Interview with Evangeline Gonzalez, President of Viazoi
With personalized wellness becoming more readily available, I found my curiosity growing about the emerging sector. I sat down with Evangeline Gonzalez, President of Viazoi, to ask some questions about personalized wellness and lifestyle tests and learn why someone might want to do one. I got my answer and found out a personal insight she gained by using the Viazoi Skin Beauty Insight Kit that got me even more curious!
What are personalized wellness kits?
Viazoi’s kits empower customers to make healthier and more tailored choices by understanding what makes their body tick–We call this U*ology. Currently Viazoi has thirteen different kits covering various wellness and lifestyle insights. Depending on which kit our customer orders, the laboratory test results will be summarized and translated into actionable reports that can be used to create or modify their personal care regimen–– from the products they buy to care for their skin to the best diet and exercise plan to achieve their ideal weight. The laboratory tests are based on key biomarkers in the individual’s body. Some tests are based on DNA while others test the bacteria and/or metabolites in our customer’s gut. Each kit is testing different biomarkers to give our customers the most actionable next steps. After our customer receives the results, if they have questions, we have experts in each of these fields that they can speak to regarding next steps.
Why would someone want to gain these insights?
We are so overloaded with options regarding personal care, sometimes it can be overwhelming to find the right plan and or products to support our goals. The information in the Viazoi insight report really eliminates guesswork. For instance, with the Viazoi Skin Beauty Kit, the customer is given an action plan based on their genetic results regarding, best foods to eat, active ingredients to look for in skincare products and even professional treatments that one could talk to his or her dermatologist about.
Alternatively, with the Weight Insights kit, customers are given information about their genetic make-up and customized diet and exercise recommendations, tailored to their goals- from diet choices (i.e. low-carb to low-fat) to the most effective methods of exercise for their body type to lose weight. Recommendations cover how much time during a workout should be spent on exercise intensity, ratio of strength to cardio and warm-up and cool-down. All based on each individual’s own unique biology. There is no expert, survey or quiz that can provide this level of insights about one’s body. Our customers are taking a pivotal step in creating the results they want in their lives.
To build on that question, what is possible by understanding different facets of one’s own biology and genetics?
We really reduce the trial and error process that comes with finding a winning program. The more insights gained, the more empowered each customer is to make choices that match their personal goals across multiple areas of their well-being. Viazoi customers are achieving an increased sense of satisfaction with this new trend in “biology-backed mindfulness".
Tell me more about Viazoi’s scientific background and credentials.
Viazoi, is a division of Foundation Laboratory, a clinical laboratory that has been in business since 1966. Foundation Laboratory is CLIA accredited and trusted by hundreds of medical facilities to run millions of clinical tests a year for their patients. Our clinical capabilities span from basic blood testing using clinical chemistry and protein detection to next generation sequencing. While Foundation Laboratory is focused on traditional diagnostic testing of disease for medical and institutional facilities, Viazoi is focused on tests that help customers understand their body and help them make informed personal care and lifestyle choices. We take privacy seriously and are HIPAA compliant. All partner labs within our network are also CLIA certified and HIPAA compliant.
Interviewer side note: I looked up the acronyms to find out what they mean. HIPAA compliant means that they follow the rules stated in U.S. legislation that provides data privacy and security provisions for safeguarding medical information. Simplified: Your data is safe and is not being shared with anyone except you. And CLIA accredited means they are certified by the state to be a trusted laboratory for handling human samples for diagnostic testing–basically, they run a state of the art, highly functioning laboratory. Ok, back to the questions…
How do the kits work?
The process is quite simple! A Viazoi customer purchases the kit from one of our channel partners or orders the kit online. If ordering online, it will arrive within about a week to their doorstep. It includes simple instructions on properly collecting a sample using a swab on the inside of the cheek. They seal the sample in a prepaid envelope and ship it back to our headquarters in California. The customer receives an electronic insight-rich report within a couple weeks with actions and program recommendations in their private dashboard on the Viazoi website. As I mentioned earlier, there is the option for customers to speak with an expert about the results to ensure they get the most out of the information.
Now that I’ve completed an insights kit and you have my info, if I want to do another test to gain more insights, do I have to start from scratch and send in a new sample?
No need to send us a new sample. We have the unanalyzed DNA data available to be reinterpreted. Our customers can simply visit the website at viazoi.com and purchase online. We will take care of the rest! In one to two weeks, the customer receives his or her insight-rich personalized report electronically in their dashboard on the website. What is great about our current family of kits is that they build off each other to really create a comprehensive personal care plan.
From your experience with your Viazoi insights kits, did you discover anything new about yourself you would be willing to share?
Sure, the first kit I used was the Skin Beauty Kit. As a busy mom, I hadn’t spent a lot of time taking care of my skin beyond my basic cleansing routine and using retinol-based lotions to manage any wrinkles. As time marched on, I noticed more and more skin damage and aging despite my seemingly good routine. Because of this, I started to rethink my approach. As I started delving into skin care, I learned there are thousands and thousands of products and treatments out there- some so expensive! All I wanted was the fastest way to understand what was going on with my skin and slow down the aging process quickly. I took the Skin Beauty test and within a couple weeks I learned that genetically, my skin is very susceptible to dehydration. The damage that was showing up was from dehydration and my skin’s ability to retain moisture effectively. You can only drink so much water. when I received the Skin Beauty Report, it highlighted active ingredients that I should look for in lotions that would help keep my skin hydrated and “plumped up” without needles! The skincare lotions I now buy have the active ingredient Hyaluronic acid. Bottom line is I’ve stopped buying ineffective lotions with retinol that were actually drying out my skin and I have switched to lotions with the active ingredient hyaluronic acid. We can’t stop the hands of time, but we can certainly try to slow it down and not accelerate the aging process by using the wrong products.
After the interview with Evangeline, I feel ready to try an insights kit out. I’m deciding between the Skin Beauty insights and the food and wine pairings. It is amazing to think just a decade ago it would cost nearly $1 million to have your DNA analyzed and now I can get a kit for as low as $129 shipped to my doorstep!
You can find more information on Viazoi’s products and services at Viazoi.com.