DNAFit Results and Review

Ooook so this has been a bit delayed…my DNAFit results and review.

**Full Disclosure: I bought DNAFit myself and have not been asked to write a review.**

I first heard about DNAFit in RunnersWorld magazine (possibly an online article, possibly in the magazine, I can’t remember). At first I was like “this is weird” and then “is this legitimate…and safe?” but because it was in RunnersWorld I was instantly intrigued and reassured of it’s legitimacy (I know, I’m a sucker for good marketing!).

I could send off my DNA to be tested and be told a whole host of things about my genes regarding fitness.

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I chose the DNAFit Lite.

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As someone who has been plagued by injuries in the past, I was curious to know really how weak my body was. Was I predisposed to getting injuries just because that was who I was or was it really all in my head? We all know our own bodies fairly well so I was pretty sure what to expect from the results…but just to have the confirmation, or more in depth information was tantalisingly tempting. As it was my birthday my parents agreed to contribute to the cost and I made up the rest (happy birthday me!).

I didn’t need a VO2 Max potential as I’d already suffered gone through that VO2 test last year and though more information would have been nice on my genotypes and the athlete comparison, I wasn’t willing to pay £30 more for it.

DNAFit (1)

Inside are very helpful and straight forward instructions about how to collect your DNA. It uses a mouth swab which you then send back in a pre-paid secure envelope. It advised swabbing first thing in the morning so I did just that, while feeling like a criminal 😉

DNAFit (2)

It didn’t hurt and was very simple and easy. They emailed me to let me know when they’d received it and then the waiting game began. I was really excited to hear my results, desperately hoping I was actually made of steel and my injuries were all in my head.

Less than 10 days later I received an email telling me my results were in. Wheee!

I won’t lie, when I first looked at my results it was literally a quick scan to see the main points. I was also a little disappointed to find how much of it I really understood and how much I really got from it. Science lessons were a while ago now! Saying that though, after I read it a few more times and asked the company a few questions, my understanding increased and I felt like I got a lot of information.

Power Endurance Profile

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I was highly surprised by this result. I really thought it would come back and say I was most suited to endurance activities. I love long distances and find them easier than shorter, sharper activities. It’s nice to know that my body seems attuned to both. I suppose this could make sense as when I put my mind to it I can do well (relatively speaking) at shorter distances, it’s just psychologically more work and less enjoyment.

As well as that overall summary it also goes into detail about different variants of genes. This is where my understanding started to waver. But after sending a query to the DNAFit people they quickly came back and explained it to me:

“The effect is shown by the presence of ‘-‘, ‘*’, ‘**’, “+”, and “++”. When there is just a dash, that means that the version of that gene is not associated with an effect in this particular part of the report. Then the presence of one asterisk’*’ means it has an effect, and two asterisks means that gene variant has a particularly strong effect on the marker in question…and two plus signs = very strong, one plus = strong.” (From DNATFit advisor)

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Basically you’re given a list of the variants they examine and then marks them as to how much effect they have on your body. There are different strengths of associations and some variants might not have any effect at all, while some are really strong.

image The darker shade of green is the version of that gene that I hold

I also found that I have a better VO2max response to training and lower levels of inflammation after hard training sessions, leading to quicker recovery times.

Recovery Speed

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Again I was nicely surprised by this result. I assumed I’d get a slower recovery speed, but medium is good so I’m quite happy with that! I like how it suggested things for me to do to improve on my recovery. Since doing the Simply Supplement review in May I regularly take omega-3 tablets so I feel quite smug about this 😉

From my gene variants it seems I potentially have more free radicals post-exercise because I lack the part of the gene associated with their removal (I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about…). And I apparently experience “higher levels of inflammation after strenuous exercise”.

One of the benefits of getting these results back around the time of my marathon was that it could inform me of the best way to come back to running sensibly. During the week after the marathon when all I wanted to do was run I remembered these results and held myself back. I was sensible with what I ate, I wore compression socks and I was gentle with myself. It was almost like I could validate my rest (and convince myself not to run) because I knew my body needed it.

Injury Risk

This was the one I was most interested about. Injuries plague most runners, but I feel like I’ve had more than my fair share in comparison to others.

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No surprises there whatsoever. I did feel somewhat depressed by this result though. But it does make sense that genes have an effect on these things. I’m sure we all know those people who can run stupidly high mileage every week, never stretch, never foam roll and never get injured. I’m sure those are the low injury risk people.

I also apparently have an increased risk of tendinopathy and osteoarthritis and a moderately raised risk of tendon and ligament injuries in sport. And a susceptibility of increased inflammation after a hard workout.

