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Is Everlywell legit?

is everlywell legit
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We all have heard of the Theranos scandal. The blood-testing company aimed at revolutionizing the $25 billion blood-resting industry. It became one of the biggest biotechnology scandals of recent years, and court cases are currently ongoing. 

Everlywell started its journey on the SharkTank TV show just four years ago when shark investor Lori Greiner believed in a young entrepreneur from Austin, Texas, and in the vision of Julia Cheek, to change the way lab testing is conducted in the United States.

With the common goal to change how health tests are done, it is easy to look for similarities between the two young and blonde female CEOs of Theranos and EverlyWell and raise doubts about the legitimacy of EverlyWell. Luckily, things are different.

In this article, we will dig deep into the company that aims at changing how food sensitivity and other at-home biological tests are performed.

What is Everlywell offering, and for whom?

Everlywell started operating in August 2015. In just six years, the company raised more than $325 million and reached unicorn status with a valuation of more than $2.9 billion. 

The company has been tremendously successful in empowering people to conduct their medical tests and bypass the standard testing laboratories.

How did Everlywell disrupt the lab testing industry?

Everlywell is the prototype of what digital disruption can bring to healthcare. However, compared to Theranos, one of the main differences is that the breakthrough is more in the business model and process than purely on the technology used.

By bypassing the middlemen, lab testing facilities, and prescribing doctors, patients are in complete control of their health which is very positive as a public health matter.

In the old way, getting tested for a food allergy or STD followed a clearly defined sequence:

  1. Go to the Doctor, 
  2. Get prescribed a test,
  3. Go to the testing lab to draw blood or other samples,
  4. Wait a couple of days, sometimes longer,
  5. Go back to Doctor to get the results.

It took a lot of time and effort to get the whole process done. Especially when living in small and rural communities, being tested can be difficult. Privacy was supposed to be preserved by if you needed to be tested for a disease, you would have preferred to stay private. The risk was to bump into your neighbors or colleagues and have to explain what you were doing. It could end up in sometimes orchid moments.

Pricing was potentially an unpleasant surprise as well.

Hence, by streamlining the process, giving complete transparency right from the start, and ensuring total privacy by delivering the results in a digital format, Everlywell most definitely simplified the whole lab testing model.

The disruption is on the process more than on the technology. Digital is just the tool to help smoothly connect the dots and not the core added value of the business.

Theranos went one step further and tried to fully integrate the chain by offering new technologies to analyze the samples. Everlywell relies on CLIA certified laboratories to process the analyses, which in that sense does not change the way the tests were analyzed before. 

The disruption is in the ordering, collection, delivery, and analysis of the results. Nothing more. Sometimes, just a tiny push is needed to make the tower falls. 

How does the testing work?

The tests are ordered on the internet, and the company will then send by mail the requested kit in a couple of days. The tests can be ordered in every state, except for the state of New York, which has stringent regulations when it comes to medical or DNA testing.

Once received, register the testing kit on the Everlywell website and collect the sample. Yes, this is where it can be tricky. To benefit from a moderate price, you will have to collect the blood sample yourself. Seems tricky? Not so much. Most of the tests require a couple of blood drops, easily collected using the provided lancet. 

Once collected, send back the sample to the testing lab using the provided pre-paid envelop and wait for an email informing you that your results are accessible on your dashboard. 

What is the reputation of the company?

Everlywell is rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau despite not being accredited. The complaints primarily relate to customers being unhappy with the results or having difficulty collecting the samples. However, the company appears to respond diligently to all complaints and offers refunds when the dispute is not resolved.

On Amazon, the reviews from thousands of customers are usually in the four stars range which is always a good sign.

On Trustpilot, the company received only 11 ratings with mixed reviews, 2.5 stars out of 5. Some customers complain about the reliability of the tests when others seem to be satisfied.

What does Everlywell offer?

The company offers 35 tests divided into five main categories:

  • General Wellness
  • Men’s Health
  • Women’s Health
  • Energy & Weight
  • Sexual Health

They also provide several Covid-19 tests. The prices range from less than $50 to up to $259, depending on the complexity. Overall, the prices are fair and reflect a big company’s discount when processing numerous tests. In that sense, Everlywell may be the first company to bring down the lab-testing prices without compromising on the quality of the results.

