I believe wholeheartedly that now matter how successful you are, borders on how well you live your life. These days, and for good reason, the fashion world has a strong focus on beauty, healthy and wellness. If applied in a balanced format, all three will live in harmony.
Let’s face it, living well makes you feel stronger and more confident. When you feel confident, you have more stamina at work. People are attracted to beauty, health and positive people. Revlon understands that natural looking make-up looks radiant on healthy skin and healthy skin comes from within.
In early 2020, mankind awakened to the sounding bell of a global pandemic Since then, beauty, health and body awareness has come to the forefront of consumer awareness. Now, more than ever, consumers are focused on looking healthy, well-dressed and displaying a strong positive attitude. Moreover, during these trying times, beauty and health allow people the ability to face the world and tackle daily problems. By choosing a healthy lifestyle, vitality, vibrancy, and vigor soon unfold and come into play— to help you reach the greatest potential. This is the look of the season. Fashion, beauty and overall well-being is the new key to dressing for corporate ascension.
As I started to conduct this feature, I stumbled upon endless brands to research. Chanel, Revlon and Lancôme are just a few global beauty and health brands that have been conducting in-depth research into this well-being sector of the celebrity and fashion industry.
Despite the enormous amount of attention and dedication to the subject, mankind still has a lot to learn. Just this week, I watched the Netflix show titled Down-To -Earth featuring celebrity host Zac Efron. Upon watching the documentary, it clearly demonstrates with laser focus the importance of food, water and energy to sustain the planet. As I watched the show, I became absorbed in learning how good living is imperative in looking good and feeling productive.
Change is from the inside and maybe at this point in time, we all have to change. Tracking down Richard Lin, the co-founder and CEO of Thryve was not an easy task but it was most certainly worth the effort. My session with him was quite revealing. He believes through his beauty, health and well-being analysis that he can ensure a better path to life and a positive way to look good and feel great—especially with respect to corporate ascension.
Launched in 2016, Thryve is focused on ensuring the availability of subscription-based customized testing of the microbiome with a personalized probiotic that any individual can use to have actionable insight into their health status and the prevention of chronic diseases. What is Thryve all about? Who is Richard Lin?
During COVID-19, I couldn’t have wished for a more opportune time than this to discuss beauty and health with him. A time the world is engulfed in the distress of COVID-19 and people have faced one form of a lockdown or the other. People still want to look and feel good. Moisturizers, face-creams, vitamins are all part of a healthy regime. I cannot bypass the opportunity of bringing the good news of how your gut can be involved in creating a better version and a more successful you to your way at this time you may be embroiled with the ugly situation COVID-19 has brought on us.
The brand has it as a mission to empower you to take charge of your Health so you can feel your greatest. With a quality resource team, Thryve has been able to utilize artificial intelligence (natural language processing and machine learning) in order to summarize 50,000+ research articles on the microbiome to make the science accessible and easy-to-understand.
JD: Who are you and what inspired you to start Thryve?
Richard Lin: About 4 years ago, I took antibiotics and came down with a nasty superbug called Clostridium Difficile. I had gone to multiple different doctors only to have my symptoms dismissed because I was too young and healthy “looking” to be sick. Through this process, I started reading scientific literature and engaging with other folks with chronic disease in Facebook Groups and Online Forums. Through my research, I asked my fourth doctor to get a DNA test to check for overgrowth of Clostridium Difficile which came back positive. I had that treated through more antibiotics and eventually a fecal transplant which resolved my symptoms.
In going through this journey, I realized that most consumers did not have a good idea what a microbiome is, why their microbiome matters, and ultimately what they can do to change it to improve their health. That’s why I started Thryve. The microbiome are the trillions of bacteria, yeast, and viruses that reside in our gut, skin, mouth, and more that science has shown to be correlated to many of the chronic and modern diseases we see in the west.
My background was in software and data science at large fortune 500 companies like SAP and startups like Deliv (acquired by Target), so I utilized these skills to bring together a scientific team that could get a product to market that was affordable and accessible for everyday consumers.
