Vitagene review – Healthier lifestyle through DNA testing?

Rating based on our Vitagene review

7 Facts from our Vitagene review

  1. Vitagene location: California, USA
  2. Products: DNA testing kit and DNA data upload
  3. Reports: diet and fitness recommendations based on DNA data analysis
  4. DNA data access: available
  5. Privacy: had a data breach in the past
  6. Cost: $49 for data upload; up to $289 for DNA testing kits
  7. AlternativesGenoPalate ($49 – $169), FitnessGenes ($49-199), Athletigen (free – $174.99), Orig3n ($29 – $150), Everlywell (biomarkers; $49-$399), CircleDNA ($189 – $629), Curology (personalized skincare), DNAfit ($189 – $629), Nutrisystem (personalized diet for weight loss), LetsGetChecked (biomarkers)

Vitagene Introduction

Vitagene (Vita Gene) is an autosomal DNA testing company. It uses your DNA test results to produce personalized health and wellness plans. With these personal recommendations, the company wants to help its customers make better lifestyle choices and achieve their health goals. The San Francisco company was founded in 2014 by a neurosurgeon and a businessman. It later partnered with Douglas Laboratories and Pure Encapsulation to start selling personalized supplements. In 2018, the company partnered with Family Tree DNA. Learn more in our Vitagene review!

Did you know that most genetic tests like Vitagene decode only 0.02% of your DNA? At Nebula Genomics, we offer Whole Genome Sequencing for only $299! This is the most complete DNA test that decodes 100% of your DNA and will enable you to learn more about your ancestry, wellness, and health than any other DNA test! Click here to learn more!

Review of Vitagene Products

Screenshot of Vitagene web page showing the company's different reports. From VItagene review.
Overview of Vitagene reports.

In this part of our blog post, we will review Vitagene reporting. The products and services offered by the company include personalized reports that cost from $49 to $289 and focus on diet and lifestyle. These health plans include one or multiple of the company’s customized reports.

There are the Vitagene Diet Report, Supplement Report, Exercise Report, Skin Report, and Ancestry Report. The company does include the disclaimer that the reports are not a diagnostic DNA test. Rather they are “propensities for traits” based on the customer’s genetics.  

Customers either send in a cheek swab to be used for a DNA test or upload raw DNA data. There is also an online questionnaire about the customer’s lifestyle and goals.

To generate its reports, Vitagene uses an algorithm developed by medical experts. It compares customer DNA to a database of research on genomics, nutrition, and exercise. The company touts its database as a “scientific research database of 50,000+.” It is worth noting, the company does not specify if it is 50,000+ scientific reports, journals, or something else. 

Review of Vitagene Health & Ancestry Report ($99)

This is the baseline Vitagene DNA testing kit. Customers use a cheek swab to collect a sample, which the company uses to extract DNA to use it for genetic testing. You get four reports:

Diet Report: This includes meal plan suggestions. It also includes information on things like gluten sensitivities and how the customer metabolizes fat or caffeine. The report shows MTHFR gene mutations and other SNPs in the customer’s genes that influence metabolism. 

Supplement Report: These reports recommends supplements like vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc., you should be taking and why, based on your genes. For example, whether sodium intake might increase your blood pressure.

Exercise Report: This report looks at your ability to build muscle and how you respond to exercise. It also suggests what types of exercise are best for your body. 

Ancestry Report: Similar to other DNA websites like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, Vitagene provides ancestry DNA reports to its customers. For an additional cost, customers can access genealogy and ancestry information through Family Tree DNA (FTDNA).

Aside from a press release, there is little information available about how the partnership with Family Tree DNA works. Customers can use some of Family Tree DNA’s tools like the Family Finder. Next, we briefly review other Vitagene reports.

Review of Vitagene DNA Health Upload Report ($49)

The DNA Health Upload Report is for someone who has already obtained genetic testing from other DNA analysis websites. Vitagene is one of the DNA sites that accept raw data from another DNA analysis site. You can upload raw DNA data from 23andMe, MyHeritage or AncestryDNA. This gives you access to the four base health testing reports: diet, supplements, exercise, and ancestry.  

Premium Report ($139)

This Vitagene test also requires a DNA sample collection. You then get the four baseline reports, plus an additional Skin Report. 

Skin Report: This report highlights your genetic risk for things like acne or dry skin. It includes recommendations for skincare routines. 

Vitality Bundle ($289)

This reporting package also includes DNA testing by Vitagene. Customers receive the four baseline reports as well as a 90-day supply of four customized supplements. With this test, you also get free monthly updates to reports when new research has been published.

Vigor Bundle ($169)

This is basically the Vitality Bundle for someone who already has raw DNA data. You can upload your genetic data from 23andMe, MyHeritage of AncestryDNA. Vitagene will analyze your genetic information and provide the reports and the 90-day supply of supplements. You also get the monthly updates to reports.

Vitagene Smart Supplements (varies in price)

Once you have taken a Vitagene test and received your reports, you can order customized supplements. The supplements contain everything from vitamins and minerals, to plant products, animal products, hormones, and bacteria. The prices for the supplement plans are not readily available on the website. 

Other Vitagene products

Vitagene offers the services of an online coach who customers can message to ask questions about their reports. You can also download your raw DNA information as a .txt file through the dashboard. 

Review of Vitagene Privacy

Screen shot of Vitagene's privacy policy web page. From VItagene review.
Vitagene emphasizes that it takes data privacy seriously.

