DNA personalization of beauty and health treatments will be the future norm. Just like the internet changed our lives in the last 20 years, genomics, the science of studying DNA, will drastically change how we live in the future.
Lucas Wartman, doctor and professor at the University of Washington School of Medicine, provided a first glimpse of the benefit of DNA sequencing. Wartman has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) since his last year in medical school, where ALL is often fatal for adults. In 2011, Wartman relapsed for the second time and no one in the world has ever recovered from a second relapse of ALL. Running out of both treatment options and time, Wartman’s colleges at the Washington University suggested to try sequencing Wartman’s entire genome and see if they can pinpoint the cause of his cancer. The first human genome was sequenced in 2008, but sequencing an individual’s entire genome was still no easy feat. Luckily, Wartman had access to the university’s 26 sequencing machines. After several weeks, scientists was finally able to find the culprit. By another chance of luck, Pfizer, the drug giant, happened to have a drug that targeted this exact problem. After taking the drug, Wartman’s situation improved and the cancer has not returned since.
The benefits of DNA sequencing extends well beyond the treatment of cancer. Obviously not everyone have access to dozens of sequencing machines, but technology is advancing quickly and you will be surprised at what is already available for consumers. In this article, we will explore the use of DNA sequencing to personalize beauty and health treatments.
How DNA tests work
DNA is the underlying molecular code of human beings. It controls everything from your hair colour, talents, and immunity to diseases. While environmental factors also contribute to your physical and internal characteristics, for example exercising to gain muscle strength, your DNA still determines how effective exercising might be. Because each individual is unique, understanding their DNA means we can personalize products and routines to get the most effective and efficient results.
Many companies are already jumping on board this trend to provide personalized beauty and fitness products. They offer a simple DNA test where:
- A test kit is sent to the individual
- A saliva sample is collected by the individual (using a swab)
- The saliva sample is sent back to the analysis lab of the company
- Company does analysis of the DNA sample, usually only for a few select genes
- A report (and sometimes customized products) is sent back
These tests are not as expensive as you think, most kits range from $100 to a few hundred dollars depending on the complexity of the analysis.
In the below sections, we give a few example companies that are already on the market. Keep in mind that since these products are still in early stages, make sure to research in advance on the services they offer before committing and remain critical of the results. Happy DNA testing!
Personalized skincare example
Background: UK based company that is one of the early adaptors of DNA testing for skincare
Focus: DNA test and products focus on protection against skin aging
What: DNA test complemented by a lifestyle profile, only looks at 2 genes that contribute to:
- antioxidant protection
- collagen breakdown
Product: personalized serums based on DNA results and lifestyle profile with varying concentrations and active ingredients
Personalized weight loss and fitness example
DNA Testing Canada
Background: Canadian company that provides comprehensive testing and results for diet and fitness
What: Diet and Fitness Optimization Testing. Through saliva swab DNA test, testing through unconventional samples available for additional cost.
Product: Comprehensive report on diet and fitness related genes, what they mean, and relevant advice. A sample report is available on their website here. Quite an interesting read.