Functional Genomics: The Link Between Genes and Environmental Health | Kashif Khan

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

The Longevity & Lifestyle podcast

Episode 119

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Performance coach, detail-loving educator, big-thinking entrepreneur, podcaster, mama, passionate adventurer, and health optimization activist here to help people transform their lives, and reach their highest potential! All rolled into one.

“It’s not that women have changed, the environment has changed, the food has changed, the cosmetics have changed, the sunscreen has changed. Everything has hormone-disrupting chemicals in it.” - Kashif Khan on hormonal imbalances in women

Your health largely depends on your genetics, and those are set in stone.

So if you're predisposed to Alzheimer's or cancer, there's nothing you can do, right? 

Wrong! There is a link between our genes and environmental health that, if we know how to leverage it, can significantly improve our health and help us prevent what we have long believed to be inevitable. 

Today’s guest, the renowned longevity expert Kashif Kahn, is here to tell us all about it!

Kashif is the founder and CEO of The DNA Company, a healthcare company pioneering personalized medicine through unique insights into the human genome. He is also the author of The DNA WAY and an official TEDx speaker. 

In this episode, we discuss functional genomics, personalized medicine, environmental health, and hormonal imbalances. 

Tune in! 


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Show Notes - keywords


Intro (00:00)
What is functional genomics? (01:00)
Female hormone health (04:25)
7 key areas everyone needs to understand (13:18)
Environmental hazards (17:17)
Functional genomics and mental health (20:47)
Lifestyle changes Kashif made to transform his health (27:05)
Kashif’s book The DNA WAY (31:58)
Should you get your DNA checked? (36:48)
DNA, data, and technology (42:50)
Kashif on longevity (50:16)
Outro (54:29)


Intro (00:00)
What is functional genomics? (00:19)
Female hormone health (03:44)
7 key areas everyone needs to understand (12:38)
Environmental hazards (16:37)
Functional genomics and mental health (20:06)
Lifestyle changes Kashif made to transform his health (26:24)
Kashif’s book The DNA WAY (31:17)
Should you get your DNA checked? (36:07)
DNA, data, and technology (42:09)
Kashif on longevity (49:35)
Outro (53:48)

Functional genomics, personalized medicine and health, menopause, perimenopause, and female hormone therapy, the link between our genes and environmental health, How does the testing process at The DNA company work


“It’s not that women have changed, the environment has changed, the food has changed, the cosmetics have changed, the sunscreen has changed. Everything has hormone-disrupting chemicals in it.” - Kashif Khan on hormonal imbalances in women

“Genetically, there are many different versions of I can't sleep at night. There's I can't fall asleep, there's I can't stay asleep, and there's I sleep through the night, but when I wake up, I don't feel like I got any rest. Those are three different things, and we can figure them out through functional genomics.” - Kashif Khan, functional genomics expert and founder of The DNA Company

“People ask me ‘why would I be wired to make a toxin that makes me sick?’ 

You are wired for a different reality, where everything that you eat, breathe, and smell, wasnt an estrogen mimic.” - Kashif Khan, functional genomics expert and founder of The DNA Company

“If you werent born with it, you dont have it, it gets caused. You just need to know what choices you make that lead to that choice. Give me anybody, what’s the problem, i will tell you why it was caused, if i have your DNA.” - Kashif Khan, functional genomics expert and founder of The DNA Company

“We understand what neurochemicals drive what behavior and what versions you have because of the genes you have.” - Kashif Khan, functional genomics expert and founder of The DNA Company

“Most genetic researchers understand DNA. Most clinicians understand the patient, but they don’t speak to each other, and that was the gap.” - Kashif Khan, functional genomics expert and founder of The DNA Company

“Personalized medicine is not treating but supporting the system.” - Kashif Khan, functional genomics expert and founder of The DNA Company

“Chronic disease is a choice.” - Kashif Khan, functional genomics expert and founder of The DNA Company

Legal Disclaimer: Please note, to avoid any unnecessary headaches, Longevity & Lifestyle LLC owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as the right of publicity. You are welcome to share parts of the transcript (up to 500 words) in other media (such as press articles, blogs, social media accounts, etc.) for non-commercial use which must also include attribution to “The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast” with a link back to the URL. It is prohibited to use any portion of the podcast content, names or images for any commercial purposes in digital or non-digital outlets to promote you or another’s products or services.


Claudia von Boeselager: Welcome to another episode of the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host, Claudia von Boeselager. I'm here to uncover the groundbreaking strategies, tools, and practices from the world's pioneering experts to help you live your best and reach your fullest potential. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to always catch the latest episodes.

Legal Disclaimer: Please note, to avoid any unnecessary headaches, Longevity & Lifestyle LLC owns the copyright in and to all content in and transcripts of The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast, with all rights reserved, as well as the right of publicity. You are welcome to share parts of the transcript (up to 500 words) in other media (such as press articles, blogs, social media accounts, etc.) for non-commercial use which must also include attribution to “The Longevity & Lifestyle Podcast” with a link back to the URL. It is prohibited to use any portion of the podcast content, names or images for any commercial purposes in digital or non-digital outlets to promote you or another’s products or services.


Kashif Khan 0:00  
If you weren't born with it, you don't have it. It gets caused. You just need to know what choices you make that lead to that choice. Give me anybody. Throw it at me. What's the problem? I will tell you why it was caused if I have your DNA.

Claudia von Boeselager 0:14  
Are you ready to boost your longevity and unlock peak performance? Welcome to the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. I'm your host, Claudia von Boeselager, longevity, and peak performance coach. Each week we'll explore groundbreaking science, unravel longevity secrets share strategies to grow younger, and stay up to date with world-class health and peak performance pioneers. Everything you need to live longer, live better, and reach your fullest potential. Ready to defy aging, optimize health and promote peak performance? Visit For more, welcome to the Longevity and Lifestyle Podcast. Kashif, it's such a pleasure to have you on today.

Kashif Khan 0:57  
A pleasure to be here. Good to see you again.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:00  
Good to see you. So I'd love to start with for people, perhaps unfamiliar, what is functional genomics.

