Matt Fuchs is the editor-in-chief of Leaps.org. He is also a contributing reporter to the Washington Post and has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, WIRED and the Washington Post Magazine, among other outlets. Follow him on Twitter @fuchswriter.
What if a simple blood test revealed how fast you're aging, and this meant more to you and your insurance company than the number of candles on your birthday cake?
The question of why individuals thrive or decline has loomed large in 2020, with COVID-19 harming people of all ages, while leaving others asymptomatic. Meanwhile, scientists have produced new measures, called aging clocks, that attempt to predict mortality and may eventually affect how we perceive aging.
Take, for example, "senior" athletes who perform more like 50-year-olds. But people over 65 are lumped into one category, whether they are winning marathons or using a walker. Meanwhile, I'm entering "middle age," a label just as vague. It's frustrating to have a better grasp on the lifecycle of my phone than my own body.
That could change soon, due to clock technology. In 2013, UCLA biostatistician Steven Horvath took a new approach to an old carnival trick, guessing people's ages by looking at epigenetics: how chemical compounds in our cells turn genetic instructions on or off. Exercise, pollutants, and other aspects of lifestyle and environment can flip these switches, converting a skin cell into a hair cell, for example. Then, hair may sprout from your ears.
Horvath's epigenetic clock approximated age within just a few years; an above-average estimate suggested fast aging. This "basically changed everything," said Vadim Gladyshev, a Harvard geneticist, leading to more epigenetic clocks and, just since May, additional clocks of the heart, products of cell metabolism, and microbes in a person's mouth and gut.
Machine learning is fueling these discoveries. Scientists send algorithms hunting through jungles of health data for factors related to physical demise. "Nothing in [the aging] industry has progressed as much as biomarkers," said Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of Deep Longevity, a pioneer in learning-based clocks.
Researchers told LeapsMag that this tech could help identify age-related vulnerabilities to diseases—including COVID-19—and protective drugs.
Clocking disease vulnerability
In July, Yale researcher Morgan Levine found people were more likely to be hospitalized and die from COVID-19 if their aging clocks were ticking ahead of their calendar years. This effect held regardless of pre-existing conditions.
The study used Levine's biological aging clock, called PhenoAge, which is more accurate than previous versions. To develop it, she looked at data on health indices over several decades, focusing on nine hallmarks of aging—such as inflammation—that correspond to when people die. Then she used AI to find which epigenetic patterns in blood samples were strongly associated with physical aging. The PhenoAge clock reads these patterns to predict biological age; mortality goes up 62 percent among the fastest agers.
The cocktail, aimed at restoring immune function, reversed age by an average of 2.5 years, according to an epigenetic clock measurement taken before and after the intervention.
Because PhenoAge links chronic inflammation to aging and vulnerability, Levine proposed treating "inflammaging" to counter COVID-19.
Gladyshev reported similar findings, and Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute of Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, agreed that biological age deserves greater focus. PhenoAge is an important innovation, he said, but most precise when measuring average age across large populations. Until clocks—including his blood protein version—account for differences in how individuals age, "Multi-morbidity is really the major biomarker" for a given person. Barzilai thinks individuals over 65 with two or more diseases are biologically older than their chronological age—about half the population in this study.
He believes COVID-19 efforts aren't taking stock of these differences. "The scientists are living in silos," he said, with many unaware aging has a biology that can be targeted.
The missed opportunities could be profound, especially for lower-income communities with disproportionately advanced aging. Barzilai has read eight different observational studies finding decreased COVID-19 severity among people taking metformin, the diabetes drug, which is believed to slow down the major hallmarks of biological aging, such as inflammation. Once a vaccine is identified, biologically older people could supplement it with metformin, but the medical establishment requires lengthy clinical trials. "The conservatism is taking over in days of war," Barzilai said.
Drug benefits on time
Clocks, once validated, could gauge drug effectiveness against age-related diseases quicker and cheaper than trials that track health outcomes over many years, expediting FDA approval of such therapies. For this to happen, though, the FDA must see evidence that rewinding clocks or improving related biomarkers leads to clinical benefits for patients. Researchers believe that clinical applications for at least some of these clocks are five to 10 years away.
