Episode Highlights

00:02:45 Guest Background
00:06:00 Matching our Health Span to our LIfe Span
00:07:22 Understanding what Glycans are
00:11:12 How do Glycans change throughout our life
00:13:19 What causes inflammation, aging  and diseases?
00:14:52 Can we slow down or even stop the Aging process?
00:19:05 What can a Glycanage test show you?
00:20:33 How can you influence your biological age through lifestyle changes?
00:22:49 What influence does gut health have  on Glycans ?
00:24:56 How soon should you retest your Glycanage after making interventions ?
00:28:47 The importance of intervening to prevent chronic illnesses
00:31:30 The future of Glycan testing
00:34:05 Estrogen and Testosterone replacement to help Menopause & Andropause
00:38:17 How can going to the gym increase inflammation and aging in the body ?
00:41:21 Adopting a gradual approach to a new exercise plan
00:44:20 Why recovery is as importance at exercise to make performance gains
00:45:39 Contact details for the guest 



Welcome to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, where you can learn how to improve your diet, lose fat and get fitter in a sustainable and fun way without spending hours in the gym. Here is your host Darren Kirby.

Darren: Welcome back to the podcast, guys. This is the number one podcast for men in their forties who want to improve their health through nutrition and fitness. This is episode one hundred and fourteen, and on today’s episode we are talking with Nikolina Lauc from GlycanAge about the topic of understanding our biological age and how we can improve that through lifestyle changes. GlycanAge is a biotech company based in London, offering a test of an individual’s glycol biology to inform lifestyle choices and changes to improve future health. Nikolina is a successful entrepreneur and she is a CEO and is leading glycan age in its development from a bio in research to a consumer product. But before we get in today’s episode, guys, I just want to take a moment to mention the show sponsors Athletic Greens. Athletic Greens was created by its founder Chris, after years of gut health issues that left him facing a health crisis with no solutions in sight. Despite his best efforts to maintain a balance nourished diet, Chris’s body struggled to absorb and synthesize nutrients. So Chris developed athletic greens with a mission of creating the highest efficacy bioavailable and nutritionally complete supplement to help your body function as it’s supposed to, no matter your age or activity level. Now, as most of you know, I’m a big advocate of getting our nutrients from the foods in our diet. But with our busy lives and the way that food is produced nowadays, that is not always possible. So I personally take athletic greens as a bit of an insurance policy so that I ensure that I’m getting all the nutrients in my daily diet. And athletic greens have an offer for the listeners of the podcast to get 10 percent off their first order. So if you go over to athletic greens for Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast, you can get 10 percent off your first order organic. Hey Nina, thanks

Darren: Very much for joining me on the podcast today. How are you?

Nikolina: Good. Thank you for having me. It’s really good to be here.

Darren: Yeah, thanks for taking the time out. I know you’re super busy. And yeah, but before we delve into the topic today, it would be good for the audience and people listening. If you could give us some background on yourself and how you come to start Glycanage.

Nikolina: Uh, yeah, so my background is in, and it’s all I’ve ever done. I’ve actually never been employed. I didn’t create my own job, so I don’t think I know how to do anything else, but this actually came from my father’s research lab. Ok. So although I am not a scientist, both of my parents are hard scientists. So my father is a molecular biologist specializing in microbiology and my mother’s neuroscientist. Ok, and maybe about 10 years ago, when they were doing some basic, basic research, he told me, I can measure aging or I can tell somebody his age and some biological age or not, not just the age of your birthday. And I first thought that was completely useless because I was about, I think, 20 or 19 at the time. I’m thirty now. I didn’t really care about age, and I think I had a company since I was 18, so I never admitted that I was young, so I didn’t want anybody to know my real age. So it’s horrible. Yeah, but that’s how it started. And then from basic research, they did a lot of intervention studies, a lot of association. And although he’s not an aging researcher himself, we realize it’s not only that we can measure it, but we can actually move the needle. And you can do it both by lifestyle and some other interventions. So it became exciting because you can measure something, but not just you can measure, you can intervene. And they had some real meaning for your long term health and health outcomes. So you knew you were doing something really good on the long term. If you’re reversing the clock in a way. Yeah.