Kashif Khan 1:06  
So functional is the keyword there. Right? And the easiest way to understand the same difference between medicine and functional medicine. Medicine is, here's what we call your disease and what pill you have to take, right? It's kind of diagnose and prescribe functional medicine is let's figure out why you got sick, you know, as opposed to what it is there's something that you did, it's a lifestyle, habit, nutrition, there's something going on, and let's unpack that. So genetics is you have an 80% chance of Alzheimer's; good luck; functional genomics is, well, that's where we start. And let's look at all the biological pathways to then understand what system is failing that would actually cause that to happen. And now we know what action plan to unveil for you. You know, so it's much more actionable. And it is akin to functional medicine. And so we found that the impact has been massive.

Claudia von Boeselager 1:59  
It's super exciting. And also the fact and perhaps you can talk about that. So a lot of people think, well, it's my genetics; I can't do anything about it. How do you help people understand that that's not necessarily the case?

Kashif Khan 2:11  
So that used to be true? You know, it used to be that our understanding was your genes point to this thing; you know, your doctor will ask you, do you have heart disease in your family? Do you have diabetes in your family, and then all of a sudden, your risk goes up? And we believe that, quote-unquote, genetically are prone. So what we now understand is that you're not genetically prone to cardiovascular disease, for example, but you're prone to a combination of factors. And yes, they are genetic, which makes it easier for you to get the exact same disease that everybody else can get, because you have the word defenses to it. So as an example right there, we can determine the quality of your cardiovascular hardware. When you look at the arteries where disease actually happens, do you have robust, resilient arteries that can handle inflammation and inflammatory insults? Are they more prone to inflation? Because the material is just not the best? Right, so truly the quality then we can look at, okay, park that I wasn't born with inflammation, something as a trigger it, though we can look at detox pathways to understand are you not doing a good job with inhalation based airborne mold and chemicals example? Or is it more your gut that lets things in? Or is it more that you making internal oxidants and toxins, so where's the threat coming from? Then we can look at how you fight the inflammation that you're causing to that bad quality hardware by these talks will be allotted. So now you kind of triangulate these three, four pieces are a here's the point where things are failing. Right? Here's what was genetic and your family. You guys are missing this key detox gene that allows your gut to prevent toxins from entering your food. That's the thing causing inflammation to this bad hardware that then leads to cardiovascular diseases, which is why everyone in your family has this now that you know that it's no longer everybody in my family has diabetes and heart disease, I have to wait and see. It's more like, here's the reason why they get it. Now if I action this, I'm not getting it. If I have it, I can work on reversing it because I know what's triggering it. And you can speak to any chronic disease in this context and kind of unpack it.

Claudia von Boeselager 4:25  
Can you talk about some use cases? Because I think for some people, they're probably thinking, yeah, how is this possible? How is this not more widespread in medicine? So you talked about, you know, your arteries, cardiovascular disease, what other type of diseases fall under this umbrella? Well,

Kashif Khan 4:40  
I would say the biggest area that needs the most support is female health and female hormone health. So we spend a lot of time researching. In fact, to be precise. We spent three years with 7000 patients this is why we have the insights we have some genetic researchers understand DNA. Most clinicians Understand the patient, and they don't speak to each other. So there was a gap. So we realized that was research that was needed. So we set up a clinic; we spent three years with 7000 patients, one by one by one, to apply what was known in genetics. And the area that we saw that needed the most support was everything around female hormone health. It was horrible. You know, I had no clue until I actually got into it. What no clue even though my mom had a hysterectomy, my niece had anxiety crashes, I've had breast cancer, and my family, but you just think that these things are supposed to happen, right? It's your hormones. Good luck, right? So but the truth is, the hormone cascade is actually very black and white if you understand the genetics of it, and all of the things from crazy menopause to crazy menstrual cycle to infertility, to fibromyalgia, all these threats. We understand the root cause, and they don't necessarily need to happen. So what we find is that some women genetically make a lot more estrogen than other women for their estrogen dominance. And those same women may also convert that estrogen into a toxic metabolite, some of these women, not all. They may also not have the detox pathways to clear that toxic metabolites. So anyway, the estrogen-dominant woman that every month and her menstrual cycle turn it into something toxic, there's a potential to turn it into something nontoxic, but we don't know which bucket you're going into your genes will tell us, right? And then how do you clear it? So if you're making this inflammatory insult, month after month, and you're doing it in today's context, where epigenetic Lee are breathing in things, eating and things, putting some stuff on your skin that all mimic estrogen and elevates that number? Because people would ask why I would be wired to make a toxin that makes me sick. You are wired for a different reality where everything that you eat and breathe and smell isn't an estrogen Mimic; that didn't push that number way higher. Right. So now, all of a sudden, you combine the genetics here to profile; estrogen toxicity can be toxic in today's reality, living in a city, breathing and eating the wrong stuff. And that's where all Zen disease gets triggered. Because the combination of the two is too much. That inflammatory load is too much. So this is where we've had women with endometriosis about to get surgery, not need surgery; it's been reversed. You know, this is where we've had women that just cannot get through their crazy menopause, you know, and all of a sudden relax and calm down. And they're surviving, and they're sleeping properly. And we've had young women that have anxiety issues that literally can't go to school, you know, don't have them anymore. They don't need medication. So that's the biggest area of impact. And everyone listening is probably saying I've had all of that.

