A Rocket Scientist Homeschooler’s Insider Blood Glucose Monitoring Secrets, The Best Way To Use A Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), Blood Sugar Biohacking Tips & Much More!
Josh Clemente was a SpaceX engineer in peak physical health from an intense exercise regime – or so he thought. After struggling with volatile energy levels and moods, Josh found his path to better performance through monitoring and improving his glycemic variability with a continuous glucose monitor, or CGM. Shortly thereafter, he launched Levels: data-driven CGM technology that tracks and assesses individuals’ glucose levels and lifestyle impacts. In this episode of Ben Greenfield Fitness, Ben and Josh dig deeper into the world of CGMs and the game-changing interface of the Levels platform. Topics range from the basics of CGM benefits, the trick to keeping your sensor on longer, and how Levels is using intelligent development to drive health-smart behaviors.
- Connect with Josh Clemente on LinkedIn or Twitter
- Check out Levels
- Check out Ben Greenfield Fitness
- Connect with Ben Greenfield on Twitter
8:44 – From hobbyist to next-gen engineer
Josh’s passion for building cool machines led him from childhood experiments in the woods to his engineering role at SpaceX.****
“The way that you build machines in a career path is you can either be a mechanic, you know, working through the hands-on part of it. Or if you want to do more of the theory and design and developing the next generation of these machines, you get an engineering degree. And so I don’t really remember making a decision to go into engineering. It was just ‘Hey, you got to apply to college now. Here’s the application packet.’ And I think I essentially just wrote mechanical engineering down, out of almost autonomy. I never thought about it. I don’t recall selecting it. It was just the only obvious path for me.”
11:23 – Hitting a rough patch in physical health
As a health-conscious CrossFit trainer, Josh struggled to understand why his energy, mood, and mindset were hitting a wall.
***“*I was hitting this crazy burnout mode, where mentally and physically, it just felt like I hit a wall every single day, multiple times a day. And my mood was just garbage. I was irritable, I was kind of dragging in-between meetings, frustrated, tired, I’d get shaky. And just generally felt like I had a terminal illness. And I actually told my doctor something’s going on here. We have to find out like, what’s happening under the hood? Because I should be healthy and I just do not feel that way.”
14:49 – The “eureka moment” that inspired Levels
When CGM gave Josh valuable insights into his blood sugar, he was motivated to help others access understandable glycemic data and take personalized steps towards change.
“All of these feelings I had were suddenly connected to a data stream. And thinking about the hormonal implications, the insulin, you know, what’s happening behind the scenes, it was just immediately obvious to me that I needed to totally overhaul my lifestyle. You know, I had no idea at the time what optimal should look like, but I knew it wasn’t that. And so I turned this into a passion project, left my other projects behind, and ultimately decided what needs to happen is we need to increase accessibility of this data, this technology and then improve the actionability of it.”
17:31 – The basics of CGM devices
Josh explains how continuous glucose monitoring relies on a discreet sensor attached to the skin by mild adhesive.
“CGMs, they are measuring glucose molecules. Which is really key because it’s not an approximation or anything. They’re interacting with glucose molecules. Now, the way it works is you have this patch, typically a disc or an oval shape, that you wear. It’s adhesively attached to the skin. And there’s this little filament, kind of like a hair, that sticks down into the skin and it’s measuring and interacting with sugar molecules in what’s called the interstitial fluid.”
30:10 – Two tricks for longer-lasting sensors
Josh recommends cleaning the skin area before applying the sensor, and using a Levels performance cover to keep sensors securely on the skin.
“I’ve gotten the best results by just doing that shower, alcohol wipe, and then application process. And I have no problems getting the full two weeks out of them. The second thing is the performance covers we’re working on. So we’ve done a ton of iterations on these. They’re basically, they’re a larger footprint than the sensor itself. And we also have this backing where there’s the center disc, essentially that prevents the sensor from sticking to the cover. And that allows you to replace these covers numerous times without peeling the sensor out.”
33:56 – How Levels increases CGM accessibility
To increase accessibility to the benefits of CGM, Levels provides the prescription needed to receive a device.
“Right now the devices that are available are all prescription only. So they’re class 2 or class 3 medical devices, which in the United States require a prescription. And that requires a physician’s order. Traditionally, you had to have diabetes in order to get that, because that was the most common use case. So Levels is developing our platform and package to include a physician consultation for that specific reason. So speaking with telehealth providers who are familiar with the use case for CGM outside of diabetes management. And so anyone who gets a CGM through the levels platform, it comes with that prescription. That allows one year of pharmacy fulfilled sensors.”