Progress was made in last year's TRIIM trial, run by immunologist Gregory Fahy at Stanford Medical Center. People in their 50s took growth hormone, metformin, and a drug called rapamycin for 12 months. The cocktail, aimed at restoring immune function, reversed age by an average of 2.5 years, according to an epigenetic clock measurement taken before and after the intervention. Don't quit your gym just yet; TRIIM included just nine Caucasian men. A follow-up with 85 diverse participants begins next month.
But even group averages of epigenetic measures can be questionable, explained Willard Freeman, a researcher with the Reynolds Oklahoma Center on Aging. Consider this odd finding: heroin addicts tend to have younger epigenetic ages. "With the exception of Keith Richards, I don't think heroin is a great way to live a long healthy life," Freeman said.
Such confounders reveal that scientists—and AI—are still struggling to unearth the roots of aging. Do clocks simply reflect damage, mirrors to show who's the frailest of them all? Or do they programmatically drive aging? The answer involves vast complexity, like trying to deduce the direct causes of a 17-car pileup on a potholed road in foggy conditions. Except, instead of 17 cars, it's millions of epigenetic sites and thousands of potential genes, RNA molecules and blood proteins acting on aging and each other.
Because the various measures—epigenetics, microbes, etc.—capture distinct aging dimensions, an important goal is unifying them into one "mosaic of biological ages," as Levine called it. Gladyshev said more datasets are needed. Just yesterday, though, Zhavoronkov launched Deep Longevity's groundbreaking composite of metrics to consumers – something that was previously available only to clinicians. The iPhone app allows users to upload their own samples and tracks aging on multiple levels – epigenetic, behavioral, microbiome, and more. It even includes a deep psychological clock asking if people feel as old as they are. Perhaps Twain's adage about mind over matter is evidence-backed.
Zhavoronkov appeared youthful in our Zoom interview, but admitted self-testing shows an advanced age because "I do not sleep"; indeed, he'd scheduled me at midnight Hong Kong time. Perhaps explaining his insomnia, he fears economic collapse if age-related diseases cost the global economy over $30 trillion by 2030. Rather than seeking eternal life, researchers like Zhavoronkov aim to increase health span: fully living our final decades without excess pain and hospital bills.
It's also a lucrative sales pitch to 7.8 billion aging humans.
Get your bio age
Levine, the Yale scientist, has partnered with Elysium Health to sell Index, an epigenetic measure launched in late 2019, direct to consumers, using their saliva samples. Elysium will roll out additional measures as research progresses, starting with an assessment of how fast someone is accumulating cells that no longer divide. "The more measures to capture specific processes, the more we can actually understand what's unique for an individual," Levine said.
Another company, InsideTracker, with an advisory board headlined by Harvard's David Sinclair, eschews the quirkiness of epigenetics. Its new InnerAge 2.0 test, announced this month, analyzes 18 blood biomarkers associated with longevity.
"You can imagine payers clamoring to charge people for costs with a kind of personal responsibility to them."
Because aging isn't considered a disease, consumer aging tests don't require FDA approval, and some researchers are skeptical of their use in the near future. "I'm on the fence as to whether these things are ready to be rolled out," said Freeman, the Oklahoma researcher. "We need to do our traditional experimental study design to [be] confident they're actually useful."
Then, 50-year-olds who are biologically 45 may wait five years for their first colonoscopy, Barzilai said. Despite some forerunners, clinical applications for individuals are mostly prospective, yet I was intrigued. Could these clocks reveal if I'm following the footsteps of the super-agers? Or will I rack up the hospital bills of Zhavoronkov's nightmares?
I sent my blood for testing with InsideTracker. Fearing the worst—an InnerAge accelerated by a couple of decades—I asked thought leaders where this technology is headed.
With continued advances, by 2030 you'll learn your biological age with a glance at your wristwatch. You won't be the only monitor; your insurance company may send an alert if your age goes too high, threatening lost rewards.
If this seems implausible, consider that life insurer John Hancock already tracks a VitalityAge. With Obamacare incentivizing companies to engage policyholders in improving health, many are dangling rewards for fitness. BlueCross BlueShield covers 25 percent of InsideTracker's cost, and UnitedHealthcare offers a suite of such programs, including "missions" for policyholders to lower their Rally age. "People underestimate the amount of time they're sedentary," said Michael Bess, vice president of healthcare strategies. "So having this technology to drive positive reinforcement is just another way to encourage healthy behavior."