Claudia von Boeselager 7:54  
Sounds familiar? Yeah. So yeah. And are these only in cases of estrogen-dominant women, or have you seen this? Oh, there's the opposite

Kashif Khan 8:00  
androgen dominant. And so some women don't make enough estrogen. And they're more androgen dominant like we had a patient whose father was an internist. So very well-educated clinician. And she spent six years, so she got her first menstrual cycle when she was 16. And for the age of 16 to 21, she had six menstrual cycles. Right. And she had crazy, crazy acne to the point where she used to take a rubber doughnut with her to sit down on because she couldn't sit on hard surfaces. Her hair was falling out. But she had an amazing six-pack abs and ripped muscle all over her body. Didn't have ever needed to worry about what she ate or what she exercised, right? So her dad thought she had a liver toxicity issue because her skin was, you know, creating all this crazy acne; she went to every clinician, every specialist could not figure it out. We unpacked and unravel this in six weeks. So the six weeks you in six years what she couldn't resolve. She came to the clinic crying after six weeks, saying it was the first time in her life I felt like a girl. Right? So what was going on? She was highly estrogen dominant. And she made a version of testosterone called DHT dihydrotestosterone, which is a very potent superpower version, which gave her her six-pack in her rip muscle, but also gave her her hair loss and our cystic acne, and her inability to have a menstrual cycle. She wasn't making any estrogen. So that hormone flow, we've mapped out what your body does with hormones. And we've connected which gene instructs each step. So now, if I know the jeans, I know what taps you're turning and how much you fill each bucket. And I know where the red flags are. And in her case, it was very specific. She did not sip 191 It's the gene that Extra saucer and converted into estrogen she didn't do that job; SR D five a two is the gene that takes your testosterone and converts it into DHT. Super, super fast UWGB one seven and one five. These are the genes that get rid of your DHT. She didn't do that job. So too much testosterone does not convert into estrogen it all goes into DHT, and she does not have the genes to get rid of the DHT she is wired for the reality she was living right. So it was reversed, and she's fine now, so it is a supplementation diet, teaching her to exercise the right way to use those androgens that she was gifted with, and all of a sudden, she felt fine,

Claudia von Boeselager 10:39  
beautiful. And for women listening perhaps and sort of perimenopause, menopause used what can be done. I think so many people just think well, it is what it is. And they go to so many doctors that are just like, you can't do anything about it. It's natural, right, and obviously, Jennifer Garrison and different people that are working on phenomenal things, but what can be done for women listening that are perhaps in perimenopause or menopause years?

Kashif Khan 11:03  
So, first of all, pay attention to perimenopause a lot earlier. Today's reality is again the hormone disruption that we live in. We're seeing perimenopause and early 30s Now, right, and we have women calling us that are 4243 saying, you know, I feel like that's, but it can't be menopause. I'm too young. Or, like, No, you're 10 years late, according to today's standards, you know. So it's not that women have changed, the environment has changed, the food has changed, the cosmetics have changed. The sunscreen has changed. Everything has hormone-disrupting chemicals. So that's the first thing I would say is to be aware of the triggers. There's so much relief to be found. And this is true for men also; women or men are sold estrogen today, and libido has gone. The vigor and that manly man attitude aren't there anymore. Right? There's beautiful hair and skin all of a sudden on men. But there are things like gynecomastia man boobs; why do I look like this? Right? Why can't I see my six-pack? Why do I always have fat on my stomach? You're overly estrogen iced. And it has to do with the environmental insults that are doing that, I would say that that's a big thing to pay attention to strip away the things the epigenetic inputs that are accelerating at the catalysts that you probably aren't thinking of, right? This is what we're seeing in our research. There are so many threats. But beyond all that, yes, for sure, for the woman who is either in perimenopause or approaching or is in menopause, there's so much that can be done. It has to be personalized. A lot of women go on to hormone therapy, for example, BHRT. And we believe that that is beneficial if you do it right. There are women that we talked to that are on estradiol, for example. And then, we show them their genetic map and show them why that estradiol is fueling breast cancer. Right. But there are other women where we say go ahead and take extra dial; that's exactly what you need. Precision, I guess, is the keyword. Once you have your genomics in hand, you can do exactly what your body needs. And feel right about the first choice.

Claudia von Boeselager 13:18  
Which is beautiful, too. And I mean, it also includes, you know, sleep or some of the other areas. Maybe you can talk about the different areas that get insights into as well.

Kashif Khan 13:28  
So you name a chronic condition, a health and wellness question. You can probably use your genome to answer it. But there are seven key areas that we provide that we believe everyone needs to know. And then beyond that, if there's more, again, that same data can answer any question, even as much as, like, what career Should I have, for example, so let's start there. Yeah, motor behavior. So one of the first and actually the biggest section of the map is the brain. Here's everything about the neural chemicals of your brain, here's how you think, here's an idea, and here's why you procrastinate. Here's why you're more entrepreneurial, right? So we understand what neurochemicals drive, what behavior, and what versions you have because of the genes you have, right? So that's one everything about gluten behavior, anxiety, depression, addiction, you know, reward-seeking behavior, all of that. The second one is definitely hormones, everything about you know, how your hormones work for men and women, all of the major things from the libido, to body development, to burning fat, to energy to vitality, in your older age, all that stuff, then chronic disease. So how do you understand what your body is at risk of, from Alzheimer's or diabetes to cardiovascular disease? Not based on the disease itself. But the combination of factors that equal that problem, as I described for cardiovascular disease, so we lay it out like that. Then there's innate immunity and inflammation. So how healthy are you why is it during COVID that some people were asymptomatic and walked around didn't even know some people were in the hospital, the innate cell cellular health, which is key to everything. If your cells aren't healthy, well, things aren't going to go right. diet, diet nutrition, should you be a vegan? Should you use the keto diet? You know, should you? For example, do you need to worry about carbs and starches? Is it really that big of a deal for you? micronutrients, like vitamin D, and C, and zinc, and what do you actually need to what degree so we get deep into that, then we look at everything around sleep, like you said, which we think is so key, if you're not sleeping properly, you're not recovering, you're not making your hormones, you're not making your neural chemicals. And so we go far beyond, I can't sleep at night; that's too simplistic of a concern. Genetically, there are many different versions of I can't sleep at night, there's I can't fall asleep, there I can't stay asleep. There's, I sleep through the night. But when I wake up, I don't feel like I got any rest. Those are three different things, and we can figure them out. Then we look at longevity. How do you take everything I just talked about? And reinterpret that to add 10 Healthy years to your life or reverse your biological age? How do we go and take all this stuff and teach you exactly what you need to do to be younger on the inside? Right, which I've done for myself, by the way. So to frame all this up, if you take all of this stuff and package it all together. When we started this journey, I was chronologically 38. And biologically 43, which set off some alarms, you know, and I was sick, I had five different chronic conditions. I'm not sick now. And so I was 43. I was five years older than myself, which, if you go around North America and kind of throw a dart, you're gonna find that the majority of people are there, right? I am now actually 43. So I'm five years older, and I'm biologically 33. Right, so the delta value there are 15 years, you know, so, and that's it. So it's not just about slowing things downs and preventing it's also reversing. You can turn the clock back if you start to do things right; we're very resilient. Right?

