DNAFit offer genetic testing for athletes of all levels through to Olympians.
A large sample of people are analysed in a database to find correlations between their gene variations and both athletic/physiological responses and diet responses associated with those gene variations.
Essentially, you pay for your DNA/genes to be compared to those in the database and you are told what responses you might expect from YOUR genes AND what to do about those responses both good and bad.
You receive very comprehensive, well-laid-out and detailed reports delving into MANY aspects of the athletic-YOU and the dietary-YOU.
On a trivial level it told me that I’m perhaps NOT best-suited to be an Olympic triathlete but, on a more serious level, very specific areas of needs (eg a higher than average B12 requirement for me) or physical injury/recovery susceptibilities are highlighted – IF true this information will surely deliver some of the fabled marginal gains to elite athletes.
On the basis of ‘it can’t hurt’ I would have a look if you are a serious athlete. The recommendations are specific and usually actionable.
What It Involves
If involves a £99/£119/£249 payment for one of the levels of service. You receive a kit and supply a DNA swab from your inner cheek. After a week or two the report is ready online on DNAFit.com.
What you get
Well certainly enough to keep you engrossed for at least an hour! I first of all clicked on the high level ‘infographic’.
I wasn’t surprised to learn that I am a more powerful person with a high injury risk. I was surprised that I supposedly recover quickly from exercise – maybe I used to. If they said I was lactose INtolerent then that would be proof it was wrong as I live off milk! Anyway they said I WAS tolerant. Click the image to look in more detail; not because you care about me but rather for an insight into the info you get. Remember this is just the high level stuff.
In addition to the summary infographic and depending on the product you purchased, you get:
- Olympian Benchmark
- Fitness Report
- Diet Report
I’ll briefly mention the Olympian Benchmark first as it is a bit of fun.
You can compare yourself to either a strength athlete or an endurance athlete. You will most likely see that they have many of the gene variations associated with success in their sport. You’ll probably have several too … but fewer than the Olympian.
You get a summary of selected areas you might want to action and initially focus your attention on.
The full fitness report covers 5 key areas: Power-Endurance Profile, Aerobic Potential, Recovery Speed, Recovery Needs and Injury Risk.
So my power:endurance profile was 66:34. This probably explains why I gravitate towards shorter duathlons/triathlons and to 5ks rather than marathons. Also perhaps why I have found that I seem to respond MUCH better to shorter intervals and weights than to longer endurance work. So it’s saying that I should be mindful to emphasise the power training elements of my sport ie do NOT change your goal just be cleverer in the route you take.
There is further detail behind this. Choosing one example, my Alpha Actinin 3 (ACTN3) Gene has the CC (RR) result (allele) which means “Strength, speed and power gene combination (found in sprint athletes). Likely to increase benefit from explosive style training.”
Whereas my aerobic potential is not a complete no-hoper as my Adrenoceptor Beta 2 ADRB2 (Gln27Glu) Gene has the CC result (allele) showing I do get excellent responses from endurance training and associated boosts with VO2max. (Now you know).
I have been plagued with injuries a bit of late and indeed DNAFit class me as ‘high risk’ correctly showing a risk of tendinopathy and osteoarthritis – the latter is definitely ‘in the family’. Other recommendations include taking a longer recovery time – again this was something I have relatively implemented for myself anyway.
I had low expectations of the diet report but it is actually more useful and more actionable for me.
Some high levels areas of note for me were: carb sensitivity, raised Vit B6/B12D requirements and a raised salt sensitivity. For all the general recommendations given there is usually a VERY specific recommendation beneath. For me, examples were to obtain at least 800 IU Vitamin D and 1300 mg Calcium as well as eating broccoli to aid detoxification.
Here is a 20-minute youtube review of the diet element.
Negatives: The cost is not a trivial sum of money for many people. Yet if you think about how many latex inner tubes and one-off race tyres you might buy with the same sum of money then you’d probably get more medium- to long-term benefit from smarter training based on a personal analysis like this.
Alternatives: the only alternative I could find is 23andme which seems to be less suited for a more athletically-minded person.
Media: DNAFit and it’s service been available for a few years now and there is much media coverage if you nee look for that. It’s NOT a fly-by-night idea and you ll find many high-level athletes who are involved with this.
This is at least ‘interesting’, particularly if you are a self analytical type. As an aspiring elite athlete it could give you a competitive edge OR TWO.
Christmas has gone but it would make a good present for some types of people (they know who they are and so do you!).
I’m not a scientist. This all seems plausible to me though. I’m not sure what the population size of the study is (will update).
The physical analysis of ‘me’, I think I sort of knew anyway as I hope I am in tune with my body to a degree. Maybe if you are a young 20-something you would learn more?? The diet stuff was interesting and I will no doubt return back to the report several times over the months ahead to put myself back on the personalized, dietary straight and narrow.
Disclaimer: I received this service as a freebie, you’ll need to draw your own conclusions on my bias. But I received the report before I wrote this…so they couldn’t take it back! I consider myself honest. I wont make any revenues if you click to their site from here. This site focusses more on higher-end sport gadgets which I either typically buy or loan from the supplier.