…on the Internet and in some stores, people can buy kits, costing from $99 to $1,000, that let them send in a cheek swab for DNA analysis, fill out a lifestyle questionnaire and receive nutrition advice.
Investigators bought kits from companies through four Web sites, and created 14 pretend customers. The questionnaires described “customers” of different ages and lifestyles, but were paired with DNA samples from Kurtz’s infant daughter and a male agent at the GAO.
The advice varied greatly, but mostly contained generalities such as do not smoke and that the “customers” with bad diets may risk heart disease, the GAO reported.
One company advised three of the fictitious customers to buy a “personalized” dietary supplement blend, costing more than $1,880 a year, that the company claimed could repair damaged DNA, Kurtz said.
Genetics experts told the GAO there is no pill that can repair DNA damage and that some of the blend’s mega-dose vitamins might even cause harm. Plus, the advice was not personalized because it was the same blend even though two “customers” had different DNA and all three had very different health risks, Kurtz said.
More from the US Government Accountability Office (pdf)…