Claudia von Boeselager 17:17  
Yeah, I mean, I'm 15 years younger, as my audience will know, to biologically based on a glycan age test now, so I need to see my company results too. But that's the beauty of it, right? And then it's the I guess the next step is to get down to, say, 20, or whatever age you want minus 20. Stay like that until I'm 150 plus, and then enjoy life in the process of catching I wanted to pick up on a few points you mentioned with environmental hazards, and maybe some people have alarm bells going off thinking, Well, where is this estrogen? What am I doing? Can you talk about some specific environmental hazards? Starting with the estrogen in the environment, but then just in general, that can negatively impact genes.

Kashif Khan 17:58  
So there are some things that are very conventional habits that we don't think of and some things that are new. How many women are on the birth control pill, right? And for not like the boxes for temporary use, but for 510 15 years? Massive estrogen Mimic, right? How many women don't understand that their Teflon-coated frying pan is loaded with estrogen mimics, right? However, I mean, women don't understand that their Lululemon yoga pants have forever chemicals. And they happen to be exactly in the crotch lining, which is the worst place they can be while you're sweating and exercising, right? You know, so all of these things that are and there's so many more that your cosmetics, have family, some, you know, all these chemicals in them that in some countries are actually illegal, you know, and the United States is probably the worst off but for everybody that's listening, depending on where you are, there are things that are allowed in the US are illegal in parts of Europe, you know, that are illegal, even like in China in UK, like everywhere, they're illegal. But in the US, they're open for use. We just have, you know, more aggressive lobbying from this chemical industry. So things get through. There's hormone disruption in your water, you know, all of the birth control pills that women are taking, that they pee out, that goes through sanitation and comes back into your water supply. When you use hormones, they do not become inactive. When they leave your body. They're still active as if nobody ever touched them. And they are still in your water. And this is why men even are so estrogen is because the tap water is full of estrogen from birth control, right? So you have to think about today's context and the systems and processes we have around how we live and realize it's not what we're wired for. In fact, our genetics are a quarter million years old. So the DNA that we walk around with is not, you know, a couple of generations ago we didn't inherit it You know what you can remember, you know, grandma, whoever you can think about, you inherited a caveman or K woman's gene DNA, who you wouldn't you don't even realize is your lineage, right? Our DNA has not changed in a quarter million years. So we are wired for habits and exposures of that time. And our current industrialized reality is very short; what is it? 100 150 years old. And really, the proliferation of chemicals and everything that we're exposed to is the 1970s. And beyond is really when things got crazy. So this tiny, tiny, tiny blip of 50 years versus 250,000 years of habits are wired for, why is everyone so sick? It's no surprise.

Claudia von Boeselager 20:47  
So it's important for them to look around. Yeah, and just be more familiar with what's in the environment as well, and so many different levels. Let's talk about mental health. How do personalized medicine and functional genomics, and where are their role in mental health? And

Kashif Khan 21:03  
so what I believe, and this is what we learned, by the way, because we spent time with 7000 people, so we literally had conversations with them for weeks and months sometimes. And what we learned is the majority of what people called anxiety, depression, addiction, yes, is what they were feeling the symptoms, spoke to that. But the thing that drove it was actually their strength. But a context causes it to be a problem. And I'll explain; I'll use myself as an example. So the dopamine pathway is what allows you to experience pleasure. But it also allows you to experience rewards. And the way your body does it, the biological function is there's anticipation. So you smell some tasty food, and dopamine starts getting released. And then there are these receptors in your brain that bind it. And genetically, we have different densities of receptors. So the intensity level of that anticipation and feel, smell it, taste it, we feel things are different intensities, right, then there are two genes, that one breaks it down and breaks the dopamine down because eventually need to get back to normal. And then one comes like a broom and kind of sweeps it up and gets rid of it. So, I have the lowest possible density of receptors. So I don't feel much. And I have the fastest possible metabolism and clearance. So it doesn't last. While it's happening, it's almost gone. So if you take that and put me in the context of Here's the World, depression is where I'm going to be. Right, and I'm going to use that word. And the like, life sucks, everything's no good. I don't understand what people are happy about. Nothing's good, right? Or, if I find something that gives me pleasure, I'm going to use words like addiction because it's never enough. I can't feel it, and it doesn't last. And while I'm doing it, I've already done it, and I need to keep going and keep going and keep going; I structure my day around because I'm just not used to feeling good. That's addiction, or option three, achievement because dopamine also powers reward. And ultimately, both of those lead to satisfaction, pleasure, and reward, and you only need one; you don't need both. So the same sense of I can't get any satisfaction from pleasure. Same thing with the reward, I achieved something, and I want to try harder and take a bigger risk and do it again. And all of a sudden, you do what I do, which is become a crazy entrepreneur that people think he's a psychopath, right? But guess what? I've experienced all three of these things. I've experienced depression; I've experienced addiction. And I've experienced achievement. Because I've had multiple contexts in my life when I was young, and we grew up very poor. And I didn't have access to what everyone else had access to. I was depressed. And I also was depressed. Later in life, what I had achieved, stopped trying, and went back to the status quo wasn't good enough, right? I was also addicted. Because while I was young, a friend gave me something that he shouldn't have given me. And it gave me a sense of pleasure. And I just kept going. Then my father passed away, and I had to take care of the family and work. So I started working, and I just kept going and going and going, and I got hooked on the sensor reward. So this is why I say that your net result and the language you use on things like anxiety, depression, etc., are based on your misalignment and context. Most of us are wired with extreme superpowers when it comes to our cognitive ability. And I'm not saying that you're more intelligent. I just mean that you have a job that you're designed to do. And if you're in the wrong context, it's not going to feel like a superpower. It's going to feel like kryptonite. It's going to feel like a massive burden. And it's understanding how your brain is wired, but it's very hard to do that. Again, without understanding the genetics and drive all of these chemicals, and who you're supposed to be, and as a last example, you might say, well, that's you, you figured it out. But how is everybody's thing related to context? Well, I could take the opposite and say that if I had the best dopamine and the slowest clearance, it doesn't mean that I'm doing good; I still need to be in the right context. So you could have the maximum possible density, and you it's so easy to feel pleasure and reward. Right? And you have very slow care, and so you stay in it longer. So based on the story I just told you, that sounds like it's healthy. I should never be depressed, I should never be addicted. And I should not be a crazy entrepreneur, I can have a balanced life. Right? Well, it's so easy for you to experience, and Alas, so long that these people end up bingeing. So we've worked with people that are extreme marathon runners, for example, that are brought across the Sahara Desert and up and down mountains. And almost every one of them got there. Because they were first in substance abuse. They first were either in jail because of the drugs they were on. And they or they, you know, had abusive relationships or something along those lines. You're like, well, how does it make sense? They don't have addict contemporary, they don't have addictive tendencies addicted was I needed every day on time bingeing is I don't need it. But when I do it, I get stuck. And I can't get out of it. And I'm going to disappear for a week. Right? So it's also a context problem. If you put that person into a, there's no work to do. And you know, let's go have some fun. And you give them a very particular type of pleasure. They get lost. Right? I don't need to drink. But there's a very specific whiskey that when I taste it, oh, man, I'm gone. I drink the whole bottle. That same