Darren: Yeah, I mean, that to me is just a fascinating topic, isn’t it, because if we consider how we’ve evolved through society, it’s this accepted norm, isn’t it, that we, you know, we grow up and we age and life takes its toll. And as we get to real later on in life, we deteriorate and things like that. And it’s the concept of us being now able to understand that we can actually change that. It’s super, super fascinating. And I would imagine a lot of people listening to today’s podcasts have probably never, ever considered, you know, the fact that that’s actually an option for us, right? Because, you know, we talk about fitness, health and nutrition, but we don’t ever talk about the fact of how that can have a dramatic impact on our longevity, but not only just our longevity, but our kind of health as we age, right? And there’s a lot of people now in the biohacking space talking about living to over a hundred and all the rest of it. And some people that I speak to about that are completely horrified because their perception or their view of living to over a hundred is that you are in a not a good place, but from what you’re saying with the tests and the science that you now have is that we can monitor and we can change our, I guess, ourselves and our environments to mean that that’s not necessarily the case.

Nikolina: Yes, so I think the first before we get to living to one hundred eighty and biohacking goals, it’s matching our healthspan to our lifespan. Right. So in the last couple of decades, we’re really good extending in how long we live and pretty much globally, people are living longer, but we spend more of a quarter or even more than that in ill health or we don’t feel good. We don’t function well, we suffer. And I think that’s the first thing to try and remove or move it as much as possible and then get to the optimal of, yes, the US maybe living like or feeling like we were at 50 and a hundred and ten or 120, which would be amazing, but it starts out with health span. And the problem with health span today is that when we intervene in our health is already when something’s gone wrong. So we feel some pain and we go to the doctor and all the tools that we use are diagnostics. So they’re looking for a particular problem or a particular organ to say this is malfunctioning, you have this disease and then our interventions, then there are merely managing the disease or giving medication to keep you relatively functional, but not really fixing the problem. It’s just this broken state in the way and where modern medicine will come in.

Nikolina: And these health biomarkers we’re looking at now is actually telling not that you already have a disease, but maybe some molecular markers are changing, which are going towards that direction and you can intervene before that happens. The most attractive thing about our side of science, which are glycans, is that they change up to a decade before onset of disease, and they change with general aging as well, and they can move slower, faster. So you really have a long timeline to intervene. And let’s say maybe in three or four years time, whenever we managed to make this commercial, we’ll be able to tell you your five or 10 years away from a heart attack or stroke or from diabetes type two. And if you change your actions in this particular way and it starts with lifestyle, you may never get there. Or you may be able to prolong it for further and further, and you can measure how well you’re doing, right? So that and starting with what it is, because when we say glycans, nobody’s heard of it or not heard of it. You don’t fully understand what they are and they’re sugars or their complex carbohydrates. And when you say sugars, people think about sugars we eat. Yeah, or maybe they think about glucose, how the body responds to sugar or HBA1C. So they think, Oh, maybe I need a low carb diet, but we are actually made of sugar.

Nikolina: So they’re one of the core structural components of a cell so same as their sugars in the food we eat their sugars. Trees made out of sugars. We are also made out of sugars. Wow. And that’s the part we really neglect. So most particularly in medicine, there’s literally two ,actually one biomarker for liver disease that’s Glycan based, which is on the market, and it took them 14 years to get there. So it’s a really novel part of it, and it’s a super exciting space because it has a genetic influence as well. So this idea of like composition, which is where we look in the aging clock is about 50 to 40 percent defined or influenced by your genes. And then it has your past environment with epigenetic influences and it also sees your current, or it has the influences of your current environment and lifestyle. So it gives you a very complete view of what’s going on is something that’s moveable. So it’s not like you have this genetic predisposition. It’s like you are here and you can change it in this way. Or this is something that you can intervene if you’re not just born with it and there’s nothing you can do. I hope I haven’t complicated too much .

