Find connectivity of mind, body and spirit through personalized wellness coaching offered by Durham-based Uplyx.
Uplyx just soft-launched its website, which allows users to take a 40-question assessment about their lifestyle, nutrition, stress level, and exercise preferences, with some factors (like smoking and alcohol consumption) weighed more heavily than others.
From there, an algorithm produces a wellness score, an Ayurvedic body type, and a wellness regimen. Users can schedule coaching sessions with the Uplyx team and get access to daily recommendations and specific proprietary formulas. Ayurveda is an alternative medicine practice that originated more than 5,000 years ago in India.
From herbal remedies to meditation, physical therapy, nutrition and exercise, Uplyx shifts the focus to prevention, rather than reaction and pharmaceuticals that all too often constitute the approach of Western medicine.
Founder and CEO Anne-Christin Grimme came to North Carolina from Stuttgart, Germany, two years ago to attend Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. She says she’s always found ways to cure herself with herbal remedies rather than medicine, but she noticed a different mindset in the U.S.
“When I came to the U.S.—I’m originally from Germany—I was really shocked how readily people pop pills for small ailments,” Grimme said. “I just really couldn’t believe that.”
Rather than prescribing pills, Uplyx promotes something that’s cheaper and has fewer side effects: Ayurgenomics, a scientific practice that applies the ancient alternative medicine practice of Ayurveda in the context of the latest research findings in genomics.
“Ayurveda really looks at the whole body and person and focuses on prevention,” Grimme said. “I think there’s a really big gap in the healthcare system here that focuses on disease management rather than prevention, and it’s the time now that people need to own their health and be interested in prevention as well.”
Grimme says the problem with current state-of-the-art biotech solutions that claim to provide the perfect personalized nutrition plan or predict risk of specific diseases based on blood, genomic or biomic assessment, is that most chronic diseases are not monogenic (i.e. they are not caused by a single gene mutation).
Rather, chronic diseases are multigenic complex disorders that involve an large amount of gene variations and interplay with lifestyle and environment. She says it’s almost impossible to achieve 100 percent accuracy with one single test.
Grimme, who has gotten certified as a yogi in India, started working on the idea for Uplyx in December 2019 and teamed up with Payal Patel, a holistic health coach based in Texas. Grimm built the Uplyx algorithm, and the company is currently exploring whether FDA approvals would be feasible and valuable.
It’s all connected
The assessment and algorithm provide a comprehensive, holistic view of a person’s health. Grimme says all those factors work in sync.
“You can’t just focus on one factor of the health equation to optimize your health,” she said. “You have to take all of these factors into consideration, and so this is what we are doing.”
Grimme, who graduated with an MBA in May, is currently part of Duke’s summer accelerator program and plans to work on Uplyx full-time.
She says her goal for Uplyx is to build literacy of alternative, holistic modalities rather than people resorting to quick fixes, like pills.
“It’s just this vicious cycle,” she said. “Once you start taking one, then you have to take two, and eventually you won’t be able to stop. My goal is to change that paradigm.”