In April this yr, a press launch like many others landed in my inbox: Indian startup Ultrahuman is shopping for wearable producer LazyCo. I’ve by no means heard of both. Nonetheless, it was the addition within the title “Metabolic Health Platform” that piqued my curiosity.
By monitoring blood sugar ranges, the seller promised unprecedented insights into one’s metabolism that vary from weight loss program to sleep to train. After a video name with Ultrahuman CEO Mohit Kumar, I used to be satisfied: I wished to do this out. Just a little over a month later, I used to be standing within the NextPit workplace, feeling considerably jitterish with a dangerous-looking sensor applicator in hand.
Setup: A needle in my arm?
For the glucose sensor, Ultrahuman depends on Abbott’s Freestyle Libre 2, which has been obtainable since 2019. Many diabetes sufferers additionally put on it to observe their blood glucose ranges. The expertise is confirmed, so there may be nothing to fret about, proper? Nonetheless, the considered having a skinny, versatile filament within the pores and skin makes me really feel uncomfortable. Throughout an operation, I’m extra afraid of getting my arm pricked than of the final anesthesia and the operation itself. Evidently, my emotions earlier than the cyborg experiment have been ambivalent, particularly since I had already checked out too many photos of the sensor. Whether or not that’s lucky or in any other case, I depart it to you.
So then I gathered my braveness, positioned the sensor within the applicator and punched the chip into my arm. What did I really feel? Nothing in any respect! For the primary two days, I carried with me a sure uneasiness in regards to the needle getting caught someplace, particularly at evening. In on a regular basis life, nonetheless, I didn’t discover the 0.4 millimeter skinny filament in my pores and skin, neither throughout sporting actions nor when sleeping. Solely as soon as did I get caught whereas I used to be on the couch and skilled a slight insect chunk sensation for a couple of hours. All in all, my concern was unfounded, and Ultrahuman additionally provides robust protecting plasters to maintain the sensor protected.
The preliminary pairing of sensor and app was carried out by tapping my new sticker with the smartphone. Nonetheless, the app saved me in suspense for an additional two hours till the sensor was absolutely calibrated, and warned me that the readings may very well be inaccurate for the primary 24 hours. Throughout all the evaluation interval, I had no issues with the connection between the sensor and smartphone.
Vitamin as a cyborg
In the end, my first meal as a cyborg? Sushi! Gentle Japanese fare that consists of rice and fish? No method! The white rice makes my blood sugar shoot up. Whereas I used to be nonetheless consuming, the app asks me by way of a push notification: “What are you consuming proper now?” and despatched a push notification minutes later: “Glucose spike detected!”. Fascinated, I watched my blood glucose stage go from the decrease fringe of the goal vary at 70 mg/dL to the higher restrict of 110 mg/dL inside a couple of minutes. Shortly thereafter, my physique reacted, and my blood sugar dropped quickly to 90 mg/dL. The primary spike was adopted by the primary crash, and I had a yearning for one thing candy. Some cream cheese with peach introduced my blood sugar again as much as the higher restrict. Scrumptious, however this up and down rollercoaster journey just isn’t essentially wholesome.
I felt like I am in a chemistry lab, besides I am dumping sushi and peach into my physique as an alternative of citric acid and sodium carbonate as into the indicator resolution. And therein lies my Eureka second: you possibly can clarify this to any baby (and any grownup for that matter) what completely different meals do to the physique. Positive, quick carbs are evil as a result of blood sugar shoots up and that does all types of injury. Nonetheless, till you see the impact with your personal eyes, the educational impact is as lasting as a theoretical lesson about phenolphthalein to ten-year-olds.
With Ultrahuman, it isn’t really easy to cheat the calorie counter app with a chocolate bar in between meals. Just about any meals with considerable quantities of sugar, even a handful of grapes or two figs, would immediate a push notification from the Ultrahuman app: “Your blood sugar is rising proper now. What did you eat?”
Every meals tracked within the app now will get a ranking primarily based on the physique’s blood sugar response. From this, the app then generates the most effective meals lists for you together with your private prime lists of greatest and worst meals. The thrilling factor right here is that each physique reacts in another way to various kinds of meals. What’s wholesome for one particular person could trigger blood sugar spikes and crashes in one other. After two weeks, I’ve positively discovered an unlimited quantity about how my physique reacts to completely different meals varieties.