Overall

After understanding the results more, I feel quite happy with my results. It’s very complex obviously, with what genes affect me, the strength of that effect and then the variants within that gene. It does take a bit of careful reading and re-reading!

But what DNAFit also stress is that your genes aren’t everything. They’re the foundations to your house, but how you build to that house and furnish it is up to you. Last year I was stupid with my training. I didn’t do enough strength training for my body and when I got injured I didn’t take the time off to properly recover and then to gradually come back. It was more of a case of “I feel OK now, what race is next?” and jumping back into my training plan that I abandoned just before the injury.

One of the pointers DNAFit advisers me from my results it that I need to “undertake prehabilitative exercises relevant to the sport and consider nutritional support for connective tissue”. Since before Christmas I’ve been doing just this and it’s clearly working. They stress that my injury risk is based only on my genes, but that I can make changes in my environment to reduce this injury risk. Like our biology lessons taught us, genes aren’t everything – it’s a combination of genes and environment. I’m sadly not one of those people who can just run. I’ve got to strengthen and protect my body, and then take the time to rest and recover properly.

Is it worth it? Though DNAFit confirmed many things I already knew about myself, it was nice to get an insight into the details and know a bit more about myself. Would I recommend it? It is expensive and if you’re already well-tuned to your body, I’d say you probably don’t need it. But if you’re like me and want to know a bit more about yourself and help work out what you really need to do for good training (for example, I can’t run six days a week regularly – my body needs more recovery) then go for it. Ideal birthday or Christmas present!

Would this interest you?

Have you ever done a VO2 test or a DNA test like this?

How much recovery do you think your body needs?

13 thoughts on “DNAFit Results and Review

  1. This is really interesting and to be honest I didn’t know that something like this existed. I would love to know what mine would come back with too.

    I also though it was interesting that it came back with something different to what you thought it would. Goes to show that our mind and bodies can be very different sometimes.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Feta, Avocado and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich by DanniiMy Profile

    • Yeah it was fascinating stuff. I think this whole gene testing thing is becoming more and more popular – you can do with foods now as well to find out which things are good or bad for you, like whether your body works better on carbs or protein.

  2. I think I would be a bit hesitant about spending so much money myself, but if my family wanted to chip in, this is something I would love to have done. I love the geeky stats and stuff like this!
    The only real assessment/test I’ve had done was when I was chosen to be part of Operation Ultra a couple of years ago. The physio watched me both on the treadmill and performing a few simple exercises. From this I was given a pack showing which of my muscles I underused and how best to strengthen them and bring them into a little more work!
    Mary recently posted…A PB in the heatMy Profile

  3. Thanks so much for writing such a fascinating post! It was so interesting to read, and I wish I could have something like this done myself. On the other hand, perhaps I wouldn’t want to know…

    I’d be interested to see how a test like this picked up on my scoliosis, which is technically a genetic condition. Obviously it causes all sorts of problems relating to pain and injury, but I wonder if I’m predisposed to other issues on top of that as well. Eh, I’d probably break their machines because every result would be so awful 😛

    Forewarned is forearmed, and by the sound of it you’re maximizing the benefits of this test to avoid injury and/or burnout in the future 🙂
    Jess @ One Step Closer recently posted…Questioning My (Running) Decisions?My Profile

    • That would be interesting to know if it did pick up on genetic conditions. I doubt you’d break their machines tho! You can’t be the worst out there!!
      It’s definitely a good, solid reminder that I’m not superwoman and my body is very delicate. It’s not just “fluffy” advice for me anymore, it’s fact.

  4. If it is helpful to you, then it is really positive, and if it makes you rest more and help your recovery then it seems to be money well spent!
    Your parkrun times certainly show that you can do the really speedy work as well as the endurance side of things.
    I think it takes a long time to get to know when you need rest, and when you need to keep going- I think I am a lot better now but still don’t get it right all of the time.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…June running and missing things by a minute (or more)My Profile

    • I always find that it’s always a week after you’ve run full on week that it catches up with you, so you miss the opportunity to properly recover and you need to do some catching up. I think it’s just about knowing your own limitations and what works for you body.

  5. Wow this sounds really interesting! I’m sorry that you’re a high risk for injury, but I imagine it was quite nice to find that out, and be a little bit validated that it wasn’t just poor training causing your issues but an actual genetic predisposition! And definitely useful to know what sort of training is most beneficial, and how best to recover. I’d really be tempted to find out my results, perhaps if it wasn’t so expensive…
    Beki @MissWheezy recently posted…Parkrun Tourism: Fulham PalaceMy Profile

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