This week on The Gabby Reece Show, I’m excited to have Kashif Khan, the co-founder of the DNA Company. Kashif’s journey into genomics is fascinating – he faced some serious physical ailments and was able to use his DNA to understand what he needed to avoid, what environments were best for him, and even what supplements could support him in his work and family life. He’s here to talk about how DNA testing can impact our health and wellbeing.
Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation:
Discover the valuable insights DNA testing can provide to optimize your health and wellbeing
Learn how understanding your DNA can help you identify potential health risks and make proactive lifestyle changes to prevent disease
DNA testing can be used to personalize our diet, exercise, and supplement routines based on our unique genetic makeup.
Kashif’s book, The DNA Way, is a great resource for anyone interested in learning more about the benefits of DNA testing and how to incorporate it into their health routine.
I really appreciate how the DNA Company doesn’t just give you a bunch of scary statistics about your health risks – they actually provide practical advice on how to support great health. And with Kashif’s 15% off offer on the DNA Company website (use code: thednacompany.com/gabby), there’s no better time to try it out!
Some questions we dive into in the episode include:
What kind of information can we learn from DNA testing?
How can we use DNA testing to improve our sleep, dopamine receptors, and ability to detox?
What practical steps can we take to personalize our diet and exercise routines based on our genetic makeup?
What is The DNA Way book all about?
Listen to the episode here:
- Kashif and His Work on The DNA Company [00:03:57]
- What is in our DNA? [00:24:30]
- Kashif’s Personal Practice [00:30:43]
- What Goes Inside the Body [00:33:54]
- Cardiovascular Health Through the DNA Lens [00:40:02]
- Navigating Cultural Factors in Nutrition and Diet [00:46:40]
- Different Ways for Different People [00:52:43]
- Mental Health Through the DNA Lens [01:02:05]
- The First Steps to Genetic Decoding [01:05:31]
#200 The Hidden Truths in Your DNA with TEDx Speaker Kashif Khan | Personalizing Your Health Plan, How DNA Testing Can Prevent Disease, Slow Aging & Optimize Performance
Welcome to the Gabby Reece Show where we break down the complex worlds of health, fitness, family, business, and relationships with the world’s leading experts. I’m here to simplify these topics and give you practical takeaways that you can start using today. We all know that living a healthy balanced life isn’t always easy. Let’s try working on managing life a little better and have some fun along the way. After all, life is one big experiment and we’re all doing our best.
“We studied 7,000 people one by one to understand how their habits relate to their innate genetic capacity to equal the net outcome. When it comes to mood and behavior, every time someone came to us for breast cancer, Lyme disease, or migraines, we always had to fix this first, the way they think, because their perception is often a good 30%, 40%, or sometimes 50% of their problem. The way they see the world and the way the world sees them makes it difficult to heal.”
What I’ve learned about mental health and mood behavior is that every single anxiety, depression, addiction, and burnout problem is someone who is given a God-given gift of a superpower that is in the wrong context. That same thing that’s making them feel horrible would make them feel incredible if they were in a context aligned with what they were designed for.”
My guest is Kashif Khan, his nickname is Kash, and he has created an incredible company called The DNA Company out of Canada. Kashif had wicked psoriasis and eczema and he was going to doctors and naturopaths and, finally, landed on genomics. To be honest, creating this company is nothing short of a miracle and what they have done is give people another tool and another insight into how their body works. Sometimes when we are going through something, the tendency is you go to the doctor and they go, “We’ll throw a pill at the symptom.” It’s no fault of their own but they never get to the root cause.
He has a book called The DNA Way and he shares his own personal journey and what he found. For example, he doesn’t methylate toxins well. If he was sleeping on a bad mattress and working above a construction site where there were chemicals or whatever it was that was starting to impact his overall health. He also did it for his family, for his sons, and for a niece who was dealing with a once-a-month crisis.
When he started to peel back and understand that through our DNA, how do we sleep? What about our dopamine receptors? All of these things that people could live in a better way. What I love about The DNA Way is he shares this with you and then they also talk to you about situations to avoid, environments to go towards, and they even discuss supplementation for support.
It’s science-driven but it’s the motivation because he got to heal himself and wanted to share it with everyone else. The fact too is that they’re working on getting the cost down and I appreciate that because it’s one thing to talk about all these ideas and people are like, “That’s great but who can afford that?” Now they have built a system that they’re always updating but making this much more achievable for everyone to utilize this tool. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Kashif Khan.
Kashif, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining me.
It’s a pleasure. It’s great to be here.
You have an interesting story. A lot of times, we’re organically in this space whether it’s healthcare or what have you. For me, this felt like such a personal journey. In a way, it makes it even more compelling because I feel like many people experienced this but then you had the opportunity not only to make a change in your own life but even impact the people in your family. I would love if you could share how you arrived at creating The DNA Company and The DNA Way. This wasn’t your planned path.
Here’s the thing, with most functional medicine or root cause medicine stories, it’s usually the same story. If you talk to some great practitioner that heals Lyme disease or figured out breast cancer, it’s usually because everything failed them and they had to go figure it out, and that’s what happened to me. I was in the startup business. I used to help startup companies grow, I would consult them, help them market, get their media relations going, and all that stuff, and I got super sick.
I had crazy eczema where I couldn’t open my left eye, it was sealed shut. I had psoriasis where if I would clasp my hands, my knuckles would bleed, it was that bad. I had migraines, debilitating, gut issues, and depression. I couldn’t get out of bed on certain days. My question to all these five doctors giving me five different pills is, “Why is this all happening now? There must be a reason. It can’t be a coincidence that five major calamities are all hitting me at the same time.”
Without hearing the exact words, the answer I got back was, “We don’t do that here. We figure out what it’s called and we give you a pill.” That drove me to heal myself because I didn’t want to live like this forever. In a nutshell, if I fast forward months and months of research, work, diving in Google, and naturopathic doctors, etc, where I landed was here’s my human genetic code, my instruction manual that’s telling my cells what to do. I was missing a few pages and the pages I was missing were key detoxification processes.
My office building was sitting on top of a manufacturing company putting pollutants into the earth and that’s the thing that triggered my inflammatory response, my autoimmune response, and my gut issue. all of it started with the body’s dysfunctional, it’s biology, and it’s not an illness. By understanding the root, I was able to reverse everything. I got my arthritic mom out of bed and then I got my anxiety-induced niece back to school and I got my trouble-making son thriving. I realized everybody has a story that requires some personalization and we built The DNA Company.
I have to say that most people would dig to a certain degree but I don’t know that they’d say, “Let’s go all the way down to our DNA,” and even think that it would be possible to use that manual to do things like getting our kids to do homework or helping a teenager right before her cycle. Even those two anecdotes, maybe you could share that.