No, no. I think it’s super fascinating, and I think it makes it more understandable when you when you talk it, talk it about it in from a sugar standpoint because we can relate to that and we can understand that. But effectively, what you’re saying is by looking at the glycans in our in our body, which are effectively complex carbohydrates made up from sugar, we can predict and we can look at our past health, our current health, and we can look at it in the in relation to what it could end up being in the future. So when  you’re talking about that, how is it, how does it work when you’re studying and looking at glycans? Because for me, before I met you, you know, I had no idea what glycans are. I have a little bit of an understanding now, not on the level that you do, but I would imagine a lot of people listening to this. This is a new, completely new concept. To them, so how just give us an understanding of how that works, you know, how the glycans change through our environment, our epigenetics and from our lifestyle?

Nikolina: So, you know, do you have an immune system? Let’s start there. Yeah, there’s lots of glycans everywhere. We have them in their gut. They’re on all proteins we’ve had since there is complex life forms. But the ones we specialize in, the ones we look at for aging are glycans on IBD or the immune globulin G antibody. And that’s the most abundant antibody we have in blood. And they regulate the functionality of this antibody to make it more pro-inflammatory or more anti-inflammatory. So they have both features and this composition of your average glycan changes with age that in a way when you’re young, you have more of the good guys. So they suppress inflammation and you have less of the bad guys that activate it. But as you get older, you have more of the pro-inflammatory ones and less of the anti-inflammatory ones. So you have this background low grade chronic inflammation, which is just accumulating with age. Right? And that’s the theory. One of the theories of aging is in infl-aging or this overactivation of our immune system through time where we create this background level of inflammation, then that leads to functional decline as an aging but also lots of inflammation related diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases and pretty much every chronic condition that we suffer from. Yeah.

Darren: Ok, so, so thinking about I mean, inflammation is a good one, particularly relating to obviously our immune system, and there’s a lot of talk around sugar and inflammation in the gut as a marker for our overall health. So when we when we. But what you’ve just said there about glycans and inflammation,  it’s not necessarily that it’s an inflammatory response is inflammation over a period of time, which leads to, I guess, degeneration decay, whatever. Is that a fair kind of comment?

Nikolina: And just to decouple that, so sugars you eat is different to the sugars you produce? We look at the sugars you produce and they regulate your immune system or this immune, both features of it, the good and the bad features of it. And you need both. So you need to have a strong immune response when you need to defend yourself from a threat. But you also can’t have too much a strong response because then you’re damaging yourself or your own tissue. And most of the things we suffer for their self-created in the way. So we’re not. It can be a pathogen. Yes, we can get an infectious disease, but a lot of the things that we suffer for most when we age are self created diseases that have in a way this damage has accumulated and at that point, a certain organ breaks and then we call it a certain disease. But the cause of it or this background inflammation has been there for a long time. And that’s why we start with aging, right? Or speeding up aging. And there’s lots of evidence now that we should and lots of scientists who who who preach it. That age is a disease, or it’s the start of all ill health. It’s A.. And if we can resolve aging, so if we can attack the cause, then we can delay or avoid disease for as long as possible. So instead of going for one particular organ or one problem, we can go for the whole thing and start with aging, and there’s more and more evidence.

Darren: Right? Ok. I mean that that kind of opens up a whole world of questions for me, because that’s almost like saying that we have the ability to stop us aging, i.e. from an aesthetic standpoint when we look older. But surely at some point the cellular health in our body is going to deteriorate, right because of the path that we take through life because of our environment. But what you’ve just said there is that potentially there is a with an understanding from science. There is a possibility that we can either slow that down. Would you say you can stop it, though?

Nikolina: We know that we can slow it down or stop it on a molecular level in some basic research, but there is really good evidence coming out now that even in humans, we can stop it or prevent it or reverse it a little bit. Right. And we can get into that, too. But I think just starting from, there’s something else you said I want to pick up on. It was. Oh, I lost.

Darren: Yeah, I think it was. I was talking about the fact that, you know, surely as we go through life, as we age, we age, that’s not we can’t stop that process happening.

