Living with chronic bloating, upset stomach, and/or headaches from food intolerances can reduce your energy levels and overall quality of life. Georgia-based DNA testing company, 5Strands Affordable Testing offers at-home test kits that use a hair sample to test for intolerances that can better guide your food choices. Testing is performed using bioresonance technology that recognizes and compares energetic profiles in the hair and food items tested. Major differences are marked as an intolerance or imbalance.

5Strands tests the following:

  • 650 food and environmental factors
  • 50 metal and mineral intolerances
  • 115 nutritional deficiencies

Anyone can take a 5Strands test and a doctor's referral is not required. 5Strands Affordable testing also offers specific kits for children ages 14 and under, in each of the varieties above. 5Strands tests are available online, as well as in partner retail locations and through specific wellness or medical providers.

Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of 5Strand DNA testing. 

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The Good

  • Easy DNA Sample
  • Bundled and A La Carte Testing
  • Fast Results
  • Tests Approved for Children
  • Refund Policy

Easy DNA Sample

5Strands tests require the collection of 10-15 strands of hair, all at least one inch long. If you are bald or have really short hair, you can use any body hair, including hair from your arm, leg, nose, ear, or face. 

If you can't get hairs that are at least one-inch long from your body hair, the testing company asks that you send more than 15 strands. Other food sensitivity testing companies require a saliva or skin prick test to produce results. Collecting a hair strand sample is easy when compared to a saliva or blood sample. 

Additionally, the hair sample collection method is not affected by factors like recent meals and medications, etc, which can cause difficulties or the need to collect a new sample when companies use DNA testing. This type of genetic sample also helps to reduce the need for additional sample collection because the saliva sample leaked out or high temps ruined it. 

Bundled and A La Carte Testing

5Strands offers bundled and a la carte testing options. The a la carte testing provides cheaper options for those interested in specific health results. The bundled tests are best for those seeking results about food intolerance, nutrition deficiencies, metal and minerals imbalances, and environmental intolerances for a discount price. Other DNA testing companies often offer a similar pricing structure to give customers a variety of testing options. 5Strand’s testing prices are comparable to other competitors who test for food and environmental intolerances. 

Here is a quick breakdown of the test options for humans:

Bundled Tests     A La Carte Tests

Standard Package (Adult) — $122

  • 300 food and environmental intolerances
  • 115 nutritional deficiencies

Deluxe Package (Adult) — $154

  • Over 550 food intolerances
  • More than 100 environmental factors
  • 115 nutritional deficiencies
  • 50 metal or minerals 

Food Intolerance Test — $72

  • 550 foods

Nutritional Deficiency Test — $46

  • 115 nutritional deficiencies

Metal & Mineral Test — $46

  • 50 metals and minerals

Environmental Intolerance Test — $50

  • Test for 100 potential environmental intolerances

Fast Results

When you buy a 5Strands testing kit online, you can choose between an E-Kit or a Shipped Kit, i.e., a physical collection kit that must be shipped to you in the mail. The digital E-Kit just means that you can download the forms and fill them out, instead of waiting for the physical kit to arrive in the mail. If you want your results extra fast, you can use the E-kit to eliminate the kit shipping time. 

Results are available in about 5-7 days after the sample arrives at the lab. This is much faster than other DNA testing companies. Your DNA results report is sent via email within 7-10 business days. 

Your results email also includes instructions for interpreting the results of your screening. Reports are multiple pages long with a color coded table to help you interpret the results. The food sensitivity information is best used in an elimination diet. You can eliminate the food categories with high intolerance results and measure how you feel afterward. 

If you send in your hair sample and don’t get a response for more than two weeks, you should contact customer service. 

Tests Approved for Children

While many other DTC DNA testing companies don't suggest their product be used for children, 5Strands is very clear about which tests are approved for kids and even infants. Food sensitivity tests for children can be used to distinguish between picky eaters and eaters with a high food intolerance. 

Refund Policy

To cancel your services, you must notify customer service within seven days of your order, before you send in your sample. If you ordered the downloadable version, your refund will be less a $20 fee. 

Despite this easy refund option, 5Strands quotes a return rate of just 0.04 percent.


The Bad

  • No DNA Sequencing
  • Not a Substitute for Professional Medical Advice
  • Non-IgE Mediated Testing

No DNA Sequencing

Let's be clear: 5Strands Affordable Testing, may not be what you are looking for if you truly want a DNA test. 

5Strands uses a different type of testing called bio-resonance testing to profile customers' intolerances and nutritional deficiencies, rather than sequencing your DNA, you won't be able to download your raw DNA data to use for another purpose. 

Bio-resonance testing is still a contested science

This type of health screening is faster, offers a more extensive list of intolerance information, and (for the most part), offers quite a lot of screening for a relatively low price. Consider this: You can get more than 800 intolerance risks tested in the deluxe package for less than $160. 

Not a Substitute for Professional Medical Advice

If you are looking to solve a medical mystery, you may want to get a test referral from your doctor. 5Strands is very clear on its website that test results do not qualify as medical diagnoses and any possible medical details provided by this test need to be confirmed by a qualified doctor. Reliance on the site's results is at your own risk. 

Non-IgE Mediated Testing

5Strands purely tests for intolerances, not allergies. An intolerance is much different than a food allergy. Common allergies are commonly referred to as IgE-mediated allergies

What's the difference?

Let's use food intolerances as an example. According to the Mayo Clinic, allergic reactions to food are much more severe and life-threatening than intolerances. This is probably why most people know by adulthood that they have a diagnosed allergy, while fewer people know that they have an intolerance, which most often doesn't include an immediate reaction, but can show up after the interaction. Allergy testing often requires a blood sample or a scratch test for environmental factors.

Allergist and immunologist Dr. Mark Aronica explains via the Cleveland Clinic

“While symptoms of allergy and intolerance may appear similar, one clear difference is how they affect your body… An allergy is mediated by the immune system and can affect multiple organs. However, digestive issues usually point to a food intolerance, not an allergy.”

To better understand whether a 5Strands test can bring you answers, check out this list of allergy and intolerance symptoms the company provides below. Remember, 5Strands doesn't test for allergies. 

Common Allergy Symptoms  Intolerance Symptoms
Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue Bloating, diarrhea, and water retention
Hives and itching Joint pain
Nausea or vomiting Skin irritation, itching
Chest tightness or wheezing Acne
Abdominal pain Headache
  Mood swings
  Eye mucus
  Runny nose

The Bottom Line

5Strands Affordable Testing offers several different tests to screen for food and environmental intolerances, as well as nutritional deficiencies. In all, you can be screened for more than 800 factors that could be affecting your health, all with an easy hair sample. 

What 5Strands doesn't offer is testing via DNA sequencing, with raw data that you can download and use elsewhere. If you are looking for intolerance screening via DNA sequencing, with specific results on specific genes/SNPs, you will want to look elsewhere.

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terryjamison Madison, MS

Very interesting for family history and it very helpful to find out things you didn’t know

1 year ago

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