Now let’s review Vitagene privacy. The company stores DNA samples and results without the customer’s name or “any other common identifying information.” The third-party lab that processes the cheek swabs uses a barcode, rather than your personal information, to identify your sample. In the privacy policy, it is stated that customers can decide what happens to their saliva sample and DNA data. Either can be destroyed or stored. 

Vitagene also promises not to share information with any third party “without your explicit consent.” It also says customers can delete their data from all the company’s servers at any time. Personal information like genetic data and login credentials is protected by Security Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption technology. 

Vitagene does use an “anonymous version” of customer information to improve its algorithm. It also says it uses “all practical legal and administrative resources to resist requests from law enforcement.” However, the company may be required to comply with valid court orders or subpoenas. 

Vitagene In the News

Vitagene might have improved its security but it was not safe in the past. In 2019, Bloomberg reported that the company left thousands of user files unprotected on public servers. Personal customer information like emails, dates of birth, health information was publicly accessible. According to the company, the files were only a small fraction of its customer base. The company also said it had updated security protocols in 2018 and claimed that no sensitive financial information was compromised. 

Other Vitagene Reviews

There is little on Facebook and Twitter regarding Vitagene that isn’t from the company itself. Similarly, subreddits on genealogy have few references. The company does have a 4.1-star review on Trustpilot and 3.7 stars on Amazon.

Negative Vitagene reviews focused on lengthy wait times for results and vague reports. Positive Vitagene reviews, on the other hand, found the suggestions and advice in the reports helpful for making lifestyle changes.

Example of a positive Vitagene review:

“The diet section was educational and surprised me in a good way. I learned a lot [about] the types of foods that work for me. More interestingly it was my body’s reaction to exercise and food in combination that was most helpful. I am a regular runner and since I have changed my routine based on my DNA …”

Example of a negative Vitagene review:

“I got my detailed “report” today. There is very little value here that cannot be obtained for free. For example, from a high school health class textbook, common knowledge and websites like WebMD. The “report” is very long, but the information is so general and very little is based on my actual saliva sample.”

Vitagene Pros and Cons

ProsCons
Health & wellness recommendations.Some Vitagene reviews call recommendations vague.
Product tiers to choose what works best for you.It can only analyze raw DNA files from 3 websites.
Access to an online coach. Specific information missing on its website.
Option to delete information.History of a data breach.

Summary

Let’s summarize our Vitagene review. The company is one of several genetic testing companies emerging during the genomic revolution. Its main draw is that it provides DNA health reports.

However, take it with a grain of salt. The recommendations are based on the likelihood that someone with that DNA will have certain traits. It isn’t a guarantee.

If you purchase a DNA kit from 23andMe or AncestryDNA, you can import your raw DNA data to Vitagene. You will then get the diet, exercise and supplement reports for $49 or $289. 

Vitagene had problems with data protection in the past but that it has improved its security and updated its privacy policy.

Nebula Genomics

In the last part of our Vitagene review, we compare it to Nebula Genomics and other DNA testing companies. At Nebula Genomics, you can upload your DNA data for free and get an expanded DNA report. We use a process called imputation to fill in the blanks left by typical DNA tests. The result is a report with hundreds of traits and access to the Nebula Research Library. In the library, you can find the latest research and what it says about your DNA. 

Furthermore, we offer the most affordable 30x Whole-Genome Sequencing service!

This most complete genetic test reads 100% of your DNA. That is 10,000 times more data compared to test like 23andMe, AncestryDNA, and Vitagene! A few years ago personal genome sequencing used to cost millions and dollars. Today we are offering it for less than $300. 

Finally, at Nebula Genomics we are building a privacy-first personal genomics service. We are developing technologies that enable our users to stay in control of their data. They can also share it securely to help scientists find cures to disease. If you choose to share your data with a third party, you can get compensated.

Here is a comparison of Vitagene vs Nebular Genomics, 23andMe, and AncestryDNA:


Vitagene23andMeAncestryDNANebula Genomics
DNA Testing MethodMicroarray-based genotyping.Microarray-based genotyping. Microarray-based genotyping. Whole-Genome Sequencing (30x coverage).
Ownership of dataDNA samples belong to the customer, but data may not.Unclear. The customer can have saliva destroyed.Unclear. The customer can delete/destroy DNA and data.Your data belongs irrevocably to you.
Focus on privacyNo.No.No.Yes (learn more).
Security technology usedSSL for data transfer.SSL for data transfer.Not specified. Blockchain, privacy-preserving computing.
Data upload optionsYes.No.No.Yes. Imputation enables an expanded report.
Free updates based on new researchMonthly, for some products.No.No.Weekly updates (learn more).
Tools to explore dataLimited.Limited.Limited.Yes (learn more).
Ancestry reportingOnly with selected products.Based on relatively few genetic variants.Yes (requires sharing data with other Ancestry customers).Deep ancestry reporting with full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing in collaboration with FTDNA.
Data accessYes (.zip and .txt file).Yes (23andMe format file).Yes (Ancestry format file).Yes (FASTQ, BAM and VCF files).
Cost$49 to $289.$99, $199, or $499.$99 or $149.$0 to $299.

Vitagene vs 23andMe vs AncestryDNA vs Nebula Genomics

Other similar DNA testing services that are FitnessGenes and Genopalate. Did you like our Vitagene review? Explore all our reviews here! Or check out our guide to DNA upload sites!

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