[bctt tweet=”The internet is a great place and it’s also hell, depending on where you are.”]
You have an interesting board of people that work with your company. I have this mix between using technology but then no matter what, there are still elements in our lifestyle that we have to constantly be ending. I love the story about how you were talking about your two boys for different reasons. It was always a battle to do homework and I know a lot of people experience that. Where did you go to look at their DNA?
Everything I do now is processed that way. When I look at you, I’m already thinking about your hormones, your neurochemicals, and reverse engineering what you’re made of because we’ve done this so many times so it’s how I’m wired now. First of all, the first go-around didn’t work for me. I didn’t get a DNA test and heal myself. I got a DNA test and it didn’t make any sense, it didn’t work. I now know it’s not about this gene that means that. It’s about, “What problem am I trying to solve and how can I inform my innate biology to solve that problem?”
I need to dig into the red flag, “What job does my body not do well and how is that causing that?” You mentioned my son, a perfect example. My middle son is a drama queen when it came to homework, he wouldn’t do it. He’s on the floor, screaming, panting, or whatever. You think about discipline and motivation. “This kid is spoiled,” those are the thoughts that go through your head. I looked at his genetics to look at the mood and behavior profile. That’s where you start because it seems like a dissimilar problem and I didn’t find anything that poked out and said, “This is why he doesn’t do it.”
I then looked for any random red flag that was extreme and what did I find? TCF7L2, the gene that determines your insulin response. He had the worst possible version. AMY1, the gene that determines your starch response, your ability to take starch from your food, convert it into glucose, and use it as fuel, worst possible response.
Dinnertime was right before homework every day in a South Asian home where we ate rice almost daily. He was suffering a carb crash and in a coma being told, “Go do some math.” That one tweak was the difference between, “This kid has ADHD. This kid can’t focus,” all these labels versus his metabolic pathway isn’t designed for his meal plan and the scheduling is off. Flip that all around and he has no problem anymore. There was no problem, we just weren’t feeding him the right food at the right time.
One more analogy and then I want to dive into the book and some of your thoughts about genomics and personalized medicine and where that’s going. You’re in the perfect family that does this because of your culture and because of togetherness. In our family, if someone was acting crazy, you’d be like, “That’s how we are.” Maybe culturally there’s a level of composure and how we conduct ourselves. You had a niece who was having a tough go and your mom was like, “Hey.”
My mom, my niece, and my sister live together, and my mom still runs the show. My niece had an anxiety attack, she couldn’t breathe, and they called me. We’re tightly knit. I went over there and I said, “It looks like it,” but it was gone and she had passed it. She said she had trouble breathing. I called a friend who was a pediatrician and he said, “Everything you described sounds like a classic anxiety attack. We’re seeing so many of them. This is pretty common. If it happens again, let me know.” That’s where it ended.
About a month later, it happened again. This time, my niece fell over and she hit the table on her way down, she truly couldn’t breathe. My mom was calling me saying, “Take her to the hospital because she wasn’t able to walk so she may have broken something. Take her to the hospital. Call my pediatrician friend.” In Canada, healthcare is free but you have to wait eight hours to see somebody. I called my friend and said, “Get me in.”
We spent six hours at the hospital, did blood test scans, looked at the bone, and had no problems. I was told, “If it happens again, let us know.” That was the point where I realized, “She’s going to be diagnosed with anxiety and she’s going to be given a pill. I got to look at her genome and I got to figure this out.” I had her genetics run, I just hadn’t used them for this particular problem. I went back to work and I didn’t do anything about it, a busy uncle.
A month later, my mom calls me, she was crying, and she said, “Your niece has run away from home.” You have to understand, nobody here has met her, but it’s completely out of character. She’s a sweet and innocent young girl that doesn’t want to go outside by herself, like, “Mom, come with me,” that’s how sweet and innocent. I get over there, they’re in an apartment building, she’s standing outside looking around, and, for her, that’s running away from home.
I asked her, “Is it a boy? Is it social media? What’s going on? Is it homework? Are you too pressured?” She didn’t even know what the problem was. She was needing to get out of that space and run away from the feeling and feel the sense of relief, like, “I’m away from there.” She still didn’t feel right so she didn’t leave. At that point, on my phone, I opened her report, which I had in my email, and I started to look for red flags, and the first thing that popped up was her hormones. That’s when this light bulb went off.
I looked at the text messages and called my mom and they were like clockwork monthly. I asked my mom, “What part of her cycle was she in when you were calling me?” She says, “It’s funny you mentioned that because it was just about to start.” At this time, she was 13 so my mom and my sister were close with my niece. Dealing with her menstrual cycle was new to her. They said, “The clockwork is at the very beginning.”
My niece is, probably like yourself, more androgen dominant, more testosterone, and more androgen. That’s why you have a pronounced jawline and that type of thing. Those are features of androgenization. The beginning of the menstrual cycle is when you have the least hormones, you just got rid of all of them in the cycle. Now, her delta value of, “I have no hormones,” is a much deeper valley to go into. Why did it happen at this time? She had been having her cycle for a good 7 or 8 months at that point.
This was during the peak COVID lockdown in Toronto, which had the longest lockdown in the world during the winter and she hadn’t been outside in four months, which meant zero vitamin D, literally none. When I looked at the genetics of her vitamin D, there are three steps to metabolizing it. “I need to get the D2 out of the sun and convert it into D3 and put it in my blood,” that’s step one, there’s a gene that does that. There’s a gene that then transports it to the cell to get it ready to use and then there’s a binding gene.
Vitamin D is the only micronutrient that’s this complex. One gene converts it and you use it. Because it’s potentially toxic and because our ancestors spent so much time in the sun, they needed to mitigate their usage of it. all three steps for her were horrible. She wasn’t in the sun and the little bit that she got from food, she wasn’t even able to use. Vitamin D regulates the expression of 10% of human biochemistry. You have 22,000 genes that make up your genome and 2,000 of them need vitamin D to function, all these functions in your body.
She was already not feeling right because of the hormones and add on top of that, all these genes are malfunctioning because they don’t have this key micronutrient. Why did it trigger this anxiety response? Like her entrepreneurial uncle, she has difficulty experiencing pleasure and reward because her dopamine receptors are nearly non-existent. There’s a gene called DRD2 that determines how dense these receptors are and for her, it’s slim to none like me.
It’s very hard for her to experience pleasure and reward, which makes me entrepreneurial, that warrior mentality, “I need more.” It can also make you addictive. It can also make you depressed because you don’t get to feel. Layer on top of that, the last thing I’ll tell you about this story, there’s a gene called COMT, which helps produce this enzyme or protein that clears dopamine, and me and my niece have the super-fast version of that. We’re feeling it way down here and before the thing you’re trying to do is even done, it’s already gone. That’s the context she was in.
