Are the Epigenetic Insights Truly Useful?
I work out at least five times a week, carefully monitor my diet, and try to do yoga as often as possible. So, as a diehard “gym rat” who focuses on health and wellbeing, I came to Muhdo’s website with a lot of earnest curiosity. I wanted to know whether Muhdo really offered anything that’s really useful for the health-conscious individual.
I instinctively look at companies like this through a skeptical lens, because there are just so many like it claiming to provide the same thing. However, I’ve got to admit that Muhdo, at least on the surface, seemingly offers what anyone concerned about their diet, general health, fitness, and overall wellbeing would be interested in.
Muhdo uses modern, “epigenetic” technology to provide actionable insights that can improve your lifestyle. If you’re new to DNA-testing, epigenetics refers to the modifications in your DNA that turns your genes “on” and “off.” These modifications affect how your cells “read” genes, and insights about them can provide a reliable rubric for healthy living.
Still, though, all of this is only the surface what this company has to offer. Let’s take a closer look to see if there’s anything about it that makes it stand out from the competition.
You Just Need to Provide a Saliva Sample
Muhdo provides two basic products (DNA Health Profile and Biological Age & Epigenetic Profile), but the process of providing your DNA sample is the same for both. It’s not complicated at all, but it does require you to download Muhdo’s app on your phone.
Depending on where you’re ordering from, your at-home DNA test kit should arrive in your home within a few days after you place your order on the website. Here’s what’s in the kit:
- Simple instructions
- A tube for the saliva sample
- A stabilizing pill that preserves the sample during shipping
- A prepaid return envelope
After opening your kit, scan the barcode on the tube using the barcode scanner or enter the code manually – this is so you can be notified via text when your results are ready. Afterward, all you need to do is provide a saliva sample. Importantly, you shouldn’t eat, drink, chew gum, smoke, or even brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes before you collect the sample.
Unscrew the lid and screw on the tube, which already has the preservative liquid. Spit inside the tube until your saliva reaches the demarcated 4ml line. Your saliva will mix with the preservative solution. Then, detach the funnel and securely fasten the cap. After that, all you have to do is send your sample back to Muhdo using the envelope that came with the kit.
Muhdo offers its services globally and has an average turnaround time of three to four weeks for test results.
Muhdo’s 5 Standout Features:
1. Epigenetic Insights for Your Health and Wellbeing
Muhdo looks at the hundreds of thousands of biomarkers that sit just above your genes to provide you with personalized reports on how your overall health and wellbeing are genetically influenced by your lifestyle choices. That includes what you eat, how you work out, and environmental factors.
2. Feedback on How to Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals
Both of Muhdo’s tests give you test results that point out the lifestyle choices that, based on your genetics, you might need to change in order to drop those lingering pounds in an optimal way.
The report is very accessible and includes insights on:
- The diet that’s best for you
- The micronutrients that you need more of
- Exercises you should be doing
- How to best recover after you exercise
- How many calories you probably need
In short, the lab’s epigenetic analysis renders a report with actionable feedback on what might be stifling your weight loss goals.
3. Info to Support Your Fitness and Endurance
While there are some basics when it comes to what we should do in the gym, e.g., wiping down the equipment after use (that’s just basic courtesy), ultimately, one size does not fit all when it comes to getting in shape. Muhdo provides you with a genetically-matched workout planner that you can use to focus your fitness goals.
The planner looks at:
- When you should take “rest days” (because most people shouldn’t work out every day)
- Time under tension
- Recovery time (because you can’t go full throttle all the time)
- Sets, reps, and a diversity of different training methods
- Amount of optimal training days and times
4. Insights into Your Ability To Build Muscle
Your genetics play a role in the size and definition of your muscles. Muhdo’s team of geneticists, sports scientists, nutritionists, and physiologists have researched how a specific gene (AMPD1) and the environment affect these things. So you’ll get personalized feedback on how to avoid things like “overtraining” and how to achieve muscle hypertrophy.