Claudia von Boeselager 26:50  
with my margaritas. Exactly.

Kashif Khan 26:54  
So now, that's where we're saying that any cognitive profile has its superpower, or its problem, depending on the context, and you need to know what you're wired for and what context you should be in.

Claudia von Boeselager 27:05  
Let's talk specifically about you and what lifestyle and other changes did you make in order to based on the knowledge you gained in order to transform and have a more balanced and healthy lifestyle?

Speaker 1 27:18  
So this is exactly why I wrote this book, the DNA, we talk about it. And I keep forgetting that I wrote a book.

Claudia von Boeselager 27:29  
Because you're on to the next task, right? Yeah. Dopamine.

Kashif Khan 27:32  
Yeah. But this is exactly why we did that. Because that question is a very important question. None of us know that this should be part of our toolkit. None of us know that this is something we should be thinking about. And using and going back to answer all of our questions every day. It's why I wrote this book literally detailing. Here's exactly what I did in every system. We talked about sleep, we talked about disease, we talked about diet, we talked about all of those various systems. Here are my red flags. And here are exactly the habits I adopt. Some of them were simple, easy, and straightforward. Some of them are completely counterintuitive. Right? So as an example, I did experiment with the keto diet. And you know, I have good friends that were flourishing on it. And I did feel good in the first few weeks, you know, you start burning fat as fuel, you get into ketosis, and your brain feels amazing. And then all of a sudden, seven, eight weeks into it, I felt horrible. And I didn't blame the keto diet because it felt so good. In the beginning, I was like, What am I doing wrong? So I started picking on things. And I realized genetically that they ate way to gene; I don't metabolize fats; well, it's a big problem for me, and my insulin response is horrible. And ultimately, fat becomes glucose if you don't use it as fuel. And so it's triggering my insulin. And so it was making me feel really bad. And a very simple tweak that I had to make, I kept getting tested for B 12. And it was always low. I was like, No, I'm taking my B 12. I don't understand what's wrong here. So genetically, I don't have the genes to actually metabolize B12 and my God. So my ancestors didn't eat beef; there's a very specific form of BT, well, that comes from beef. And that's not what I do. And so, instead, I needed sublingually. Under the tongue, my ancestors ate more sheep and lamb, and they have the genetics to absorb it while chewing. So simple tweaks that make all the difference that you would never think of, you know unless you understand that map that tells you how your body works. So I can go on and on and on and on. But there are so many examples of little things, you know, if we talk about sleep, for example. So my problem wasn't that I couldn't fall asleep. I could fall asleep right now if you asked me to. I don't have a problem. I know the feeling. My circadian rhythm is amazing, and I work hard enough that I'm ready to sleep. My problem is I can't stay as Sleep. So I'll sleep in the beginning portion of the night, and then the second half is not the same. And if you wake me up and disturb me, I'm done; the night is ruined. And I figured out what was going on there. My serotonin response, serotonin is the neurochemical that allows your brain to understand what stimulus to prioritize. So it leads to anxiety, depression, and words like that. But it also leads to superpowers like being a lawyer because you can prioritize stimulus. So you notice every little detail, and you can read contracts and understand stuff, right? So again, put it in the right context; it works in the context of sleep. In that second half of the night, your brain is waiting for sunlight to signal the time to get out of bed. And serotonin is a neurochemical that gets bound to then truly wake you up. And then you start making cortisol, and you're up, right? So if your serotonin pathway is dysregulated, your brain doesn't know what to respond to. So it's too hot, it's too cold. Somebody's putting on a blanket. There's a cat that just jumped on the bed. Like whatever's going on. Your brain is like, Oh, sunlight, no, back to sleep, sunlight, no back to sleep, the squirrel response, right? And so that was my problem. And so I had to build this; it's not always a supplement. It's sometimes, it's an environment or lifestyle habits. So I had to build a sleep cocoon, I had to get a weighted blanket, and I had to get a cooling pad to maintain the temperature. I had to blackout the blinds, I had to wear a sleep mask, but a very comfortable one that doesn't signal to my eyes. Wake up, wake up, right? So there's a bunch of habits I adopted. I sleep amazing now, you know, and yes, there are supplements you can also take, and I do, depending on the day. But I truly sleep amazing now. So again, we can ask any question about the choices we have to make every day. And I can comment about something that I changed, where I now feel better.

Claudia von Boeselager 31:58  
Amazing. And so tell us a little bit more about the book. So you wanted to explain about your journey and what you've done. What else can people find in the DNA way? Your book?

