Below I’ve compiled a list of tools and services I have used and/or evaluated in my self tracking and biohacking exploits (and please bear with me as I continue to update this section!)
(Disclosure: If you purchase any items or services through links on this site, I may earn a (small) commission that helps offset some of my hosting costs. I appreciate your support! Rest assured, any content I post reflects my own opinions and are in no way influenced by any affiliate relationships.)
Blood/Stool/Urine/Saliva Testing and Analysis Services
- InsideTracker – an online service that provides blood biomarker analysis plus personalized interventions for nutrition, exercise, lifestyle and supplements to optimize health and fitness. Use my code BOBTRO11012 to save 10% on your first order!
- WellnessFX – another online service that provides diagnostic testing, the latest nutritional science, and access to medical practitioners.
Doctor Referral Required:
- LabCorp – provides a number of testing locations around the US (they will soon be launching a direct-to-consumer service).
- Quest Diagnostics – another lab testing/diagnostics service with locations around the US.
- Medical Diagnostic Laboratories (MDL) – provides comprehensive pathology testing, from Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), h.pylori, and Candida, to various Lyme disease co-infections.
- Genova Diagnostics – provides a large menu of stool and saliva tests. Samples are collected at home and shipped to their lab for analysis.
- Organix (now owned by Genova Diagnostics) – offers a number of organic acid profile tests to analyze everything from fatty acid metabolism, to energy production, to neurotransmitter function
- BioHealth Laboratory – provides saliva-based hormone (i.e., adrenal stress profile) and GI immunity testing, as well as metabolism and pathogen testing.
- Doctor’s Data – offers specialty tests such as urine toxic metals testing (mercury, lead, etc.)
Genetic/DNA Testing and Analysis Services
- 23andMe – direct-to-consumer genetic testing service. You order a kit online, spit in a tube, mail it in, and once ready you can explore your results online. They ran into some FDA issues a few years back and have had to limit the types of reports they share with users that provided risk factor percentages for certain conditions.
- Ancestry.com – they offer an AncestryDNA test that only provides results on ethnicity (no health info), but raw DNA can be downloaded and imported into other services.
- FamilyTreeDNA – offers separate DNA tests for paternal (males only) and maternal lines
- Human Longevity – offers a full genome analysis (whereas 23andMe provides only phenotype analysis) for ~$1000 USD. They recently launched a comprehensive ($50,000!), genomic-enhanced health platform called Health Nucleus.
- Understand Your Genome (Illumina) – Includes a 1-day educational symposium, clinical whole-genome sequencing and interpretation, and display of your genomic information on the MyGenome web application for $2900 USD.
- Genomix – Australian-based company that offers whole genome sequencing for just $200 AUD. Currently accepting preorders for late 2017 delivery.
DNA Analysis Tools
- Genetic Genie – a free online service that provides a methylation and detox profile using your 23andMe results.
- Promethease – a service that generates a personal DNA report based on scientific findings from SNPedia, using data imported from other services such as 23andMe, Ancestry.com, and FamilyTreeDNA. Reports cost $5-$10.
- Interpretome – a free tool (from Stanford University researchers) that provides analysis of personal genomic data. Only works with raw, unzipped data from 23andMe.
- DNALand – a non-profit service (geneticists from Columbia University and the New York Genome Center) that provides free analysis of your DNA (uploaded from 23andMe, Ancestry.com, or FamilyTreeDNA) in exchange for sharing your data with their scientists.
- Titanovo – offers a direct-to-consumer, saliva-based telomere testing kit as well as a longevity genotyping panel.
- TeloYears – from the company founded by the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine. Offers a one-drop blood test kit that is mailed in for analysis. Provides a calculation of your age in “TeloYears” – adjusted up or down compared to general population.
- Life Length – offers its telomere test only through physicians. Measures all 92 telomeres in cell samples.
- TeloMe (RIP, no longer available in the US) – online service that provided telomere analysis from at-home saliva test kits. They seem to have closed up shop in the US due to FDA issues.
Gut/Microbiome Analysis and Testing Services
- uBiome – provides genetic analysis of your microbiome, using at-home collection kits. They also offer test kits to gather bacteria from your mouth, nose, skin, and genitalia. Click on my referral link to save 10% on all uBiome products!
- American Gut – their goal is to map genomic diversity around the world. Test participants can see how their microbiome compares to others.
Body Monitors and Activity Trackers
- Fitbit – offers a full line of trackers (such as Blaze, Charge 2, and Flex 2) that provide different levels of tracking heart rate, steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, activities, and workout summaries.
- Jawbone – along with Fitbit, the leader in the mass-consumer fitness tracking space. Their latest model, the UP3, tracks heart rate (resting and passive), activities, sleep, distances, calories, active time, and idle time.
- Garmin – offers an assortment of wrist-worn activity trackers. Their vívoactive HR provides 24/7 heart rate monitoring, steps, calories, sports apps (running/biking/swimming/golf), smart notifications, built-in GPS, and custom watch faces.
