Everlywell is one of the best-known at-home health testing companies in the US. They offer a extensive list of tests that cover different aspects of men’s and women’s health (including a full hormone panel, fertility testing, heavy metal testing and 30 others).
While you can ALWAYS ask your Dr to run blood work, I’ve started to rely on blood testing outside their office for a few reasons:
- It’s convenient to do this at home
- I’ve found some Dr’s resistant to order blood work when requested
- Sometimes I just want to check in on past data to see if things are improving or not (i.e. hormones!)
Knowing that at home testing can feel a little confusing and it’s different, I wanted to break down these tests and discuss their accuracy and usefulness to you when looking for a test.
What is Everlywell?
Started in 2015, the company has a deep line up on their Scientific Advisory Board, including scientists from Harvard, MIT, Google and NYU. Tests can be ordered by a physician or by you at home, but all blood collection is done at home and then results are delivered online.
As noted, I’ve actually purchased 5 tests over the last 6 years from Everlywell because I have found the data to be useful and easy to access.
For us, they’ve been a great tool to check in on things that were not major health issues, but areas I just wanted to know more. I.e. at one point I was concerned about our exposure to heavy metals. That was a test we could quickly run and understand the results, while skipping out on paying for a Dr visit and insurance hassles.
Blood spot testing, which is pricking your finger to collect small samples on a card, has been rigorously reviewed and validated for accuracy in lab testing. Which is why these are physician certified tests, with data provided back in a way we can all understand.
Everlywell also utilizes certified clinical laboratories with extremely high standards to ensure accurate processing.
At-home tests can provide valuable insights about your health, but they should not replace a doctor’s visit when you think something is truly wrong! A physician can better read all the data to tell you what actions to take.
How does Everlywell Work?
What does an at home collection test look like? In most cases, they will be providing a dried blood spot testing kit.
But in some cases like cortisol testing, you’ll collect saliva throughout the day.
Ordering Your Kit
Look through the list of over 30 home test kits Everlywell offers to find out which is going to best meet your needs. You’ll drop it in your basket and then at checkout use your HSA or FSA credit card to pay for it!
That’s right, these are absolutely something you can use that flexible health account on, which is even more savings.
You do NOT need a Dr’s prescription or note or anything like that to order.
Collecting Your Sample
Your testing kit will arrive in a very simple, direct and easy to understand package. It will have everything you need to collect your sample.
- Step one review any needs to fast before taking the test (i.e. some glucose would require no food prior to the test to get an accurate blood sugar level)
- Step two register the kit by typing your code in to the provided URL
- Step 3 clean your finger
- Step 4 use the provided stick to prick the SIDE of your finger (not the pad it bleeds heavily) – or collect urine or saliva as directed. They will provide multiple finger sticks, as soon as you use one the needle retracts and can’t be used again.
- Step 5 fill in the blood droplet circles
Mail Back Your Sample
After you’ve collected your sample, inside the box you will find a Hazardous material marked plastic bag. You’ll place it inside there and then back inside the box you received.
You’ll also have an outer bag and a mailing label.
It’s all provided and super easy to put things together. Then you’ll drop it off at a UPS store with the pre-paid label making it ready to rock and roll.
Read Your Results Online
After mailing your kit, you’ll get an email that is has been received.
Previously I got results within a week, but the last time around took about 14 days. I think there is a general back up in labs all over the US as they are helping with other testing.
- Receive an email that your results are ready
- Login to your account (created when you purchased)
- You’ll see a breakdown of the information related to that test
- You’ll see information about each of the markers and notes about why it might be high or low
- You will NOT get recommendations on treating anything
If you do see something that is an issue, you can absolutely take this blood work to your Dr. They may choose to run their own additional blood test, but you can point out that this is lab testing that’s certified and used by physicians so it should be trusted.
Everlywell Test Kits
First, I’ll breakdown a number of the test kits that I have tried over the last 6 years. There are so many different kinds of tests, I won’t cover them all in-depth, but you’ll get a feel for the process and detail.
