Dr Dilraj Kalsi ('Dr Dil') is a Lifestyle Doctor who runs Hippocrates Lounge, a bespoke lifestyle clinic targeting long-term illness through how you eat, move, think and sleep. Partnering with Chronomics enables Dr Dil to measure the impact of lifestyle changes on patients’ health and disease risk. In his blog post series, he will walk you through epigenetic testing and how you can make the most of it for your health.
Why epigenetic testing?
Our biggest killers are long-term, progressive conditions. 80% of these are due to lifestyle and environmental factors, meaning they are preventable.
Epigenetic testing provides measurable links between these factors and long-term disease. Chronomics uses cutting-edge epigenetic testing to drive prevention as the norm in healthcare, putting you the patient at its centre. All the tests out there tell you about disease rather than health and so I designed my clinic for patients to self-monitor their symptoms; however with Chronomics is the only test I have found where I can measure how healthy you are and the impact of lifestyle change on your health. Now we can set health goals with a clear measure of success.
What is epigenetic testing?
Epigenetics means ‘on top of’ genetics. Your genes and your DNA do not change; but how they are expressed does. What determines the ‘how’ is epigenetics. If your lifespan were a movie, your cells the actors and your DNA the script; then epigenetics is the direction.
Epigenetic changes are:
- Influential – they determine what a stem cell will eventually become
- Dynamic – giving a sense of current, previous and future health status
- Actionable – most importantly, they respond to lifestyle and environmental factors including nutrition, stress, sleep, smoke, toxins and radiation, that you can influence
Genetic testing tells you disease risk which you cannot change. It ignores lifestyle and environmental factors and is therefore limited in measuring your risk of illness such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and cancer.
Epigenetic testing, on the other hand, brings your DNA to life, combining your risk of long-term illness with actionable lifestyle and environmental factors you can change. Now you can get ahead of those diseases and measure your progress towards health and away from illness.
How does it work?
There are many epigenetic mechanisms but the most useful to measure is DNA methylation (‘DNAm’). With more DNAm, there is less expression of a gene.
Chronomics has pioneered the use of robust next-generation sequencing to measure millions of DNAm sites across the genome. Using machine learning, their team has built highly accurate epigenetic predictors including biological age, metabolic status and smoke exposure. Excitingly, there are many more indicators to come!
They are the first company to use powerful epigenetic testing for preventative healthcare with seamless interaction between users like you and health professionals like me. To begin your epigenetic testing journey, all you have to do is:
- No needles required! Just send them a sample of your spit and fill a questionnaire. Your results will be with you in a few weeks. Order yours here.
- The smart online platform suggests lifestyle and environmental changes you can make to improve your health. If you want support, you can work with one of their dedicated health practitioners including myself. Don’t worry, your data will only be shared with whoever you choose.
- Having made your healthy changes, you can measure their impact on your ageing and disease risk. Where your genetic test would have told you your risk of inheriting breast cancer from your mum, Chronomics gives you an ongoing sense of your risk as well as how to improve it,
Who is behind all this?
Chronomics have a team of world-class scientists bringing epigenetic testing from the lab to you.
In developing their innovative technology, CEO Dr Tom Stubbs and CSO Dr Daniel Herranz worked with:
- Professor Wolf Reik, a founder of epigenetics
- Professor Sir Shankar Balasubramanian, inventor of next-generation sequencing
- Professor Steve Horvath, who published the first human epigenetic ageing clock
- and Professor Dame Janet Thornton, head of the European Bioinformatics Institute