A CLIA-certified lab like ours must meet certain quality standards, including qualifications for the individuals who perform the tests, and other equipment & procedure standards to ensure the accuracy and reliability of results.
Explore this in-depth look into what’s going on behind the scenes in our epigenetic testing laboratory.
Once we receive your sample in the mail, we give it a unique barcode, so your sample can’t be connected to personally identifiable information.
The first test is fast and easy – a visual test, just making sure that you gave enough blood for us to run the rest, and that it’s actually whole blood.
When taking your sample, you want to collect enough that it passes that first line on the vial – but if you can easily give more, of course we’d welcome it.
We carefully break the cells in your blood and push it through a filter that snags your DNA, leaving the other cell fragments behind.
We can then wash the DNA, and re-suspend it in a clean solution, so we only have pure DNA for the next step.
The first step of DNA Quantification is to bind the DNA to a fluorescent marker – a molecule that sticks to the DNA in predictable spots, and glows when you shine UV light on it.
We then use the Tecan Infinite M Nano, which is a piece of equipment capable of detecting and measuring light. It looks at the light that is absorbed or emitted by a sample when exposed to a specific wavelength.
The Tecan Infinite M Nano is basically a hyper-sensitive light detector that tells us exactly how much DNA is in that sample, based on how many glowing fluorescent markers were brought along for the ride.
Bisulfite Conversion is the gold standard of DNA Methylation analysis. It is the same technique used by world-class researchers to develop the first Epigenetic Clocks.
This step identifies the Methylated sites on the DNA, and the non-Methylated sites. During Bisulfite Conversion, non-Methylated locations are replaced by a neutral marker, while preserving Methylated sites. This way, when we scan the DNA, we’re ONLY looking at the areas that have Methylation.
After Bisulfite Conversion, the DNA is Amplified. This
means the relevant DNA fragments are replicated, over and over again like a copier machine. This way, later tests have enough DNA to easily read and analyze the methylation on it.
A solution is then added that chops the DNA into very small bits. Since the chip we use is not built to bind to long pieces of DNA, this is a necessary step.
We use isopropanol alcohol precipitation to pull the fragments out of solution, and resuspend it again in a fresh solution. Now all of our little DNA bits are ready to be hybridized.
Once we have our fragmented DNA, we place the samples into the wells of the Illumina Bead Chips. These bead chips have tiny silica beads with the counterpart to specific DNA fragments. When a DNA fragment from our sample finds a matching silica bead, it binds there. This is done in an environmentally controlled and sealed environment.
This is the most delicate part of the process. A single nucleotide is added on the end of the DNA fragments on silica beads. Now it’s ready for staining. A tiny antibody designed to bind to the stain we use, then attaches to that single nucleotide.
We use two stains:
Red: for the AT nucleotide pair.
Green: for the GC nucleotide
These stains let us tell the difference between these
four nucleotides when scanning.
Analyzing with Algorithms
Once we’ve detected your Methylation, we analyze those many patterns with state-of-the-art algorithms that hone in on the Methylation sites related to Aging.
Your biological age scores are generated purely by the algorithms examining your methylation. However, the questionnaire you fill out during your registration process can help narrow down some areas known to help reduce Biological Age, and identify some ways you can begin optimizing your lifestyle right away.
Receiving Your Report
We have a 2-3 week turnaround, from the time we received your sample in the mail to the time your report is ready. You can access your reports through our online portal, and track your progress through the portal if you test multiple times.
Your Biological Age Over Time
One-off tests give you a great look at your current condition. You can also use it to check if your lifestyle changes are having a good impact on your body’s aging.
We recommend a re-test period of 5-6 months for the average person. However, if you’re making extreme changes, you could see changes in your Methylation patterns in as few as 3-4 months
With our multi-omic expertise and our strict adherence to process control, we deliver the highest quality services, performed in a timely manner to generate the results you need when you need them.
*All services include complimentary consultation and experimental design.
Feel free to call or email if you have questions! Our support team is entirely located in our headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky. They work closely with our Lab technicians, so we can always answer even highly technical questions.
TAKE THE FIRST STEP TO LEARN ABOUT YOUR EPIGENOME
Calcium Alpha-Ketoglucarate is a special form of mineral calcium.
We chose this ingredient due to its positive impacts on lifespan, healing, and its assistance in fighting age-related disease.
