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Because I shop for expensive juices and vegan ice cream online, I’ve been targeted by endless ads in the health and wellness space. One of the newest trends that I’ve noticed is biohacking, which uses technology to track and, eventually, improve overall health.
After going down an intense Google search rabbit hole, I learned that you can send saliva, blood, urine and even stool samples to a lab to get examined. At first, I was skeptical about sending biological samples to a non-medical company.
Conspiracy theories ran wild in my sweet brain: What if they take my samples and clone me? What if this company is making up medical issues to get me to spend more money? Doesn’t it hurt to take a blood sample at home?
But after doing lots of research, one brand stood out as a trustworthy source of health and wellness information: Base. Base is an app that helps you track your Sleep, Energy, Diet and Sex Drive.
How At-Home Sample Collection Works
To start, you’ll complete a quick quiz on the Base website. Depending on your health goals, Base will pair you with a plan that works for you, starting at $59.99 per month with a sample collection kit sent right to your doorstep every month.
After signing up, Base will send an at-home testing kit with detailed instructions for sending blood and/or saliva samples every 3 months. The Base app will collect your results and translate them in a user-friendly app with suggestions for supplements and lifestyle changes.
Depending on which areas you want to track, you’ll receive a blood and/or saliva kit. Blood samples can tell you about vitamin levels, so you’ll probably need to send a blood sample if you’re tracking your Diet.
The blood test seems scary at first, but it’s actually relatively easy and painless. You’ll prick your finger using a lancet, a tool commonly used by diabetics who need to track their blood sugar on a regular basis. You’ll squeeze four blood droplets onto a sample collection card and wait for it to dry. Once dry, simply seal the card and send it back using the shipping label included in your Base sample collection kit.
Since I chose to track Sleep and Energy using the app, I was sent a saliva sample. Saliva samples contain valuable information about hormones like cortisol and melatonin, which affect our stress levels and sleep cycles. Collecting a saliva sample was ridiculously easy. Base asks you to collect a sample in the morning, evening and night. All I had to do was spit into a tube until it was full, label each one accordingly, then pack and send using the attached shipping label.
Health Stats Made Easy
Once I sent my samples to the lab, it was time to create my Base account. I had to answer a few routine questions about my age, health and lifestyle. One thing that I really didn’t like was the prompt to pick a gender (between Male and Female).
Because I’m non-binary/trans, I felt really uncomfortable having to choose between those two options. Health apps and brands really need to update their verbiage to “sex assigned at birth,” or add options for non-binary and trans folx.
Other than that, the app was very intuitive and easy to use. Once the lab processed my sample, I received another notification that my results are ready. While Base isn’t a substitute for doctor’s visits, it felt really refreshing to be given medical data in layman’s terms and beautiful graphic design.
Changing My Approach To Stress And Sleep
Expensive juices aside, I realized that my knowledge about hormones and vitamins was fairly limited. For example, I categorized cortisol as “bad,” as if any stress that could spike my cortisol levels could potentially be deadly. The Base app taught me that cortisol is a hormone that helps me stay energized and present for really important events, like planning a surprise for my girlfriend’s birthday or completing a creative project.
My Base results told me that my cortisol levels are lower than usual in the mornings, which totally explains why I feel groggy and fatigued in the mornings. So many products that I use are designed to reduce cortisol levels, and sometimes I use those in the morning to keep stress at bay! Now I know that demonizing one hormone isn’t the answer to all of my problems. I just needed a deeper understanding of how to make cortisol work for me.
According to Base, my sleep levels are, unsurprisingly, poor. The Base app recommended adding melatonin-rich foods like corn, grains and bananas to my diet, plus melatonin supplements. Since implementing a few of these changes, I can happily report that I’ve gotten a better night’s sleep on a regular basis.
I’m looking forward to receiving my next testing kit — I got the plan where I receive tests 4x per year — and see how Base’s recommended lifestyle changes will reflect on my test results.
Take Control Of Your Health With Base
Overall, my experience with Base has been really positive and I truly look forward to seeing my next round of test results. I learned so many new ways to approach health and wellness, plus I feel more empowered and confident to ask for my test results when I visit the doctor’s office. I highly recommend Base to anyone looking to radically improve their health.
5 More Reasons To Love Base:
- Zero guesswork. Because Base gives you such a thorough panel of information about your hormone and vitamin levels, you’ll save money on educated guesses about foods, supplements and products that’ll improve your health.
- Flexible billing plan. No shady contracts or commitments. If you need to pause or cancel your membership, you can do so anytime.
- Free shipping to and from the lab. You’ll never have to pay for shipping your samples or collection kit.
- Precise results. The Base app will show you your exact numbers and compare them to what’s considered optimal for your age, lifestyle and gender.
- Results you can track. Feeling better? You’ll be able to see exactly how much Base’s recommendations affect your levels with regular testing.