In that third instance, what would’ve happened, and how many young women have the same story, she would’ve been on an anxiety pill, she would’ve been diagnosed, and maybe more. All I did was give her L-theanine to boost her dopamine levels. I gave her some cold exposure to boost her dopamine levels. I gave her a high dose of vitamin D, 10,000 IU but I split it because she doesn’t transport it efficiently. I had to give her multiple doses so she could get each dose delivered to the cell, and that was it.
In the worst case, if that didn’t work, I would’ve given her a birth control pill, which I didn’t want to do as an acute response to boost her estrogen. There are other ways to do it but that’s the emergency bandaid and then you could have balanced it later but we didn’t need it. It’s been over two years and she has not had this problem one day since then. Mature people or older people, all these mood and behavior issues that we think are innate that we have, most of what we find are non-existent once we get down to the root of what’s triggering all this.
I hear you talk about this and after reading your book, it’s such an interesting dance between our spirit, our soul, the organic part of us, and chemistry. It’s almost a reconciliation of accepting some things and getting in touch with our chemistry so we can be our better selves. Also, you’re talking about the dopamine receptors, in a way, that is who you are. Before, maybe a girlfriend or a wife is like, “There’s an evenness about you and you’re driven.” For us to also get in touch with, “Yes, and my chemistry is.” I don’t think our chemistry is fixed but also working from a place where we understand it better, we can understand ourselves better.
We’ve dealt with thousands of people during our research phase. We studied 7,000 people, that’s why we have these insights. What was missing was, “We understand all these genes. Here’s a report that tells you about your genes,” but that didn’t move the needle on anything other than, “You got an 80% chance of Alzheimer’s. Good luck.” How does that help me? We studied 7,000 people one by one to understand how their habits relate to their innate genetic capacity to equal the net outcome.
When it comes to mood and behavior, every time someone came to us for breast cancer, Lyme disease, or migraines, we always had to fix this first, the way they think. Their perception is often a good 30%, 40%, or sometimes 50% of their problem. The way they see the world and the way the world sees them makes it difficult to heal. You’re right, here’s this innate chemistry, here’s how you make the chemical, here’s how you bind the chemical, and here’s how you clear the chemical.
If I have your DNA, I don’t ever need to talk to you to understand your personality to a T. I can already tell you how you behave and how you’re going to react in a situation. Do you procrastinate? Are you flaky? Everything about you. The chemicals can’t lie. What you said, the epigenetics, my environment, my nutrition, and my lifestyle. Keep in mind what I said about myself. The same profile is a risk for addiction, a risk for depression, and also a risk for achievement. I’ve had all three of those because I’ve been in different contexts in different parts of my life.
I’m wired to be a warrior but when I was young, I wasn’t in that context and I became an addict. You have to understand that it starts with understanding innate chemistry, “Who am I? What’s this mental map? What’s my hormone map? What’s my cardiovascular map?” Also, understanding, “If I have these habits, here’s where I’m going to end up.” It becomes a choice at that point if you first understand the root.
I appreciate the book. I’d love to use you as the example as you do in the book because then it gives that context for people and how this whole thing starts. What you do put in the book is you do habits to have, habits to avoid, and you talk about supplementations. It isn’t just like, “Here’s your blood work. Here you go.” It is a much more comprehensive and thorough conversation.
I’m married to somebody who I believe if my husband didn’t find his path, he would be easily a person who would be in jail or dead. That’s true, especially for people with extra capacity. Also, it’s that context and getting ourselves in that environment. I have to ask, how do you go about creating The DNA company? That is a daunting undertaking. How do you even start that?
It was pain. As Elon Musk said, it’s like chewing on broken glass, and that’s what it felt like for three years. What did we do? I went through this journey and I realized that my whole family got better. I found this incredible scientist named Dr. Mansoor Mohammed who was sitting in a lab working on this stuff. I found an incredible functional medicine practitioner named Dr. Bryce Wylde and I realized that there are all these pieces floating around that could solve the problem and I got to put them together.
Nobody in the biotech world from the genetic world wanted to get involved because they said, “That’s not what genetics does.” Genetics is for genetic conditions. Genetics is for ancestry. Genetics is for risk. Genetics doesn’t tell you what supplements to take. They didn’t believe that was true. I realized I had to fund this myself. I walked away from my marketing company, gave it to my business partner, and said, “I found what I have to work on. You keep this thing that we built for the last ten years to be fair to you and I’m going to build this.”
We funded the research for a good year and a half and then people started to see. Who then invested to fund the balance of the research? The people that we healed. In the beginning, this was expensive, it was thousands of dollars, sometimes $10,000, $20,000, and sometimes $50,000 for somebody to go through the entire because there are these expensive scientists working on them for months. When they had that experience, they’re like, “How do we get this to everybody, business leaders, professional athletes, celebrities, and all these people?”
We’re now at a point where there’s an artificial intelligence program that has all of the insights built in so the test itself is interpreted, it’s all built-in. That same $10,000 experience is built into the test. It got funded by the doctors and patients that were using it. We went into this unique model. I never went to a venture capital firm or a biotech researching institution or a hospital to partner on a study because there was so much passion behind the healing that it flowed and it got funded itself.
That created a lot of relief to then go build what we had to go build, which is how do we make genetics easy? I should get something that when I look at it, I understand it. How do I make it actionable? Don’t only tell me what’s wrong but tell me what to do. That’s what genetics was missing, the reports. The book is my personal example of, “Here’s what’s broken but guess what? I also know how to fix it.” It becomes my human instruction manual for wellness and longevity.
I’d love to know how you guys pick the buckets. There are some obvious like cardiovascular health, your ability for methylation, and all the things. What was the process into saying, “We’re going to chunk out these things and then the process of picking which specific genes you’re going to test for.”
There are some things we test for that nobody tests for like the hormone cascade, for example. There are a lot of things that everybody tests for as a standard that we don’t bother looking at. We understand how to solve problems because we worked with 7,000 patients and we filtered out all the noise, things like BRCA, which we can get into, which we don’t even bother looking at. It’s probably the most spoken gene for women, “Here’s your risk for breast cancer. Here’s your risk for ovarian cancer.” We don’t even bother looking at it. I can get into explaining why.
Those buckets that you’re talking about, 14 of the 15 top killers in the United States, the reason why people die, are all rooted in one thing, inflammation, and that’s the driver. Whether you’re going to get cardiovascular disease, cancer, or dementia, all the killers, depending on what hardware, are not doing well. What are your habits? It’s all rooted in the same thing. If there was no inflammation, you wouldn’t get sick. The one that’s left over, the 15th one, is a medical error, it’s a doctor making a mistake and killing you, which is the number three cause of death, by the way after cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Because chronic disease is complex and treating the symptom isn’t enough, you have to understand what the systems are doing to fail. In that thinking, we realize, “Here are the core systems that inform inflammation in cellular health where everything starts, which is your hormones.” You can have good hormones, you can have toxic hormones, and you can have too many hormones, and not enough hormones, all that stuff affects it.