- ŌURA – offers a ring-based tracker that takes uses a stronger pulse signal from the finger than the wrist, allowing it to gather precise data from your body’s vital signals. The ŌURA ring analyzes the quality of your rest and recovery while you sleep by continuously monitoring your heart rate (optically), HRV, pulse amplitude, respiration rate, body temperature, and even the slightest hand and finger movements. ŌURA uses these parameters to determine the state of your brain while you sleep. Use my code quantifiedbob to save 10% on your order!
- Withings Pulse – can be worn on the wrist or clipped on. Tracks heart rate, blood oxygen level, sleep, steps, elevation, distance, running, and calories burned.
- Misfit Wearables – the Shine 2 is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum and has 12 tri-color LEDs, vibration alert, and capacitive touch. It tracks distance traveled, calories burned, steps taken, activities, and length and quality of sleep.
- Basis (RIP) – their latest model, the Basis Peak, tracks heart rate, galvanic skin response, caloric burn, sleep, duration walking/running/riding, and can receive alerts when paired with a smartphone.
- BodyMedia (RIP) – made a great device called the Fit that collected a nice set of biometric data. Jawbone acquired them and discontinued the BodyMedia line, but some units are still available on Amazon.
- Adidas Fit Smart (RIP) – tracks continuous heart rate, pace, distance, stride, and syncs with their miCoach training app.
Heart Rate and HRV Tracking
All of the wearables and fitness trackers listed above will track heart rate, but for more detailed readings and the ability to track heart rate variability, you’ll need a good heart rate monitor:
- Polar H7 Heart Rate Sensor – it connects to an elastic strap you wear around your chest and transmits data via Bluetooth.
- HRV4Training – helps you optimize your goals and prevent overtraining by measuring your Heart Rate Variability and providing tailored feedback on your physical condition. Measurements can be taken with or without a chest strap.
- SweetBeat HRV – Provides real-time HRV measurements for monitoring stress, training, as well as detecting food sensitivities.
- AliveCor Kardia – FDA approved, provides in-depth EKG analysis, personal reports and more.
While many of the wearables above offer some way of “tracking” sleep (with varying degrees of accuracy), the following are dedicated sleep trackers:
- Beddit – slips over your mattress and tracks sleep time, heart rate, snoring, breathing, and events like getting up in the middle of the night. An alarm clock feature wakes you up at the optimal time during your sleep cycle.
- Sleep Time – smartphone app that tracks sleep by detecting movement using the phone while you are sleeping.
- Zeo Sleep Monitor (RIP) – tracks sleep via a wireless, EEG-enabled headband that monitors brain activity. The bad news is that Zeo shut down as a company a few years ago, and no longer make this device. The good news is you can still find units (and extra headbands) on Amazon and EBay.
- Sense – a combination bedside air quality monitor and wearable “sleep pill” that clips to your pillow and recognizes sleep through movement during the night.
- Neuroon Intelligent Sleep Mask – has EEG sensors and LED lights embedded into the mask to quantify sleep stages and provide different sleep and anti-jetlag programs. Recently released a companion lucid dreaming app.
- Muse – their brain-sensing headband (EEG) and app acts as a personal meditation assistant. Uses audio feedback (birds chirping, weather) to indicate whether mind is calm or wandering. Tracks each session so you can review your data and set goals.
- 40 Years of Zen – intensive, on-site 5 day neurofeedback training program at a custom facility in the Seattle area. Uses state of the art 3-D imaging equipment to scan and identify up to 5,700 areas of your brain, resulting in your own brain map. Costs $15,000 USD.
- Lumo Lift – clips on your shirt collar (or can be worn under a shirt) and will gently vibrate when it detects you are not sitting straight or standing tall.
- Prana – clip-on wearable that tracks both breathing and posture. Was crowdfunded but has yet to be released.
Weight and Body Composition
- Withings Body Cardio – a more advanced smart scale that in addition to tracking body fat, water percentage, muscle mass and bone mass, calculates Pulse Wave Velocity, a measure of cardiovascular health.
- Withings Smart Body Analyzer – smart scale that tracks weight and body fat percentage, heart rate, and air quality (in your bathroom??). Data is uploaded wirelessly.
- Fitbit Aria Smart Scale – tracks weight, body fat, lean body mass, and can recognize up to 8 users. Wirelessly sends data to your Fitbit account.
- Omron Body Composition Monitor Scale – not a “connected” scale, but great value for home use and seems to provide better body fat assessment than the other scales (since it also uses hand-held sensors to provide bioelectrical impedance analysis. Measures 7 different fitness indicators (body fat percentage, BMI, skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, visceral fat, body age, and weight), 90-day memory and up to 4 user profiles.
- BodPod – An egg-shaped pod you sit inside that is considered the “gold standard” in body composition assessment. These units cost around $35k USD so often hard to locate a facility (outside of universities) that offers testing.