All tests are processed in CLIA-certified laboratories, which is the certification required for medical diagnostics and follows strict quality insurance standards at the state and federal levels.

All of the test results are checked by a board-certified doctor to double-check and ensure validity. 

Everlywell is HIPAA certified to ensure that the results stay private and are securely stored. 

General Wellness

Twelve tests are available for general wellness testing. 

Food Sensitivity Tests

With more and more people having trouble digesting specific types of food or developing food-related allergies, food sensitivity testing is getting big. Everlywell food sensitivity test is an answer. The company offers two different tests depending on the number of foods tested. The first one will analyze the IgG reactivity to 96 different foods, including dairy products, cheese, fruits, grains, legumes, meat, seafood, seeds and nuts, vegetables, and spices. 

The company indicates that this test is not a food allergy test, nor can it determine lactose intolerance. Instead, it will define if your immune system reacts strongly to certain types of food and can be used as a first step in understanding how your body works and potentially understand your specific food intolerance profile. 

The sampling process uses a lancet to collect a couple of drops of blood that will then be placed on the collection card. The results are graded on a scale from 0 to 3. Zero represents the typical reactivity, while 3 indicates a high reactivity which could mean that you should avoid such types of food.

The comprehensive food sensitivity test is more expensive and will check the cross-reactivity to a broader range of food and spices (204 types of food tested.) 

Both tests are FSA/HSA accepted.

Food Sensitivity Test

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FIT Colon Cancer Test

For those over 45, EverlyWell offers a Colon Cancer test that aims at detecting the presence of blood in the stool. Fecal Immunochemical Test is an easy and painless way to detect the potential presence of blood leaking from colorectal polyps. 

This test is simple, inexpensive, and only requires a small sample of fecal matter applied to the provided collection card. Therefore, our only question relates to potential false positives for people suffering from hemorrhoids. 

Folic Acid Test

Folic Acid is a form of Vitamin B9 found in various foods. Assessing the levels of Folic Acid is of particular interest for people suffering from chronic fatigue or those planning for pregnancy. If the levels detected are often too low, they can be easily balanced by slightly modifying your diet (eating more greens) or by taking supplements. 

This test is also very inexpensive and only requires a drop of blood.

Lyme Disease Test

This test is of interest if you think a tick has potentially infected you. Symptoms include headache, joint pains, or chronic fatigue. In addition, the immunological cross-reactivity (IgM/IgG antibodies) is tested against three bacteria causing Lyme Disease: Borrelia garinii, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia burgdorferi.

The test kits only require one drop of blood, but EverlyWell indicates that a positive result is not a guarantee of being infected with Lyme disease but at least means that you need to talk with your Doctor.

Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test

EverlyWell offers a full panel of the most common allergens. In addition, the IgE reactivity is tested against nine species of weeds, 7 of grass, 4 of mold, two pet allergens, two pests, two dust mites, and 14 trees. 

If you sneeze or have watery eyes, you may be allergic to one or more of these common allergens, and the test will be helpful to answer this question and take the necessary precautions.

The test kit includes two lancets and the collection of 10 drops of blood to be deposited on the collection card.

Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test

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Cholesterol and Lipid Test

Sometimes we know that we are a bit overweight and may have high cholesterol without the will to go right away to the Doctor. This test is a first step in the right direction. 

It measures total cholesterol levels, LDL (the bad cholesterol), HLD (the good one), and triglycerides. It only requires a couple of drops of blood. The results are presented on a scale indicating the low, average, and elevated levels.

Indoor & Outdoor Allergy Test

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Heart Test

The Heart test is a more comprehensive test that includes the levels of cholesterol and lipid levels and includes HbA1c and hs-CRP. 

HbA1c, known as the Glycated Hemoglobin, is helpful to assess the potential risk of developing type 1 or type 2 diabetes, which increases the risks of heart diseases. In addition, it can be used to define your 90 days blood sugar levels better. This test can also be purchased separately.

hs-CRP is a marker of inflammation also know to be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart diseases.