Food Sensitivity Test
An elimination diet is the BEST way to truly determine what foods might be bothering you. However, in the middle of marathon training I just couldn’t cut tons of food and find myself even lower on calories.
So I went for the comprehensive Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test to give me some starting points. But I went in knowing that:
- Food allergies are easy to spot, that’s the EpiPen kind of scenario
- Food intolerances are the sneaky ones that show up in stomach pain, runny nose, headache, acne, but often a few days after eating a food or only when eating a lot of the offending food
- Blood tests for food can have false positives around things you eat a lot
- There is a lot of debate around the accuracy of using blood for an immune system response, but Dr’s use it and as noted for me it was a tool in figuring things out
- If you end up with a massive list of food reactions don’t try to take everything out, that creates larger problems
They offer a small test and a more comprehensive test ($249). I decided to just go big and get the whole list because I already knee that cow’s milk and eggs are something I’ve had issues with, so I was actually more curious about things like coconut and lentils.
Indoor Outdoor Allergy Test
Beyond looking at food, we often want to know if something in our environment is causing that runny nose or itchy eyes. This test is $199, again get that 15% code from above before ever ordering! They’ll send you another discount after.
David has a constant runny nose which he blamed on the cats. So finally I ordered this test to find out for sure!
He had no issues with the cats at all, at which point he moved on to claiming that it’s brain fluid. But at least the cats are safe.
- This is the same type of testing as food allergies, looking for how IG bodies react to potential allergens
- Again it’s not 100% foolproof, but at least provided us with some guidance on where to look
- It covers grasses, trees, molds and the most common pet issues
Women’s Health Test
A full hormonal panel, including thyroid and cortisol. It’s a test that can provide a lot of important insights and is also $199. They do have perimenpause test, a post menopause test, and a fertility test, which focus on fewer hormones for $99.
I wanted the full panel because knowing what’s happening with the thyroid can be extremely valuable.
Years ago, I found out that I stopped producing estrogen. Since then, I personally have wanted to keep an eye on all of my hormones and blood work to know where things stand.
Unfortunately, many women have found their Drs (and mine) refuse to order full hormone panels.
This information can be life changing and for women getting closer to running through menopause or that are post menopausal experiencing certain symptoms that feel random, but aren’t.
Heavy Metals Test
Environmental toxins were one of the things we considered as a cause for my estrogen drop. Unfortunately many places deal with air and water pollution, along with things like mercury from fillings we got as children!
At $199 this one is actually a urine sample collection rather than a blood test and will look at the 6 most common heavy metals that can cause issues.
Find out more about the Heavy Metals Test>>Additional Test
As noted they have over 30 tests available, so I haven’t used them all.
You’ll also find tests for things like:
- Men’s Health
- STD at home testing
- Vitamin D and Inflammation
- HBa1c (diabetes testing)
- Cholesterol and Lipids for heart health
- Sleep and Stress kits
- Lyme Disease Test
- Metabolism Testing
If you want to be able to order a variety of tests over time and save money, checkout their monthly membership program.
My Everlywell Review
While the MOST accurate way to test for an allergy is the Skin Prick test, it’s time consuming, painful, also still not accurate for a sensitivity and hard to find a DR to do. So I understand the potential limitations of the Everlywell style at home blood tests and I’m ok with it.
It’s provided me with information to try switching out foods so that I could resolve bloating issues.
It’s helped put my mind at ease about heavy metals after we go bombarded with news we needed to be checked.
It’s allowed me to be in charge of checking my hormonal healthy when previous Drs told me they thought it was all “probably just fine”. I’m not ok with probably anymore. Probably lead me down a long path of feeling unwell until someone finally chose to listen.
So yes, I recommend them because I like being in charge of my own health.
It’s also why I do more robust athlete blood testing and push our athletes to do so as well. With the InsideTracker testing we are often getting a much larger more comprehensive look at our health, instead of a snapshot of one single area. Both are valuable depending on the goal.
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