5. Comparison of Your Biological Age vs. Your Chronological Age
Depending on your lifestyle and environmental factors, your biological age can vary widely from your chronological age. This has to do with the length of your telomeres, which are the protective caps on the tips of the chromosomes on your DNA strands. These caps tend to shorten and degenerate with time, and unhealthy choices and outside factors can accelerate this process.
For example, while you might be 44 years old, your DNA might show that you have the health of a 68 year-old. You can think of your “biological age” as one of several, reliable genetic indications of how “healthy” you really are.
Both of Muhdo’s tests will report on your “true age” and provide recommendations on how to improve it so you can stay young for as long as possible.
Straight-Forward, Accessible, and User-Friendly Reports
Once the lab processes your DNA sample, you’ll get a notification via text or email that has a link to your account. Muhdo generates 100+ reports related specifically to your diet and fitness, as well as your overall health and wellbeing.
If you’re looking at your results on the Muhdo app – which you’ll have to download as part of the signing-up process – you’ll find individualized, user-friendly reports based on your unique DNA. Each of these also comes with personalized recommendations.
Your results on the app are broken down into five sections:
The summary section provides a nice overview of the lab’s analysis of your DNA, which includes insights about your metabolism, increased risk for certain deficiencies, and more. After that, it starts to get even more interesting.
For every category mentioned above, you get several reports in specifically related areas, all of which are accompanied by a visual spectrum that shows where your genetic predisposition falls, i.e., if it is average or below/above. Here’s an example of what your Physical Overview (left) and Diet Report (right) will look like:
Personally, I like this presentation very much. The reports are straightforward and user-friendly with no frills. The fact is that it’s extremely difficult to convey dense, individualized lab results in a way that’s easily accessible to the layman. However, I think Muhdo excels in this area.
Similar Tests to Consider:
- HomeDNA: While this company’s tests tend to be slightly more toward the expensive side of the price spectrum, the types of insights provided in its Healthy Weight and Food Sensitivities tests are comparable to what Muhdo is offering.
- DNAfit: You’ll find two products on this company’s website that are definitely worth your consideration, namely its Diet Fit and Health Fit products. These tests contain many of the same insights as Muhdo, but you can also upload your raw DNA data if you’ve already taken a test with 23andMe or AncestryDNA. This will save you time and money on a report.
Pay More, but Receive More in Return
Muhdo’s products aren’t the cheapest you’ll find. Vitagene’s Health + Ancestry Report is one of the most inexpensive tests of its kind that I’ve seen since I’ve been reviewing DNA testing companies. Not to mention, you can save extra money by uploading raw DNA data if you’ve already taken a test with MyHeritage, AncestryDNA, or 23andMe.
However, Muhdo might be worth the extra cash. The company uses epigenetic analysis, which can give you a current idea of how lifestyle and environment might be affecting your genes and the rate at which you’re aging. That’s more advanced science than you’ll see in most other DNA tests, and yet its Biological Age & Epigenetic Profile package costs almost exactly the same as DNAfit’s Health Fit test and Orig3n’s Fitness and Nutrition bundle.
Its reports also cover a lot of niche areas that many other similar tests don’t, including:
- Gut health
- Eye health
- Hearing health
- Biological age
Unfortunately, even though Muhdo provides its services globally, it only offers free postage on the return envelope for customers from the UK and Germany.
Customers outside Europe are requested to use a courier service to return the DNA sample to avoid lost samples during transit. After sending Muhdo the receipt of payment for the courier service, you’ll be refunded the cost of shipping up to $10.
As far as payment methods go, Muhdo accepts:
- American Express
I Honestly Felt a Little Lost with Muhdo’s Customer Support
There are two things I look at when I’m reviewing the quality of a DNA testing company’s customer support: 1) self-help options and 2) interactive, “in-person” assistance. Muhdo does alright on the first count, but it really disappointed me when I posed some questions to the company and received very little help.
