  5. Everlywell Cost: $49-$399
  6. Alternative products: LetsGetChecked (tests start at $99)
  7. Complementary products: Nebula Genomics (whole genome sequencing for $299)

Introduction

This is a review of Everlywell (Everly Well), a Texas-based at-home lab testing company founded in 2015 by CEO Julia Cheek. The company became famous after it was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank and receiving an investment from Lori Greiner. Cheek says she was inspired to start the company when she encountered high costs and long waiting times for routine lab tests. 

Everlywell offers 30 at-home testing kits that use blood, saliva, urine, or a vaginal swab to test for certain health conditions. Some of their most popular products include tests for thyroid function, metabolism factors, and chronic inflammation, and vitamin D deficiency. Cheek reports that the direct-to-consumer success of 23andMe has had a big influence on her business. Like the DNA site, Cheek wants to expand her product to be widely available in retail stores.

Each Everlywell test includes instructions and sample collection tools. The samples are processed in a CLIA-certified lab and review by a board-certified physician is included in the price. Results are typically available within 5 business days and can be accessed through a secure platform from any device. 

Are you interested in supplementing your Everlywell results with a DNA test? Nebula Genomics offers Whole Genome Sequencing that decodes 100% of your DNA and will help you make sense of your EverlyWell results! We also provide new reports every week that are based on the latest scientific discoveries. Click here to learn more!

Review of Everlywell’s Science

Everlywell uses biomarkers to analyze health conditions. Biomarkers are organic substances, such as metabolites or hormones that can inform a patient’s health. While DNA can be classified as a biomarker, the company does not use genetic biomarkers in its tests. The 30 different testing kits analyze different biomarkers related to the health characteristic being tested. 

Everlywell offers a large variety of tests.
Everlywell offers a large variety of tests. 

However, in 2017 Everlywell did enter the genetic testing space by partnering with the personal genomics company Helix. Together with Helix they offered 3 new products that analyze both biomarkers and DNA:

  • Food Sensitivity+
  • Metabolism+
  • Breast Milk DHA+

The goal was to provide customers with a comprehensive view of their health. 

When a customer purchased one of these products, they would receive two kits. The first was a DNA testing kit from Helix and the second a blood sample collecting kit from Everlywell. 

However, as of May 2020, the collaboration with Helix appears to have ended. This means that customers looking for personalized health information from Everlywell will have to rely on biomarker results only.

Taking an Everlywell Test

Before reviewing Everlywell tests, let’s take a look at how to get started.

Customers can purchase an Everlywell testing kit online. Before ordering, customers are given the opportunity to educate themselves about symptoms associated with various conditions (e.g. bloating and joint pain) to be able to choose the most appropriate test. Some tests also require the customer to take a medication history questionnaire. 

A testing kit that includes collection materials and instructions is mailed to their home. Customers register their kit at everlywell.com using the provided barcode and then collect the required sample following the instructions (blood, saliva, urine, or a vaginal swab), Finally, the sample is returned to Everlywell using with the provided prepaid shipping label. 

EverlyWell food sensitivity test.
EverlyWell reactive food sensitivity test.

Detailed instructions on how to collect samples for different kinds of tests are provided with each kit. Additionally, video tutorials are publicly available on YouTube. Tests results are produced in a CLIA-certified lab (many Everlywell labs are also CAP-accredited). 

An independent physician within the customer’s state reviews the test results. The company provides a personalized report of each tested biomarker within days through its secure platform.

Overview of Everlywell Test

Everlywell offers 30 different tests to assess various health characteristics based on biomarkers. 

General Wellness

TestMeasuresCollection MethodPrice
Food Sensitivity IgG reactivity to 96 foodsFinger prick blood$159
Food Sensitivity Comprehensive IgG reactivity to 203 foodsFinger prick blood$259
HbA1c Hemoglobin sugar levelsFinger prick blood$49
Heart HealthTotal cholesterol, HDL, Calculated LDL, Triglycerides, hs-CRP, and HbA1cFinger prick blood$79
Cholesterol and LipidsTotal cholesterol, HDL, Calculated LDL, and TriglyceridesFinger prick blood$49
Folic AcidFolate (Vitamin B9/Folic acid)Finger prick blood$49
Lyme DiseaseIgG and IgM reactivity to Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia burgdorferiFinger prick blood$109
Sleep and StressCritical sleep and stress hormonesUrine$249
Indoor & Outdoor Allergy tests14 trees, 9 weeds, 4 molds, 2 dust mites, 2 pet allergens, 2 pestsFinger prick blood$199
B VitaminsVitamin B6, B9, and B12 levelsFinger prick blood$89
Heavy MetalsLevels of several environmental heavy metals and mineralsUrine$199