It's unclear if these programs will close health gaps, or simply attract customers already prioritizing fitness. And insurers could raise your premium if you don't measure up. Obamacare forbids discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, but will accelerated age qualify for this protection?
Liz McFall, a sociologist at the University of Edinburgh, thinks the answer depends on whether we view aging as controllable. "You can imagine payers clamoring to charge people for costs with a kind of personal responsibility to them," she said.
That outcome troubles Mark Rothstein, director of the Institute of Bioethics at the University of Louisville. "For those living with air pollution and unsafe water, in food deserts and where you can't safely exercise, then [insurers] take the results in terms of biological stressors, now you're adding insult to injury," he said.
Government could subsidize aging clocks and interventions for older people with fewer resources for controlling their health—and the greatest room for improving their epigenetic age. Rothstein supports that policy, but said, "I don't see it happening."
Bio age working for you
2030 again. A job posting seeks a "go-getter," so you attach a doctor's note to your resume proving you're ten years younger than your chronological age.
This prospect intrigued Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, senior advisor at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "Any marker other than age is a step forward," she said. "Age simply doesn't determine any kind of cognitive or physical ability."
What if the assessment isn't voluntary? Armed with AI, future employers could surveil a candidate's biological age from their head-shot. Haut.ai is already marketing an uncannily accurate PhotoAgeClock. Its CEO, Anastasia Georgievskaya, noted this tech's promise in other contexts; it could help people literally see the connection between healthier lifestyles and looking young and attractive. "The images keep people quite engaged," she told me.
Updating laws could minimize drawbacks. Employers are already prohibited from using genetic information to discriminate (think 23andMe). The ban could be extended to epigenetics. "I would imagine biomarkers for aging go a similar path as genetic nondiscrimination," said McFall, the sociologist.
Will we use aging clocks to screen candidates for the highest office? Barzilai, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine researcher, believes Trump and Biden have similar biological ages. But one of Barzilai's factors, BMI, is warped by Trump miraculously getting taller. "Usually people get shorter with age," Barzilai said. "His weight has been increasing, but his BMI stays the same."
As for my bio age? InnerAge suggested I'm four years younger—and by boosting my iron levels, the program suggests, I could be younger still.
We need standards for these tests, and customers must understand their shortcomings. With such transparency, though, the benefits could be compelling. In March, Theresa Brown, a 44-year-old from Kansas, learned her InnerAge was 57.2. She followed InsideTracker's recommendations, including regular intermittent fasting. Retested five months later, her age had dropped to 34.1. "It's not that I guaranteed another 10 or 20 years to my life. It's that it encourages me. Whether I really am or not, I just feel younger. I'll take that."
Which leads back to Zhavoronkov's psychological clock. Perhaps lowering our InnerAges can be the self-fulfilling prophesy that helps Theresa and me age like the super-athletes who thrive longer than expected. McFall noted the power of simple, sufficiently credible goals for encouraging better health. Think 10,000 steps per day, she said.
Want to be 34 again? Just do it.
Yet, many people's budgets just don't allow gym memberships, nutritious groceries, or futuristic aging clocks. Bill Gates cautioned we overestimate progress in the next two years, while underestimating the next ten. Policies should ensure that age testing and interventions are distributed fairly.
"Within the next 5 to 10 years," said Gladyshev, "there will be drugs and lifestyle changes which could actually increase lifespan or healthspan for the entire population."
Lori Tipton's life was a cascade of trauma that even a soap opera would not dare inflict upon a character: a mentally unstable family; a brother who died of a drug overdose; the shocking discovery of the bodies of two persons her mother had killed before turning the gun on herself; the devastation of Hurricane Katrina that savaged her hometown of New Orleans; being raped by someone she trusted; and having an abortion. She suffered from severe PTSD.
“My life was filled with anxiety and hypervigilance,” she says. “I was constantly afraid and had mood swings, panic attacks, insomnia, intrusive thoughts and suicidal ideation. I tried to take my life more than once.” She was fortunate to be able to access multiple mental health services, “And while at times some of these modalities would relieve the symptoms, nothing really lasted and nothing really address the core trauma.”