Kashif Khan 32:06  
Yeah. So, at the time when I started writing it, I wasn't. Or I should say we as a company wasn't really commercial, meaning we were a research company. So we didn't know if the world was ever going to be tested. Right? We didn't know, as a research company, when you're a biotech early stage, if this information going to get plugged into hospitals are going to get plugged into clinics. Are we actually going to have a website where people can buy DNA tests, which we now have, right? So I started writing the book Thinking that, and it was really triggered by my niece, who had an anxiety crash multiple times to the point where she ended up running away from home and was being prescribed anxiety medication. And I learned it actually had nothing to do with anxiety. What was going on? Was, I remember my mom, my mom, my sister, and my niece lived together. And they were both calling me, and I looked back at the text messages and phone calls. And like clockwork, they were every 2830 days, as like, wow, this is related to her menstrual cycle somehow. So, but why now because she's had her menstrual cycle for a couple of years. So why all of a sudden? So I looked at her genetic map, which I didn't do the first couple of times I was just like any other parent, the doctor says, anxious. I was like, okay, she has anxiety. And I went with it. And she hasn't prescribed anything yet. But the third time when she ran away from home, she was about to be prescribed something, and that's when I intervened. And so what I found was that in her hormone cycle, she doesn't make enough hormones. And the beginning of the cycle is when you have the least like zero hormones. So she had a bunch of deeper valleys that she would crawl into, right? So already teetering on biological function is not optimal. But after two years of the cycle, she didn't yet have a concern. So why, then? Well, this happened during peak COVID in Toronto, where she was being homeschooled in the winter and hadn't been outside in five months. Wow. Which meant zero vitamin D. Vitamin D is a potent hormone that manages the gene expression of 2000 out of your 24,000 genes. So 10% of your human biochemistry is dependent on one thing being available in adequate amounts, her genetic profile around vitamin D, and it's a complex profile. It's not just this gene that allows you to use it. In step one, you have to take D two from the sun and turn it into d3. That's one gene. Step two is used to transport that material to the salary actually used it. That's another gene. Step three, you need to bind it and connect it that's another gene. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that has this complex pathway because our ancestors had a very different context where they got too much They were in the sun all day, every day. So they had to actually mitigate and be able to store and use later. What they got from the sun was the opposite; we don't have enough. And so now we don't get enough even with our supplementation. So our hormones were causing this biological failure. Like clockwork, every 28 days, she had zero vitamins D. So that was being exaggerated highly. And like her crazy uncle, she had a bad dopamine pathway. So it was already difficult for her to experience pleasure. So that's the thing that failed, anxiety crash, right? So all I did was I gave her a high dose of vitamin D., And I split it. So I gave her 5000 In the morning and 5000 at midday because, remember, she doesn't transport vitamins; I gave it all to her in the morning; she doesn't use most of that she uses it little by little, right? So I gave her a couple of doses, then I gave her l theanine to boost her dopamine, a supplement that you can buy in any health food store. That was it. It's been two years, and she has not had an anxiety issue. Right. From the day that this started, she has not had an anxiety issue since we gave her the supplements; she would have still been on an anxiety pill today if this hadn't been figured out, right? So that was the day that I realized that everybody needs to know. And so I started writing the book; I didn't know where we were going as a company. So I said, at least this book will help everybody understand how to access this tool. But since then, again, the company evolved alongside the time that book came out to market; it took a long time. And now, testing is available to everybody, which is a beautiful thing. We didn't know we were gonna get there. But that's the whole thinking is, you know, how do I teach everybody in an easy way how to use their genome? And that's why we wrote the DNA way.

Claudia von Boeselager 36:48  
It's so exciting cash because I think there are so many people, especially mental health is such a big topic. And even you know, I've had menopause specialists on Dr. Louise Newson, etc. And typically, women are prescribed antidepressants, when actually it's their hormones, right? And the doctors don't think to check the hormone levels and how things are going. But would you say for anyone who maybe is expressed, experiencing depression or anxiety to, you know, number one, have their DNA checked with you? And you know, what is the pathway then thereafter? Because I know people I was speaking to them about the DNA company, they said, Well, I'm not in Canada. What can I do? My doctor doesn't know about this. So can you help people understand what the sort of post-testing here is?

Kashif Khan 37:38  
First of all, even the very best depression medication only works 40% of the time. Right? There are current data that says that exercise works twice, as well as the best depression medication. I saw that Yeah, well, 50% of your neurology is in your legs. And if you're not moving, if you're not walking, your brain is not going to feel good. It's a lifestyle problem. So it's a context problem. It's you're wired for something, and you're in the wrong place; it's your body's not doing what it was designed to do. And so your brain also isn't healthy. It's a food problem. The vagus nerve and the connection between your gut and your brain. If you do not understand how dysbiotic and inflamed your gut is, then you're also not understanding why your brain doesn't feel well if you do not understand that there's a blood-brain barrier that protects your brain from toxins. But the current toxins that we breathe and eat all day, our blood-brain barrier was not designed for, and they can then pass and enter. So there are all these functional insights that, first of all, you can lean on to understand it's not just I feel like this, what do I do about the feeling the feeling is too late? It's because you've had 567 10 years of bad habits. So let's start talking about the habits. So yes, we can use genetics to understand what is the red flag. Is it your gut? Is it your brain itself? Is it your neurochemicals? Is it your inflammatory response blurs the thing that if you work on this one thing, 80% of the problem is solved, then you can slowly chip away at rest, right? Well, yes, for sure. The test can be used for that. And the process is, first of all shipped globally, right? We were shipping everywhere. There are a couple of countries that are problems, like Mexico, with their customs issues, France is a bit of an issue. Vietnam, but the majority of the world, we don't have a problem. We ship everywhere. After someone gets the test, report back; if you really dive in and you understand how your body works, don't look for depression; look for understanding your neurochemicals and then interpret for the problem you're trying to solve. That's the job that you have to do. And if you move forward beyond that and say, Well, I'd like to support Well, we do have functional genomic practitioners that are fully trained on how to interpret the human genome and build a plan for you, here's your genomic playbook for you, here's how you fix the problem, you want to fix it. By the way, here are five of the problems that you didn't even know were coming that we're also going to fix for you in advance, right? Because we can read your genome and understand it. So yes, we do have practitioners, that are sciences, scientists, medical doctors, naturopaths, depending on what problem we're trying to solve for the individual that can work with you as an individual and solve all that stuff. But, you know, if you dive into the data, you should be able to figure things out. And that's kind of what looks like this. It's a saliva sample. So you go online, you order a test kit that gets shipped to you, you spit in a tube, you ship it back, we extract your DNA, and we have a unique way of thinking about that DNA. So even what we believe the DNA means is very different than other genetic companies; we're not looking for you to have an 80% chance of Alzheimer's; we don't care about those genetic insights; we care more about biological pathways, and here's the way your body does a certain job. So based on the way your body does that job, whether it's good or bad, here are the potential problems that could lead to because one gene is not a single problem. One gene can be 25 different problems. Right? If you understand what job it's supposed to do, and what Job is failing, you know, like, my window is broken, that could mean that it's too cold, it could also mean that it's too hot, it could also mean that there are mosquitoes coming in, it could also mean that the kid is leaving out the window, that can lead to many different problems, right? But the way we look at genetics is the window is broken, you're too cold, and it ends there. Right? You have to think about the job in the context of how we live in our bodies. So then there's the epigenetics of now that I know my genome and how my body works. What are the environment, nutrition, and lifestyle factors for me, not for everybody, not a podcast that says, here's how to exercise, which worked for me and saved my life? It probably did. But I'm sure you spent five or six or seven years figuring things out before you found that thing that was perfect for you. And although it's perfect for you, it may not be perfect for seven out of 10 people, right, but the three people that is perfect for amazing. So let's get out of that trial and error. Let's get out of that one size fits all. And let's use this human instruction manual to always make the right choice. It's that simple.

