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Your body is at work, whether you’re sleeping, walking, or sitting quietly. Everything your body does, from breathing to keeping warm, requires energy. Energy is derived from your nutritional intake. Metabolism refers to the chemical processes that turn what you eat and drink into energy.

Multiple tests are available to analyze your metabolism. Most are done in medical settings, but you can order some of them online and do them at home. At-home metabolism tests are one way to determine if your metabolism is working at its best.

In this roundup, we’ll go over the pros and cons, as well as the two best options for at-home metabolism tests.

Click a link to jump to that part of the article and learn more.

Metabolism tests, or metabolic tests, are done to measure the rate at which you burn calories or use oxygen. Tests can use your breath, blood, or saliva to analyze hormones, chemical byproducts, and other metabolic markers. Some measure your oxygen intake and carbon dioxide output.

What can at-home metabolism tests check?

At-home metabolism tests measure hormones or other markers that affect metabolism. They can be a first step for determining whether your metabolism is functioning properly.

These tests require you to give a saliva sample, blood sample, or both. Then, you send your samples to a laboratory to be processed.

Hormonal metabolism tests are the only type you can do at home. Other tests can provide more and different information based on a larger blood sample, but they require you to go to a lab or work with a doctor first.

Your doctor can prescribe a metabolism test and perform it in a medical setting. They may do a blood draw at the hospital or recommend a laboratory where your blood will be drawn. If you wish to choose your own lab, look for one that is Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) certified. You may be able to order some metabolism tests that require a laboratory visit online, without a doctor’s prescription.

Many fitness centers and medical spas also provide some types of metabolic testing onsite.

At-home metabolism test

At-home metabolism tests use blood samples, saliva samples, or both. People primarily use these tests to help with their weight and fitness goals.

At-home kits typically measure hormones that affect metabolism rate. These include:

  • cortisol
  • free testosterone
  • TSH

They may also measure cholesterol and other significant markers that can affect your health.

You can order at-home test kits online. Many accept health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA) payments.

Once you receive your kit, you will register it with its specific identification number. This ensures that the laboratory will record your test results confidentially, once they receive your samples.

Test kits come with instructions. It’s important to follow them exactly.

Your test kit will contain all the materials you need for sample collection and shipping.

Basic metabolic panel

The basic metabolic panel is a blood test. Your doctor may order a basic metabolic panel to analyze multiple bodily functions. It can test for multiple conditions, including diabetes, kidney problems, and lung problems.

This test provides information about your:

  • blood sugar levels
  • electrolyte and fluid balance
  • kidney function
  • liver function

Your doctor may require you to fast before taking this test.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) test

An RMR test analyzes the amount of oxygen you breathe in and the amount of carbon dioxide you breathe out. This test helps determine the number of calories your body burns while you’re resting, rather than in motion. It’s done while you’re sitting or reclining.

To do this test, you will breathe into a tube connected to a computer. The computer will analyze the composition of your breath and produce a report on your oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide output.

Aerobic capacity (VO₂ max) test

VO₂ max is the maximum amount of oxygen that can be transported to working muscles per minute, during strenuous activity.

The VO₂ max test measures the amount of carbon dioxide you exhale while exercising. It provides information about your oxygen intake and caloric burn while engaging in aerobic activity.

Your doctor or coach may have you walk or run on a treadmill while breathing into a mask to do this test.

It is often used to analyze athletic performance and potential in people who participate in competitive or extreme sports.

Lactate threshold test

The lactate threshold test is a series of blood tests that measures your lactate threshold.

During athletic activity, your body uses oxygen to break down glucose, which it uses as energy. If there isn’t enough oxygen intake, lactate is produced instead. Your body converts lactate to energy without the aid of oxygen.

Your lactate threshold is the point at which lactate starts to accumulate in your blood at a faster rate than the rate at which your body can eliminate it.

Lactate threshold tests may be done while you undergo increasing levels of strenuous activity, such as running, cycling, or swimming. They’re usually used by endurance athletes and those who participate in competitive sports.