Then in 2018 Tipton enrolled in a clinical trial that combined intense sessions of psychotherapy with limited use of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MDMA, a drug classified as a psychedelic and commonly known as ecstasy or Molly. The regimen was arduous; 1-2 hour preparation sessions, three sessions where MDMA was used, which lasted 6-8 hours, and lengthy sessions afterward to process and integrate the experiences. Two therapists were with her every moment of the three-month program that totaled more than 40 hours.
“It was clear to me that [the therapists] weren't going to heal me, that I was going to have to do the work for myself, but that they were there to completely support my process,” she says. “But the effects of MDMA were really undeniable for me. I felt embodied in a way that I hadn't in years. PTSD had robbed me of the ability to feel safe in my own body.”
Tipton doesn’t think the therapy completely cured her PTSD. “But when I completed the trial in 2018, I no longer qualified for the diagnosis, and I still don't qualify for the diagnosis today,” she told an April workshop on psychedelics as mental health treatment by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, or NASEM.
Rick Doblin has been a catalyst behind much of the contemporary research into psychedelics. Prior to the DEA clamp down, the Boston psychotherapist had seen that MDMA and other psychedelics could benefit some of his patients where other measures had failed. He immediately organized efforts to question the drug rescheduling but to little avail. In 1986, he created the nonprofit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which slowly laid the scientific foundation for clinical trials, including the one that Tipton joined, using psychedelics to treat mental health conditions.
Now, only slowly, have researchers been able to explore the power of these drugs to treat a broad spectrum of severely debilitating mental health conditions, including trauma, depression, and PTSD, where other available treatments proved inadequate.
“Psychedelic psychotherapy is an attempt to go after the root causes of the problems with just a relatively few administrations, as contrasted to most of the psychiatric drugs used today that are mostly just reducing symptoms and are meant to be taken on a daily basis,” Doblin said in a 2019 TED Talk. Most of these drugs can have broad effect but “some are probably more effective than others for certain conditions,” he added in a recent interview with Leaps.org. Comparative head-to-head studies of psychedelic therapies simply have not been conducted.
Their mechanisms of action are poorly understood and can vary between drugs, but it is generally believed that psychedelics change the activity of neurons so that the brain processes information differently, says Katrin Preller, a neuropsychologist at the University of Zurich. A recent important study in Nature Medicine by Richard Daws and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain and found that “functional networks became more functionally interconnected and flexible after psilocybin treatment…implying that psilocybin's antidepressant action may depend on a global increase in brain network integration.”
Rosalind Watts, a clinical investigator at the Imperial College in London, believes there is “an overestimation of the importance of the drug and an underestimation of the importance of the [therapeutic] context” in psychedelic research. “It is unethical to provide the drug without the other,” she says. Doblin notes that “psychotherapy outcomes research demonstrates that the therapeutic alliance between the therapist and the patients is the single most predictive factor of outcomes. [It is] trust and the sense of safety, the willingness to go into difficult spaces” that makes clinical breakthroughs possible with the drug.
Excitement and Challenges
Recurrent themes expressed at the NASEM workshop were exciting glimpses of the potential for psychedelics to treat mental health conditions combined with the challenges of realizing those potentials. A recent review paper found evidence that using psychedelics can help with treating a variety of common mental illnesses, but the paper could identify only 14 clinical trials of classic psychedelics published since 1991. Much of the reason is that the drugs are not patentable and so the pharmaceutical industry has no interest in investing in expensive clinical trials to bring them to market. MAPS has raised about $135 million over its 36-year history to conduct such research, says Doblin, the vast majority of it from individual donors and none from foundations.
The workshop participants’ views also were colored by the history of drug crackdowns and a fear that research might easily be shut down in the future. There was great concern that use of psychedelics should be confined to clinical trials with high safety and ethical standards, instead of doctors and patients experimenting on their own. “We need to get it right this time,” says Charles Grob, a psychiatrist at the UCLA School of Medicine. But restricting access to psychedelics will become even more difficult now that Oregon and several cities have acted to decriminalize possession and use of many of these drugs.
The experience with ketamine also troubled Grob. He is hoping to “mitigate the rush of rapid commercialization” that occurred with that drug. Ketamine technically is not a psychedelic though it does share some of their potentially euphoric properties. In 2019, soon after the FDA approved a form of ketamine with a limited label indication to treat depression, for profit clinics sprang up promoting off label use of the drug for psychiatric conditions where there was little clinical evidence of efficacy. He fears the same thing will happen when true psychedelics are made available.