Claudia von Boeselager 42:16  
uniform and that works every single time.

Kashif Khan 42:19  
Yeah, I mean, your genome doesn't change. Your genome doesn't lie. Right? It's not like blood work; that's variable. And it's not like anything else that depends on what you did, you're gonna get a different result; your genome is your gene; it's the only test that you only need to do once in your life because your DNA will never ever change, and it can't fly. These are instructions that your cells follow to a tee. They cannot vary from what that instruction is. So this is what your body does. And it's very clear. So now you know how to handle it, rejoice

Claudia von Boeselager 42:50  
speaking of advances, let's talk about technology and its role in helping people live a better lifestyle and interpret where you see things going with the interpretation of data and insights. I'm also getting larger datasets as well; what insights do you think will start to get more and more as more people test? And in general, for personalized medicine, what excites you about technology in this space?

Kashif Khan 43:16  
So there are two halves of that the personalized medicine part of it we'll talk about; it's really exciting. The big data stuff, I don't believe, is as useful as people think the big data stuff is trying to say, hey, here's a $5 million grant for autism research; let's get as much data as possible. And let's figure out the solution. Right, and they're looking for this magic switch to turn off this gene, this autism gene. But that's not the way the body works. Why do we call it autism spectrum? Because there's not one single thing we can point out, it's kids not developing properly, their behavioral development is lagging, whether it's speech, whether it's movement, whether whatever, right? So the things that lead to it aren't singular, either. It's, you know, why do some parents say, Well, this vaccine caused my kid this issue, some parents say that my fight, my kid was fine until he got exposed to this chemical, or there's a cell phone tower that got built on knowing my kid is changing. So all these things point to there's a functional answer. It's not a switch that was turned on or off. And I use that example because the big data is going to solve genetic conditions, things that you're born with, which is a tiny fraction of today's healthcare problems; those people really need that answer. However, there are some kids that are born autistic that have a gene switch that was turned on or off. One day, big data will figure that out. And here's a shot that you can take and guess what it's going on. Right? There are other diseases like sickle cell syndrome and other genetic conditions that you have. The majority majority majority like 90% Plus, truly is chronic in nature, meaning it's developed it's caused by our choices. That type of research is not going to fix these problems. What's going to fix these problems? The second thing you said is personalized medicine. And personalized medicine is not treating the symptom but supporting the system? How do I know how your body functions? And how do I know what jobs your body doesn't do? Well? And how do I support those jobs? And if I can maintain my health of yourself so that I never have inflammation, I cannot get a chronic disease. You need inflammation that the cells have to be burdened for something to trigger; if I can do what you're saying, maintain my biological age of 20. And the usefulness of your cellular function of that age, the mitochondrial function of that age, you can't get a disease, it can't set in why doesn't cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and etc. For the most part, happens at that age; yes, there are people that get sick early; those, again, are genetic conditions, those are rarities, but the majority of people, it's 55. Plus, it is when things happen, right? And because your body's resilient, it will fight the stuff off until then, and then all of a sudden, your mitochondria deplete, your cells are more inflamed, and you've had 50 years of exposure to the thing that you're not supposed to do, you will get sick, though we think that we know what to target, we understand how the body works. And it will go beyond getting a DNA test and talking to someone, and taking some supplements to gene therapy. So right now there, we already know of a major gene therapy that was dropped globally. And there's some controversy on whether it should have been dropped or not. Right. But the underlying technology, though, whether there are nefarious or problematic, you know, motivations behind that one, and what it does to you versus the technology that was used, and if somebody with good intention to use that technology for something good. If I know, going back to the very first thing we talked about, if I know the nine p 192. One gene tells me that I have good or bad cardiovascular hardware. And if I know that cardiovascular disease is rooted in inflammation, and I know that I do have the bad version, I could create a gene therapy that makes that gene work harder and give me the good version. That's a very healthy, positive way to use this new technology. So I think that's what's coming. We are working on that right now. We're working on, not the technology itself. There are other companies that are good at that but more supporting each other in terms of what to target and how to use the technology better. And I think that is what we're gonna see coming fairly soon as the next wave of personalized medicine.

Claudia von Boeselager 47:40  
That's really exciting. Thank you for sharing that. Are there any candidates, potential patients, and clients that might be sort of too far gone to do interventions?