At-home metabolism tests can be a valuable tool. However, they don’t take the place of a doctor’s input. Some pros and cons are:

At-home metabolism tests use blood and saliva samples you take yourself and mail back to the company.

These samples are analyzed in a lab to determine whether your hormones or other levels are high, low, or normal.

The results indicate how your hormones or other markers may be affecting your metabolism and weight. They also may provide clues about your energy level and libido.

Can I get an at-home metabolism test mailed to me, no matter where I live?

No. In certain areas, state laws may limit the sale and availability of direct-to-consumer, at-home tests. If you live in a state where tests are not available for sale, you will not be able to place an order online or have it shipped to you.

Are at-home tests reliable?

The only way to determine if an at-home test gives 100 percent reliable results is to retest through your doctor or in-person at a laboratory. However, you can take certain steps to help ensure that your results are at least in the immediate ballpark, if not exact.

What can the results from at-home metabolism tests tell you?

Based on your test results, you may wish to modify your diet or exercise habits. If your cortisol is high, you may wish to add stress reduction activities, such as meditation, to your routine.

The kits on this list come from vetted manufacturers. Each manufacturer has stated that they comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and use CLIA certified laboratories for sample analysis.

We didn’t choose kits from manufacturers who make medical claims or give medical advice. Each manufacturer recommends that you discuss your test results with a doctor.

Each kit gets more positive than negative reviews for accuracy, customer service, and speed.

Best budget-friendly at-home metabolism test

Everlywell Metabolism Test

Price: $

How it works: This test uses a saliva sample and finger prick blood sample to analyze cortisol, free testosterone, and TSH. You’ll need to do it within 30 minutes of waking up, before you rinse your mouth or brush your teeth.

The 10-piece test kit includes what you need to acquire samples, from the alcohol swab to the bandage. It also contains detailed instructions for giving both the blood and saliva samples. The test includes a prepaid shipping label and biohazard bag for returning your samples.

Samples are sent to a CLIA certified laboratory for analysis. An independent, board certified physician also reviews test results.

How to get results: Your test results will be recorded in a report that is sent directly to your account. The report will include your hormone level readings, as well as information about the typical range for each reading.

Based on your results, your report will also contain health and lifestyle change recommendations.

According to Everlywell, you will receive your test results on their secure platform within days of receipt of your samples. Users mention receiving results within 9 days.

This kit receives many positive reviews, but it also has some negative ones that reference inaccurate results. Like all at-home tests, have your results analyzed by your doctor. If necessary, retest at a medical facility.

Best at-home metabolism test for medical input

myLAB Box At Home Metabolism Test

Price: $$

How it works: This test requires a saliva and finger prick blood sample. It tests for cortisol, free testosterone, and TSH.

The kit contains the items you need to get your samples, plus a prepaid return envelope.

Only CLIA certified laboratories are used to acquire sample readings.

How to get results: According to the company, test results are available within 2 to 5 days. If your test results are not within the usual range, you can request a free physician consultation to discuss them.

You may have ordered an at-home metabolism test because you’re not getting the results you want from a weight loss or exercise program. Visiting a doctor or nutritionist may be helpful if you want professional input about changes you can make.

If you took an at-home test and received atypical results, let your doctor know. It’s always important to discuss hormone levels outside the typical range with a medical professional. They may indicate underlying conditions, which you can treat with lifestyle changes or medication.

Things to consider for metabolism tests

Metabolism tests can provide information about multiple bodily processes, including lung capacity and blood sugar levels. Hormonal tests can help uncover underlying conditions, including insulin resistance, that you may not know you have.

If your doctor has recommended metabolic testing for you, they may use the results to determine if you have problems with kidney health, lung health, or other issues.

At-home testing can provide insight into specific hormones which may be affecting your energy level, libido, or weight.

A medical professional should always analyze the results of a metabolism test. At-home tests may provide information that will inform your doctor about your overall health or signify the need for additional testing.

At-home metabolism tests analyze hormones and other markers that can affect metabolism, weight, libido, and energy level. At-home tests are convenient and private. They can be a beneficial first step toward getting information about your health and metabolism. However, do not use these tests in place of medical advice.