A Detailed Review: LivingDNA
LivingDNA was founded in 2016 by David and Hannah Nicholson. While the two are not DNA experts, they have formed successful science-based businesses. The couple started the UK-based DNA testing company because they believed that DNA testing could make the world a healthier, happier place. You can see those values reflected in the interview they conducted with CEO Magazine. While their intentions are great, the company has a long way to come to truly compete with the other DNA testing giants.
In this article, we will fully review all of the different DNA testing kits that LivingDNA has to offer. We will look at what results are included with each kit, as well as how those results stack up to other DNA testing companies. Then, we will dive into what makes LivingDNA unique, as well as who should consider buying a LivingDNA testing kit, what other people say about their products, and the costs of each DNA kit. This in-depth review has everything you need to know about LivingDNA and shows you what you can learn with a simple cheek swab!
Comprehensive Review of LivingDNA’s DNA Kits
LivingDNA has 4 main products that are available to consumers. You can get a taste of all the different offerings with a Starter Kit, learn more about your DNA ancestry with the Full Ancestry Kit, learn about nutrition and fitness genetic variants with the Wellbeing Kit, or get it all with the Wellbeing & Ancestry Kit. You can see a full breakdown of each offering below!
Not sure you are interested in a DNA test kit? That’s okay. LivingDNA has one of the cheapest introductory packages on the market. For only $49, you can get a look into many different traits as well as a general overview of your ancestry based on your DNA results. This kit is a great introductory offering that most companies do not provide.
Specifically, you will get the following results with a Starter Kit. First, you will get a report detailing a broad overview of your ancestry. This report will tell you what continents your ancestors came from, however, specific regional breakdowns are only available with the Full Ancestry Kit. You will also get access to LivingDNA’s family DNA matching service, which can directly connect you to living DNA matches and family members. With the service, you can build family networks with other LivingDNA users.
Second, you will get a sample nutritional report, which will explain how your DNA may affect several aspects of your nutrition. The sample pack even comes with some recipe ideas for your unique genetic profile. Lastly, you will get a sample fitness report, which can give you insights into how your DNA affects your muscle performance.
If you get the Starter Kit, you can easily upgrade your reports to get the full Wellbeing or Ancestry reports if you so choose. These reports may give you much more in-depth results about your DNA analysis.
Full Ancestry Kit
The LivingDNA Full Ancestry Kit can give you much more information about your genetic genealogy for $99. The company website claims that it can measure your genetic ancestry back tens of thousands of years, to the times when humans were migrating out of Africa. The company used to offer specific mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and Y-chromosome DNA testing kits, which would make in-depth analysis possible.
They no longer offer these kits, though they may have kept the necessary technology. On their website, it is not clear if they test these areas in addition to autosomal DNA. Although the LivingDNA website does not specifically state that the company uses mtDNA and Y-DNA, the results it offers from its test kit suggest that it is using at least some markers other companies do not analyze. For example, the offer a migration map that tracks how your family migrated out of Africa.
On their website, LivingDNA claims that its Full Ancestry Kit offers the most detailed analysis in the industry. This may have been true at some point, but now this claim is easily disputed. LivingDNA offers around 80 regions based on its proprietary reference populations, with around 20 sub-regional designations. 23andMe, by contrast, offers over 1,500 regions. So, LivingDNA has a long way to go before it can compete with the family history tests offered by other companies.
The Wellbeing Kit offered by LivingDNA is focused specifically on nutrition and fitness. The report will break down several DNA traits directly related to how your body metabolizes foods and various traits related to how your muscles function. For the price ($129), it is slightly cheaper than some other nutrition and DNA testing kits. For example, the DNA Fit nutrition and fitness testing starts at $139.
You will get reports in several areas with the Wellbeing Kit. There are two basic categories, Nutrition and Fitness. Within the Nutrition reports, you will get reports in two areas: Vitamin Response and Food Metabolism. Plus, you will get an additional report that includes a number of recipes suited to your DNA profile. The fitness reports are similar. You will get two reports that detail Exercise traits and Recovery Traits, plus a report that gives you ideas for exercises suited to the genetic variants you carry.