Men’s Health

TestMeasuresCollection MethodPrice
Testosterone Levels of free testosterone Saliva sample$59
Men’s healthLevels of key male hormonesFinger prick blood, saliva$179

Women’s Health

TestMeasuresCollection MethodPrice
Women’s Fertility Hormones regulating ovarian functionFinger prick blood, saliva$159
PostmenopauseEstradiol and progesteroneFinger prick blood$129
PerimenopauseHormones that change with perimenopauseFinger prick blood$129
Ovarian ReserveDay 3 FSH levelFinger prick blood$79
HPV – Female14 high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) genotypesVaginal swab$89
Women’s HealthLevels of key female hormonesFinger prick blood, saliva$399

Energy + Weight

TestMeasuresCollection MethodPrice
Vitamin D and Inflammation 25-OH D and hsCRPFinger prick blood$99
MetabolismHormones that can influence your metabolismFinger prick blood, saliva$89
Vitamin D25-OH DFinger prick blood$79
ThyroidThyroid levelsFinger prick blood$159

Sexual Health

TestMeasuresCollection MethodPrice
Chlamydia and gonorrhea Presence of chlamydia or gonorrhea infectionUrine$49
Hepatitis CExposure to hepatitis C virusFinger prick blood$49
HIVExposure to HIV virusFinger prick blood$49
SyphilisExposure to syphilis bacteriaFinger prick blood$49
TrichomoniasisPresence of trichomoniasisUrine$49
STD – femaleChlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, herpes type 2, HIV, syphilis & trichomoniasisFinger prick blood, vaginal swab$199
STD – maleChlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis C, herpes type 2, HIV, syphilis & trichomoniasisFinger prick blood, urine$199

Review of Everlywell Tests

Overview 

The Everlywell reports describe levels of specific biomarkers that were measured in the customer’s sample and are related to the various health characteristic. The reports include information on how the test results may affect the customer’s health. They also provide insights on how to improve or maintain healthy biomarker levels and provide links to related medical research.

Review of Everlywell food sensitivity test

The Everlywell home food sensitivity test is a comprehensive test that measures the body’s Immunoglobulin G (IgG) immune response to 96 types of foods that are commonly part of western diets. Sensitivity to each food (food intolerance) is categorized as follows: 

  • High Reactivity level (Class 3)
  • Moderate Reactivity level (Class 2)
  • Mild Reactivity level (Class 1)
  • Low Reactivity level (Class 0; normal)

The higher the reactivity, the more sensitive Everlywell claims the body reacts to that food. The company recommends that customers may want to eliminate high sensitivity foods from their diet.

It should be noted that the Everlywell food sensitivity test cannot detect lactose intolerance. This can be determined with a DNA test, such as the Whole Genome Sequencing that we offer at Nebula Genomics.

Additionally, customers should be aware of the differences between food allergies and food sensitivities. Everlywell tests for food sensitivities, not allergies. Food sensitivities are normally characterized by a slow onset of symptoms that are generally mild. In contrast, symptoms of food allergies usually occur immediately after exposure and can very severe and sometimes even life-threatening. The reactions are also mediated by different antibodies: IgG for food sensitivities and IgE for food allergies.

This customer has high IGG reactivity levels to 6 foods.
This customer has high IGG reactivity levels to 6 foods.

Review of Everlywell Heart Health test

Another popular Everlywell test is the Heart Health test. This test analyzes blood biomarkers for total cholesterol, HDL, calculated LDL, triglycerides, hs-CRP, and HbA1c. Customers interested in heart health and preventing heart disease are the target population for this product. This includes individuals who take cholesterol medication, have a family history of high cholesterol or heart disease, have a personal or family history of type 2 Diabetes. 

Results include the numerical result for each biomarker measured and rates each result on various risk scales.

  • Total Cholesterol (lipids associated with heart health): Normal or elevated
  • Calculated LDL (lipids associated with heart health): Normal or elevated
  • HDL (lipids associated with heart health): Low, normal, or elevated
  • Triglycerides (lipids associated with heart health): Normal or elevated
  • hs-CRP (a marker that may indicate chronic low-grade inflammatory response): Normal or elevated
  • HbA1c (a measure of glucose levels): Optimal, acceptable, or elevated
Cholesterol levels in the results of the Heart Health test.
Cholesterol levels in the results of the Heart Health test.

Review of Everlywell COVID-19 test

In May 2020, Everlywell announced to have received an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This authorization was for a COVID-19 test for the collection of samples at home, currently available for $109. This price covers products and services such as overnight shipping, lab processing fees, physician review and diagnosis, and kit components. Everlywell claims to not making any profits from selling COVID-19 tests. 

To take the test, a customer completes an online screening, collects their sample via a nasal swab, and receives a digital report within 24-48 hours. A telehealth consultation is available free of charge once the results are received. The test analyzes the presence or absence of RNA from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit.
Everlywell COVID-19 Test Home Collection Kit.

