SelfDecode Review [Oct 2020]: How to Unlock Your Genetic Secrets

DNA is the programming language of life.

Genes are your library of potential destinies. Decipher those potentials and steer yourself to a long and prosperous life. Avoiding ineffective cookie-cutter recommendations that leave you drained, confused, and disappointed:

No single test provides more lifestyle advice than advanced DNA analytics.

Decades ago, the same tests cost hundreds of thousands. And the world’s foremost experts could barely interpret results. Today, genetics has grown by leaps and bounds.

DNA is the code running your unique human operating system. Click To Tweet

SelfDecode is the best tool to transform raw DNA into beautiful, easy-to-understand, yet comprehensive reports. Today I’m reviewing your future all-in-one wellness portal, how to use the platform, and everything that makes SelfDecode the user-friendly genetics tool.

SelfDecode TL;DR Summary

Reports available: 21 (and growing)

SNP database: 150,000+

The world’s only blog personalized to your genes

Full suite of wellness tools and resources

New reports, articles, and research added daily

Every report makes lifestyle suggestions

Intuitive, easy to understand recommendations

Takes a while to go through each report


Use discount code GETSELFDECODE10 for 10% off!

Understanding SelfDecode (& Self-Hacked)

SelfDecode is a personalized DNA testing, analytics, and digital health platform. Joe Cohen, the health enthusiast behind the wildly-successful biohacking knowledgebase SelfHacked, founded SelfHacked in 2016. Both have credentialed staff curate the latest peer-reviewed research. Joe’s platforms complement each other, tailoring report recommendations to your genetic results.

I think of SelfHacked as their general research division and SelfDecode as the personalization component.

SelfDecode is the closest thing to your personal wellness consultant without the cost of specialists. Click To Tweet

If you haven’t checked out Self-Hacked, you’re missing one of the best biohacking resources on the internet.

SelfDecode promises what should be industry-standard: to protect and not sell your genetic data. And a 30-day money-back guarantee. Joe and the SD Team have painted a vision for an all-in-one wellness hub. Recent progress has shown that they’re executing on the plan.

In the wild, wild west of complex genetic tools, even a five-year-old can understand SelfDecode reports.

How does it work?

Their 3 Step Process to Health Optimization

SelfDecode 3 Step Process to Analyze DNA
Their process to get results.

After signing up, an on-screen guide walks you through the product. Though I had never actually used the software, I opted to explore on my own without their tutorial. Five minutes and a dozen clicks later, I figured out the process:

  1. Upload your DNA.
  2. Download and read through your personalized reports.
  3. Test out recommendations

For the first step, the company offers two DNA analysis options:

  • Import your raw DNA data from a service like 23andMe, Ancestry, or My Heritage
  • Get a DNA kit directly through them

As a newbie to the platform, I chose to upload my data.

Next, I visited the DNA Wellness Reports page and clicked “Generate Report” next to anything interesting. Eighteen seconds later, my reports were ready:

SelfDecode Wellness Report List

Each Wellness Report contains background information, color-coded genes, written interpretations, and recommendations tailored to improving your lifestyle. No guesswork or contradictory information (that I experienced in other DNA testing services discussed below).

DNA Wellness Reports

Your DNA Wellness Reports are the heart and soul of SelfDecode. From cross-referencing your DNA with hundreds of sources (200+ PubMed references in my sample fitness report below), they generate personalized diet, supplement, and lifestyle recommendations.

Not one for reading?

They summarize the report’s takeaways at the end:

SelfDecode Fitness Report Summary & Conclusion
Summary of my 17 fitness suggestions.

Their research team constantly builds new reports as science supports. At the time of this writing, the latest SelfDecode DNA Wellness Reports include:

  • Introductory (summary)
  • Pain
  • Migraine
  • COMT: worrier or warrior?
  • Weight loss
  • TP53: cancer risk
  • BRCA: cancer risk
  • COVID-19: viral susceptibility
  • Gut Health: susceptibility to gut disorders
  • Thyroid
  • Longevity: counteract genes interfering with your max healthspan.
  • MTHFR: optimal nutrients to consume
  • ApoE: fat metabolization
  • Mood
  • Cognition
  • Essential Minerals: the minerals you need most
  • Sleep: optimize your sleep
  • Vitamins
  • Cardiovascular
  • Inflammation
  • Fitness: stay injury-free doing exercise you love

Each report is jampacked with information. Stuff you can apply today. For example, here’s one of my full reports:

My entire 34 page fitness report, including summary, recommendations, and PubMed studies at the end.