Nikolina: Yes, but we can prolong it or delay it, so this is prolonged, prolonging it or delay it, and it’s also because you mentioned them visual aging, and it’s important to decouple those. Okay. Right. Actually, they can move in a different pace. And there was a very interesting paper that came out a few months ago that looked at all of these molecular aging biomarkers, including glycans and methylation. And they looked at the facial aging and even some molecular skin aging biomarkers, right? And the glycans and methylation move predictably with age where they measure aging glycans are better measuring biological age or your health span. And the methylation was better at predicting your chronological age, which didn’t correlate with your health outcomes or your future health. So glycans are very relevant in biological age and predominantly starting with the immune system that keeps us alive. But the skin aging clocks can move in a different pace. So what they saw is that the healthy people who had better molecular aging sometimes had higher skin aging because they spend more time in the sun some more times outdoors. So actually, your external visual look doesn’t need to correlate with what’s happening inside, right? It can do, but it doesn’t need to.

Darren: Yeah, that that makes that does make sense. That makes a lot of sense because obviously, you know, it’s a lifestyle thing, isn’t it? And then also there’s genetics that come into play, I guess, with kind of external aging. So you’ve got your lifestyle factors and your genetics. But so when we when we’re looking at the glycans and we’re looking at them from the perspective of what do we think is coming down the path for us? Can you just run us through kind of the process? So I’ve yet to have my test, I’m going to have my test, so I’m going to have my glycan age test because I’m genuinely interested on a personal level at my underlying health, my metabolic health and longevity. So let’s assume that we’ve had that test and we’ve got the results. And then there’s some areas that have been highlighted. So the first thing I want to ask is, are there any areas which from the test that you couldn’t highlight? So, for example, a bit of an exaggeration. So heart disease or liver disease or anything like that? Are there areas that you can’t detect? But then equally, if you do detect a potential issue, what type of actions do you recommend people then take in order to kind of mitigate against that?

Nikolina: So important thing to highlight is that Glyanage is a general aging marker. So right now, we can’t tell you disease specific signals that will be possible in five years. So already in research, we have certain signals for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but they’re not part of the commercial package yet. So we can look at glycans as maybe as complex as genetics, but we can intervene and they can give you a lot from a panel. And this is a panel looking at inflammation or immune health, and they will be specific in the future. But right now it’s general aging, and then we break down the composition. So we tell you how many good guys you have, how many bad guys you have, and how this correlates with your age group, but also your gender and your ethnicity. Okay. And then we give you this age, and we know this age is really valuable because, for example, in this study we spoke about a few minutes ago, it was predictive of future incidence of disease, but it was prognostic and hospital admissions, the acceleration of Glycanage. But it’s not something for you to worry about because you’re like, you can change your age with lifestyle. So it should be empowering, saying I can see my future self, I can see. I can identify the causes in my lifestyle which are speeding up my clock. And I can change this today instead of waiting for something to happen a bit faster to me than it would to somebody else who has a slower clock.

Nikolina: I can then hear a lot about how you can intervene because with each test you get your biological age, you get your glycan composition and then you have a consultation that is that we connect with your health profile when you tell us how often you exercise, what type of diet you have and some other factors there. And then this is discussed with the doctor. We call them a health span doctor. So doctor who has a little bit of nutrition, education or functional medicine side who will then tell you what to change in your lifestyle today to influence that clock or move it backwards, as much as we can. And sometimes it can be. You can, you can influence it with conditions you already have or, for example, menopause and the fact that you would be referred to your doctor so they would tell you how the influences. For example, if you have IBD, then yes, you would probably have an accelerated glycan age. But we’ve had a number of clients now who’ve managed to fix their gut and their blood condition improved by a decade or more. Wow. So sometimes you do need to go back to your health provider and work on your menopause or whatever it is, but it doesn’t mean you can’t reverse that with the right type of intervention.

Darren: Yeah. And that’s yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense. And I think it was quite interesting, there, when you mentioned about female menopause, about how you can help and optimize that because that’s a general condition. I was going to say illness, but it’s not a general condition that that people you know or ladies face and to try and optimize that as opposed to the current thinking where it’s just something that happens in life and you have to deal with it. I would imagine, would make people’s lives a lot more fulfilled as opposed to just kind of dealing with this. But so, on. With regards to once the test has been done, you have results and you have recommendations. You mentioned there about gut health. How much of a connection or of an influence does the gut health have on the glycans?