JD: Beauty enthusiasts would like to know if probiotics are any good for them, what are the skincare benefits of using probiotics?
Kimberly Griffith MS Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine and Thryve’s Clinical Researcher Partner: The concept of “beauty from within” is highly supported by the gut-skin axis. Probiotics encourage a healthy and balanced gut microflora that directly impacts skin health by reducing inflammation, preventing pathogenic growth, and increasing skin hydration and strength. Specifically, clinical evidence presents the positive role that probiotics provide in preventing and managing chronic skin conditions such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, wound healing, and dandruff. However, the positive effects of probiotics are not limited to chronic skin conditions, probiotics have shown to combat accelerated skin aging and assist in the prevention of premature aging. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology confirmed the anti-aging benefits exerted by probiotics which resulted in improved skin elasticity, decreased wrinkle depth, skin gloss, and increased skin hydration. The growing body of clinical evidence continues to support the beneficial role probiotics play in managing and maintaining overall skin health.
JD: Talk to Forbes about your company’s History, Development, and Projection.
Richard Lin: Thryve’s origin story is like any tech darling. We started out in the kitchen and slowly expanded to our own facilities over the course of 3 years. We’ve raised from venture-capitalist and strategic venture arms such as Unilever Ventures, PivotNorth Capital, TrailMix Ventures, Darling Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Unpopular Ventures, Joyance Partners, Social Starts, Shanda Group, Pharmapacks, and Bioverge
Our product which includes a microbiome DNA test, digital app (health report, customized food plan), and personalized probiotics is the world’s first customized solution to target gut health. We’ve utilized artificial intelligence (natural language processing and machine learning) in order to summarize 50,000+ research articles on the microbiome to make the science accessible and easy-to-understand. We’ve done this with the help of our scientific advisor board from the likes of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Purdue, and UC Davis.
- Dr. Carolyn Slupsky Ph.D. (UC Davis Professor in Microbiome and Nutrition)
- Dr. Timothy Lu Ph.D. M.D. (MIT Associate Professor and CEO of Senti Biosciences, Engine Biosciences, Tango Therapeutics)
- Dr. Mitesh Rao M.D. (Assistant Professor at Stanford and CEO of Omny)
- Dr. Manoj Samanta Ph.D. (Senior Bioinformatics Scientist at NASA Ames Research)
The future of healthcare which I like to call going from health 1.0 (reactive) to health 2.0 (predictive, personalized, and preventative) will be realized by using omics / DNA in order to prevent chronic disease from happening in the future.
Our goal going into 2021 and 2022 is to offer multiple site-wide microbiome testing (vaginal, infant/child, skin, oral) and build the omics platform as a service with genomics (human DNA) and exposomics (environmental toxins).
Pic Thryve COURTESY OF Thryve
JD: Why do you think people should consider using probiotics?
Richard Lin: Science has shown that probiotics when taken in adequate amounts can have far reaching health benefits such as positively affecting gut related infections and diseases, food and environmental allergies and intolerances, immune support, intestinal barrier strength, microbial imbalances, skin related issues, hypercholesterolemia, anxiety and depression, and weight management.