By the best way, all through the evaluation length, vitamin monitoring by way of the app nonetheless took some getting used to. Since a couple of days, nonetheless, it additionally works by way of MyFitnessPal. Nonetheless, you will want the Professional model to have the ability to observe the meals to the minute and synchronize them with the blood glucose curves.
Sporting actions as a cyborg
The second main facet of the Ultrahuman app is sports activities. This begins by monitoring your blood glucose stage throughout coaching and lengthening it to quite a few video exercises that the app presents to you relying in your preset coaching targets. You possibly can select to trace the exercises straight within the Ultrahuman app or just import them robotically by way of one of many following companies:
- Apple Well being
- Google Match
- Coaching Peaks
Within the evaluation, this labored completely with the Garmin Fenix 7—and the imported knowledge from Apple Well being additionally labored with none points. The tracked exercises confirmed up within the Ultrahuman app a couple of minutes later, together with a blood glucose evaluation. In fact, it’s important that your physique has sufficient vitality obtainable throughout train. The wants are completely different, in fact, relying on whether or not you’re coaching small muscle teams such because the arms with weights or working a marathon.
For instance, there may be reward for a workout-induced glucose spike, which signifies that the physique itself produces glucose. As with different occasions, the Ultrahuman app provides detailed explanations of the causes and optimistic results on this so-called gluconeogenesis course of.
In distinction, I earned some criticism from the Ultrahuman app on the subject of blood sugar dips throughout coaching. One instance of this was a run throughout lunch break, accomplished on a largely empty abdomen. The breakfast of 1 pear and two peaches was not precisely luxurious, however the excessive sugar content material additionally precipitated a robust blood sugar spike adopted by a droop about two hours earlier than the run. I felt moderately weak in the direction of the top of the run and after that.
In fact: All this info may also be derived logically and noticed and not using a glucose tracker on the arm. However it’s merely far more handy and simpler to observe, particularly for the reason that app gives actually spectacular analyses and really detailed background info.
Metabolic Rating and Metabolic Vectors
Primarily based on the measured values and the tracked actions and weight loss program, the Ultrahuman app determines a rating between 1 and 100 for every day. In fact, the essential factor right here is how a lot of the day you spend within the superb blood glucose vary between 70 and 110 mg/dL. Nevertheless it’s additionally essential to keep away from spikes and dips within the stage—a gradual up and down gradient is right.
How this may be achieved? All of it is defined by the app repeatedly throughout use with new, fixed suggestions. Within the occasion of a spike, for instance, the app recommends you go for a stroll after a meal or have a spoonful of apple cider vinegar beforehand. Apparently, each have a noticeable impact on my blood sugar stage. And the distinction between quick and sluggish consuming can also be stark. Mother was really proper about “chewing slowly”!
Along with the each day rating, you will additionally discover metabolic vectors within the app. It is a visualization of how nicely you’re doing throughout the three segments of focus, longevity, and athleticism. The less blood sugar spikes and dips, the higher your focus. The less peaks and the extra time with optimum blood sugar ranges, the longer your longevity. And clearly, common exercise with superb blood sugar ranges is nice to your athletic rating.
You will additionally get an estimate to your each day HbA1c stage, which gives clues as as to if you may have prediabetes and even diabetes, or whether or not all the pieces is on observe. Along with each day assessments, the app additionally provides long-term averages and summarizes how nicely your metabolic health is doing.
Conclusion: Two weeks as a cyborg
After precisely two weeks, the sensor stopped working as scheduled and not supplied any outcomes. This shelf life is proscribed for hygienic causes, and I really feel like I have been robbed of a way. For 2 weeks, my physique was a laboratory, and the outcomes spurred me to be extra disciplined about train and particularly weight loss program, extra so than I’ve skilled when sporting different health tracker prior.
For me, Ultrahuman M1 has been some of the thrilling devices of the previous 15 years, and I am actually excited to see how blood glucose sensors will enter the mainstream and enhance our vitamin and health within the coming years. On the newest, when blood glucose measurement works with adequate optical precision and thus turns into a bit extra appropriate for the lots, the usefulness of health wearables will make an enormous leap ahead.
Sadly, Ultrahuman M1 is at the moment solely obtainable for purchasers in India. A launch within the UAE is deliberate quickly. Nonetheless, Ultrahuman additionally has plans to develop its service to different international locations and areas. After which, in fact, there’s the Ultrahuman Ring, which the startup unveiled a couple of weeks in the past and is already promoting it worldwide. In the long run, the wearable for the finger is meant to be an ideal complement to the blood glucose sensor on the higher arm.