If these therapies are approved, access to them is likely to be a problem. The drugs themselves are cheap but the accompanying therapy is not, and there is a shortage of trained psychotherapists. Mental health services often are not adequately covered by health insurance, while the poor and people of color suffer additional burdens of inadequate access. Doblin is committed to health care equity by training additional providers and by investigating whether some of the preparatory and integration sessions might be handled in a group setting. He says it is important that the legal aspects of psychedelics also be addressed so that patients “don't have to go underground” in order to receive this care.
As a type 2 diabetic, Michael Snyder has long been interested in how blood sugar levels vary from one person to another in response to the same food, and whether a more personalized approach to nutrition could help tackle the rapidly cascading levels of diabetes and obesity in much of the western world.
Eight years ago, Snyder, who directs the Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford University, decided to put his theories to the test. In the 2000s continuous glucose monitoring, or CGM, had begun to revolutionize the lives of diabetics, both type 1 and type 2. Using spherical sensors which sit on the upper arm or abdomen – with tiny wires that pierce the skin – the technology allowed patients to gain real-time updates on their blood sugar levels, transmitted directly to their phone.
It gave Snyder an idea for his research at Stanford. Applying the same technology to a group of apparently healthy people, and looking for ‘spikes’ or sudden surges in blood sugar known as hyperglycemia, could provide a means of observing how their bodies reacted to an array of foods.
“We discovered that different foods spike people differently,” he says. “Some people spike to pasta, others to bread, others to bananas, and so on. It’s very personalized and our feeling was that building programs around these devices could be extremely powerful for better managing people’s glucose.”
Unbeknown to Snyder at the time, thousands of miles away, a group of Israeli scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science were doing exactly the same experiments. In 2015, they published a landmark paper which used CGM to track the blood sugar levels of 800 people over several days, showing that the biological response to identical foods can vary wildly. Like Snyder, they theorized that giving people a greater understanding of their own glucose responses, so they spend more time in the normal range, may reduce the prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
The commercial potential of such apps is clear, but the underlying science continues to generate intriguing findings.
“At the moment 33 percent of the U.S. population is pre-diabetic, and 70 percent of those pre-diabetics will become diabetic,” says Snyder. “Those numbers are going up, so it’s pretty clear we need to do something about it.”
Fast forward to 2022,and both teams have converted their ideas into subscription-based dietary apps which use artificial intelligence to offer data-informed nutritional and lifestyle recommendations. Snyder’s spinoff, January AI, combines CGM information with heart rate, sleep, and activity data to advise on foods to avoid and the best times to exercise. DayTwo–a start-up which utilizes the findings of Weizmann Institute of Science–obtains microbiome information by sequencing stool samples, and combines this with blood glucose data to rate ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods for a particular person.
“CGMs can be used to devise personalized diets,” says Eran Elinav, an immunology professor and microbiota researcher at the Weizmann Institute of Science in addition to serving as a scientific consultant for DayTwo. “However, this process can be cumbersome. Therefore, in our lab we created an algorithm, based on data acquired from a big cohort of people, which can accurately predict post-meal glucose responses on a personal basis.”
The commercial potential of such apps is clear. DayTwo, who market their product to corporate employers and health insurers rather than individual consumers, recently raised $37 million in funding. But the underlying science continues to generate intriguing findings.
Last year, Elinav and colleagues published a study on 225 individuals with pre-diabetes which found that they achieved better blood sugar control when they followed a personalized diet based on DayTwo’s recommendations, compared to a Mediterranean diet. The journal Cell just released a new paper from Snyder’s group which shows that different types of fibre benefit people in different ways.
“The idea is you hear different fibres are good for you,” says Snyder. “But if you look at fibres they’re all over the map—it’s like saying all animals are the same. The responses are very individual. For a lot of people [a type of fibre called] arabinoxylan clearly reduced cholesterol while the fibre inulin had no effect. But in some people, it was the complete opposite.”
Eight years ago, Stanford's Michael Snyder began studying how continuous glucose monitors could be used by patients to gain real-time updates on their blood sugar levels, transmitted directly to their phone.