Your innate hardware, you have to know what’s going to get triggered, “Do I have good cardiovascular hardware? Do I have a good ability to deal with amyloid plaque in my brain? What’s going on there? Do I deal with insulin?” Those types of things. Mood and behavior, your neurochemicals drastically change the outcome. Stress can cause cancer and I can explain why. If you’re experiencing chronic stress, you can then trigger the inflammation to create the disease.
We look at diet and nutrition. Do you metabolize fats? Should you be on a keto diet? Should you be vegan? Do you make the enzymes to break down chickpeas, peas, lentils, and legumes or not? We deal with innate immunity, everything around how your cell function from the mitochondria to the removal of toxins to fighting inflammation, what we call methylation.
[bctt tweet=”The insurance-based healthcare model requires people to be sick or it’s not profitable.”]
The last thing is sleep. Why can’t you sleep? There’s no single answer to that. Its genetics are highly variable. we realize as we are treating these 7,000 people, every time we solve the problem, it fits into one of these buckets. The noise about BRCA and all these other things, we didn’t need to look at anymore. Now, we can truly fix the system, which then lets the cell thrive, which means there’s no inflammation, and you can’t get a chronic disease.
Let’s talk about then one step further testing for certain genes. Maybe we can give some examples. You were talking about body types. It must be annoying to be in a relationship with you because you’re like, “Based on your muscularity, your baldness, or your ability to let things go, I know what you have going on.” Maybe we could talk about that process where you got tested. Also, there are parts of us that don’t want to know. Does that make sense?
It makes perfect sense.
We want to know but we don’t want to know. Did you ever go through the experience of being like, “I have all this information on myself,” and you do have to make certain changes or whatever? Were you straight ahead all the time?
There are two parts there. First of all, genetics 101, the problem and why most people say, “I don’t want to know,” is because, “You have a 60% chance of breast cancer,” and then pause. Now what? What am I going to do with that? You gave me anxiety, which is probably going to create cancer. What we’re saying is that we’ve gone far beyond that now. It’s not about propensity or percentages. I’ll maybe use BRCA as an example to explain exactly that. It’s like, “Here’s what your body’s doing so here’s exactly why you can heal.”
For me, yes, it is partly because of the neurochemical behavior that I can’t help but I have what we call high-functioning anxiety. What is that? This is a profile that we created in terms of neurochemical pathways. I don’t feel pleasure or award so I’m constantly driven towards more, I want more. Whatever I did yesterday isn’t good enough for me anymore.
I also have a dysregulated relationship with serotonin so it’s difficult for me to deal with the world as appropriate for whatever’s happening, a funny joke or bad news, it’s over or underreacting because my serotonin response is dysregulated, which means I’m highly sensitive to the details, the nuances. This causes me to see more than the people around me are seeing. I also have a poor response, which means that I’m more likely to bind emotions associated with adrenaline response to the things that are impactful, car, accident, fight, or whatever.
I imprint the feeling, the emotion from it. That combination leads to this, “It’s never enough.” I see every little detail. Everything bugs me. I’m constantly irritated about not progressing and I had this EQ where I had this desire to help people wanting to do it also. It’s not only a need, it’s also a want. High functioning anxiety. I have to work until it’s finished and it’s never finished. For me, it became easy to plow through all this stuff and make myself the Guinea pig.
Knowing that about yourself, what are the things you avoid, and what are practices you’ve put in place to protect yourself and your life because of your relationships? I’m curious, what supplementation supports keeping that in a place that still works in the positive for you?
Like yourself, you start off training where it’s highly regimented, there’s a protocol, there’s a notebook recording everything, and eventually, you get to understand your body and you get to know what you need on that day. Your shoulder day might not be a shoulder day. It’s the same thing with supplementation. I have a drawer full of stuff and I used to like clockwork and take it as prescribed by my DNA.
I now know that if I’m going on an airplane today and I’m going to be in an EMF capsule that’s going to be affecting my cells, I’m taking a detox supplement and a methylation supplement. I now might take a higher dose than I do on a normal day. I now know that if I’m going to be training with a good friend and over-training like we’re playing basketball and we’re going to the gym and it’s going to be a tough day, I’m going to take some mitochondrial support that day, a little bit extra.
I now know if I have to speak on stage, I’m going to take some brain-drive neurotropic factor support to drive neurogenesis, to have my brain in a healthier state. There’s my daily regimen. I never skip vitamin D. I never skip vitamin C because it’s a super potent antioxidant. I take a high dose that’s a slow drip so I’m constantly getting it all day. I never miss my omega because it does so many things. I never miss my nitric oxide.
I also have a combo that I made for myself that has NMN, PQQ, resveratrol, and some cellular health stuff in it, longevity stuff, I never miss that. Everything else, my detox, methylation, mitochondrial support, brain support, and all those nuanced things, I take as I know my body needs and feels it. I’m not suggesting you do that on day one but that’s where you need to get to and you will as you go through this stuff, you’ll get there.
The biggest thing for me was understanding my environmental stressors, which I was completely clueless about prior to diving into my DNA. The things that I was breathing, the things that I was putting on my skin, and the mattress that I was sleeping on were the things that were making me sick. You don’t even think about it. I’m on memory foam. Every time I roll over, I’m popping little air bubbles that are off-gassing toxic gas that I’m breathing for eight hours at a time.
You don’t even think that when you go golfing, you’re breathing pesticides on this beautiful golf course for 4 or 5 hours. You don’t even think that you got your home cleaned by something or whatever and you’re now going to breathe that thing in. That was the biggest a-ha moment for me that reduced the inflammation the most, understanding the environmental threats, what jobs my body did well there, and where I needed to focus.
When they talk about methylation or detoxing, you have a whole chapter about that. What people don’t realize is even with heavy metals and things like that, there are people who can get it out of their system pretty quickly and there are people who can’t. For curiosity, what type of mattress are you sleeping on? Skincare, everybody, no one believes that we’re eating it. What are the products that you’ve leaned into that support you?
I’m in Toronto and I found a company that makes organic mattresses. What do they use? The real threat on the mattress, if it’s not memory foam, it’s the fire retardant that’s sprayed on it.California is one of the worst places for that because the regulations are a lot stricter, the requirement for fire retardants. It’s important to have an organic mattress there. They’re typically made out of pure rubber. They take rubber from the tree and make it right there on-site and they’re making what looks like a foam but it’s just the right density of rubber.