A recent article reviewing probiotics in treatment and disease prevention in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, stated “Few treatments for human diseases have received as much investigation in the past 20 years as probiotics”. Additionally, they concluded when “given in adequate quantities for sufficient periods of time, are beneficial in many human disease conditions and safer than most pharmaceuticals.” (Liu, et al., 2018)
As stated by Sarah Daniels Ph.D., Lead Research Scientist at Thryve: A clinical review published in Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, confirmed the efficacy and beneficial effects of Saccharomyces boulardii as a probiotic for the therapy and prevention of disorders within the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotic strains such as Lactobacillus acidophilus CL 1285, L. casei Lbc80r, L. rhamnosus CLR2 alongside Saccharomyces boulardii I-745 and L. casei DN114001 have shown effective in preventing antibiotic-associated diarrhea. (Sniffen, et al., 2018). Probiotic efficacy is not limited to the gut. A recent study published within Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome, presented evidence suggesting the therapeutic role of a probiotic such as Lactobacillus casei 01 positively affecting weight management and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. (Khalili, et al., 2019)
That said, probiotics would be a shot in the dark if purchasing from your local grocery store. A couple of items to consider
1) what strains are in the probiotics, this will determine the actual health benefits
2) total amount of CFU’s (Colony Forming Units), which determines the potency
3) prebiotic additives, which are indigestible fibers or sugars that feed probiotics to help them proliferate and growth for added benefits
4) source of ingredients, most probiotics need to be refrigerated or they expire. Although your store bought variety may be in the refrigerated aisle, it may been delivered in a high temperature storage facility like a truck or warehouse
JD: What differentiates Thryve from every other probiotic company out there?
Richard Lin: 3 things:
- Personalized – We utilize the latest next-generation sequencing technology in order to personalized the right probiotic strains for each individual. More specifically, we look at 3 different variables in our personalization process.
- 1) overgrowth of bad bacteria, which we then introduce probiotic strains that may be able to create “bacteriocins” which are naturally occurring antibiotics that can lower the count of bad bacteria
- 2) deficiencies of good bacteria, which we’ll then include probiotics that may increase those amounts
- 3) health survey and goals, which we hand pick strains best fit for getting you to optimal health
- Digital-first – Since we have a DNA test, we give you a personalized report within our app. In the app, we have a personalized health report that gives insights into Food Intolerances, Sleep Hormones, Cardiovascular Health, Autoimmunity, Inflammation, Leaky Gut, Metabolism, and more. We then figure out specific problem areas and give you personalized food recommendations and probiotics to balance out the levels of bacteria in the gut to improve your health.
- Convenient – Since we are direct-to-consumer we ship our testing and probiotics discreetly to your home. Optimal health is as easy as, set it and forget it.
JD: What are some changes your company is making and how are you happy about those changes?
Richard Lin: The first 2 years in Thryve, I had never truly focused on culture. More specifically, what are the values of our business and who do we want to hire that upholds these same values. When I first started the company, I hired folks who looked great on paper, but just weren’t a good fit with the culture I had internally thought about, but never externally expressed in voice or writing.
Over the course of 2020, I’ve been highly vocal on our company values (growth mindset, clear accountability, customer obsession, and speed as a habit) and put into the process to continue to remind our team why we “do what we do”. I believe this is such an important change in any company, since companies are made up of people and the goal is to have everyone rowing in the same direction (mission).
More specifically, we enacted these changes from the start of the hiring process. When we interview candidates for new positions we hone in on our core values to ensure everyone we bring on is a good fit for our culture. Post-hiring, we set up bi-monthly performance reviews with quantitative and qualitative bi-directional (managers to employees and vice versa) feedback around these values to review where we’ve done well and where we need to improve. This has built a great feedback loop and positive camaraderie between the team.
JD: Do you think probiotics are any good for weight loss or weight gain?
Sarah Daniels Ph.D. and Thryve’s Lead Research Scientist:
Recently, the relationship between probiotics and weight change has been of great interest. Seminal work in this field has demonstrated that obese and non-obese gut microbiome profiles differ in both animal models and in humans. Given the current obesity epidemic, many studies have focused on the effects of probiotics on weight loss. However, a probiotic supplement alone may not confer full reversal of obesity. Previous research examining the direct effects of probiotics on weight loss has shown mixed results. These studies cannot always be compared side-by-side as participant demographics (e.g., age, baseline weight) and the probiotics tested vary from study to study. Overall, this field is in its infancy stages. More human studies using large sample sizes, rigorous randomized control trials, and multi-pronged approaches (i.e., incorporating diet, probiotics, and lifestyle changes) will help determine whether probiotics play a role in weight change.