These reports are full of good information and give you a detailed breakdown of your autosomal test, but it should be noted that LivingDNA does not offer any health-related tests as part of the wellbeing package. Several other companies offer an analysis of genetic traits related to certain health outcomes, as well as an analysis of your carrier status for a number of known genetic diseases. Users looking specifically for that information will not find what they need at LivingDNA.
Wellbeing and Ancestry Kit
As the name implies, the Wellbeing and Ancestry Kit combines all of the reports described above into one convenient package. While this kit is just a combination of the two kits described above, at only $179 it offers a $60 discount simply by bundling. That’s a pretty good deal! Plus, the company offers a few custom DNA items, such as a DNA ancestry book, that can be purchased after you get your DNA results.
But, if you are considering getting a DNA test you should really learn more about what makes LivingDNA unique, and what other people are saying about their experience!
What Makes DNA Testing with LivingDNA Unique?
“We may share anonymous data with third parties including for research purposes where customers have opted in to take part in our research initiatives. This is data which combines data from a pool of customers. We will only do this where no person cannot be identified from this data. If we share this ‘aggregate’ data, we do not ever receive a payment for the data. We do not sell customer data, ever.”
Other companies do not offer this guarantee, and your data may end up in the hands of insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies trying to make a profit off of your genetic information.
The general mission of LivingDNA is fairly unique as well. They started with specifically ancestry testing options, and they focus on anti-racism campaigns based on DNA. They also started the One Family One World DNA project to educate everyone about our DNA connection. The company offers its Starter Kit as a low-budget way for anyone to get started with DNA testing. According to their website, they want to help everyone with their insights into ancestry and wellbeing DNA traits.
Who Should Buy LivingDNA?
Not many companies offer a Starter Kit, so LivingDNA is a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a ton of money on a DNA test without knowing what kind of results they will get. You can easily upgrade the kit to get any of the reports that LivingDNA offers. This is a relatively cheaper method for DNA amateurs to get started with minimal risk.
If you are very concerned about your genetic information being sold or exploited, LivingDNA also offers some strong promises that they will care for your genetic information. While the company still aggregates the raw DNA data they generate, they make it clear that this data is not sold to for-profit companies. This sort of raw data guarantee is rare among genetic testing companies.
While other companies may have offerings related to health, LivingDNA focuses on other traits. So, if you are mostly interested in your ancestry and general wellness traits, this may be a good company for you to choose for your DNA testing needs.
What Are Other People Saying about LivingDNA?
While LivingDNA.com does not have many online reviews, several people have left reasonable reviews of their products. In general, people seem satisfied with the reports they receive from LivingDNA.You can see all the reviews we found below.
- 3 of 5 stars on Trustpilot, with over 100 reviews
- 3.1 of 5 stars on Amazon, with over 20 reviews
- See what people are saying about LivingDNA on Reddit.
One of the main user complains with LivingDNA is that their reference populations are biggest in places like Wales, Scotland, Ireland, and Great Britain. From an ancestry aspect, LivingDNA has one of the most comprehensive databases of British and Irish ancestry, but other European populations are not as well covered. This means that users with ancestors from France, Germany, Italy, or other European countries are not quite as accurate. However, other LivingDNA results will get better over time, as they increase the size of their reference populations.
Here is a quick review of the costs of each of their DNA kit offerings:
- Starter Kit - $49
- Full Ancestry Kit - $99
- Wellbeing Kit - $129
- Wellbeing & Ancestry Kit - $179
If you are thinking about getting a LivingDNA test, you can also save some money by waiting for a sale. You can get up to $50 in DNA offers during the best sales of the year, usually around Black Friday.
All things considered, LivingDNA is a pretty good DNA testing company. They offer fairly comprehensive ancestry testing, as well as insights into nutrition and fitness. Plus, the company has a very ethical vision of DNA testing, and they support multiple philanthropic ventures. Best of all, they have a business model that doesn’t include selling your DNA data. This makes LivingDNA a great choice for anyone casually interested in DNA testing.
If you are looking for reports on traits related to genetic diseases and health outcomes, you will have to explore other DNA testing companies like 23andMe, MyHeritage, and AncestryDNA.
To find out more DNA upload sites, check out our article The Best DNA Upload Sites