The Snyder Lab, Stanford Medicine
Because of studies like these, interest in precision nutrition approaches has exploded in recent years. In January, the National Institutes of Health announced that they are spending $170 million on a five year, multi-center initiative which aims to develop algorithms based on a whole range of data sources from blood sugar to sleep, exercise, stress, microbiome and even genomic information which can help predict which diets are most suitable for a particular individual.
“There's so many different factors which influence what you put into your mouth but also what happens to different types of nutrients and how that ultimately affects your health, which means you can’t have a one-size-fits-all set of nutritional guidelines for everyone,” says Bruce Y. Lee, professor of health policy and management at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health.
With the falling costs of genomic sequencing, other precision nutrition clinical trials are choosing to look at whether our genomes alone can yield key information about what our diets should look like, an emerging field of research known as nutrigenomics.
The ASPIRE-DNA clinical trial at Imperial College London is aiming to see whether particular genetic variants can be used to classify individuals into two groups, those who are more glucose sensitive to fat and those who are more sensitive to carbohydrates. By following a tailored diet based on these sensitivities, the trial aims to see whether it can prevent people with pre-diabetes from developing the disease.
But while much hope is riding on these trials, even precision nutrition advocates caution that the field remains in the very earliest of stages. Lars-Oliver Klotz, professor of nutrigenomics at Friedrich-Schiller-University in Jena, Germany, says that while the overall goal is to identify means of avoiding nutrition-related diseases, genomic data alone is unlikely to be sufficient to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes.
“Genome data is rather simple to acquire these days as sequencing techniques have dramatically advanced in recent years,” he says. “However, the predictive value of just genome sequencing is too low in the case of obesity and prediabetes.”
Others say that while genomic data can yield useful information in terms of how different people metabolize different types of fat and specific nutrients such as B vitamins, there is a need for more research before it can be utilized in an algorithm for making dietary recommendations.
“I think it’s a little early,” says Eileen Gibney, a professor at University College Dublin. “We’ve identified a limited number of gene-nutrient interactions so far, but we need more randomized control trials of people with different genetic profiles on the same diet, to see whether they respond differently, and if that can be explained by their genetic differences.”
Some start-ups have already come unstuck for promising too much, or pushing recommendations which are not based on scientifically rigorous trials. The world of precision nutrition apps was dubbed a ‘Wild West’ by some commentators after the founders of uBiome – a start-up which offered nutritional recommendations based on information obtained from sequencing stool samples –were charged with fraud last year. The weight-loss app Noom, which was valued at $3.7 billion in May 2021, has been criticized on Twitter by a number of users who claimed that its recommendations have led to them developed eating disorders.
With precision nutrition apps marketing their technology at healthy individuals, question marks have also been raised about the value which can be gained through non-diabetics monitoring their blood sugar through CGM. While some small studies have found that wearing a CGM can make overweight or obese individuals more motivated to exercise, there is still a lack of conclusive evidence showing that this translates to improved health.
However, independent researchers remain intrigued by the technology, and say that the wealth of data generated through such apps could be used to help further stratify the different types of people who become at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“CGM not only enables a longer sampling time for capturing glucose levels, but will also capture lifestyle factors,” says Robert Wagner, a diabetes researcher at University Hospital Düsseldorf. “It is probable that it can be used to identify many clusters of prediabetic metabolism and predict the risk of diabetes and its complications, but maybe also specific cardiometabolic risk constellations. However, we still don’t know which forms of diabetes can be prevented by such approaches and how feasible and long-lasting such self-feedback dietary modifications are.”
Snyder himself has now been wearing a CGM for eight years, and he credits the insights it provides with helping him to manage his own diabetes. “My CGM still gives me novel insights into what foods and behaviors affect my glucose levels,” he says.
He is now looking to run clinical trials with his group at Stanford to see whether following a precision nutrition approach based on CGM and microbiome data, combined with other health information, can be used to reverse signs of pre-diabetes. If it proves successful, January AI may look to incorporate microbiome data in future.
“Ultimately, what I want to do is be able take people’s poop samples, maybe a blood draw, and say, ‘Alright, based on these parameters, this is what I think is going to spike you,’ and then have a CGM to test that out,” he says. “Getting very predictive about this, so right from the get go, you can have people better manage their health and then use the glucose monitor to help follow that.”