Jun 26, 2024 - Health + Traits

Introducing Biological Age Feature for 23andMe+ Total Health Members

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Your age is just a number. It doesn’t tell you much about how old or young you feel or the health of your body. Maybe there’s a better way, one that offers a path to better health while encouraging you to stay young at heart.

This week, 23andMe launched a new Biological Age feature as part of our advanced health membership, 23andMe+ Total Health.™ The new feature uses blood-based biomarkers to calculate your biological age. The Biological Age feature offers a new perspective on your health and longevity potential. You can’t change when you were born but can change your biological age through a healthier diet, lifestyle changes, and managing key health indicators like cholesterol and blood sugar. Customers can monitor their progress with biannual blood work that is part of the 23andMe+ Total Health offering.

“Our health customers seek personalized, actionable health insights,” said Robin Smith, Director of Product Management at 23andMe. “The Biological Age feature enables them to understand and track how their lifestyle choices impact their biological age, providing a clear view of their health journey as they make positive changes.” 

The Biological Age feature will provide members with their “biological age” — a numerical representation of biological wear and tear—and insights about which biomarkers are causing it to differ from their calendar age. 23andMe uses a statistical model based on associations between different biomarkers and lifespan. The biomarkers offer insight into the relative health or age of various functional systems in the body.

AI Model Calculates Biological Age

Our feature is powered by a machine learning/artificial intelligence (ML/AI) model, in which the model learns nontrivial associations from a very large set of data. Our Biological Age model uncovers hidden relationships between biomarkers and lifespan using outcomes of more than 200,000 people between the ages of 37 and 73 who consented to participate in research by the UK Biobank. 

The model includes 13 biomarkers, such as total cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), and white blood cells. Taken together, these biomarkers help assess the relative health of different organs, such as the heart, liver, and metabolic system. 

Compared to calendar age, the model is a better predictor of longevity and several age-related health conditions, including type 2 diabetes and heart attack. It also performs well across different ages, sexes, and ancestries.

Typically, biomarkers outside the clinically normal range can be too high or too low, and both may signal poor health. Through careful design of our algorithm, the 23andMe model improves on other published biological age models with its unique ability to learn from biomarkers that have both high and low values associated with shorter lifespans, not just one or the other. Read our white paper to learn more about the science behind our Biological Age model.

The AI model for estimating biological age does not include genetic data, fitness levels, or underlying health conditions. However, it offers a valuable snapshot of your current health. Suppose your biological age is older than your calendar age. In that case, the feature helps you pinpoint the biomarkers contributing to those differences and provides motivation to try to lower your biological age.

You can’t change when you are born but can make healthy choices to slow biological aging.

Total Health

The new Biological Age feature is included in 23andMe+ Total Health™, a first-of-its-kind preventive health membership. 

The Biological Age feature in 23andMe+ Total Health is included in our most comprehensive package of highly personalized actionable reports. This package combines access to clinical care and empowers customers to take actions that may lead to prevention and early detection of serious health conditions. To be able to use the Biological Age feature, Total Health members will have to have their blood work done. Biannual blood work is part of the 23andMe+ Total Health offering.

The membership service includes everything that comes with 23andMe+ Premium along with additional genetic data drawn from exome sequencing and surfaced in personalized, consumer-friendly reports. In addition, Total Health includes bi-annual blood testing and access to clinicians trained in genetics. 

Find out more about Total Health here.

*“Total Health membership includes services initiated and performed by third-party clinicians and lab providers through the 23andMe platform. Additional terms and conditions also apply. See 23andme.com to learn more. Total Health Membership not available to residents of HI, NJ, NY, OK, RI and US territories.”

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