36:12 – Market impacts on CGM costs
Although CGMs are currently pricey, Josh is confident that increasing popularity and use will lead to lower costs.
“Right now the devices are fairly bespoke, they’re expensive. Obviously not being covered by insurance the price is a little bit stiffer right now. But with time, we’ve seen a really dramatic improvement in the unit costs of CGM sensors just in the past two, three years. And I think that trend is going to continue. Especially as market forces work – as you get increased adoption, demand goes up, supply goes up, we’re going to get a really nice improvement over the coming years as this becomes more common and more mainstream.”
39:10 – Leveraging human psychology to drive change
Since CGMs provide real-time visibility of lifestyle choices and impacts, people are naturally motivated to choose better behaviors.
***“*When we can put it out of sight, out of mind – then we make those decisions that compound negatively over time. You know, if you could get a live look at your lungs every time you smoke a cigarette, I think very few people would do it. It’s just the fact that you can wait decades before you get that cancer diagnosis. And similarly, with metabolic dysfunction, you can eat junk for a long time and we’re flying blind. We don’t have feedback on that. So once you get the feedback loop it’s a totally different experience from somebody saying, oh, you shouldn’t eat that. Or eat healthier, work out more.”
41:01 – Scoring high on actionable metrics
Levels filters each user’s data for a daily metabolic score, which can help users understand the impact of their choices and stay on track towards measurable improvement.
“The idea is that taking in a number of composite background metrics – so things like rate of change, the amount of variability, your average glucose, time and target range – there’s all this stuff going on behind the scenes. We can filter that down into a single score that shows you, like a grade on a test, 1% out of 100%, how well you perform that day. And so the intention is that over time you start to connect the dots between the lifestyle choices you make on specific days and the quality of that metabolic score. And the goal is to shoot for 100% just like in most things in life, and string together streaks of really high-quality metabolic scores. And so that’s the kind of the metric that you focus on as the bottom line for how well you are functioning, how well you’re treating your metabolic system, and how well it’s treating you.”
44:23 – Avoiding common monitoring failures
Since good-for-you activities can also raise glucose levels, Levels is developed to detect healthy elevating behaviors and adjust metabolic scores accordingly.
“We’ve recently rolled out a strenuous exercise detection. So by integrating with Google Fit, Apple Health, we can use other wearable data like your accelerometers, your heart rate data, to detect, oh, you’re actually working out. This is not eating Chick-fil-A or something, this is a high-intensity workout. And we will auto-detect that. We’ll surface that and we’ll actually remove that data point from your metabolic score calculation.”
53:51 – Data tracking for behavior optimization
Levels’ detailed data tracking allows users to understand how even small changes can optimize glucose levels – and see the results of implementation.
“If you log a walk as a workout and those types of things where you’re manually making sure that everything is covered, you can very quickly learn these deeper insights. Some of them are very counterintuitive. Some of them are very intuitive. But over time you start to get this sixth sense for how you can modify to optimize. Make these little micro-optimizations and get a digital receipt for it, have the Levels app show you that that worked. You know, you just ate that indulgent meal, but you walked it off.”
1:01:55 – Finding personalized levers to manage glucose
With increased access to personalized data, users gain a deeper understanding of the “levers” that work best for their unique glucose level management.
“That’s the fascinating thing about increased access to individual data, is that we can start to go – if the average doesn’t work really well, but for an individual, it has a massive impact on glucose, that’s great! I mean, that’s a good thing for that person to know and they should probably implement that. For me, the biggest one is just consistent exercise and consistent sleep. Besides my sensitivities to certain foods, which I improve portion sizing or just remove, those are the biggest levers for me. If I can manage my schedule consistently and hit those, my glucose is significantly better. And those are my levers.”
1:12:26 – Setting sights on demystifying our diet
Josh has a vision for the future of CGM health, where users can access deeper insight into correcting their nutrition across the spectrum.
***“*We know just the glucose breakdown by-product of carbohydrate consumption is not the panacea. It’s a really interesting and important indicator of metabolic function, but we want to get to the point where we can get a little bit deeper and add additional analytes that give insight into some of these more fatty acid-related concerns. And it’s a tricky one to solve because of the massive rise in consumption of all of these hyper-processed and ultimately, I’ll call them synthetic ingredients that did not exist in nature until humans came along. It’s going to take some time. We need to course-correct across all of the nutrition spectrum.”