A multi-year controlled study on mice found calcium alpha-ketoglucarate “promotes longer, healthier life, associated with a decrease in levels of inflammatory cytokines. Strikingly, the reduction in frailty was more dramatic than the increase in lifespan”
Studies on Alpha-Ketoglucarate have shown that it improves the senescence-associated phenotypes of bone marrow, and promotes healthy gene expression to slow and even reverse the cellular aging that results in osteoporosis. It increased the bone mass, and reduced age-related bone loss. It also accelerated healing of damaged bone and improved age-associated epigenetic markers.
EGCG is found naturally in Green Tea, and is the main reason why green tea is popularized as a therapeutic drink.
We chose this ingredient due to its proven and positive impacts on reversing and treating diseases, its powerful effect fighting cancers, and its help in regulating healthy gene expression.
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is a type of Catechin – a natural antioxidant that helps to prevent cell damage. It has been shown to offer multiple effects on human pathological and physiological processes. It offers antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticollagenase, and antifibrosis effects.
More interestingly in our line of work, EGCG has been found to reactivate methylation-silenced tumor suppressor genes. In other words, it helps to remove epigenetic markers and ‘wake up’ genes that naturally prevent cancer from developing in the first place.
Sulforaphane is a natural plant compound found in cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli and brussels sprouts. It’s well-known for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
While it has a ton of health benefits, we chose this ingredient because of its effective support of epigenetic regulation and interdependence in the body’s fight against cancer.
Pterostilben is a type of polyphenol created naturally within the body, but can also be found in almonds, grape leaves, and Vaccinium berries (like blueberries).
We included this ingredient because of research showing its positive effect on lifespan, age-related disease, and health maintenance.
Several studies have found that polyphenols like Pterostilbene and rapamyacin protect against age-related diseases like arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular disease.
Pterostilbene has become popular because of its remarkable pharmacological activities, such as anti-tumor, anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation, and neuroprotection.
Pterostilbene can be rapidly absorbed and is widely distributed in tissues, but it does not seriously accumulate in the body.
Humans naturally create Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but many aren’t getting enough – either because they have a harder time synthesizing it, or because they don’t get enough sun exposure for their skin to start.
We included this ingredient because it has been found to slow biological aging and improve vital bodily functions.
Studies have shown that Vitamin D supplementation increased telomerase activity, suggesting an anti-aging effect. A recent study found that Vitamin D supplementation may slow down Epigenetic Aging as measured by DNA methylation.
Beyond its anti-aging effects, it also supports the function of your muscles and immune system. Vitamin D also aids calcium absorption, helping your bones and teeth stay strong.
DHEA is the most abundant steroid hormone created in the human body.
The levels of DHEA in the human body decline as they age, and numerous studies show a preventative role for DHEA on various age-related diseases, its ability to enhance the immune system, and its power to fight against diabetes, obesity, cancer, memory decline, and aging.
Folate, Methylfolate, and Folic Acid are different forms of Vitamin B9.
Folate and Methylfolate are more immediately bioavailable.
Folate is naturally present in a wide variety of foods, including vegetables (especially dark green leafy vegetables), fruits and fruit juices, nuts, beans, peas, seafood, eggs, dairy products, meat, poultry, and grains.
Many countries have mandatory folate fortification programs, adding folic acid into enriched grain foods like bread, pasta, and rice in order to reduce the population’s risk of serious birth defects like Anecephaly and Spina bifida.
Folates are essential to build and replicate DNA, and are highly involved in methylation, cell proliferation, and differentiation.
One of the known associations in treatment-resistant depressed patients is lower levels of L-methylfolate. It is the only form of folate that crosses the blood–brain barrier and is immediately available for neurotransmitter synthesis.
It is also involved in key cellular activity to reduce the risk of depression, dementia, and stroke.
Recent studies have shown that decline in cellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) levels cause aging-related disorders.
Since NMN chemically changes into NAD+ in the body, supplementation of NMN effectively boosts the body’s available NAD+ to promote healthy cellular aging, maintain healthy DNA and many other key celluar processes.
NMN supplementation has been found to promote anti-aging miRNA expression profiles, reversing age-related changes in vascular function in mice, and appeared to rejuvenate faltering mitochondria (the cell’s energy factories).
Another study backed up those results in a human trial, showing that the compound NMN improved expression of genes that are involved in muscle structure and remodeling.
It additionally improved the ability of insulin to increase glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, which often is abnormal in people with obesity, prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.