SelfDecode Review : How to Hack Your DNA (Plus 33+ Custom Actionable Reports)
SelfDecode kills cookie-cutter recommendations. This all-in-one platform customizes advice to hack your genes. Here's my full review and a special discount code.
Application Category: Genetics, DNA, Health, Wellness
Frustrated by the frequent contradictions of modern science?
- Is cholesterol bad, or important for hormone production?
- Will extreme diets like carnivore or keto work or derail your weight loss?
- What kinds of exercise should you do?
- Are you predisposed to any particular conditions or diseases?
- Which supplements should you take?
- Can you get by with just 5 hours of sleep per night?
Scientists have searched and searched, and discovered few universal truths.
Following cookie-cutter health advice leaves you drained, confused, and disappointed.
What if we’ve been looking for answers in the wrong place?
A software company called SelfDecode believes that we should look within. Your best health decisions depend on your unique genes.DNA is the code running your individual human operating system. Click To Tweet
Decades ago, these DNA tests cost nearly half a million. And experts could barely interpret your results.
SelfDecode transforms your genetic data into concrete reports with recommendations on how to improve every facet of your health. In my review of the all-in-one SelfDecode wellness platform, you’ll learn how to use it, the powerful custom reports it generates for you, and how to get it with a special discount code. At the end, I compare it to other genetics software and you’ll understand what makes SelfDecode the #1 best genetics software by a landslide.
SelfDecode Review Summary
Reports available: 33 (and growing weekly)
Database size: 150,000+ SNPs
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
Report are packed with information and suggestions
How SelfDecode Works
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?
SelfDecode’s 3 Step Health Optimization Process
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:
- Upload your DNA.
- Download and read through your personalized reports.
- 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 Ancestry.com data.
Next, I visited the DNA Wellness Reports page and clicked “Generate Report” next to anything interesting. Eighteen seconds later, my reports were ready:
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).
SelfDecode’s 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:
Their research team constantly builds new reports as science supports. Use these custom reports to overcome any health or performance issues you experience.
At the time of this writing, they’re rapidly expanding upon a library of 33+ reports.
UPDATE: the team has released a huge SelfDecode 2.0 update that includes better and more thorough DNA Wellness Reports. These reports now generate specific recommendations in a separate “My Regimen” tab.
The SelfDecode DNA Wellness Reports include
- Introductory (summary)
- Joint inflammation
- Chronic fatigue
- Blood sugar
- Food intolerance
- ADD & ADHD
- Attention & focus
- COMT: worrier or warrior?
- Weight loss
- TP53: cancer risk
- BRCA: cancer risk
- COVID-19: viral susceptibility
- Gut Health: susceptibility to gut disorders
- Longevity: counteract genes interfering with your max healthspan.
- MTHFR: optimal nutrients to consume
- ApoE: fat metabolization
- Essential Minerals: the minerals you need most
- Sleep: optimize your sleep
- Fitness: stay injury-free doing exercise you love
Of late, the SelfDecode COVID report has received particular interest. And the team is planning to release 52 more within the year.
Each report is jampacked with information. Stuff you can apply today. For example, here’s one of my full reports:
Click here to access the SelfDecode reports section.
SelfDecode’s Personalized Genetics Blog
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.
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.
SelfDecode’s Substances Explorer
- 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.
Click here to access their Substance Explorer.
SelfDecode’s Symptoms & Conditions Analyzer
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.
SelfDecode’s Lab Test Analyzer
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 is my favorite unexpectedly perk of SelfDecode.
It’s actually a separate platform, but free for SelfDecode members.
SelfDecode vs Popular DNA Analysis Software
The DNA analytics field is both new and established. Researchers come and go, and leave unsupported products in their wake. Old products produce reports that don’t evolve with the latest research. They become useless, or worse when old science is proven inaccurate and you continue to base decisions on your antiquated reports.
A 60-Minutes episode recently come out exposing the many DNA testing companies stealing and selling your data. SelfDecode is the exception, taking privacy and your personal security seriously. Unlike others, they destroy your biodata after use.
A few alternatives have come to dominate the market. Here’s what you should know about how they stack up.
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 Ancestry.com)
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)
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:
- Detoxification and Methylation
- Carrier Status and Drug Response
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 Verdict: Scientific Health Wisdom 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 proven himself with his preceding company, SelfHacked. 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 researchers for their neatly compiled research articles. 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:
What’s your take on SelfDecode? A top biohacking app? Or over-rated?
If you’ve tried it, leave a comment below and let me know.