Nikolina: Pretty big, we’re still decoupling that, so we’re doing a lot of research with Kings, and they had this predict study and there’s even a commercial company that’s utilizing that as a product. So we are having a lot of new data that’s going to come in the next year. Yeah, we know now that if you have poor gut health or you have a condition like IBS or IBD, this will impact your glycans in your blood and it will impact your biological age. But we also know that if you do a fecal microbiome transplant and you repair your gut, this will impact the glycans in your blood and you will have a better aging curve. So if you fix it now, we don’t know how this correlates with diet. And we did one diet study, for example, over weight loss. We know weight BMI has a huge influence. Yeah, and we know that we tracked two thousand twins over 15 years and we know that the twins who gain weight, they age faster, the twins who lose weight, they’re aging slower, and you can even see this difference in identical twins. So lifestyle plays a huge factor, and we did caloric restriction. So we know with caloric restriction you can reduce your Glycan age and bariatric surgery, which were obese individuals. And then six months later, because you need recovery after surgery, they have a risk about nine years in Glycan age. And then we try to look at diet. So we try to we looked at a thousand people over a year on five different diets and we thought we’re going to find this one optimal diet that everybody should follow. And then that’s the secret diet. And we all should do that. And what we realize is that as everything, we’re two individuals. So in each of those diets, even in high carb half people benefit exactly half people do or about that proportion. So it’s really about finding the right intervention for you, and that is something to do with your genes, some to do with epigenetics, maybe a little bit. And microbiome? Right, right.

Ok, yeah, that’s super interesting. And I think it just follows along the long line of and I know some people have mocked me for this, but there is no one size fits all right. We are truly unique and we are truly individual, you know, and not there isn’t a one diet that’s a magical diet for anybody, but. So in terms of once you’ve identified an issue or potential issue and then you start to make these changes, I’m assuming that. You can’t predict how people are going to react to the changes and how they glycans are going to change unless they’re retested or can you make that prediction?

Nikolina: You can make an educated guess right at the start, but then it’s always best to validate it about three months down the line  Ok? And if it’s a slow intervention, so it’s something that’s going to take time to benefit you, we would say even six months. So it’s something if you look at the general aging, the average a person ages one year by biological age a year, and that moves some people maybe a bit faster, some maybe a bit slower. But you really can change even a couple of decades within six months with the right intervention for a person. So if an obese individuals loses 20 kilos, he’s going to have a significant reduction. If a woman in menopause goes on menopause therapy, she’s going to sometimes even have a couple decades reduction within six months. Right. So it’s really about finding the right thing and in that person. And that could be something really simple. For example, it could be sleep. It could be stress. We had one individual who had a really poor diet and he was 26 and his glycan age was 46. And his whole company, all of the young guys, because they were software developers, all of them were had horrible scores. He was not obese. You know, he was normal looking, but he exercised a bit more. And so eating more vegetables and because he started eating more vegetables and cooking his food and had a healthier diet, he had more energy to exercise. But he also didn’t exercise too much and after six months, he lost 10 years of Glycan age. So he’s now 36 and needs to lose another 10. Yeah, he’s late, but at least he’s on the curve to get there. So it’s really about finding that thing in the person. Sometimes it’s very obvious, and it’s easy for you to identify it, but sometimes it can be mental health or something else, which is a little bit more complex, so it requires a different intervention.

Darren: Yeah. And I think the example you gave there about the software developers, I think it’s super interesting because, you know, in society, we’ve grown up in this culture where we perceive health to be something that’s fixed right, as opposed to something that we monitor and manage. And I always use the analogy of a car because, you know, if your car has an amber light on it or it has a red light on it, you go and take it to the garage, right? But equally, you check the tires, you check the oil and check the water. We don’t do any of that, you know, with ourselves. And so what challenges do you think glycan age has in order to get this more to mass market because it’s clearly a service on a product which would hugely benefit, you know, not just the individuals, but health services throughout the world, right? Because it will take the load off if you can see down the road and you can predict that somebody is potentially going to have a serious issue. And you can start mitigating against it. The load that’s going to come off of the health service is a huge.

