Everlywell Review: Are The Tests Inaccurate?

Everlywell Review: Are The Tests Inaccurate?


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Disclaimer: None of the information in this article constitutes medical advice, and is just the opinion of the writer(s). We recommend that patients follow their doctor’s guidance in regard to medical testing.

Everlywell is a lab testing brand that sells convenient, at-home test kits intended to help people uncover information about a wide range of health issues, from obesity to metabolic issues to food sensitivity. The brand suggests their tests are for people who are "sick and tired of being sick and tired."

But are Everlywell's tests actually accurate? Do they use appropriate technology, and how do they compare to medical testing from a doctor's office? How do real users rate and describe the experience ordering tests on Everlywell?

In this article we'll answer all of these questions and more as we analyze the methodology of three of Everlywell's most popular tests: Food Sensitivity Test, Metabolism Test and COVID test. We'll give our take on whether or not these tests are worth the money.

We'll also feature real, unsponsored Everlywell user reviews.

Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test Review

Everlywell’s Food Sensitivity Test is the brand's most popular test.

Everlywell claims to test for an antibody response to 204 common foods that may be “causing you discomfort.” By testing for and eliminating these foods from the diet, a patient would theoretically have an improved quality of life.

The idea sounds great on paper, but the problem is that Everlywell uses the less accurate type of food allergy testing.

Everlywell tests for immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies, and medical research has shown that these antibodies do not play a causal role in food hypersensitivity reactions. The linked study, published in the Advances in Dermatology and Allergology journal, directly states that “laboratory tests based on the titrations of sIgG” (which is what Everlywell performs) should be considered as insignificant in the diagnosis of food allergy.”

While this type of testing is a marker of immune response, it may not accurately diagnose allergy or sensitivity because even healthy, non-allergic patients produce IgG antibodies in response to common food allergens.

The type of tests that are more commonly used for food allergy are called immunoglobulin E (IgE) tests, and this is the type of testing that would likely be ordered at an allergist's office for food allergy testing.

Medical research has shown that IgE-mediation is what causes the allergic responses to food proteins that can result in symptoms like itchiness, difficulty breathing or nausea.

We find it strange that Everlywell doesn’t address this distinction on their product page, and we do not recommend this test. Not only do we consider IgG food sensitivity testing a waste of money, it may end up being unhealthy if it restricts certain foods from the diet that don't need to be restricted.

A YouTube creator named Kayla Nelson tried this test and shared whether the experience was worth it for her:

Everlywell Metabolism Test Review

Everlywell's Metabolism Test that claims to “test the hormones that influence weight and energy.”

Outside of extremely rare medical conditions, it’s primarily dietary factors like caloric intake and calories burned through activity that have the biggest influence on weight, so we consider this marketing claim somewhat unscientific.

Everlywell’s Metabolism Test tests for cortisol, free testosterone and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

Cortisol is an important hormone that can be an indirect marker for stress and adrenal issues, according to a 2003 clinical trial, however testing for the hormone directly is not the most accurate way to diagnose the root cause of the issue in our opinion.

Testing for overactive adrenals (which suggests too much stress) typically involves a 24-hour free urine cortisol test, a midnight salivary cortisol test, or an overnight dexamethasone suppression test, none of which Everlywell appears to offer.

We don't believe that testing cortisol levels in isolation has much practical application.

A high cortisol level suggests that lifestyle changes like meditation, breathing exercises, improved sleep and increased cardio exercise may be useful to improve metabolic health.

Free testosterone may be a more effective marker for metabolic issues in men than total testosterone, according to a medical review published in the JCLA journal. However, this may not be the most effective way to diagnose metabolic issues in women.

Most testosterone panels contain both free testosterone and total testosterone, and the additional testosterone data would be more useful than what you'd get from Everlywell.

Thyroid-stimulating hormone testing can help assess thyroid health, which is critical to metabolic health overall, but T4, T3 and thyroid antibody tests are usually measured as well.

