As Founder of Hip & Healthy, where we talk the talk, I reckon I have to walk the walk, so I live a pretty healthy lifestyle; intermittent fasting; running nearly every day; eating a lot of veg, and, of course, a good dollop of self-care; I’ve always been the person driving at the end of a night out as I don’t tend to drink a lot (if any) and I’m the first to put my hand up to try anything new and innovative within this wonderful wellness industry we work in. So I was delighted to put myself forward to trial GlycanAge. GlycanAge is a pioneering biotech start-up committed to changing the way we see and do preventive healthcare, with the ultimate goal of empowering individuals to live longer, healthier lives. With three decades of rigorous scientific research, the at-home GlycanAge test measures your current health and gives you a biological age based on IgG glycans which reflect both genetics and lifestyle factors that can affect the way we age. GlycanAge is the first biological age clock to measure chronic inflammation using these particular glycans – complex sugar molecules vital for cellular communication that can indicate the risk of 72 diseases up to 10 years in advance. In a nutshell – your glycans point to how healthy you are and how at-risk you are of chronic age-related diseases. So if, like me, you’re keen to stay as healthy for as long as possible, this is the test to check how much your lifestyle is affecting your health.
Doing the test couldn’t have been easier. It turned up in the post swiftly, and all the instructions were super clear within the neat little box it came in. GlycanAge measures glycans and detects chronic inflammation and inflammaging in your body, so it needs a small blood sample to do this. After a completely painless prick on the finger (all equipment is provided for) you squeeze a few tiny drops of blood onto a piece of card and then pop back in an envelope to post back to them. Pop a plaster on and you are good to go.
The results come a few weeks later. Naturally, given how health-conscious I am, I thought I would ace the test. How wrong I was… I was absolutely shocked to learn that though my chronological age is 38, my body was telling a different story as the number that was staring back at me was that of a decade later – 48!! I immediately started to panic. How? Why? What am I doing wrong? How can I be any healthier with my lifestyle choices? When your results come they arrive on an easy-to-read dashboard and you can see the different markers that the team at GlycanAge are measuring. I seem to be ok for most of them but it was my “Lifestyle Glycans” that seemed to be most off. But the good news is that Glycans reflect your body’s response to lifestyle changes, so change your lifestyle and you can change your health.
To make sure that your results are interpreted correctly, and also to help you make some positive changes that will impact future readings for the better, GlycanAge recommend that you speak to one of their experienced consultants. The GlycanAge specialists are experts in interpreting the data and working out exactly what you need to do to reduce your biological age moving forward. The advice I received only shocked me further as it turns out that a lot of what I was doing was actually causing chronic inflammation in my body. The constant running was something I was advised to take down a notch – and I’ve been told that adding in some HIIT training, yoga and Pilates would do my body much better. The intermittent fasting was also challenged – the specialist suggested that for me it might not be the right thing to do so often and instead, a few days a month of water fasting whilst eating normally the rest of the time might be better. And, finally, I had to manage my stress better. This was something I knew but I was yet to implement a proper strategy around reducing my stress levels. If I made all these changes, I was assured that I would see an improvement in my biological age.
Lifting the lid on your health really is one of the most empowering things we can do as health really is so personal to each of us. What works for one person might not for another and GlycanAge’s blood test allows you to see really what is going on in your body and hopefully make changes before anything more serious happens later down the line. With preventable chronic diseases causing three out of five global deaths, health management is key to reducing your chance of being amongst these numbers. Age is the most significant risk factor for chronic diseases, and while we can’t alter our age, we can influence how we age on a molecular level, potentially preventing age-related illnesses.
I’m already implementing all of the advice I have been given and am super excited to see how this might hopefully reduce my biological age in the future. So, stay tuned for my next installment in about 4 months time when I can test again!