Often, there’s organic cotton and sometimes animal hair to allow it to breathe. That made a big difference for me. That caused me to look at everything else. This is key to anyone that’s trying to fix everything. You don’t do everything on day one, you start with small habits. You do one thing. Do one thing right for a week and it becomes so much easier to do the 2nd thing and the 3rd thing. Eventually, it’s an identity change. It goes from, “I started training,” to, “I go to the gym. It’s part of my identity.” That takes weeks so don’t rush it, allow it to happen.
Another big one for me was learning how to sleep properly. Because my serotonin is dysregulated, “I can’t sleep at night,” is not enough of an answer. It’s, “I can’t fall asleep because my circadian rhythm, the genetics of how my clock works, is broken.” That’s not me by the way but there are some people that have that problem where we can determine how efficiently their clock works which prevents them from falling asleep at night. Whether it’s blue light from the laptop or some other stimulus, their brain doesn’t understand what time it is.
Ancestrally, our ancestors used to see the amber glow of fire every single night and that’s what would trigger the binding of melatonin and allow you to sleep. We don’t see that anymore. We see the opposite, we see blue. If your circadian rhythm is great, you’re still okay but a lot of us aren’t doing well there.
The second bucket, which I am in, is my serotonin response. Whereas the amber glow of fire tells your brain to bind melatonin, the peachy glow of sunlight coming through the window, piercing through your eyelid is what triggers the binding of serotonin, which is supposed to wake you up. My serotonin is dysregulated, which means that my brain can’t prioritize stimulus.
Anything that happens in that second half of sleep, which is more the production like I’m making all my hormones and neurochemicals for the next day, whether it’s too hot, too cold, somebody’s foot touched me, there’s a weird sound or weird smell, all of that stuff, my brain is like, “Is it time yet?” “No, it’s not.” That will keep going on. I learned that I was solving the wrong problem. I was taking a melatonin pill, doing deep breathing right before sleeping, and doing all this stuff that was solving the I-can’t-fall-asleep problem, which was not my problem. Now, I fixed my actual problem and I sleep amazing.
How did you fix the second part of not being able to stay asleep?
This is a big part of what we did. The genetic research didn’t have these answers so I had to go to the biohacking community, to functional medicine, and to naturopaths to learn what they did that worked, and then plug it into the genetic profiles that needed it. Dave Asprey or Ben Greenfield talks about something incredible. I got to now figure out why that works at the biochemical level so I can offer it to the right person.
I’ve learned that our ancestors used to sleep in caves and be constantly worried about being eaten by a wolf while they were sleeping. The feeling of safety, that serotonin dysregulation is a coping mechanism to be alert and responding. I would’ve been the guy sitting at the front of the cave that was constantly monitoring everybody else. Now that I acquired a weighted blanket, which gives me that sense of safety. I’m not feeling safe but my body is being signaled by that organ, your skin, head to toe, feeling that weight and safety allow my brain to know, “It’s okay. I can still keep sleeping.”
You then overheat. I got a mattress cooler and the mattress cooler is a thin layer that goes above your mattress and flows cold water through it, which mimics what it’s like to sleep in a cave, a cold ground with a dense and heavy fur blanket. Now I get this deep restful sleep and zero light leakage. If the kids are up early for some reason, I got earplugs. I have a light mask that has these donuts around it so it doesn’t touch my eye. It’s not a pretty sight but it’s my sleep cocoon that allows me to stay in that state.
There’s also supplementation. I know that it’s difficult for me to stay in that so I take things like GABA 5HTP. The gene that regulates serotonin is called 5-HTTLPR and the supplement that regulates it is called 5HTP. I take the right supplements right before going to sleep which gives me an elongated and deep restful sleep as opposed to knocking me out.
I don’t work with this company but I will tell you because my husband sleeps with it as well. ChiliPad makes a weighted cold blanket as well and it’s thirteen pounds. He calls it his chili burrito. He has the pad and the blanket. Every once in a while, I’ll stick my toe in there, and I’m like, “Who can sleep in that cold and heavy of an environment?” It does exist. I appreciate that. Let’s use cardiovascular health because it’s important. We talked about the methylation and that’s important. If you were going to come in and someone’s going to test their cardiovascular health, what genes would they be looking at and what does that story look like?
This is one of the places where we eliminated a lot of noise, all this stuff around, “You have this percentage risk of whatever,” or, “You have a family history of cardiovascular disease.” To me, that’s all nonsense. What you have is maybe poor detox, poor methylation, something that’s triggering inflammation. Keep in mind that most cardiovascular disease doesn’t happen in the heart, it usually happens in the arteries, they get calcified blocked, and all that type of stuff because they get inflamed.
Why do they get inflamed? The inner lining, the blood vessel, we have different qualities. Some of us have stainless steel, highly resilient. Grandma is smoking till she’s 100 years old saying, “Here’s my supplement that I take every day,” versus the 38-year-old on LIPITOR. How is that possible? It’s because the 38-year-old maybe has a bad-quality endothelial lining. The reality of today with all the chemicals, pesticides, etc, may be causing that inflammation here much more rapidly than that 90-year-old woman who has a resilience that can take more of a beating.
When you get inflammation, your body will deploy cholesterol as a hormone to reduce inflammation. That’s why it’s sent there. There are two other factors to consider, your APOE gene and how effectively you transport lipids. If you don’t do that well, it’s going to build up. The second thing to consider is if toxins cause inflammation here, to begin with, the toxins also oxidize cholesterol, it hardens, it deposits, and builds up.
This thing that we eventually treat at the symptom level of, “You have cholesterolemia,” lipids are the number one prescribed medication in the United States. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer. 50% of people are expected to have cardiovascular disease now. It has nothing to do with the heart. It all has to do with endothelial inflammation, which is entirely preventable. If I test a 5-year-old kid and I see their profile, I can tell them exactly what habits to have that this would never happen. I can also tell them what habits to have that it’s guaranteed to happen.
One last thing I’ll say is it’s a much bigger problem for women. 66% of women will die on their first cardiovascular event without even having any previous warning signs or symptoms, they didn’t even know that they were sick, and they’ll get their first heart attack and die. For men, it’s a tiny fraction of that, more likely to recover. Women, for the most part that we’ve seen, are also dealing with estrogen toxicity. Not only are you dealing with this external source of toxins coming in but you’re also making a toxin every month.
On top of that, the birth control pill, the hormone disruptors, the phthalates, the chemicals, the parabens on your cosmetics, and all these estrogen-mimics that increase that load, and then you’re creating way too much of this toxic byproduct from the estrogen, which then leads to more inflammation. You wonder why there’s so much breast cancer and women fare so much worth with cardiovascular disease and dementia and things along those lines. You have to understand why inflammation appears in your body.
I have three daughters. I love the idea of catching things early and then saying, “You’ll fare better if you do these things and avoid those things.” If somebody comes in and they’re 40, 50, or whatever, and they get this understanding, have you witnessed people with these better practices being able to either stave off real serious things or turn around health areas that they were heading?