Overall, we consider Everlywell's Metabolism Test too broad to be useful. We cannot determine any advantage of this approach over standard hormone panels ordered at a doctor's office.

The standard hormone panels are typically more comprehensive. As stated above, if a man gets a testosterone test at his doctor's office, the panel will typically include free testosterone, total testosterone, and sometimes sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) and estrogen. This additional data can be more useful to diagnosing and treating potential issues than the single testosterone marker tested for by Everlywell.

A YouTube creator named "allie bryan" has a review of Everlywell's Women's Hormone test that's somewhat similar to the metabolism test and may be useful to prospective consumers:

Everlywell COVID Test Review

Everlywell sells a COVID-19 test, which uses the Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) method. This has been shown in recent medical research to be more accurate than antigen testing, and is becoming the standard COVID test.

For patients with high discretionary income, this may be a good option since they can stay at home and minimize the risk of exposing themselves or others while ordering the test if they suspect they have COVID.

For patients on a tighter budget, this exact same test is available for free at many locations in the U.S. ThermoFisher’s website has a resource page where patients can input their information and schedule an RT-PCR test. These tests are usually free, even for patients without insurance, but it’s worthwhile to call and confirm beforehand.

Overall we consider Everlywell's COVID test to be accurate and may help prevent the spread of the virus given that patients can minimize exposure while awaiting results. However, it may not be the best option for those with lower discretionary income who can get the exact same test for free at public clinics.

Real Customers Review Everlywell

Amazon is a better resource for honest customer reviews than a brand's website in our opinion.

Everlywell's most-reviewed test on Amazon is their Food Sensitivity Test, which has been reviewed over 4,400 times and currently has an average review rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars.

The top positive review from a verified purchaser comes from a user named "Cara" who claims that dietary modifications based on the test's results helped improve her symptoms:

"Here is what I can tell you - wheat and gluten are on my reactive IgG list. I eliminated both and I went from near-daily migraines to about 3 per month...So don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. This test is just one piece of your body’s ecological mystery puzzle."

The top negative review from a verified purchaser is written by a user named "Clifford" who claims the test is inaccurate:

"I am in my mid 20s and have been experience seafood allergy over the past few years but unsure what type of seafood is causing it so I decided to give this test a try. But the result came back as none of the seafood is allergic to me but instead I have a high sensitivity with eggs, eggplant,and tea which I have every day and have ZERO problem with it."

Everlywell has an average review rating of 1.31 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, and the brand doesn't respond to the majority of negative customer reviews with an attempt to resolve the situation, which we consider a red flag of a low-quality brand.

Pros and Cons of Everlywell

Here are the pros and cons of Everlywell as a brand in our opinion:

Pros:

  • Can help patients understand their symptoms
  • More data typically can only help
  • Accepts some health insurance
  • Accurate COVID testing

Cons:

  • Questionable food sensitivity testing methodology
  • Questionable metabolic testing methodology
  • Expensive
  • May be less accurate than standard doctor-ordered blood panels
Stay up-to-date on our research reviews

Conclusion

Everlywell is an interesting brand and we believe in the future of at-home testing for complex health issues. However, we would not recommend two of the three Everlywell test kits that we reviewed in this article.

The brand's food sensitivity test uses IgG rather than IgE testing, which may be less accurate based on a medical review cited in this article. Our concern is that this test may result in "false positive" results causing some consumers to unnecessarily avoid foods that would be healthy for them.

Everlywell's metabolic test only provides data on three disparate metabolic parameters, and we do not believe that the sum of these data points can diagnose or treat any condition, so we consider it a waste of money.

A blood panel ordered by a doctor would be much more comprehensive, and would typically cost less.

The brand's COVID-19 testing uses the most accurate method and we would recommend it, although there are many free clinics offering COVID tests that use the same methodology.

We haven't come across much evidence that Everlywell provides significant value beyond standard labwork ordered by a doctor or through a company like Quest Diagnostics. While convenience is nice, accuracy should be the most important qualifier for medical testing, because an inaccurate or incomplete medical test could have lifelong consequences.