I originally heard about EverlyWell on an episode of Shark Tank, and I was fascinated by the idea of being able to learn more about my health from home. However, I was definitely skeptical of how much easier and convenient this DIY lab kit claimed to be compared to a traditional doctor's visit. So when I got the opportunity to try out the Metabolism Test ($89), I was excited to find out what my DNA was going to reveal about weight and energy — and to see whether it was really the more practical option.
EverlyWell offers over 20 at-home kits, including tests for food sensitivity, STDs, women's fertility, and stress and sleep. I decided to go with the Metabolism Test, which looked at three specific areas:
- Cortisol levels: Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, can affect fat storage, blood sugar, muscle breakdown, your immune system, and more. Ongoing chronic stress can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and ulcers.
- Thyroid health: This test measures thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) — low levels can slow your metabolism and cause fatigue and weight gain. Excess amounts can increase your metabolism and potentially result in undesired weight loss.
- Testosterone levels: Contrary to popular belief, testosterone is present and essential for both sexes — though levels will obviously be higher in men than women. This hormone influences fat burning and muscle development. Low levels of testosterone in men can cause weight gain, infertility, and decreased muscle, while high amounts in women can be a sign of infertility.
Most of us may think that our metabolism is primarily associated with our body's process of converting food to energy. And though that is absolutely true, our metabolism also plays a huge factor in our energy levels, mood, weight, and body composition.
How EverlyWell Works
Once I received my at-home kit in the mail, I waited until the following morning to collect my saliva and blood sample. The instructions said to complete the sample collection within the first 30 minutes of waking up, before brushing your teeth. Inside the kit included a lancet to prick my finger, Band-Aids, a blood-collection card, a tube for my saliva sample, collection bags, and instructions. Drawing my blood was quick and nearly painless with the lancet, though the saliva sample was a bit more difficult to collect. I had to fill a tube with enough saliva to fill it up to three-fourths (not counting bubbles), which ended up being quite the struggle for me. Overall, this entire process from start to finish took me 10 minutes.
Once I got everything I needed, I placed the samples back into the prepaid box and dropped it off at my local post office. From the time of registering and mailing my kit to EverlyWell's lab partner, it took nine business days to receive my results via text and email. According to EverlyWell's FAQ page, the company works with "the most prominent CLIA-certified labs in the country that conduct specialty testing," and they are "the same labs many physicians use to perform their testing." Basically, your results should be as accurate as what you'd receive from your doctor.
Though my constant fatigue had me expecting my thyroid health to be somewhat irregular, I was surprised to find both my cortisol and TSH results come back normal. One area that was irregular, however, was my testosterone levels. Normal levels of testosterone for women are much lower than men's, but abnormal levels (either high or low) can still have a significant impact on our health, including libido, energy, fertility, weight, and muscle mass. Turns out that I have abnormally low levels (less than 10 pg/mL) of free testosterone in my body, which could potentially explain why I'm constantly lethargic and, as of more recently, why my sex drive has been low. EverlyWell explains that high levels of testosterone in women are more reason for concern than low levels are but to talk to a doctor if you think any of these symptoms could be related.
EverlyWell did deliver in all areas of affordability, ease, and convenience, as promised. I appreciated how my results were broken down by specific values and showed where my health stands on a scale of low, normal, and high. EverlyWell also provided explanations of the significance of each hormone and linked out to additional resources for more information, rather than giving me a convoluted results sheet that's impossible to decipher. Most importantly, it's shown me an irregularity that I plan to flag in my next checkup. Though it's likely nothing to be concerned about, I may not have known about it otherwise.
A couple of things I do wish my results included were actionable steps to take as well as possible causes for that abnormality. But overall I found the entire process to be simple, and I would recommend this to anyone looking for answers without having to step inside a doctor's office.