Access the SelfDecode reports section here:

Personalized Genetics Blog

selfdecode personalized blog 1
Their blog showing the articles most relevant to me, indicated by facial expression.

Do you like to stay up to date with current research? Is there any use? I’m not so sure. I’ve combed through thousands of studies, and notice several glaring problems. One of which is the usual participants: old, young, sick, diseased, predominantly male folk. New research rarely applies to healthy biohackers.

SelfDecode’s blog partially solves this issue. They highlight and showcases only the articles most relevant to your DNA. Two people visiting the same blog will see different articles, interpretations, and magnitudes for their biology. The most important article for me might not matter for you.

SelfDecode is the only health & wellness site that automatically shows and interprets the latest articles for your unique biological makeup. Click To Tweet

This is a great way to cut through all the noise and inapplicable content. Get the research and recommendations that matter and go about your day.

selfdecode blog personalized articles
The four most important articles for me to read based on my genes.

How many companies customize their content like this? I haven’t come across any.

I’ve found their individualized blog a nice perk of the platform.

Access it here:

Substances Explorer

SelfDecode Substance Explorer Personal Results: Toxins & Compounds
The compounds I should consume, and toxins to avoid.
  • Do you follow dessert with a shot of espresso?
  • Or does a sip of tea in the morning keep you wired throughout the night?

Drugs, substances, toxins, and compounds affect each of us differently. Why? Partially, tolerance. That aside, your reaction depends heavily on your genetic makeup.

Their database contains over a million substances and compounds. Whether optimizing your personal supplement stack with natural substances, or wondering how ubiquitous toxins affect you specifically, Substance Explorer has you covered.

SelfDecode removes the guesswork from supplementation, drugs, and other compounds.

I like this page for the “Important natural compounds section”. These are the nutrients you need most. You can use this list to find your own superfoods.

SelfDecode Natural Substances Best Choline Foods
Choline is my supernutrient, food in the above foods.

Access Substance Explorer here:

Symptoms & Conditions Analyzer

SelfDecode Symptom Analyzer Fatigue
My genes related to fatigue. 119/282 indicate SNPs risk. Can check any condition, symptom or disease.

Not feeling 100 percent? You can enter a specific condition into the “My Symptoms and Conditions” page, or something general like fatigue.

SelfDecode spits out a full report of all associated SNPs (your particular genotype). The top shows how many of the total SNPs indicate risk. The table includes the rarity of the trait, the associated condition, and background information.

Clicking on any of the conditions brings up (another) customized page, prefilled with everything about the condition and you.

Check it out here:

Lab Test Analyzer

selfdecode labtestanalyzer
Uploaded an old blood panel. Unlike most lab testing, recommended ranges are based on healthy populations. Can filter by the most concerning tests and learn how to improve.

My lab tests came back “normal”, but I still feel like crap.

Nick Urban (2013)

Regular laboratory testing is one of my top wellness optimization biomarker tests. Bodily fluids hold intricate details of how your biology is working. Whether you’re healthy or unhealthy, and most importantly, both long-term trends and immediate feedback.

While lab work on its own highlights problems, you must solve them yourself. That takes research, experimentation, and re-testing to see progress. Then store the litany of PDFs, physical documents, and files all in one place should you ever need to reference them. You must remember which files are virtual, which are physical, and manually parse the formatting differences between labs.

On top of that, for traditional lab testing, you’ll have to manually look up reference ranges for each for accurate information. Since the “normal”, high, and low bands are based on the sick (most people getting bloodwork aren’t healthy biohackers), their often not optimal. Otherwise, you might chase non-problems and miss the important ones.

SelfDecode users get free access to a tool called Lab Test Analyzer (LTA) which does all of the heavy lifting for you. All documents are automatically parsed and cross-referenced against their database of 916 different lab tests (and counting). They’re standardized and centralized into their all-in-one wellness platform.

Best of all, you’re not left in the dark. Based on all your data, LTA gives you personalized recommendations to get your labs back in optimal ranges. Your recommendations are based on a healthy population.

Your data become instantly more valuable and actionable.

Lab Test Analyzer Creatinine Result Recommendation
My original test classified me as ultra-high risk. But LTA recognized that my creatinine was high from heavy strength training earlier in the day. Retesting later confirmed normal results.

Lab Test Analyzer is my favorite unexpectedly perk of SelfDecode.

