age is right a number and a one that you may be able to change. At least it’s the land behind Count healtha new startup that is part of a group of companies selling tests that ask consumers to know their “biological age”.
You’ve heard of home tests like the ones from 23andme And Ancestrywho analyze your DNA to provide information about ethnic heritage and health risks. Now, a wave of startups are marketing tests that claim to analyze your blood, urine, or a cheek swab to reveal your biological age. The tests measure epigenetic patterns or changes in the body that affect how genes behave. Unlike a civil age, which advances at the same rate for everyone, biological age is the rate at which cells, tissues, and organs appear to decline, and this can vary depending on a person’s medical history.
Tally Health, which launched last week, is one of about a dozen companies offering these tests. Harvard University biologist David Sinclair, co-founder of the company, describes his version as something like a credit score for your body. You swab your cheek and drop off your sample in the mail, and the company sends you back your biological age. “If you’re younger, that’s fine. We want to keep you there and even make you stay younger as you age chronologically,” Sinclair says. “If you find a number older than your cohort, we’re here to help you get back to not just the mean, but even underneath mean biological age.
Genetics and lifestyle both contribute to aging. Choices like diet, exercise, smoking, and drinking alcohol all cause epigenetic changes in the behavior of genes. Exposure to stress, trauma and pollution can also have an effect. Scientists believe that the accumulation of all these factors affects a person’s biological age, but Sinclair believes that genetics is far less important than factors that are largely within a person’s control. (Sinclair is 53, but he says that according to Tally Health’s test, his biological age is more like 43.)
Sinclair is an influential person and often controversial researcher in the anti-aging field through his promotion of resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes, which he once called “as close to a miraculous molecule as you can get.” Other researchers have been more cautious about the possible benefits of resveratrol, given its mixed results in animal testing. (Sinclair take resveratrol supplements daily, and his Harvard lab is still researching the compound). Sinclair has founded several biotech companies, including those focused on longevity, and his 2019 book Lifespan: why we age and why we don’t have to made its debut on THE New York Times list of bestsellers.
“What we’re trying to do, at the highest level, is change the way we age,” says Melanie Goldey, CEO of Tally Health. “It’s a number that tells you how your body is actually aging relative to the number of birthdays you’ve had.” (Goldey says his biological age is about six months younger than his chronological age.)
In addition to giving each customer an age reading, the New York-based company provides an action plan of personalized lifestyle recommendations, such as sleeping more, sitting less, minimizing stress, or eating. more vegetables – probably things that most people could benefit from. Users can take a one-time test for $229 or get a subscription to test every three months so they can monitor their biological age over time. “We think that’s a good amount of time for people to get their action plan, be empowered with the information, choose the adjustments they want to make, and actually implement some changes,” Goldey says.
She says the company had built up a waitlist of more than 270,000 when it launched, though she didn’t say how many people signed up for a subscription, which ranges from $129 to $199. $ per month.