Nikolina: Absolutely. It’s backwards at the moment that we intervene only when there’s a severe problem and we don’t monitor ourselves at all until that point. So we also compare ourselves to this very broad average where normal is not necessarily normal for you. So it’s really backwards and there is some movement. I think, particularly in institutions like the NHS, they will have to go in that direction because they’re already out of budget, they’re already falling apart. And unless they actively can invest in prevention, at the moment, it’s only five percent of their budgets that goes in to intervention. Wow, wow, we’re not going to get there. And then there’s the other problem that it’s really up to you. It’s not a doctor can give you drugs to eat better or exercise more. It doesn’t exist, so it’s really in your hands. And I think that movement is there and we’ve had it here for a long time. We did lots of mistakes because we went blindly into health. So I think there are lots of mistakes that happen in the fitness industry and we can talk about that, right? Yeah, but it is here. Covid accelerated. I think a lot of us are more comfortable with at home testing of investing in testing ourselves in different ways and being in control of our health and not necessarily having to go to the doctor for everything and understanding the limitations of the doctor where they’re not eating the food for us or taking of us taking us out for a run.

Darren: Yeah, I think that’s a really important point. Well, there’s a couple of important points there. One, particularly that I want to pick out, and that is the ability to test yourself in your own home. And I believe that we are in a truly unique period in our lifetimes that we never had so much access to so much data and services that can actually tell us very succinctly what’s going on with our health. You know, I know there’s a lot of tests you can do from blood tests of vitamin and mineral test, gut health tests and all the rest of it. But if you are aware that your health is your responsibility, nobody else is. And I think if we can raise that awareness, people can take back control of their health and actually start to feel better on their own, as opposed to going to a practitioner when, like you say, something has happened. So you know, on that front, and obviously you said that glycan age is not like a wider consumer product at the moment. Where do you think you know, the industry is going to go and where do you think glycan age is going to going to go to support that?

Nikolina: Well, science moves slowly. Our chief scientist has been doing this for 30 years, and he’s been talking about this for a long time. Yeah. Maybe the last 10 years we’ve had good movement and we have a number of these super exciting biomarkers, which are very well validated and replicated on hundreds of thousands of people. But getting them to the clinic or to application is a bit of a long process. I say three to five years until we can give you a report like you’re doing the genetic report where we can give you your future risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but also keeping in mind that this is something that you don’t test once this is something you intervene with and you follow it through time. So that’s five years, and I think when we can say something, do you recognize more than biological agents? So this idea of intervening with aging is getting there and there’s more and more movement, but there’s still a lot of resistance because we think about it as a natural process, meaning you should live with it and we should suffer through it. And I think that the aspect of aging that’s gained the most amount of attention recently is menopause, because menopause is an actual event and there’s it has the same stigma.

Nikolina: You should deal with it or you should look for it, but you shouldn’t intervene and there’s more and more evidence coming out that we really should. And if we intervene early, this also helps our long term health outcomes. So we’re not doing it just for the symptoms or to have better skin and hair. Some would say it’s really for a long term health outcomes and an investment in their future self. But then you also have the perspective that it has to be personalized to the woman. It has to be individualized and it’s there’s lots of complexity there as well. But I think that’s one space and we have some molecular biomarkers we’re developing to identify menopause correctly because we don’t have biomarkers at the moment and to guide therapy because they’re responsive to therapy. And actually, those biomarkers are within the complete. glycanage Report. We just can’t interpret it until we go through the regulatory side of things, but that’s maybe a year and a half away. Ok, a year and a half, we would have “Meno-age”, which is connected to your menopause and intervention, and there is a there’s another pause as well. And even in men, we see a response and if you feel like it I can tell you about that.

Darren: Yeah, that would be good because I’ve not heard of that before.

Nikolina: So we did a couple of years ago, there was a trial in the states and they send us samples a few years ago and they had both natural Menopause and Andropause, and then they had younger individuals who were chemically manipulated to pause in women going to the hormone production for five months. And there and then it was a placebo controlled trial. So half went on Therapy half went on placebo and in the placebo we saw the woman age nine years within five months. When you chemically introduced menopause and then the estrogen replacement or the estrogen patches, they didn’t age or they didn’t have the negative inflammatory response. And for them, recover. So they recover. And this was done maybe 10 or 15 years ago. I think today they would struggle with the chemical. In men They also stopped hormone production and they were given testosterone. Half were given testosterone as normal. The others were giving testosterone with an aromatase inhibitor, which blocks the conversion from testosterone to estrogen. And in the just Testosterone replacement, they mitigate the negative change so they stay in a healthy range. They don’t become pro-inflammatory. In the testosterone plus the blocker They age or they have the negative inflammatory change. So even in men, this conversion of testosterone to estrogen is what benefits the immune system most or what balances it out, and that it’s actually quite interesting in women post menopause.