Blood Pressure, Temperature, and Vitals
- Withings Blood Pressure Monitor – provides quick blood pressure readings using a wireless cuff that connects to a smart phone. Data can be synced online.
- Kinsa Smart Thermometer – connects to the headphone jack on your smart phone and records body temperature (oral, armpit, rectal, etc.) via their companion app, which integrates with Apple HealthKit.
- Scanadu – the Scanadu Scout is smartphone-connected medical “tricorder” that can gather a number of vital signs, such as heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen level, and an ECG. They shipped their first version to backers of their crowdfunding campaign, but are keeping quiet about a public launch as they are going through the FDA approval process.
- Finger Pulse Oximeter/Blood Oxygen Sensor – for taking SPO2 readings, I use an inexpensive pulse oximeter similar to this one.
Blood Glucose, Ketone, Hemoglobin Monitoring
- Precision Xtra Blood Glucose/Ketone Meter. A very popular meter that can take both glucose and ketone readings. You’ll also need glucose test strips and ketone test strips (note that ketone test strips are expensive!)
- Freestyle Lite Blood Glucose Monitoring System – this is the inexpensive monitor I’ve used in my glucose tracking experiments.
- Freestyle Lite Blood Glucose Test Strips – the monitoring system comes with some single-use test strips (you insert one into the meter, then touch it to a drop of blood you draw from your finger), but if you are taking daily readings you’ll need extra test strips. They are very pricey when purchased at a pharmacy, so best bet is to order them on Amazon (just make sure to check the expiration date on the packaging).
- Freestyle Lite Lancets – the single-use lancets are inserted into a spring loaded device (part of the monitoring system) that punctures a small hole in your finger to draw a drop of blood. Again, you will need extra lancets if doing any long-term experiments.
- Ketonix – a tube-shaped device you connect to your computer’s USB port and slowly blow air into to check breath ketones (it works by measuring acetate in one’s breath). Using the device correctly takes a lot of practice (consistent breaths).
- Ember – the world’s first non-invasive hemoglobin (Hgb) tracker for athletes. Uses an LED sensor that shines light through the finger connected to a smartphone. Costs $399 (includes 200 measurement credits – additional credits cost $1 per reading).
- HealthyWiser pH Test Strips – can be used for urine or saliva. Used to determine if your body is too acidic or too alkaline.
- Digital Pocket pH Meter – a great meter that provides more accurate/detailed readings than pH test strips, but more of a hassle to use since it requires calibration.
Environment Monitoring and Testing
Air Quality Monitoring
- Foobot – a “connected” indoor air-quality monitor and mobile app. It measures temperature, humidity, total VOCs, PM2.5 particulate matter, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and provides its own proprietary “air quality” score (measured on a scale from 0-100). An API is also available.
- Awair – a tabletop air quality monitor that measures temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, dust (PM2.5), and VOCs, and provides a proprietary “Awair Score”. They plan on integrating with a large of connected devices (thermostats, fans, etc.) to enable indoor environment automation.
- Koto Air (previously CubeSensors) – a small, stylish sensor that measures air quality in any room and syncs with your smartphone. Measures temperature, humidity, VOCs, dust (PM), light, and noise. Currently available for preorder.
- Neatamo Weather Station – it’s called a “weather station” but can be used indoors. Measures temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, indoor CO2 concentration, and sound level. Comes with a companion smartphone app and an API is available.
- AirPi Air Quality and Weather Project – an open source air monitoring kit that measures temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), VOCs, light level, and ambient noise levels. Requires purchasing the components and assembling everything yourself, then connecting it to a Raspberry Pi.
- Dylos Pro Air Quality Monitor – a true laser particle counter with 2 size ranges – larger particles 2.5 microns and above (i.e., pollen) and small particles down to 0.5 microns (bacteria, mold).
- Molekule – claims to be the world’s first “molecular air purifier.” Based on 20 years of research, Molekule breaks down harmful microscopic pollutants like allergens, mold, bacteria, viruses and even airborne chemicals. Currently accepting preorders.
- Sense – a combination bedside air quality monitor and wearable “sleep pill” that clips to your pillow and recognizes sleep through movement during the night, which provides insight into the relation between air quality and sleep quality. Measures temperature, humidity, ambient light, particulate matter, and sound.
- Nest Protect – an internet-connected, voice activated smoke and carbon monoxide detector.
- Birdi (formerly Canary) – a smart air monitor meant to replace existing carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. Measures carbon monoxide, smoke, temperature, humidity, and dust (PM2.5). An API will be available along with companion smartphone apps. Currently accepting preorders.
- Withings Home – it’s actually a internet-enabled home security device, but includes an air quality monitor (similar to the Withings Smart Body Analyzer).
- Speck – a stand-alone monitor with integrated display that monitors particulate matter (PM2.5). Data can be exported.
- Air Quality Egg – a community-led sensor system designed to allow anyone to collect very high resolution readings of NO2 and CO concentrations outside of their home.
- Plume Labs Air Report – app that provides outdoor air reports for cities around the world, and provides daily air quality alerts.