In our clinical practice, on the one end, we’ve reversed hundreds of chronic diseases, taken people off insulin, and taken people off of LIPITOR, hundreds and hundreds. We’ve also predicted in people, “Here’s what’s coming.” A good friend of mine who’s in the financial industry here in Toronto, I had our office call him because he wasn’t taking me seriously and saying, “You are going to have a stroke very soon.” This guy looks like The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. He’s a Samoan guy that works out every day, never smokes and never drinks. Everything is perfect. All his habits are great.
When I looked at his profile and understood that he doesn’t understand by going downtown and breathing in pollution every day layered on top of his profile equals cardiovascular inflammation. We called him and said, “You’re likely to have a stroke. You need to deal with this now. You’re not taking your friend seriously. You got to work on this.” He didn’t answer the phone. Eventually, his wife answered the phone a few weeks later saying he had a stroke.
This guy was 50 at the time so he is a little bit older than me. It happened. It was easy to see. I understood his habits. Once I saw his genetics, I was like, “This does not add up.” Take that back to a 30-year-old, this should have never happened. Take that back to a 10-year-old. Here’s your human playbook. Here’s all of what you should be doing and what you should not be doing for you. Not general advice, not, “I watched some YouTube video and some guy said this worked for him.” Here are your instructions. None of these things should ever happen.
You say this in the book where you even talk about testing your relationships and sleep. I don’t want to say we ignore those elements but we’ve accepted in the way that we live, “It’s stressful. It’s hard. We’re busy. I’m under it.” A business like yours is almost a reaction to the world that we’ve created because we’re not looking at the fire anymore.
Going back, I appreciate that we are all different. Can we talk about the idea of nutrition and DNA and diet? You talked about if you’re a vegetarian. What if somebody isn’t geared up to eat like a vegetarian? I’m not one of these people. For moral issues, they don’t want to eat anything with eyeballs or anything with a mother. Is there a way even within that to go, “You better be supplementing with this and this.”
[bctt tweet=”You have to understand why inflammation appears in your body.”]
general, for anything that we can uncover genetically, there are two dials you can turn. There’s, “Your body doesn’t do this job well so you need to remove all these things from your life.” There’s a lot of that when it comes to genetics or it’s, “I can’t remove this stuff from my life so here’s a supplement you need to take to support the job that your body doesn’t do well.” Ideally, you’re doing both of these things.
I have a friend who’s an oncologist, a clinician. We pinpointed the day she became sick, which she couldn’t figure out, was the day she became vegan. It was clear in her genetics. She was teaching all of her patients that they all need to be vegan because meat causes cancer based on her belief. We pared it back to that thing but she didn’t want to give it up because, for her, it was an ethical and moral question.
Let’s look at the gene pathways that are being disrupted and what supplements you need to take. She was taking a B12 supplement because that’s one thing that vegans typically do because you’re not getting any meat, which means B12. The supplement that she was taking, she didn’t have the genes to absorb in the gut. She was peeing it out. This thing that you could buy in any store, which you would think is normal, but for her, no.
The genes for her she absorbs B12 under her tongue. Why? It’s because her ancestors probably didn’t eat beef, they probably ate more sheep and lamb where it’s what we call a methylated form of B12. That’s why grandma says, “Chew your food,” because you’re absorbing nutrients as you’re chewing, depending on how your genes are. We had to switch up our B12. We had to then supplement with not only that but also vitamin D.
Because she stopped eating dairy, which she lived on before, she loved cheese and dairy and that was one of the reasons she became vegan because it didn’t make her feel so well. We had to supplement her appropriately with vitamin D, meaning not just go get some but here’s the dose, here’s how many times a day, and here’s what time of day you should be doing it. It’s specific. There was more. All of a sudden, you’re like, “I can’t give up this habit.” We’re going to have to arm your body with the ability to support this habit. Both are possible. Ideally, you remove it but you can live with it if you need to.
Kashif, you also mentioned, and I thought this was interesting, that in proteins, sometimes there are toxins in either the preparation or the production like barbecuing something charred or smoked meat let’s say. It’s not great for you to consume meat that’s maybe smoked or has burnt bits.
There’s a gene called GTSM1. Your readers are probably familiar with glutathione, this potent detoxifying nutrient. Glutathione operates by genes that direct it to work in certain areas of your body. Your lungs are the first line of defense. There’s a gene that tells glutathione to go there and find all the toxins before they enter the bloodstream. Your gut is also a first-line defense. You eat things and things come in. I don’t have that gene, that’s one of the pages that were torn out, GSTM1.
There’s a unique type of variant called a copy number variation so it’s not a mutation or a variant or a snip as it’s called. I don’t even have the gene to measure so it’s nonexistent. This job of preventing toxins from entering my gut track and eventually into my blood, my body doesn’t do when I eat them. When I eat barbecue and charred meat with black carcinogenic material, it causes me crazy inflammation. It goes directly into my bloodstream. For someone, it’s a 1 out of 10 problem. For me, it’s a 9 out of 10 problem.
The same thing is true of eating food out of a package. When you think about the plastic seeping in, for some people, no problem. For me, it will cause a migraine. I didn’t understand why when I was eating hummus for lunch when I had my downtown office thinking that this is good, healthy stuff, I would get a crazy migraine. In order to process and ship chickpeas quickly, they use these chemicals to dry them and re-soak them. That chemical is a potent neurotoxin and my gut didn’t block it so it would cause me these crazy migraines. That was part of my story of why I had the migraine.
This is why it’s difficult to say, “You feel like this. Why do I feel like this?” We’re not the same. The habits we’re wired for are not the same. Even within the same family, by the way. Even you and your sibling might not be the same. It’s that unique. we have a family we dealt with where the mother was extremely sick and diagnosed with Lyme disease.
We came in and said, “She does not have Lyme disease. This has to do with her detox system.” We found out that it was mold. The family said, “It can’t be mold because none of us are sick, only her.” We said, “It’s because only her has this gene profile that can’t go up with a mold. You kids all got your dad’s profile.” Even within that household, someone was diagnosed by the way and taking medication for Lyme disease that they didn’t even have.
It’s this idea of being able to get under there. You talk about your sleep. I love this part only because it’s important. You do talk also about working out. You’ve dealt with athletes where the training isn’t working for them and training less in certain ways would give them better results. Can we talk a little bit about the different types of body types and how it works for different people and different things?
I would say a big one there is recovery. Let’s speak in general terms so this applies to everybody. I’ve found that one of the big problems that we see in training is that people are on the treadmill doing what they think they’re supposed to do. Why do you have this phenomenon of soccer players dropping dead at 35 while they’re on the field? Olympic sprinters, you’ve seen this story over and over again. Mitochondrial function is genetically unique.