Josh Clemente: [00:00:04] I need some objective data to drive my daily choices. You know, what am I doing? Am I heading in a positive or negative direction? I have no reason to believe I know what I’m doing anymore.
I thought I was god’s gift to cardiovascular fitness, but I had gut issues. I had endocrine issues. Like I mentioned, like rampant blood glucose issues every time I tested.
And people are learning these, you know, what ultimately becomes an insight that they can use throughout their life going forward. But is grounded in this personalization mechanism.
Ben Greenfield: [00:00:29] Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
In today’s episode I really, truly unpack continuous glucose monitors in a way that I don’t think has been done before with a super smart dude. So, I’m sure you’ve seen, it seems like there’s kind of like an echo chamber going on right now about blood glucose monitoring. And I really wanted to record for you an episode that got into the ins and outs and the practical aspects. Like how these CGMs work, you know, continuous glucose monitors work, what the really tiny filament, this needle actually measures. How you get them to stick for long periods of time? Or you know, in saunas or on water, how do you get them to stick for long periods of time? How does the phone gather data from the sensor? Is EMF a concern? Do you have to calibrate it with a blood glucose reading? Is it available to only diabetics, you know, when it comes to insurance coverage? What do you do about things that might cause it to artificially elevate until you have a bad score, like exercise or sauna or coffee? Are there certain herbs or foods or supplements or lifestyle practices that do the best job controlling blood glucose that tend to fly under the radar? So I get into all of this and more on today’s episode that you’re really going to dig it. And all the show notes, everything we talk about are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/levels. Cause the guy I interviewed who’s with a company called Levels Health. That’s the way I’ve been monitoring my own blood glucose.
Now, before we jump into this fascinating podcast, I want to tell you that what we recently did, over at my company Kian is we did a full rebrand, a make-over, an evolution, a new look, whatever you call it, it’s pretty fricking cool. So the name Kian was based in the Japanese word chi. And chi has many meanings in traditional Japanese culture, but it’s most often translated to spirit or vital energy. And the idea was that all these products and content that Kian would help you tap into your chi, your inner energy in order to live a more joyful and active life.
And it has just taken over the globe, this company, I’m incredibly blessed. But we just rebranded and it looks bomb. You gotta go check it out. So you got to Getkian.com/bengreenfield. Not only does that give you a big fat discount on any first time purchase, no code required. Get K I O N.com/bengreenfield, but you also get to check out the new brand. And I’m actually very curious to see what you think of it because I think it turned out really cool. Check it out getkian.com/bengreenfield. And if you want to you can let me know what you think of the new rebrand. I think it’s just really cool. All right I’ll shut up now. Oh, by the way, one other thing Organifi Gold is sponsoring today’s podcast. This stuff is amazing. It’s like those golden milk lattes you get from the coffee shop, but instead of being overpriced and full of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners and a bunch of crap, the folks at Organifi have taken medicinal compounds like tumeric, and ginger, and reishi mushroom, turkey tail mushroom, herbs, and medicinal mushrooms for fighting disease and shielding and protecting your body from pathogens, relaxing your body at night, sleeping more deeply. And you’d think that it would taste like ass, to blend all that stuff together, but then they added lemon balm, coconut, cinnamon, black pepper, acacia fiber – it’s this delicious creamy, super food tea. That is, it’s just super pleasant to drink. I like to blend it with coconut milk or use a latte frother with it if I’m too lazy to pull out the blender. Oh my goodness! It’s like the perfect nighttime kind of beverage, kind of counts as dessert, even though it doesn’t have much sugar all in it. And it just tastes amazing! So if you want to try this stuff, you get a 20% discount. You go to organifi.com/ben that’s organifi with an I. Organifi.com/ben. Grab yourself a can of this stuff and a blend it up a little coconut milk at night. So, if you’re not a coconut person, maybe a little almond or hemp milk, or, you know, some nice organic cow or goat milk.
Oh my gosh! It’s so good. So hopefully this one is super helpful for you. I think it’s going to tackle some questions that I just don’t think have been addressed yet, so I hope you enjoy it.
