Health Testing Reviews for TeloYears

From $69.00

At a Glance

Editor's Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Customer Service:
5 out of 5 stars
Clarity of Results:
4.5 out of 5 stars
References Cited:
5 out of 5 stars
Value for Money:
4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary

Taking the TeloYears test provided a fascinating insight into how well I’m aging, as well as genuinely helpful explanations and advice. I was particularly impressed that the evidence for the results was not only referenced, but thoroughly and straightforwardly explained. The expertise of those that developed the report was evident throughout, but it never seemed condescending and allowed me to trust and feel a lot more positive about my potentially disappointing result.

Considering how comprehensively the scientific theories behind telomeres and aging were explained, I was surprised by the lack of information in the results about how my TeloYears age was calculated. However, this information was available on the website and there was already a wealth of detail and advice in the report, which I look forward to implementing to improve my age in TeloYears. I would recommend that anyone who’s interested in getting a glimpse into how well they’re aging gives this test a go.

Full Review

TeloYears offer customers the chance to take a DNA test that provides details about their ‘cellular age’, by having the length of their telomeres measured. Whilst they are not the only company offering this service, this is still a pretty new type of DNA test. TeloYears has the advantage of having an expert co-founder, Elizabeth Blackburn, whose research into telomeres hasn’t only earned her publication in several prominent academic journals, but also a Nobel prize.

Before taking this test, I knew very little about telomeres and their impact on the aging process, so I looked forward to not only learning a bit about myself, but also a new area of genetic testing.

Product Expectations

I was glad to see that the TeloYears website comprehensively addressed the fact that their average customer was unlikely to be familiar with the concepts of telomere testing. The website’s ‘About TeloYears’ section, started by describing telomeres as protective caps on the end of the strands of DNA in our cells. It went on to explain that as we (and therefore our cells) age, the length of these telomeres shortens and they fray. I found it really helpful that they used a ladder as a comparison when explaining the concept, as it made it easier to visualize in my head.

Other parts of the website explained how the testing itself would work. I was surprised to see that, unlike most other DNA tests I’ve seen, this required a drop of blood rather than a cheek swab/saliva sample. Although I was a bit worried about this at first, I was pleased to see a set of instructions on the site, accompanied by photographs, that made the process seem a lot less intimidating.

The way in which they would calculate my cellular age using my DNA sample was explained in detail. I found this quite complex, but appreciated that it had been included. Other information included a video showing the lab process, images of everything included in the kit, sample reports and a list of FAQs for any questions that hadn’t been answered by these features.

I didn’t see anything unusual in the terms and conditions or privacy policy, and it was made clear that the results didn’t constitute medical advice.

Ordering Experience

When it came to ordering, I was given two options, the single kit or the ‘Now and Later’ two-pack. As much as I thought that this was a useful option to have, I wanted to try the test out once before committing to another. I imagine though that this is a great option for those that have taken the test already and want to continue to monitor their telomere length.

The remaining stages of ordering the test were straightforward. I was pleased to see that postage of my samples back to the lab was included in the price and once I’d inputted my contact details I was able to pay with my credit or debit card. Luckily, my billing and home addresses were the same, but I couldn’t see anywhere to enter an additional one, had that not been the case.

Once my order had gone through I received an email confirming my order and received another confirming my purchase. When my kit arrived, I found the sample was a lot easier and less painful to take than I’d imagined. I returned it in the prepaid envelope and received another email a few days later, confirming that it had reached the lab.

The Results

About 4 weeks after receiving this email, my results arrived in the mail. This was another aspect of the TeloYears test that made it stand out from others I’ve seen, as most deliver their results online. I did enjoy having a physical copy of my results, but I was slightly worried that if I lost or damaged them I would have no backup!

The results were provided in a folder, which I opened out to access the two main parts of the report: the ‘TeloYears Test Results’ report and the ‘Blueprint for Aging Well’. Before even opening the report fully, I was informed of my results in an initial preview window (shown below).

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The initial preview of my results.

The initial preview of my results.

I was shocked to discover that only 6% of men my age had shorter telomeres than I did, which meant my cellular age was older than my actual one. I was interested (though slightly reluctant!) to read the full report to find out just how much older this would be.

Results Section: TeloYears Test Results

The results themselves were sorted into five main sections: ‘Test Belongs To’, ‘About This Test’, ‘Your Results’, Interpreting Your Results’ and ‘Your TeloYears Over Time’.

The first section, ‘Test Belongs To’, unsurprisingly included the information about me and my sample that I’d submitted when ordering. Less expected were the details it provided about the dates on which my sample was taken, received at the lab and reported on. It also stated my customer I.D., and the name of the health provider that had approved the test.

This section was followed by ‘About This Test’ - a short introduction to the report which explained a bit about what telomeres were and how they were used in the test, using shortened versions of the information given on the website. Considering that the report was accompanied by a whole booklet explaining telomeres and aging, I thought this was plenty of information of this kind to provide with the results themselves.