There’s a gene that will determine how well your mitochondria eliminate the free radicals, the oxidants you produce by utilizing oxygen as fuel. A lot of us don’t do that so efficiently. There’s a gene called GSTT1, which is an internal traffic source in your blood that’s looking for toxins that have got past these lines of defense, finding them. If you have bad GSTT1 and don’t clear toxins for your blood and don’t deal with mitochondrial function well and you’re training cardiovascularly five times a day and you have that bad endothelial we were talking about, you have the root of why you would have crazy inflammation here.
When you’re a 30-year-old Olympic athlete, no one’s testing for cardiovascular disease, the best trainers, the best diet, or the best everything. Nobody would even think that you have a crazy cholesterol issue. This is what’s going on with these people. You layer on top of that testosterone, which exaggerates some of this response, and you would think that it’s beneficial but it’s not. That’s one area. When it comes to training, I’ve learned that my testosterone clearance is hyper-fast so I get rid of my testosterone early in the day.
When I was training, I wasn’t getting the full benefit. Now, when I lift in the morning, I’m lifting 10 or 15 pounds more because my testosterone levels are so much higher and I’m recovering faster. I’ve learned that my circadian rhythm of hormone metabolization is much faster than the average man. I have it, it’s there to use, but it doesn’t last very long. It’s little insights like that to truly personalize your training. I could go on, there’s many of them.
The other thing that you mentioned that I thought was interesting was that, for certain men, if they did the run at the end of the day, they’re prone to be injured less often. You talk a lot about the innovation around personalized medicine. The tests were very expensive, it’s still a cost. What are you feeling about making this for the future as available to people as possible?
The tricky thing is once we have the information compliance, getting people to get this new identity, and then also the medical field wanting it to happen. If we start dialing into like, “I feel pretty good and I’m not getting sick.” I would love to know your feeling about personalized healthcare, genomics, and all of that if you feel optimistic about making it to a lot more people.
First of all, whenever you have innovation, when it comes to things like pricing and access, there’s always chaos. Here’s an example of chaos. When we first started working, people were paying thousands of dollars, and that’s what it was. We then got to a point where it was $2,000. We found out some clinics in Silicon Valley were selling our product for $100,000 and people were paying happily. It’s the same exact thing.
They’re paying us $2,000 and they were selling because that’s what they thought it was worth and that’s what they thought these people were willing to pay. Here’s your human guide. Here’s your instruction manual. When things are new, there’s chaos, and then they normalize. Everyone gets out there, they start to hear, and they start to understand. It’s a $500 test. For anyone who’s reading, we’ll create some promo code so your audience gets a discount. Don’t pay retail. We’ll make sure we do that for everybody if you’re interested in it.
My intention is what you said. We first educated the biohacking community, which were the first people that were ready. We then educated the functional medicine community because they were like, “We want solutions that treat the root cause. We don’t want to mask symptoms anymore.” Speaking to the primary care MD, that’s still far off because that person doesn’t even know what this tool is. It’s not part of their protocol to prevent anything.
You’re hearing more and more but the typical primary care MD, it’s like, “Here’s what your thing is called, and here’s the pill you need to take.” In order to fix that, we have to intertwine ourselves with the mainstream healthcare system. I’ve made a deal to buy a telemedicine company. It’s funny that I’m talking to you because we are closing it. This is one year of work for me. We know how to fix all these problems but we can’t reach people because we’re blocked by medical care.
Medical care says, “This is not in our toolkit. We can’t use it.” I said, “I’ll become medical care and I’ll open the reimbursable telemedicine platform that any city and anywhere in the country can call into that’s licensed in all 50 states.” It took me a year to grind and figure out how to do that and build it but we did it.
My intention is, maybe a couple of years from now, that DNA testing is free. Everybody should have their human instruction manual decoded. To me, that’s when I’ve accomplished something of impact. What drove me to do this? That’s what I see is the outcome. Every single person has their DNA tested because it’s free and there’s a clinic that knows what to do about it and you don’t have to be sick. That’s my goal. We started that and now we have telemedicine.
It’s funny when I listen to this, it makes me feel optimistic. To be honest, I talk to a lot of general practitioners as well as naturopaths. What is happening is you’re seeing more general practitioners going, “I’ll take only cash pay but then I’m going to spend more time with my patients. I’m going to do personalized medicine. We’re going to try to solve problems and not just fix symptoms.” We’re seeing the same thing over and over as you said.
It’s 3 or 4 things that are causing most of the issues, even mental health issues, GI issues, cancer, and diabetes. It is this chronic inflammation. It is mitochondrial dysfunction and all these things. It makes me hopeful. On the weird side though, you start hearing about CRISPR and CRISPR babies. With genomics, for you, it is a fine line between helping people versus designing a perfect baby.
It’s like any tool, you can use it for anything, depending on what your motivations are. The internet is a great place and it’s also hell, depending on where you are. This is what we’re finding in this industry too, there are people that are building things that take a condition that doesn’t need to happen and telling you that it could be treated genetically. Now, you still need to be hooked on this treatment. The challenge is we have an insurance-based healthcare model.
The insurance-based healthcare model requires people to be sick or it’s not profitable. There has to be enough volume. It’s a $4 trillion healthcare industry, by the way. This is according to the CDC so it’s probably a much worse number. The CDC says that 90% of our healthcare spend is on chronic disease, $3.6 trillion, which is not necessary. It’s 100% preventable if you understood why those things happen and that’s the challenge.
How do you go up against a $3.6 trillion elephant? We’re doing it by intertwining ourselves into the system and doing it in the way that the system wants it done. Ultimately, there’s much business to be had for those guys if they want to in healing people as opposed to maintaining their illness. Economics speaks about it. Employers can’t handle their medical bills anymore. Warren Buffett said, “The single greatest choke on the American economy is health costs right now.” It has to be fixed.
I love it. It’s almost like somebody who went too far between healthcare, pharma, and the food business. They’ve gone too far and now it’s like, “Maybe we should pull it back.” Wrapping it up, is there anything that’s shown up for you that surprised you in this research whether it’s the way in the testing of the genes? Personally, has something been like, “I didn’t even expect that.”
I would say the biggest area where we weren’t expecting to fix it was mental health, mood, and behavior and how easy it was to fix. I’m not a clinician. I’m not a scientist. I’m a guy that came from the outside and saw a tool that was being underutilized. I now talk to suicidal people who, within one phone call, are fine. Why? What I’ve learned about mental health and mental behavior is that every single anxiety, depression, addiction, or burnout problem is someone who is given a God-given gift of a superpower that is in the wrong context.
That same thing that’s making them feel horrible would make them feel incredible if they were in a context aligned with what they were designed for. This is how we now treat mental health, mood, and behavior. Yes, there are some people that have innate issues, depression, and anxiety, which are actual true chemical imbalances.
