I am no stranger to testing. As a Certified Nutritional Consultant and one of the ”Biohacker Babes” (that’s the podcast I do with my sister) I have been testing my own biomarkers for at least 10 years. But I’ve always had to go to doctors’ offices or labs to get tested, and I’ve always had to do my own research about what to test. So when Base approached me with its at-home testing capabilities, I was really excited about me and my clients being able to get our testing “fix” at home without breaking the bank. But let’s back up for a second…
What is biohacking anyway?
I got into biohacking in my early twenties when I kind of crashed and burned. I was exhausted and sleeping 14 hours a day. I knew something was off, but every time I visited a traditional Western doctor, all my lab tests came back “normal” and they said I was “perfectly healthy.” It was super frustrating.
I took it upon myself to seek out alternative practitioners who were able to test biomarkers that were often overlooked — things like hormones or vitamin levels. Biohacking is the idea of testing and retesting your body’s biomarkers to see what therapies and lifestyle changes make a difference. It was not mainstream at that time so I had to piece together a lot of information and insights myself.
But it was definitely worth it. Now I feel better than ever and I am very in tune with what my body needs in terms of diet, lifestyle, and supplements. I track things like my Vitamin D levels regularly.
You can read Base’s Beginner’s Guide to Biohacking here.
So why was I so excited about Base?
Even though I don’t currently have any pressing health issues that I want to “fix,” I am obsessed with knowing my biomarker levels. I always want to stay on top of how my body is doing so that I’ll know if my supplements and health habits are working. Plus, I never want to return to that crash-and-burn state from my twenties.
Base has several easy ways to get started with “tracks” like Stress, Energy, Diet, and Sleep. This is a non-intimidating way to get going by choosing an area of focus, even if you have no clue about specific biomarkers. You can also do what I did, and hand-pick panels to test.
I chose the Vitamin D and HbA1c panel because Vitamin D is always on my radar throughout the winter. It is very difficult to get Vitamin D through food and over-supplementing can be a problem. I always want to know what my levels are to see how much I need to supplement on top of getting whatever sunshine I can.
I also chose the Cortisol panel because I’ve always struggled to have a really good cortisol rhythm throughout the day. I thought that would be a fun thing to test and then retest after making some lifestyle changes.
Explore all of Base’s testing tracks
What taking my first test was like
Collecting samples was actually pretty quick and easy. Some of the tests require blood samples and I followed the instructions to prick my finger, put the blood spots on the card, and let everything dry. All of that takes less than five minutes.
As you can see in this video, the blood sampling was pretty painless, literally and figuratively. Don’t forget to hydrate; that makes a big difference.
For the saliva samples, it’s really easy. You just do it three times: once when you wake up, once around lunchtime, and once before bed. I’d say I can fill up that saliva tube in less than five minutes. It’s pretty fast.
The only snag was trying to keep my cat Max away while I did everything. He’s always up in my business and wants to be a part of his mom’s latest biohacking experiment. He even lies on my Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) Therapy mat and basks in my red light therapy lamp. Animals are so smart…
Once I had collected my samples, I packaged them up in the mailer provided by Base and sent them off. I managed to catch our mail carrier at our home which even saved me a trip to the post office.
My results confirmed a feeling I’d been having
Once you have the app on your phone you get a notification that your results are in. Because I’ve already been testing myself for years, the results weren’t too surprising. My Vitamin D and HbA1c were both really good and my afternoon and evening cortisol levels were good. I intuitively thought my morning cortisol might need a boost, and my results confirmed that.
I already intuitively suspected that my morning cortisol might need a boost, and the Base test confirmed that. Seeing confirmation that I should be doing something — based on lab results right there in the app — motivated me to focus on it more. Base made a few recommendations including meditation, magnesium supplements at bedtime, Omega-3 supplements, and an adrenal energy diet. (That’s a diet that includes five or six smaller meals throughout the day and various guidelines about types of carbs and such.) It’s cool that you can just go through the list of recommendations on the app and select which ones you want to do.
My follow-up cortisol tests have been encouraging
My morning cortisol has been improving. I didn’t 100% follow the adrenal energy diet, but I’ve always noticed that I feel better when I focus on low-glycemic carbs. The test results confirmed that. One other small thing that has made a difference is getting morning sunshine first thing when I wake up. My new routine is that I make my cup of coffee and then I sit up on my rooftop for 15 minutes, with as much skin exposed as possible.
My initial Base testing started in July 2020 and I’ve tested several times since then. I am probably way more in-tune with my body than most people but even when I intuitively know something is helping my health, sometimes I need a lab result to say, “yes, you’re doing a great thing.” It’s cool that you can compare your results to your previous tests in the app so you can track your progress.
What’s next for my Base journey
I might keep retesting my cortisol every three months, just to make sure I stay on top of that. And I want to look into what else Base can test so I can experiment. I’m thinking of testing my iron with the Energy test next.
What I’m most excited about is getting my husband started with Base. He is really interested in what I do. When I recommend supplements or lifestyle changes he follows along, no questions asked. But he hasn’t gotten into testing because he hates going to the lab to get blood drawn. Maybe Base will be a better option for him because I can just prick his finger at home. (My mom, dad, and sister are all already biohackers. That’s our crazy fun family.)
Are you thinking of trying Base?
I know not everyone is a longtime biohacker like me. Everything that I do can sound overwhelming. But the great thing about Base is that it is accessible to all levels. If you want an introduction to health optimization you can start by testing just one track and making one change and you can do it all from your home.
Even if you’re generally feeling good, I personally think everyone should be testing the Energy Trackregularly. You can make so many healthy lifestyle changes just by knowing your Vitamin D and HbA1c levels. During this pandemic I have been especially worried about people who are staying at home and not getting any sun. Base makes it so easy to test regularly.
The great news is that if you want to give this whole biohacking thing a whirl, Base has given me a discount code for 20% off to share with you. So why not give it a try? You’ll gain some great insights about your body, potentially improve your well-being, and you might even provide a little entertainment for your curious cat…