Nikolina: Or that’s something whether a clinician uses, they have four times less estrogen than their husbands in that moment. Wow. It really is a hormone that men have as well. And there was a yeah, mice study that was there was published a few months ago where they gave mice a non feminizing estrogen. So Alpha, 17, estradiol and they live 20 percent longer. than, the male mice, so estrogen, this is a longevity drug, and I think for men, you don’t need to worry because testosterone converts to estrogen. But there’s a lot of good science coming out on testosterone and the long term health benefits, same as for HRT and their immune system and long term health benefits. But of course, it needs to be personalized. The drugs are very different. Years ago, this was the synthetic made from pregnant horse’s urine type of hormones. Now we have the body identical, synthesized from wild yams, and it’s a very different drug. So I do think that’s one space where we already intervene with aging, right? And we know that this benefits are long term health, and it’s gaining more and more understanding of the long term benefit of it, not just the symptoms at the moment.

Darren: Yeah, I think that’s very, very interesting because, you know, as you already said, you know, we talk a lot about the change that ladies go through and, you know, but there is a growing trend that I’m seeing around testosterone replacement drugs and treatments and things like that. And what you just said there about estrogen is super interesting. But to come back a little bit to how listeners of the podcast could use. 

Darren: Glycan Age now because with men, particularly men in the UK, there is a growing, I would call it an epidemic if I’m honest of type two diabetes. But more importantly, you know, prediabetes so borderline, whether HBA1c is outside of the normal range and generally we’re measuring, you know, our blood sugar using, you know, taking blood samples and things like that. So where does or how does glycan age fit into that? Because I think this is something which is important to discuss, but equally important to try and tackle.

Nikolina: Yeah. Actually, 60 percent of our customers are men. Okay. And the longevity space is also very male dominated, and it is something that men want to resolve first in the way.  A woman wants to live a little bit longer So they have a different objective to it. And I think the car analogy is amazing. So it’s like speeding and getting a ticket, which is a disease. You have an early warning, maybe on your app that tells you, Hey, there’s a camera there, you should slow down a little bit before something bad happens. So that’s what like is and what should be used for obesity or just general unhealthy diet is a huge factor to it that we generally don’t intervene or we don’t resolve in the best way. And if you allow me to go to gyms a little bit because there was something absolutely there a few years ago. So first, maybe 2016, we thought to now test that you can reverse it. Could we just have a little nursery study, nursing home study where they change your diet and exercise? And they had a small reversal. So we thought, let’s do a big study now of a thousand people going to the gym for the first time. And because it was, it was a study of forties and sixties people in their 40s and 60s going to the gym for the first time, and we thought they’re all going to get younger in this next year. And what we saw is that all of them began to be more pro-inflammatory and become older.

Nikolina: And what we learn later is we did these more smaller, tightly regulated cohorts of 30 60 people going trying different exercise types is that most often the mistake we do at the gym is that we want to do everything at once. So we combine energy defficiency or caloric restriction and intensive exercise, and that’s double stress for the body. So if you’re going in to lose weight where you’re going to do you’re, you’re going to overburden your immune system and then you’re going to have this response that tells, please stop going to the gym, you’re harming yourself, you’re going to get cold or you’re going to get sick and eventually you will give up. And that’s actually how the gym model the works. Everybody signs up in January. They go in for three months. They make 40 percent of the revenue in those three months and then everybody gives up for the rest of the year. Yeah, yeah. So they love this business because they have, you know, thousands of members who pay regularly. But they don’t go as often. And in the professional bodybuilders or the sportsmen, we see that they’re generally actually quite pro-inflammatory or very high in biological age unless they’re balancing this with a lot of recovery and a lot of investments to offset the damage. Because what and we do see exercise is positive. We did interval sprint training with a group of guys and all of them got younger in three months, and we see that when people don’t move and then they move more, they have positive results.