Regarding the self-help options, Muhdo’s website has plenty of helpful features, including:
- Loads of information on the science behind its testing
- Detailed descriptions of its products
- A relatively comprehensive section of FAQs
If you want to speak to someone from Muhdo directly, you can reach them by phone, email, and regular post:
Unfortunately, there’s no live chat feature, which I always find to be more than a little disappointing.
Anyway, I opted to contact Muhdo via email with a couple of questions on two different days, but this is where I felt let down. When I asked if there were any sample reports that it could share with me, I was basically advised to look it up myself by downloading the app:
And when I asked about what distinguished Muhdo from similar DNA testing companies, I was again told to do my own research and take a closer look at the FAQ section. I get that the company is app-based, but if I were interested in self-help options, then I wouldn’t have tried to personally connect with someone from customer support.
Worth the Investment for the Depth and Variety of What’s Offered
Honestly, while I like the look, feel, and potential of going with Muhdo for DNA-based diet and fitness insights, I can’t say that it’s the only good option on the market.
The epigenetic analysis is definitely impressive, and provides a much deeper understanding of your genes and what this means for your health. However, if you are more price sensitive and not as concerned with the science, you can’t do much better than Vitagene. Orig3n also offers several products that touch upon niche insights, such as psychology, mental health, and skin care.
Ultimately, go with Muhdo for the comprehensive spectrum of insights. It’s a viable option if you’re concerned about your overall health and wellbeing.
How accurate is Muhdo?
No DNA test is 100% accurate. That said, Muhdo claims to check its raw data analysis against other labs and confirm that the results match with at least 99.99% accuracy. Of course, interpretation of these results can also affect the precision of its reports. Muhdo’s recommendations come from its team of experts, including scientists, professional health coaches, personal trainers, and nutritionists. The company also pulls from confirmed published research, to help ensure that its reports are as accurate as possible.
Can you upload raw DNA data to Muhdo?
No. Unlike some competitors, like Living DNA and Vitagene, Muhdo does not allow you to upload raw DNA data from another company. If you have already taken a DNA test with another testing company (like MyHeritage, AncestryDNA, or 23andMe), you may want to choose a competitor that allows you to upload your raw data in order to save time and money on your reports.
How do you interpret Muhdo data?
The Muhdo reports are extremely visual and easy-to-read; you will not have to spend a lot of time and energy trying to interpret your results. You’ll receive 100+ reports in 11 health areas, including: anti-aging, gut health, immunity, stress, etc. In the Physical Overview, for example, you’ll learn whether your genetic muscle power and muscle stamina have a “normal” status, or if you fall “above normal” or “below normal.” Keep in mind that these reports will tell you your genetic predisposition to different traits, not whether or not you actually have these traits.
How long does it take to receive results from a Muhdo test?
After you order your test kit and receive it in the mail, you will need to submit a saliva sample back to the Muhdo lab. Once the company receives your sample, it will generally take around three to four weeks for your results to become available online. You’ll get regular updates that keep you apprised of the process. Calculating your biological age – which is included in the Biological Age & Epigenetic Profile kit – can take a bit longer. You may need to wait four to six weeks for these results.
Who should consider taking a Muhdo test?
The DNA Health Profile and Biological Age & Epigenetic Profile tests can provide useful and interesting information to anyone interested in improving their overall wellbeing. These tests are particularly beneficial if you are trying to lose weight or build muscle. However, Muhdo’s reports are more expensive than many competitors on the market. This is because they use epigenetic analysis, a more in-depth scientific approach, which can provide greater insight.
If you are price-sensitive, you may want to look into Vitagene, which offers many similar reports, but at a fraction of the cost. Alternatively, if you are interested in genetic information regarding your health and fitness – but are also interested in learning about your ancestry – you might want to look into a packaged report from MyHeritage or AncestryDNA.