Note the Everlywell tests are not a substitute for seeking professional medical advice. The tests are not intended to diagnose or to treat disease but to only provide guidance when you speak with your physician. Once the report is produced, the company recommends that customers consult their physician for diagnosis or treatment. 

You can learn more about at-home coronavirus tests in our review!

Payments and Insurance

Everlywell tests cost between $49 and $399. It’s important to note that the tests are usually not covered by insurance. Everlywell claims that their at-home lab tests are comparable or lower in price than in-person lab tests.

However, due to the nature of some of their tests, there is a chance that some insurance policies may cover selected tests. The company recommends its customers to contact their insurance providers if they purchase one of these tests: 

  • Cholesterol & Lipids
  • Inflammation & Vitamin D
  • Comprehensive Thyroid tests

Since Everlywell tests are authorized by physicians, customers can submit their purchase receipts for reimbursement through HSA/FSA benefits. 

Review of Everlywell Privacy Policy

Everlywell does not typically share or sell customer data or results. Their privacy policy does indicate that they may share personal information with third-parties in certain circumstances. The company also allows service providers to access personal information in order to provide the service requested by the customer.

For instance, an independent network of physicians will access customer results for the purpose of reviewing them. Data is collected and shared only on HIPAA-compliant servers. Customer records are stored permanently by Everlywell unless the customer requests to delete them.

Some states legally require companies like Everlywell to report certain diagnoses to state health departments. These mandatory reporting guidelines apply to positive results from HIV and other sexually transmitted tests. The data is collected and used for public health purposes such as tracking of new infections, but generally remains private. That is, family members and employers do not have access to it.  

Everlywell in the News

Founder Julia Cheek pitched Everlywell to ABC’s Shark Tank in 2017. Lori Greiner provided $1 million as a line of credit. 

Multiple outlets such as Us Weekly and Forbes praise the company for making lab testing simple and accessible. However, other Everlywell reviews are mixed. Some Everlywell reviews tests like vitamin and heart health highly. Others, tests, especially the very popular food sensitivity test, are ranked poorly. 

In 2018, STAT reported that experts have called the Everlywell food sensitivity test “medically dubious”. The company measures blood IgG antibody levels to determine whether a person’s immune system reacts to specific foods. Often, the company recommends that the customer remove that food from their diet if it reacts highly. 

However, the allergy expert interviewed by STAT claims that the test results only indicate which foods have been consumed recently rather than real sensitivities. The article claims that people may actually cause harm to themselves by removing healthy foods from their diet, believing themselves to have a false sensitivity. Physicians typically recommend elimination diets to determine food sensitivities.

The article also reports that health professionals do not recognize the validity of IgG tests for diagnosing food sensitivity. Many believe the IgG presence is the body’s normal reaction to the intake of food.

Everlywell Reviews

Everlywell Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 30 tests available at-home, without requiring a doctor’s office visit
  • Quick return on results (3-5 business days)
  • Easy to access reports on all devices
  • Results that guide patients to seeking professional medical advice

Cons

  • Everlywell tests are not available to residents in NJ, NY, and RI
  • Blood sample needed via finger prick for 24/30 tests
  • Some tests require fasting (Cholesterol & Lipids and Heart Health)
  • Science to support the Food Sensitivities test is not recognized by many health professionals

Nebula Genomics

We finish our Everlywell review with a comparison to Nebula Genomics.

Nebula Genomics offers a 30x Whole Genome Sequencing service that sequences 100% of your DNA for $299. In contrast, Everlywell analyzes biomarkers, not DNA. Biomarker tests and DNA tests should be seen as complementary to each other rather than alternatives. 

Similar to Everlywell, the Nebula Genomics test does not provide diagnostic tests. However, our 30x Whole Genome Sequencing data is produced in CLIA/CAP-accredited laboratories. Thus, physicians and genetic counselors can use our data to provide medical advice. Individuals who believe they are at risk for a genetic disorder consult a healthcare provider before taking DNA sequencing tests.   

EverlywellNebula Genomics
Testing methodBiomarkersDNA; Whole Genome Sequencing (all 20,000 genes and regulatory regions)
ReportingSymptomatic conditionsGenetic predispositions
Ancestry reportingNoYes
Data accessNo data that can be accessedYes (FASTQ, BAM, and VCF files)
Cost$49-$399$299
Aid for making medical decisionsNo, but CLIA-certified lab data can be used in consultation with physicians.No, but CLIA-certified lab data can be used in consultation with genetic counselors and physicians.

Did you like our Everlywell review? You can find more reviews here!

For example, Curology (personalized skincare), Plexaderm (skin anti-aging), Nutrisystem (personalized diet for weight loss), BlueChew (male supplements), Viome (gut microbiome testing) and Tru Niagen (supplement to slow aging)

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