Next came the full results in the ‘Your Results’ section. I was a bit nervous, and realized I had reason to be when I read that my age in TeloYears was 57, nearly quarter of a century older than my real age! Whilst I’m not exactly a fitness fanatic, I’ve always tried to live a healthy lifestyle; I exercise and am not overweight, so this was a bit of a surprise to read.

The result was shown in several different ways, starting with the length of my telomeres compared to others of my age. The scale that shows this is below.

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Scale showing my telomere length in comparison to other men of my age.

Scale showing my telomere length in comparison to other men of my age.

As well as showing my telomere length in comparison to others, this section provided me with the actual average length of my telomeres (0.82). I didn’t understand what unit of measurement this was in, (T/S ratio didn’t mean anything to me), or what sort of techniques had been used to obtain this figure. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find this mentioned anywhere else in the report either.

The ‘Interpreting Your Results’ section that followed put this figure into context by converting it into my age in TeloYears (57 years old). This section also included a scale, showing how my TeloYears age compared to others (shown below).

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Scale of my age in TeloYears compared to others and my actual age.

Scale of my age in TeloYears compared to others and my actual age.

It was slightly depressing to see that even if my TeloYears age had come out as my real age (33 years old), there would still have been 50% of people with telomeres longer than mine. This section didn’t really provide any extra information about my result specifically, but it was interesting to see my age in TeloYears on a diagram, which put the result into context by comparing it to other ages.

Although the Your TeloYears ‘Results Over Time’ section of the report (shown below) seemed to be mainly useful to those who had taken the test more than once, I was glad that it was still included with in my results.

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The Your TeloYears Over Time section.

The Your TeloYears Over Time section.

The idea of being able to see any progress I might make in improving the length of my telomeres in another test was appealing and made me feel a lot more positive about my result. I was also happy to see that the bottom of the report also explained the impact of the results in a bit more detail, and provided a number from which I could call a specialist to talk over my results with for free.

Results section: Blueprint for Aging Well

In order to get the most from my results and to learn how I could act upon them, I looked next at the Blueprint for Aging Well booklet that was included with the main report. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this document, so was delighted to discover the huge amount of extra information it included and how much it added to the report.

The document started by going back over the basics of telomeres and how they are associated with aging. Much of this information was similar to that I had read on the website and at the beginning of the results themselves, but was accompanied by extra features such as diagrams, quick facts and even pronunciation prompts relating to the information provided in the explanations.

This user-friendly style was continued throughout the booklet, with other pages enhanced with bright images and symbols. Potentially daunting phrases, such as ‘oxidative stress’ and ‘casual nexus’ were explained in separate sections to the side of the text, making them easy and quick to locate when reading. Sometimes the explanations themselves were a bit complex, but I’m sure many of the concepts are difficult to boil down to a few sentences and I appreciated that TeloYears had made the effort to try to make them as understandable as possible.

The main question I had about my results was whether there was any way that I could lengthen my prematurely short telomeres, so I was happy to see that there was a whole section in this booklet dedicated to answering this. It explained that there had been quite a lot of research into this, and the conclusion seemed to be that I could, to a certain extent, lengthen, or at least slow the shortening of my telomeres.

This in itself was reassuring, but wouldn’t have been particularly useful without any kind of guidance as to how to go about doing it. Luckily, this is what most of the rest of the booklet was dedicated to.

It first stated that the five main factors thought to affect telomere length: eating well, stress, exercise, sleep, and disease. This alone would have provided a good point from which to start improving my telomere length, but there was much more followed.

The advice included a self-assessment section, which asked questions about various aspects associated with these five factors. My answers to these questions were used to direct me to the appropriate sections below, which went through the academic research that supported the advice.

Rather than providing a summary of all the research, with links to specific journal articles, as I’ve seen in other tests, these sections went through each of the studies themselves, in a way that was both easy to understand and genuinely interesting. I would have liked to have had a link straight to the reference, as the extensive list of 81 publications at the end of the document took a while to navigate through. However, it wasn’t a major problem and I’d say the explanations were probably the best I’ve come across in terms of making complex scientific literature seem both accessible and engaging.

Summary

Taking the TeloYears test provided a fascinating insight into how well I’m aging, as well as genuinely helpful explanations and advice. I was particularly impressed that the evidence for the results was not only referenced, but thoroughly and straightforwardly explained. The expertise of those that developed the report was evident throughout, but it never seemed condescending and allowed me to trust and feel a lot more positive about my potentially disappointing result.

Considering how comprehensively the scientific theories behind telomeres and aging were explained, I was surprised by the lack of information in the results about how my TeloYears age was calculated. However, this information was available on the website and there was already a wealth of detail and advice in the report, which I look forward to implementing to improve my age in TeloYears. I would recommend that anyone who’s interested in getting a glimpse into how well they’re aging gives this test a go.

See a description of this DNA test from TeloYears >