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23andme vs. 10X Health for Health and Wellness: Which Option is Best?

Article at a Glance
  • 23andme reports on approximately 650,000 SNPs, whereas 10X Health reports on only 5 genes total.
  • 23andme offers far more value for health and wellness insights than does 10X Health, and at a fraction of the cost. However, 23andme does not offer a methylation panel.
  • Gene Food offers greater nutrition insights than both 10X and 23andme and a methylation panel in the Health Intelligence plan.
  • 23andme reporting can provide status for several diseases caused by genetic “mutations.”
Genes Mentioned

Our team receives questions from blog readers quite often about whether to buy 23andme as a “base” genetic product and utilize the raw data for additional health insights.

Can you tell me the difference between your test, 10X and the 23&me test?

Does yours cover the same as both of theirs or more?

I was thinking of getting the 23 & me for the family info and then getting your option to upload raw data from their test for $95. Would that upload give me all the information as your $250 test?

Thanks,
Sidgy

potential Gene food customer

For readers considering Gary Brecka’s 10X Health testing, I wrote about the pricing of that product, here.

23andme vs. 10X Health vs. Gene Food

The graphic we created below, which shows the genome coverage of various types of genetic tests, has become quite useful for consumers evaluating different testing methods.

The first thing to know is that 23andme offers large scale genotyping, not whole genome sequencing. The test covers about 650,000 SNPs, whereas a whole genome test covers 4-5 million SNPs.

By contrast, 10X Health, Gary Brecka’s company, tests only 5 genes, and <10 SNPs. If you are going to take the time to get sequenced, only testing for 5 genes, as 10X Health does, makes very little sense. Our tests at Gene Food currently look at 700,000+ SNPs.

Whole genome vs. genotyping

The thing to know about genotyping is that it is still more cost-effective than whole genome sequencing, and the SNPs evaluated are often backed by the most extensive research. If your genome is a map of the United States, you could think of genotyping as the cities and towns that appear on the map as population centers. They are known quantities.

By contrast, 10X Health boils down much of human health to methylation pathways and homocysteine risk. While these traits are undoubtedly important, we believe they are oversold by 10X’s marketing materials.

Order a Methylation Panel

Gene Food uses a proprietary algorithm to divide people into one of twenty diet types based on genetics. We score for methylation, fat metabolism, histamine clearance, carbohydrate tolerance, and more. Where do you fit?

Learn More

23andme does not offer a methylation report

10X Health, through founder Gary Brecka, has placed a spotlight on the issue of methylation and the importance of certain genotypes taking only methylated B vitamins. 10X Health sells methylation and supplemental methylfolate to the point where it feels like they are taking a topic rooted in science and overselling it to a place where it misleads consumers.

By contrast, 23andme has been very public about the company’s belief that genes linked to elevated homocysteine and methylation capacity, such as MTHFR, should not be tested.

MTHFR status is included in the raw data files from 23andme tests, but no report interprets methylation capacity based on a polygenic risk score.

Further, now that 23andme has made it much harder to access raw data files, it’s not clear how easy it will be to utilize raw data in third-party apps moving forward.

So, if you are interested in methylation specifically, 23andme isn’t the test for you. Having said that, it doesn’t necessarily follow that 23andme testing should be ruled out. Having used 23andme in the past, I know first-hand the value the company offers as a starting point for the basics of ancestry and health and wellness information.

Traits covered by 23andme health and wellness reporting

23andme lists the health and wellness traits covered by their various tests here. In my view, many of the “health” reports included in the basic Ancestry test are throwaways, like:

  • Asparagus odor detection
  • Cheek dimples
  • Cilantro taste aversion

However, if you upgrade to the 23andme + Premium / Total Health, there are some interesting health reports available, such as:

There are also several more technical health condition related reports like:

All in all, most consumers would be interested in the health information contained in 23andme health reporting, although it’s not clear how actionable the information is, and much of 23andme’s mission is focused on drug research.

Order a Methylation Panel

Gene Food uses a proprietary algorithm to divide people into one of twenty diet types based on genetics. We score for methylation, fat metabolism, histamine clearance, carbohydrate tolerance, and more. Where do you fit?

Learn More

Reports we are interested in at Gene Food

23andme offers strong coverage of the very basics of health reporting, plus more data to analyze if you have or can access your raw data file. At Gene Food, we are focused on nutrigenomics, and in both our reporting as well as our Guide to Genetics and Nutrition, we have gotten in the weeds with science-backed information to help our customers personalize nutrition.

We score customers into one of twenty diet types based on polygenic risk scoring for traits like:

  • Dietary fat metabolism
  • Carbohydrate and blood sugar response
  • Histamine metabolism
  • Lactose intolerance
  • PPARA status
  • APOE4 status, and more

As part of our Health Intelligence upgrade, we also offer reporting on traits such as:

  • Cholesterol hyper absorption
  • Genetic response to fish oil supplementation
  • Methylation
  • Micronutrients
  • Wheat tolerance
  • Saturated fat and inflammation, and more

The bottom line

The bottom line with 23andme versus 10X is there is no comparison – 23andme offers significantly more value even without the methylation reporting.

There is no guarantee that ordering 23andme now will get you access to your raw data based on changes to 23andme’s policies.

Whether you order Gene Food comes down to what your primary interests are. If methylation and micronutrient information is of primary interest, our platform and Genetics Guide will be an upgrade over what you can learn from 23andme alone.

By contrast, if you are more interested in learning your status for singular genetic “mutations” that result in health conditions, like BRCA1/BRCA2 and breast cancer risk or Hereditary Amyloidosis, 23andme is the better choice.

John O'Connor

John O'Connor is the founder of Gene Food, a nutrigenomic startup helping people all over the world personalize nutrition. John is the host of the Gene Food Podcast and a health coach trained at Duke's Integrative Medicine Program. Read his full bio here.

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