That is a tiny fraction of the majority of what we’re dealing with today. The majority is like, “I feel off because I have this job or I have this environment or this family and I was wired for this. If I could do this for even five minutes, I would understand what an amazing human I am.” Over and over again, for me, that was a big a-ha moment, like, “We didn’t even know we were going to fix this.”
That’s that upcycle too. When you feel better, then you’re going to do all these other things better. You will take care of yourself, you’ll get out in nature, you’ll eat better, and you’ll do all these things. You have a family and all these things but you’re armed with all this information. Do you go back and forth between observing it and then diving all the way into the mayhem and craziness of life? It’s an interesting thing. It’s such an interesting perspective. I’m curious about how you’re bridging that.
I didn’t realize that until you said it but, yes, constantly. Me, our business partners, our investors, all of us now think genetically because we’ve all understood this stuff. I’m constantly doing my thing. We were dealing with our chief marketing officer. We were having a conversation and I told him, “This is happening because of the way your brain deals with dopamine.”
We had a genetic conversation about why me and him were having a bit of friction and why we were seeing this thing. We were like, “That’s what’s happening here.” This is your superpower. You are a deep analytical creature that can’t say yes and that needs to say no until it’s proven to them. I say yes before I’ve even finished hearing the sentence. That’s where we had a bit of friction. I dive in, go into the genome, step back, and say, “Let’s get back to work.” That’s constantly happening.
It must be an interesting thing. The DNA Company is in Canada and then the book is The DNA Way. What I’m curious about is if somebody’s sitting in New Zealand or Italy and they want to come to The DNA Company, what does that process look like? Is it a phlebologist and then the stuff is sent in? How does it work so people get an understanding?
That was one of the key things, making it easy to use. It’s not a blood draw, it’s not going to a lab. We said, “How do we make this as easy as possible?” We do ship globally. It’s a saliva test. We send you a tube and you spit in it. It lasts six months so there’s no problem. We can ship. The only country that is a bit problematic is Australia. It still works but sometimes customs there is a little sticky so it causes delays. France is a problem. Vietnam, for some reason, is a problem. These are a few countries.
Otherwise, we’re shipping globally all the time. You’re spitting in a tube and it comes back to our lab. We’re extracting the DNA and sequencing it as per the way we think. The interpretation is done by the algorithm. You are then logging into a portal. It looks like Netflix, there are these tiles you’re clicking on and learning stuff. You keep learning and you keep advancing.
Whatever problem you’re trying to solve, you go back, look at your DNA, and use that as your guide to solve that problem at a personalized level. Whether it’s relationships, food, weight, hormones, or whatever, you keep using that tool over and over again. As we keep learning, we keep updating the portal. It teaches you more. It keeps teaching you more also.
If someone is confused or they want to talk to somebody because they want their hand held or something, do you guys provide another service where they could talk to a live person to walk them through it?
For sure. We have clinical programs. We have functional genomics practitioners that have been trained and that have seen hundreds of people that are good at what they do. Some specialize in hormones, Some are medical doctors, and some are naturopaths, depending on what problem we’re trying to solve. What I believe is if you want to be the best version of yourself and you want to know what happens, the test is enough. It’s written in a way where you don’t need that help.
If there’s a clinical issue, “My mom had breast cancer. I don’t want that,” or, “I’m stuck. I can’t lose these last twenty pounds. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” Those types of questions on people’s heads, that’s where you may decide to work with a practitioner because there are certain clinical things that we know but we’re not allowed to say directly to the consumer because of regulations.
I appreciate just how thoughtful and what a huge undertaking you decided to take on because it’s such an incredible tool for people. I always believe in, like, “You got to work,” and all these things. This idea of using technology this way is exciting. Will you keep trying to drill down on things? Is that complex?
It’s constantly working with patients to keep learning. We’re not adding more genes. We’re not researching genes because there’s already enough information about them. We’re researching what does it mean? What’s the interpretation of the gene and what do we recommend? As a simple example, I learned that with my dopamine profile, when I am given resistance to something that I desire, I have a mental crash.
For example, if I come to the team and say, “I have this amazing idea and I’m excited about it. Let’s do this.” They say, “That’s not going to work because of blah, blah, blah.” I shut down and I need to take a nap. That used to happen to me and my friends would complain that I carb crash randomly. It would be my response and my body trying to protect me from the cortisol spike of the stress that would shut me down. It’s part of being a warrior and part of coming from an ancestry of constantly fighting. We’re constantly learning and we keep updating the algorithm as we learn.
Kashif, thank you so much. Remind people of all the ways that they can find The DNA Company.
The book is The DNA Way. The website is The DNA Company. Those are the two places. If you want to see more from me, we’re constantly posting stuff on Instagram teaching whatever we know. It’s @KashKhanOfficial on Instagram. There’s always stuff going up there.
Finally, if a test comes in, is it a month or two months? How long is it until they can start to dive into their results?
It’s about a month. If it’s the Christmas season, it’s a little bit longer. Our lab shuts down for 2 or 3 weeks. One time a year, we clean up. Otherwise, during the year, it’s usually about a month.
Thank you so much. I’m going to be honest, as somebody who has been pretty diligent about getting their blood work done and paying attention to certain things, I do have things with my own. I naturally have incredibly high cholesterol, weirdly high, I have my whole life since I started getting my blood work done. We joke because your brain is weighted by cholesterol. My husband is always like, “Maybe that’s why you’re smart.” I go, “Okay. Sure.” I am looking forward to doing this myself. What I’ll do is I’ll share it with everybody after. Thank you so much, Kash, for this incredible work. I appreciate it. Thanks for joining me.
Thank you. Pleasure. It was great talking to you.
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About Kashif Khan
Kashif Khan is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The DNA Company, where personalized medicine is being pioneered through unique insights into the human genome. Kashif is the author of The DNA Way: Unlock the Secrets of Your Genes to Reverse Disease, Slow Aging, and Achieve Optimal Wellness (Hay House Publication; 5/16). He is also the host of the Unpilled podcast. Growing up in Vancouver, Canada in an immigrant household, Kashif developed an industrious entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. Prior to his tenure at the DNA Company, Kashif advised a number of high-growth start-ups in a variety of industries. As Kashif dove into the field of functional genomics as the CEO of The DNA Company, it was revealed that his neural wiring was actually genetically designed to be entrepreneurial. However, his genes also revealed a particular sensitivity to pollutants. Now seeing his health from a new lens Kashif dove further and started to see the genetic pathways that led to his own family’s challenges, and the opportunities to reverse chronic disease. His measure of success is not in dollars earned, but in lives improved.
personalized medicine is being pioneered through unique insights into the human genome. He is also the host of the Unpilled podcast.