Sleep & Stress Test

This test is exciting as it will concentrate on measuring the levels of three hormones known to be modified by the lifestyle and involved in regulating sleep and stress: Cortisol, Cortisone, and Melatonin. 

Creatine levels are also analyzed and serve as a control to ensure that potential kidney filtration issues will not impair the results of the hormones.

Identifying potential problems with these sleep and stress-related hormones may act as an eye-opener on why you may struggle at night or throughout the day and make the necessary lifestyle changes needed to get back to sleepful nights.

Interestingly the samples are collected from urine four times during one day to get a longitudinal view of how or hormones levels will vary.

A urine cup will be provided for accessible collection as well as urine sampling strips. 

Sleep & Stress Test

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Heavy metal test

This test is designed to track the exposure to potential environmental and may affect your health. 

Six heavy metals and trace minerals are tracked for Arsenic, Mercury, Cadmium, Selenium, Bromine, and Iodine. In the sleep & stress test, creatine levels are used as an internal control to rule out potential kidney filtration problems.

Repeated exposure to heavy metals at work or home can lead to several diseases and chronic tiredness. The test relies on a urine sample. 

Heavy Metal Test

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Men’s Health Test

Men’s health or fertility tests can be a sensitive subject, and you may not be willing to share your concerns right away with your Doctor. So in that sense, taking a private test in the comfort of your home may be an excellent first step. 

Testosterone Test

Testosterone is the number one male hormone produced by the testes. Decreased levels can lead to reproductive or sexual disorders. The test relies on collecting a saliva sample. The results are expressed in pg/ml, including an easy-to-read scale to understand better where your testosterone level stands.

Men’s Overall Test

This test expands on the testosterone test and adds three additional men’s health hormones: Cortisol, DHEA, and Estradiol.

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that will dramatically impact how the body will use glucose as a source of energy. Estradiol is the primary female hormone but will increase as we get older. It is a stimulating hormone to check to understand better where you stand in terms of biological age. 

Overall, this test kit offers a comprehensive view of the main hormones involved in men’s health and how to correct an imbalance potentially.

Women’s Health

EverlyWell offers six tests specifically aimed at addressing women’s health and fertility.

HPV Test

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is involved in cervical cancer. The test kit includes a vaginal swab sample collection. The test analyzes high-risk genotypes for HPV, including HPV16 strains responsible for 70% of cervical cancer and HPV 18/45 responsible for 4%. 

The test is not recommended for women under 21.

Women Health’s Test

This test offers a very comprehensive view of the hormone levels involved in overall women’s health. It includes 11 biomarkers (10 hormones and one biomarker) to understand better if you suffer from potential hormonal imbalances and require a more detailed reproductive or thyroid test.

The test addresses the levels of:

  • Estradiol is involved mainly in sexual life and reproduction,
  • Progesterone is involved in reproduction and pregnancy,
  • Luteinizing hormone involved in ovulation,
  • The follicle-stimulating hormone involved in the maturation of the eggs,
  • DHEAS involved in the regulation of hormones,
  • Cortisol, the primary body stress hormone,
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone,
  • Free T3 is involved in the thyroid gland,
  • Free T4 is involved in the thyroid gland,
  • Free Testosterone. Women also produces testosterone,
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies play a significant role in hypothyroidism.

The women’s health test is very comprehensive and will involve collecting both blood and saliva samples.

Ovarian Reserve Test

This test will concentrate on evaluating the FSH levels. FSH is involved in egg maturation. Therefore, by following the evolution of FSH over three days (requiring three drops of blood), the ovarian reserve test may detect hormonal imbalances involved in impairing fertility and reproduction.

Perimenaupose Test

By tracking three essential female hormones (Estradiol, Luteinizing hormone, and Follicle-Stimulating hormone), this test looks at the hormonal shifts occurring during menopause. The results can help in understanding if hormonal replacement therapy has to be discussed with your Doctor. The test involves a finger-prick blood sample.

