EverlyWell Review – How Accurate Is This Home-based Test?
EverlyWell is a brand that consists of over two dozen home-based medical tests that are designed to provide you with “lab testing made easy.” These tests cover medical issues as wide-ranging as food sensitivities to female fertility levels and heart conditions, and they purportedly provide you with the same caliber of results that you’d get from an in-person doctor’s appointment, but at a fraction of the cost.
EverlyWell promises that their sample collection process is convenient and that the results you receive are accurate and easy to interpret. But do they stand up to medical scrutiny? Let’s look at how these tests are designed to work to find out.
How Does EverlyWell Work?
According to their website, every test from EverlyWell works approximately the same way. When you order a kit from the company, it is delivered to your home address, typically within a few days.
Each test provides instructions for taking a basic blood spot sample. Once completed, you can mail the kit back to the company with the included pre-paid shipping label. From there, the company will analyze your sample within days of receiving it and deliver your results online through their secure platform.
The company estimates that you will receive your results within five days of your sample arriving at the lab.
Note: EverlyWell tests are currently only available to residents in 46 U.S. States due to differing medical regulations. New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Rhode Island are excluded.
Can Children Use EverlyWell Tests?
According to what we found on their website, EverlyWell doesn’t currently offer testing options for minors under 18. While they state that the test is valid for children, they aren’t presently partnered with physicians who can approve its results.
But will EverlyWell tests provide accurate results for adults? To dive into this question, we looked specifically at the details behind EverlyWell’s most popular test- food sensitivity.
What is a Food Sensitivity?
According to Precision Nutrition and Healthline, a food sensitivity (also known as an intolerance) is an umbrella term that is used to describe negative food symptoms that aren’t categorized as an allergy.
These can range from general difficulty digesting food to gluten intolerance, but, critically, they aren’t symptoms that involve an immune response. Instead, they are more often defined by the absence of an enzyme needed for digestion, like lactase for digesting lactose.
Symptoms of food intolerances include gas, bloating, diarrhea, stuffy nose, nausea, and vomiting, among others. At these symptoms are similar to numerous other conditions, this makes it difficult to pinpoint whether a food sensitivity is to blame, or something else.
This variance in symptoms means that the medical community doesn’t have a set definition for what a food sensitivity entails. Consequently, diagnosing a food sensitivity tends to be difficult. Precision Nutrition told us that the symptoms of food sensitivities are milder and slower to develop than allergies, which makes them notoriously difficult to diagnose.
This makes home-based food sensitivity tests appealing, but will a test from Everlywell help you get to the root of your sensitivity problems?
Are Home-Based Food Sensitivity Tests Accurate?
EverlyWell’s at-home food sensitivity test measures your body’s IgG (an immune system protein) response to 96 different foods. This purportedly will help you determine whether you have any food sensitivities that are causing you health pain- but do the results live up to medical scrutiny? According to StatNews, there are some serious doubts.
According to their claims, the experts they interviewed found IgG tests to be medically dubious. They state that immunoglobulin G is part of the body’s standard immune response when it’s exposed to different substances. In this view, high levels aren’t necessarily indicative of a problem. Rather, they show that a food was recently eaten.
Research from a 2008 European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology task force backs up this view. They recommend against using an IgG test for evaluating food intolerances because the results were irrelevant for determining whether a food sensitivity was to blame.
This same recommendation was endorsed by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology issued a similar statement against the use of the test.
Moreover, Statnews states that the allergy experts they interviewed believe IgG tests can cause harm to patients because the results might lead them to cut healthy foods out of their diet unnecessarily.
Does EverlyWell address the IgG test controversy? According to their website, the company believes that there is still a divergence of beliefs in the medical community about their effectiveness, but that their test aligns with relevant research about the benefits of diagnosing food sensitivities.
We aren’t medical experts, so our opinions here can’t substitute for a physician’s advice. If you aren’t sure whether an IgG food sensitivity test makes sense for your medical situation, it’s best to talk directly with your doctor.
What are the Available EverlyWell Tests?
Beyond food sensitivity testing, EverlyWell sells over a dozen testing options. Below is a sampling of the available diagnostic tests at the time of writing.
Woman’s Fertility Test ($159): This test looks at the hormones that regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and ovulation to gauge overall fertility and provide a detailed assessment of them.
Health Heart Test ($79): Designed for anyone who wants a better look into the health of their heart, this test measures lipid levels of total cholesterol, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides, as well as other markers of your risk of heart disease.
Metabolism Test ($89): If you’re struggling to understand your susceptibility for weight gain, this test measures three essential hormones that help you regulate your body weight, energy levels, and mood.
Thyroid Test ($159): This test evaluates the functioning of your thyroid and indicates whether you should visit a doctor for further testing. EverlyWell’s website states that up to twelve percent of the U.S. population has thyroid problems at some point, so getting your indicators tested is recommended.
