Leading spas are starting to offer DNA testing as the ultimate way to personalise services (see p56). However, molecular biologist Dr Tom Stubbs is taking the science a step further. He’s the co-founder and CEO of Chronomics, a UK startup which lays claim to being the first company to bring epigenetic testing directly to the customer.
He says: “Our genome – 3.2 billion letters of information – is fixed from birth. That’s your DNA. But your lifestyle and the environment have an influence on how that information expresses itself.
“Epigenetics testing gives the most accurate measure of your biological age – using real data that you can act upon to improve your health now and in the future.”
Stubbs says Chronomics uses next generation sequencing technology to test around 5 million epigenetic marks on DNA, combined with machine learning to predict how factors such as sleep, nutrition and pollution could be affecting your health today.
Its Biological Age test, which costs £399 (US$522, €464) a year, involves a saliva swab to assess epigenetic marks and in-depth lifestyle questionnaire. Results are processed in a lab and then over the next 12 months consumers have access to health and lifestyle coaches and DNA experts.
They log onto a dashboard loaded with their results, receive bespoke Chronomics health and lifestyle support, and progress tracking. They also have access to one-to-one coaching calls to help with mindset and implementation.
“We believe we’re the first company to offer this level of support after customers receive results,” says Stubbs, adding that they aim is to “reduce their risk of chronic and age-related diseases by up to 80 per cent.”
Chronomics is also now working with dozens of wellness providers – in corporate wellness, private healthcare and spas both in the UK and internationally. He says: “Some want to use their own experts to deliver the recommended lifestyle changes, while others need us to provide the whole service.”
Stubbs concludes: “The advent of consumer DNA testing brought a sense that things were predetermined and people couldn’t do much about it. Epigenetics, however, can push back against that part of their story, and help them to choose a better path of preventative wellbeing.”