Postmenopause Test

This test focuses on evaluating the levels of estradiol and progesterone and can be helpful to track your hormones levels during menopause and if replacement therapy is potentially needed. It consists of a simple saliva test.

Women’s Fertility Test

This test kit is the ultimate way to check if your body is ready for reproduction and if most of the critical hormones involved in the ovarian cycle and reproduction are at the correct levels to maximize the chance of becoming pregnant.

Five hormones are evaluated: 

  • Estradiol for ovulation,
  • Luteinizing hormone for ovary cycle,
  • Follicle-Stimulating hormone to assess the eggs,
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone,
  • Total testosterone.

The test relies on a collection of blood samples throughout three days to assess the evolution of the hormonal levels over time.

Fertility Test

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Energy and Weight

Thyroid hormones are highly involved in weight control and overall health. Everlywell offers four tests focusing on measuring various hormonal levels known to be critical while regulating overall body energy and weight control.

Thyroid Test

The Thyroid test measures the levels of three main hormones involved in thyroid function: Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, Free T3, and Free T4. In addition, the Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies are also analyzed to address potential hypothyroidism issues.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is involved in bone metabolism and immunity. Therefore, the measure of 25-OH-D is conducted on blood samples collected on the included collection card.

Vitamin D Test

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Metabolism Test

This test concentrates on evaluating the levels of three hormones involved in weight maintenance and ensuring that your metabolism is not impacted by a potential imbalance: Cortisol, Free Testosterone, and Thyroid-Stimulating hormone.

Vitamin D & Inflammation Test

This checks for a potential decrease in Vitamin D and an increase in hs-CRP, an inflammation marker synthesized by the liver in case of inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been associated with numerous diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, neurological or dermatological disorders. 

Vitamin D & Inflammation Test

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Sexual Health

Sexual health is essential, and a disorder can be associated with feelings of shame. However, testing for STDs can be complex in small communities, and privacy is also a significant concern for such disorders. In that sense, EverlyWell tests are an answer to a delicate issue to address.

Trichomoniasis Test

Trichomonas vaginalis is a parasite responsible for urinary and reproductive disorders. The test will detect if you suffer from Trichomoniasis with an accuracy of over 99%. A simple urine sample is all that is needed to conduct the test.

Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Test

Infection by Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are widespread and easy to cure. It relies on a urine sample, and the accuracy is over 99%.

Hepatitis C Test

This test is an antibody test against HCV antibodies. The test uses a blood sample to detect the presence of the Hepatitis C virus.

Syphilis Test

Syphilis is a severe STD that can lead to neurological disorders. This disease is unfortunately on the rise. The test is based on an immunological reaction against the virus. What is needed is only a couple of drops of blood.

HIV Test

Everlywell HIV Test checks the presence of IgG antibodies and p24 antigen on a couple of drops of blood. This test can detect infection more reliably than the tests relying on only HIV antibodies. It is part of the 4th generation of tests to detect HIV.

STD Female Test

This test is more comprehensive than the other tests and can detect seven commonly sexually transmitted diseases. 

  • Chlamydia,
  • Gonorrhea,
  • Syphilis,
  • Hepatitis C,
  • HIV (1&2),
  • Trichomoniasis,
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2.

The samples are blood drops and a vaginal scrub.

STD Male Test

For men, this test is the equivalent of the female STDs tests. It uses blood and urine samples to detect:

  • Gonnorhea,
  • Syphilis,
  • Hepatitis C,
  • HIV (1&2),
  • Chlamydia,
  • Trichomoniasis,
  • Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2.

STD Male Test

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Covid Tests

The last test offered by Everlywell is for the detection of Covid-19 using either blood or a nasal swab. 

To wrap up

EverlyWell is undoubtedly a legit company and offers numerous tests, from food sensitivity tests to STD tests or reproduction health or coronavirus tests. All of these tests are reviewed by a physician for quality insurance and to validate the results.

What is essential to keep in mind is that the tests should not be used for self-medication but as a way to be aware of a potential health issue and then take the necessary steps such as visiting your Doctor to confirm and find a treatment that will be best suited to address the underlying cause.

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