Vitamin D Test ($79): Designed to ensure that your vitamin D levels are where they should be, EverlyWell’s vitamin D test is recommended for anyone suffering from inexplicable fatigue, depression, joint pain, or general muscle weakness.
Heavy Metals Test ($199): EverlyWell’s heavy metal test measures the concentration of environmental toxins in your bloodstream, which are chemicals that can come from synthetic contaminants found in food, water, and the outside environment. It measures your levels of arsenic, selenium, mercury, cadmium, bromine, iodine, and urinary creatinine (used to normalize the test results).
What is the Laboratory Process for The Tests?
The company website tells us that EverlyWell has partnered with a physician network of outside CLIA-certified (clinical laboratory improvement amendments) labs to conduct specialty testing for every kit.
They state that a board-certified physician will review your test within your state before being released to you and that they regularly perform quality assurance testing as well.
You can get your specific questions answered by contacting the company directly at email@example.com.
One of the best ways to learn how a product works in the real world is to see what previous customers say about it, so we looked at online reviews of EverlyWell tests to find out.
Several reviews are listed directly on the company website which were (unsurprisingly) entirely positive.
One reviewer mentioned that she always felt sick after drinking her morning mocha and assumed she had a coffee sensitivity, but that the test revealed that cocoa was the cause of her problems. Since switching out the mocha for a latte, she hasn’t experienced any further health problems.
Other reviews on the site noted that users appreciated the convenience of online test results and the fact that they could skip a visit to the doctor.
A review on the blog of nutritionist and wellness coach Mary Vance talked specifically about the testing process. She found it more difficult than expected to prick her own finger for the blood test (and found that she preferred having a doctor doing it instead) but she was pleased with how easy it was to follow the included instructions and with the overall details and results of her test.
While she noted that the turnaround for health results was faster when she went to a lab, she recommended the test for anyone who found that inconvenient.
How Much Do EverlyWell Tests Cost?
At the time of writing, there are over 25 tests available through EverlyWell, and they range in cost from about $49 (Cholesterol and Lipids Test) to $399 (Women’s Health Test). We couldn’t find any mention of a return policy on the company website, which makes sense since the tests are designed to be single use. For specific inquiries, contact the company directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Are Other Options for At-Home Medical Testing?
As previously mentioned, EverlyWell tests are one option out of many for at-home medical testing. For the sake of making a meaningful comparison, we chose to focus specifically on food sensitivity testing options from Affordable Allergy Testing and Wellnicity.
An Affordable Allergy test costs $145 (EverlyWell’s test costs $199), and it provides testing for 650 food and environmental sensitivities, 50 nutritional deficiencies, and 50 metal toxicities. The company promises you will receive your results back within 7 to 10 days, and it relies on a hair sample for testing, not a blood sample. Also unlike EverlyWell, the company states that their test is suitable for children and pets as well.
Wellnicity tests are offered for $119, though they aren’t available for NY or MD residents. This test measures your reactivity to 44 different foods through a blood sample, and, like EverlyWell, the results are processed by a third-party lab and delivered back to you after roughly a week.
If you’re willing to experiment, a smart option might be to try all three tests and see how the results compare to each other (and to an in-person lab test with your physician). This will help you learn whether there is any consistency between your test results.
Does Health Insurance cover EverlyWell Tests?
At the time of writing, EverlyWell doesn’t work directly with any insurance companies to have their tests covered. The company states that they strive to be transparent about the pricing for their medical testing process. Their website tells us that they want to counteract the complicated pricing variations from physical medical facilities where pricing can vary considerably based on insurance.
While every test is listed on their website at a set rate, they do provide information about the ways that you can get the cost of your test reimbursed.
For instance, they state that their tests comply with HAS/FSA (health savings account and flexible spending arrangement) regulations because they are authorized by physicians and fit the guidelines accordingly.
To get reimbursed through these programs, EverlyWell suggests that you request an itemized receipt at the time of purchase so that you have access to information about the tests you ordered, the date they were ordered, your diagnosis codes, the name of the physician who looked at your results, and the NPI.
Because of the variation in insurance policies across the country, EverlyWell recommends that you contact your supplier directly to discern what coverage you have for their tests. They state that certain tests are more likely to be covered than others (Cholesterol & Lipids Test, Comprehensive Thyroid Test, and Inflammation & Vitamin D Test), so it’s smart to contact your insurer if you plan to take one of them.
Our View: Our EverlyWell Tests Worth It?
EverlyWell as a brand is striving to simplify the process of medical testing by letting you order and complete medical tests on your own time, and then receive the results fast enough to rival physical labs. Is the process worth it?
We found mixed reviews on the effectiveness of their food sensitivity results. StatNews told us that the accuracy of IgG tests are medically dubious, and reports from the 2008 European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology task force, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, and the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology back up this viewpoint.
However, customer reviews of EverlyWell’s food sensitivity tests are positive, and some people in the reviews we read noted that their test results validated what they already suspected about their health or provided them with valuable insight that they could act on.