Nikolina: It’s just this culture of no pain, no gain and thinking that we should do both of these things intensely at the same time, to get the positive outcome. Actually should be one by one. So first, maybe go on a diet for a little bit. Get your body used to this stress, then increase the exercise load or do it in a more gradual pace. And then you have the benefits. So that’s one big part that’s coming out when we look at our overall health and immune system and we even see that it mimics aging, not just by glycans, we see the glycans go up over exercise. We also see hormone suppression in woman. Probably also in men I did see one study on it, but long term it actually suppresses hormones and the loss of bone density, so it mimics menopause and it mimics osteopenia. Wow. And we’re thinking we’re doing the best for ourselves. But your level of intervention is really important. So it’s not just about blindly following the health trends, which is what we’ve been doing for the last couple of decades. Somebody tells us this supplement is amazing or this regime is amazing. Blindly, yeah. And we don’t really know if it works and we may be doing harm. So I love this trend where now you test your blood, you test your vitamin, mineral levels and then you intervene. Not just so many buy supplements and take it all, and hope that one of them works to be a much more measured approach to be successful.

Darren: Yeah, I love that. I think that’s so, so key because I say to a lot of the clients that I work with, that it’s nutrition first and then it’s exercise, right? And to take your point about men and the way that they approach health, they have this conception And it’s a misconception that if you just go and smash yourself at the gym that it’s good and that you’re healthy and that you can eat whatever you like. And it’s the complete reverse because you can actually be, as you’ve just said, you can actually do yourself more harm than good. There’s a likelihood that you’ll injure yourself anyway, and you don’t really know you might feel for a small period of time a bit better because you’ve exerted yourself right? But ultimately, long term its detrimental. And you know, I won’t go too much off on a tangent here. But with the sport that I do, you know, with endurance sport for long periods of time, that’s completely detrimental to my health. It puts so much stress on my body. So this thing that we’re being, I guess the narrative that’s been spoken about at the moment is that if you’re fit, you know, it still means you can get COVID. But fitness is not a direct correlation to health. Yes, you can be fit. Doesn’t mean to say you’re healthy, and I think that’s a great point that that you make.

Nikolina: And if you’re heavily exercising or you doing competitive sports, the recovery is as important as the exercise. So we’re seeing more and more going to sports or regenerating mental sports recovery, and lots of things are coming out that could be that could really work. And the high performers we see that have the good scores, they do everything. So they do the stem cells. They go to bed at seven p.m., they do cold therapy. They do a ton of different things to match up that level of training with the level of recovery they invest in. Yeah, because you can’t have both, you can’t be burning the candle at both ends.

Darren: No. And I think in professional sports now, it has been recognized and it’s coming out a lot more that actually the majority of your performance gains now comes from recovery as opposed to the previous thought process that it was going harder. And that’s not the case. So, so yeah, no, it’s been super, super interesting speaking to you about Glyanange and Glycans, but for people listening. Nikolina, what what can how can people connect with you? Where can they go to find out a little bit more and even get a test themselves?

Nikolina: So they can go on the website, it’s Glycanage.com We have two blogs where there’s the science one for somebody who wants to go really deep into it. And then we have the self care blog, which is a lot of real stories and examples because most of our claims are based on hard research, but we relate more to people. So it’s nicer when we can say the story of the guy who started eating more vegetables or, yeah, things like that. So you can read a lot about those we’re on Instagram, we’re quite active there. Okay. And we do education with some of our clinicians and scientists. So there’s a few IG lives. You can listen to that. And I personally don’t use a lot of social media, but I am on LinkedIn so they can find me there.

Darren: Awesome. All right. So what’s the what’s the website glycanage.Com ? And your Instagram is also Glycanage that’s perfect. Okay. Well, it’s been fascinating talking to you today. I really, really appreciate your time. Good luck with the progress of Glycanage. And yeah, I look forward to speaking to you again very soon.

Nikolina: Thank you. Thank you for having me. This was fun.

Darren: Thanks very much.

Darren: Thanks for listening to the Fitter Healthier Dad Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please hit subscribe. And I would really appreciate if you could leave a review on iTunes all the links mentioned in the episode will be in the show notes, and a full transcription is over at FitterHealthierDad.com