If you were as excited as I was about the new affordability of DNA testing, you might be sitting here with your shiny-new 23andme or AncestryDNA raw DNA going, “what else can I do with this?” If you’re also interested in how your genes may affect your ability to lose weight—or tendency to put weight on for that matter—you might want to give Athletigen a try.
Note if you haven’t taken a DNA test, and can’t decide which service to buy, 23andme or ancestry, I have a full comparison here.
What is Athletigen and what does it have to do with 23andme and AncestryDNA?
Athletigen takes your raw DNA results from 23andme or AncestryDNA and picks out those genes which have been tied to weight loss or athletic performance. The service is entirely free and only takes a moment. You get a ton of information, some of which is just sort of neat to know and other stuff that could actually help you lose some weight or exercise more efficiently.
Once you either link your 23andme results or upload your raw DNA from ancestryDNA, you’ll be taken to a simple page with three categories. “Athletics,” “Sports Psychology” and “Nutrition.” Within each category there are different traits that have strong scientific evidence. You can see a wide variety in the screen shots of my report below, but some highlights include your ability to perform under stress, your tendency to over or under eat, or your sensitivity to certain foods.
Each trait has an explanation with research links on click. It’s cool, but I wouldn’t say it’s all inclusive. There are things I learned from other health reports, Promethease in particular, that affect my weight and exercise needs that were not mentioned at Athletigen, but it being free, it’s a fun thing to fiddle around with.
That, being said, how serious should you take it?
Now, I’m going to caution here that just because your genes predispose you to something doesn’t make it fact. For instance, based on my genes I have an over 70% chance of being lactose intolerant and I am not, not even a little bit. Based on my genes I should not crave carbs—and I am queen of all things baked. Athletigen really is just for fun, but it may also help guide some of your health decisions as far as what you might want to try. I do wish it was a bit more in-depth. I would love to have more dietary suggestions. For example, in my Promethease report there were some genes tagged associated with the need for a low carb diet with high intensity interval training, but there was not a wealth of information about that in their report, and those points weren’t even mentioned at Athletigen. I do know from a quick “DNA for weight loss” Google, that there probably are programs out there that do that, I’d just wager they are anything but free, so I’ll stick what what I’ve got for now.
Note, as of April 2016 Athletigen is selling their own test at $199. 23andme results can still be used for free by uploading here (the link seems a bit hidden now on their site). I actually had to email their support team to find out where you upload ancestryDNA raw data, as I could not find it anywhere. I received this reply, “To import 23andme or AncestryDNA data, please create an Athletigen account using this link. During the signup, you have the option to upload your raw 23andme or AncestryDNA file and generate an Athletigen report.” You do not have to spend money for this report.