Kashif Khan 47:51  
Yeah, so with every condition, the cells in your body are getting damaged? So, for example, and we're working with dementia and Alzheimer's? Yes, we reverse it. Yes, we take people that have Alzheimer's and dementia, and they no longer have it. But there are some people for whom it's progressed so far that, yeah, we can stop the progression, but they're not going to be the same. Right? So you waited too long, just like you can take your car off-roading and beat the poop out of it, right and maintain it. But if you just keep it beating the poop out of it and never maintain it, there's a point where you're not going to bring it back. Same thing with things like cancers; they progress. Same thing with things like diabetes. So diabetes is the one area where I would say that type two diabetes, that it's almost like anybody can experience a reversal. You know, I was just speaking to a clinician. Two days ago, we were talking about fasting for diabetes. And there's been people that are 2530 years in that have had their type two diabetes reversed. So that's probably the easiest place to do it. But there, yeah, there are some conditions where if it's too far gone, the damage has been done. That yes, you can stop it, you can bring it back somewhat. But you may not get back to the status quo and baseline. But most people aren't there. You know, if you're listening here today, you're either able to prevent something that you don't even know what's coming. Or you may be feeling the beginnings of something that you don't want to have. Right? Or you know, there's a familial history that you want to avoid, or maybe just an energy thing or a performance thing or what type of exercise my supposed to do to actually live to 100 because if you look at most people that are 100 120 centenarians, they aren't professional athletes. Right? They're not their grandma, right? The habits that actually create longevity are not what you think it's not that fit the Instagram model. That's fitness that's not necessarily health. So understanding what actually drives longevity and health. It's unique for each one of us. The habit that we need to have some people will tell them never ever do cardiovascular training; they should not be running on a treadmill because it will aid them. Some people will tell them to do cardiovascular training four days a week; that's what your body is wired for. Alright, so just getting personalized around that, and all sudden, you can feel amazing.

Claudia von Boeselager 50:16  
Excited; I need to get this playbook, Kashi; I think I'd dig in a little bit deeper as well to optimize. And that's, I think, the beauty of where we are today and this pivotable point with personalized medicine and precision medicine as well to really nail it. So speaking of longevity and aging, if you could live to 150 years old cash with excellent health, how would you spend it,

Kashif Khan 50:39  
I'd probably keep doing what I'm doing. Which is I don't get up every day and feel like I'm going to work. I get up every day angry, wanting to fight certain narratives that are out there around what people think is possible with their health. And I work on it tirelessly. Because I believe that if we truly understood how our body works, there would be a very different reality than living to 150 with good health. Why not? Why not, though? The reason we age isn't innate; it's we are aging far faster than we should, because of our habits, because of our environment, because of our food, you know, so if we understand why we age, if we understand why we get the disease, at the age of 150, I would be doing the exact same thing, it's just going to be you know, 100 years in the future. So I'm gonna have much better technology to do it with. That's the only difference. And my intention is I believe we have we're born with this God-given gift of health. It's my responsibility to return this body and the condition that I got it in. Right, if I was given this gift, what for me, you know, think about it religiously. It's like the highest form of worship, to be thankful and to have the gratitude to return this in the condition that I got it in. Right. And so that's what I would be doing is still figuring out more and more and more of what needs to be figured out so that people can learn more and more and more what to do.

Claudia von Boeselager 52:13  
As you, for my listeners interested in understanding DNA genomics and functional genomics more, what online resources and books, and obviously your book The DNA WAY, would you recommend they check out?

Kashif Khan 52:24  
Oh, yeah, so you can actually go to the DNA And you'll see, the book is there. And you can learn a little bit, I think there's there's a sample chapter as well if you want to just poke around. If you go to the DNA, you'll find a few things. You'll find a blog where we have articles about certain case studies and how people are doing, and it'll help you understand how these things apply. Right? There's also a podcast there, where we speak on various topics and sprinkle in genetic insights. And there are your laws also; understand how this stuff applies. And those are the two big ones, you know, we're always speaking at various events. So if there's a specific health concern you're thinking about, there's various medical summits, etc, that we're talking to about. So you can contact our team if you'd like to learn more about Alzheimer's or fibromyalgia or whatever. We've probably spoken about it somewhere at some point and confined to the interview, you know. So yeah, there's a lot out there. But the website has the blog, the podcast, there's, and the book itself will really help you understand

Claudia von Boeselager 53:30  
exciting because you've where can people follow you see what you're up to? What, Where are you on social media,

Kashif Khan 53:38  
Instagram is where I spend my time; that's where I go to vent. You know, in everyday life for people

Claudia von Boeselager 53:45  
listening, he has really incredible. He takes research and shows the research, and explains why it's false or totally misrepresented as well. So it's a very good place to follow Kashi.

Kashif Khan 53:56  
Yeah. I just feel like there's so much that we don't know what's right under our noses. There are things that we're consuming and exposing ourselves to every day that we're told by our governing bodies are okay that are truly not. And so my intention is to dis to allow people to self-govern and figure it out on their own because we're not being supported there. So it's cash KSHHA, en Official Cash con official on Instagram, and you'll be entertained. I can tell you that.

Claudia von Boeselager 54:29  
I can confirm that as well. As Do you have any final ask recommendations or any parting thoughts or messages for my audience today?

Kashif Khan 54:39  
Well, I would say that I am fully confident in what we've seen in our research that chronic disease is a choice. It's not an I have Alzheimer's in my family. Let me wait and see what's happening. It is a choice. If you weren't born with it, you don't have it. It gets caused. Do you just need to know What choices you make that lead to that choice? Right? So that is the big message. And I am 100% Certain of this because we've seen it over and over and over and over again. And we now know give me somebody, give me anybody, throw it at me. What's the problem? I will tell you why it was caused if I have your DNA, so we're confident that chronic disease is a choice; know that you will now have the technology to make it a choice to understand what's coming and prevent it from slowing aging down and age at the pace. You want to have optimal energy and performance, libido sleep, and all the things that you want can be the way they should be. Anything that is not the way it should be. It's just a sign that you're in poor health, even though you don't have a symptom. You're just early stages of poor health. So you don't have to be there. Right. It is truly a choice.

Claudia von Boeselager 55:50  
As you thank you so much for coming on today. As always such a pleasure. Thank you again. Great to be here.

I’m Claudia von Boeselager

Longevity Coach, detail-loving educator, big-thinking entrepreneur, podcaster, mama, passionate adventurer, and health optimization activist here to help people transform their lives, and reach their highest potential! All rolled into one.

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