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Vitafoods Europe 2023

Tick tock: AI-powered ageing clocks to inform nutritional interventions

Article-Tick tock: AI-powered ageing clocks to inform nutritional interventions

© iStock/Marco VDM Tick tock: AI-powered ageing clocks to inform nutritional interventions
A Hong Kong startup has developed AI-based ageing clocks that could be used by the supplement and nutrition industries to measure the impact of interventions and develop personalised nutrition solutions.

It is often said that “age is just a number”, and this is true to an extent. Chronological age is just a number; biological age is a more accurate indicator of physical health and how many healthy years an individual might have left.

In the context of the shift in focus from lifespan to healthspan due to increasing life expectancies, scientists have been developing tools called ageing clocks that assess biomarkers in the body to reveal biological age. One company in this field is Deep Longevity, an investor-owned tech firm with a portfolio of AI-based ageing clocks.

“We predict biological age using a variety of data types like blood reports, psychological surveys, and microbiomic reports to help extend healthspan and lifespan,” CEO Deep Nayak told Vitafoods Insights.

Measuring a person’s age in blood

The company began commercialisation of its technology at the end of last year when it launched three clocks for measuring biological age: a blood age clock, a mind age clock, and an epigenetic clock.

Deep Longevity’s Blood Age Clock assesses the ageing process at the cellular level. Using a simple blood test, this clock is said to measure a person’s biological age and provide a report on the health of their blood and overall ageing status.

“Our blood age report breaks down biological age for every biomarker, highlights which biomarkers have anomalies, and gives organ health scores as well,” said Nayak.

Mapping mind age

The company’s Mind Age Clock is said to use a combination of self-assessment surveys and cognitive testing to map the age of a person from an emotional and cognitive perspective.

The company’s third clock – DeepM Age – is claimed to be the most accurate measure of ageing. This epigenetic ageing clock relies on alterations in DNA methylation to estimate age and detect age-related disease.

Synergies with supplement industry

Asked how these ageing clocks could benefit the nutraceutical industry, Nayak replied: “The supplement and nutrition industry is evolving from a standard set of supplements for everyone to personalised nutrition. In this scenario, we can partner with companies to analyse in depth the human biology and help highlight individuals’ nutrition needs that will directly impact healthspan and longevity.”

He confirmed that Deep Longevity was already working with the supplement and nutrition industry and said it saw a lot of synergies there.

Nayak added that the efficacy of vitamins, supplements, or other nutritional interventions could be measured through their impact on biological age using a standard blood report.

Engagement via the company’s Mind Age Clock and mental wellbeing and resilience-based recommendations could also be a powerful way of retaining and attracting new customers, he said.

Following gut instinct

Next on the cards is the launch of two new ageing clocks – Microbiome Age and Transcriptome – which are scheduled to hit the market at the end of the year.

“At that point, Deep Longevity will be the only company with five different ageing clocks available to enterprises,” said Nayak.

The Microbiome Age tool is said to use AI to predict age based on the health and diversity of a person’s gut microbiome. Deep Longevity said its algorithms were also beginning to identify a set of bacteria that aid ageing and those that are pathogenic.

Of the company’s future innovation plans, Nayak said: “We are focused on building new ageing clocks and expanding the footprint of existing ageing clocks. Our recommendations will become more robust [and] comprehensive.

“We plan to leverage the power of AI to deliver early interventions towards preventive health and mental health and wellbeing. The research pipeline has several innovative projects that we will announce with time.”

All of Deep Longevity’s ageing clocks are hosted on the company’s branded Software as a Service (SaaS) portal, SenoClock. They are also available as white-labelled Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that are said to be easy to integrate with enterprise systems, websites, and third-party apps.

Helping the longevity industry grow

The technology has applications in a number of B2B markets, and is rapidly acquiring customers in the US, EU, and the rest of the world, according to Deep Longevity.

“It can be adopted by insurance companies for rewriting underwriting models; diagnostic companies have an opportunity to provide more value for tests by using our ageing clock summary reports; the consumer health industry can create subscription programmes for their customers to track their health; and governments and public health organisations are able to launch highly scalable, public health programmes based on the ageing clocks and personalised recommendations,” noted Nayak.

Overall, he said the company’s ambition was to help the longevity industry grow by providing a standard in biological and psychological age predictions followed by health recommendations.

Deep Longevity is owned by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange-listed Enduring Longevity.  Its list of investors includes Bold Capital, Longevity Vision Fund, and Arch Ventures.