It’s actually a separate platform, but free for SelfDecode members:

SelfDecode vs Other DNA Services

The DNA analytics field is both new and established. Researchers come and go, and leave unsupported products in their wake. A few alternatives have come to dominate the market.

Here’s what you should know about how they stack up to SelfDecode.

SelfDecode vs Promethease

After extensive research, I purchased a Promethease report years back. I ran my Ancestry data through it, and got some (slightly) useful results.

I chose Promethease for it’s clinical-level granularity. I can see each SNP. And the report contains a section to view genetic interactions with diseases and substances. You can also sort by the magnitude of the genes. Ultimately, I ended up shelving it, and for a few reasons the report has sat untouched in my Google Drive for years:

  • Outdated. The field of genetics advances fast. A year after my report, scientific understanding around genes has changed but my hardcoded report hasn’t.
  • Unintuitive. The report comes in an HTML file. Every time I open it, a walkthough plays. And even then, the tool is difficult to navigate and interpret. This is coming from a data-driven tech nerd.
  • Not actionable. Say I look up my genes related to a condition called sleep apnea. Half of the SNPs show an increased risk (with a low magnitude), and half show no risk (with a high magnitude). Should I focus my time and resources here? Or elsewhere? The report itself doesn’t provide actionable information.

When it came out, Promethease was the best option. Now, I only recommend it for those on a tight budget. Expect to dedicate dozens of hours into research for basic interpretation.

SelfDecode vs 23andMe (and

23andMe & Ancestry are focused on your family tree and ancestry. Both have limited ability to explore your genes beyond that. While their test results contain all the necessary genetic information to understand health, wellness, lifestyle, and peak performance implications, you’ll have to upload your data to another source.

If you don’t mind having your data in the hands of multiple companies, they often run sales on their DNA kits.

SelfDecode vs Genetic Genie

Genetic Genie (GG) is a great entry point for new users looking for barebones genetic analysis. By providing raw genetic data from services like 23andMe or Ancestry, you can three reports for free:

  • Methylation (MTHFR)
  • Detoxification
  • Conditions

People choose GG for their free reports. Genetic Genie doesn’t tell you anything fancy, nor anything that Promethease or SelfDecode don’t. In fact, the latter two contained more complete information. If you might want more later, look elsewhere.

SelfDecode vs NutraHacker

NutraHacker is another popular DNA analytics service that originally focused solely on nutrition and has branched out. They offer multiple reports, each at a different price:

  • COVID-19
  • Detoxification and Methylation
  • Carrier Status and Drug Response
  • Celiac
  • Depression
  • Fitness

Each report costs around $80.

Unfortunately, their reports lack recommendations or any indications of how to remedy problematic SNPs. They test only 195 SNPs compared to the 150,000+ SNPs of SelfDecode.

Add-On DNA Kit

Don’t already have your raw DNA file?

You can get it from another service like Ancestry or 23andMe (I chose Ancestry). Perhaps you’re wary of having your personal genome in the data warehouses of multiple companies. Or maybe you don’t want to wait weeks for DNA processing companies to analyze your kit.

SelfDecode also sells DNA collection kits for $99. No manual downloading and reuploading necessary.

Personal SelfDecode Genetic Walkthrough

All this information too much? SelfDecode puts out tutorials and guides to simplify their platform.

I’m happy to help walk you through your results. Go here and we’ll set up a time to chat.

SelfDecode: A Wealth of Information Worth the Cost

SelfDecode is here to stay. In the health and wellness world, companies come and go at the blink of an eye. Founder Joe Cohen has shown with his preceding company, SelfHacked, that he’s only picking up the pace. The SelfHacked suite of products continues to grow.

Your DNA report is only as good as the science behind it.

I made the mistake of going with no-name DNA analysis companies that produced subpar products. The field of genetic understanding moves fast. New research constantly highlights important new SNPs, and moderates others. Without updating, old genetic reports become worse than useless: inaccurate. My previous genetic reports sat in a Google Drive folder collecting dust.

For less than an annual doctor’s physical and panel of lab testing, you get cutting-edge health advice tuned to your personal needs. Click To Tweet

After much thought, I chose a lifetime membership. Sure, I’ve drawn inspiration from hundreds of SelfHacked articles over the years. I didn’t just buy DNA reports or reward neatly compiled research roundups. I invested in personalized medicine. No company is forging the future of biohacking & wellness like the all-in-one SelfDecode platform.

Use discount code GETSELFDECODE10 for 10% off:

Let me know what you think. I’m always on the lookout for promising new companies that can withstand the testing of time.

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