Well folks, as I have mentioned many times before on podcasts, I’ve been using something called a CGM – continuous glucose monitor, at various intervals throughout my life for about four years or so. Before that I was doing the blood finger pricks to monitor my blood glucose. And that was ever since I got a genetic test and noted that I had a higher than normal risk for type 2 diabetes and also noted blood glucose levels that were a little bit concerning for me. So I decided I just wanted to monitor it. And then I got into ketosis and breath ketone measuring and blood glucose measuring. And anyways, the CGMs are pretty nifty, but ultimately I consider this whole idea of glycemic variability. Like having an idea of how much your blood glucose is going up and down throughout any given day. Along with inflammation, which is a little bit more difficult to measure than blood glucose, as it typically requires a visit to a lab, to be kind of like my two top key biomarkers for health and longevity. And because the CGM, the continuous glucose monitor, is what allows me to monitor that glycemic variability, it’s given me some really valuable data on how my body responds to foods, to supplements, to exercises, to lifestyle practices, even like emotions, and people. It’s really weird. So anyways, I wanted to get somebody on the show to dig into continuous glucose monitoring. And if you’re like, “Oh yawn, I’ve heard like a billion podcasts about how to track your blood glucose.” don’t turn this off. We’re going to dive into some stuff that I guarantee other folks haven’t covered when it comes to glucose monitoring, because my guest is rocket scientist. That’s right. He’s a rocket scientist. His name is Josh Clement. Josh, do you say Clement or Clemente?
Josh Clemente: [00:06:17] Clemente.
Ben Greenfield: [00:06:18] Clemente, I was close. Clemente sounds fancier. Josh is a rocket scientist, like I said. And I’ll allow him to unpack that for us briefly, and worked at SpaceX for six years, managing the team that designed the life support systems in their space shuttles. And he also actually, as I’ll also let him share with you, kind of found, he had some pretty serious energy fluctuation, spike and crash issues, and kind of got into blood glucose measuring himself. And connected with this company called Levels Health which uses the exact CGM system I’ve personally been using to access and understand my blood glucose in real time. So once I found out that Levels Health had a super smart rocket scientist on staff, who could answer all my and your burning questions about a CGM, I figured I had to get them on the show. So that’s the background, the show notes for everything that Josh and I talk about, you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/levels. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/levels. So that all being said, Josh, welcome to the show dude.
Josh Clemente: [00:07:25] And I’m stoked to be here.
Ben Greenfield: [00:07:26] And you have an interesting background. So tell me about becoming a rocket scientist.
Josh Clemente: [00:07:31] The way it starts out is you just like building things and that was usually something like an engine attached to something with wheels that went way too fast through the woods. And that’s kinda how I grew up. It was just building machines and..
Ben Greenfield: [00:07:44] In the woods?
Josh Clemente: [00:07:46] Yeah. In the woods. My parents, you know, they were all about giving us the space to get our energy out. And I grew up in Northern Virginia and we had about 30 acres and I kind of went wild, just building crazy stuff.
Ben Greenfield: [00:07:59] You’re just like playing hooky out of school all day, building stuff in the forest?
Josh Clemente: [00:08:01] You know, actually my mom was my teacher, so I was homeschool K through 12. And so that gave me a lot of extracurricular time to just walk out doors and build stuff.
Ben Greenfield: [00:08:11] Oh, wow. That’s so fun. I was also homeschooled K through 12. I grew up on a bunch of acreage outside of Lewiston, Idaho, where my parents also wanted us to just have free roaming space. And I did not go out and build shit. I shot rattlesnakes and hiked and maybe made some dams in the creek. So I maybe, I’m not wired up the same way you are, but that’s super cool that we’ve got a couple of homeschoolers chatting. Which means it’s going to be an even more geeky interview now. So you built engines out in the forest and how’d that get into rocket scientism?
Josh Clemente: [00:08:44] It turned into just a, you know, a mechanical obsession – cars, motorcycles. I had, you know, that wallpaper all over my room, I was just obsessed with them. And the way that you build machines in a career path is you can either be a mechanic, you know, working through the hands-on part of it. Or if you want to do more of the theory and design and developing the next generation of these machines, you get an engineering degree. And so I don’t really remember making a decision to go into engineering. It was just “Hey, you got to apply to college now. Here’s the application packet. And I think I essentially just wrote mechanical engineering down, out of almost autonomy. I never thought about it. I don’t recall down selecting for it. It was just the only obvious path for me. I went to school for engineering, continued to build machines through college, I was becoming more obsessed on the side with electric vehicles and Tesla in particular at this time was like one of the new names in, you know, on the scene. Elon was building these electric cars that were getting everyone’s attention. And so I really wanted to go work at Tesla. And anyway, long story short I got through school, Tesla had almost gone bankrupt, they had just gotten a loan that saved them at the last minute, but they didn’t have any engineering opportunities. And the recruiter there said “Hey, you should apply to the sister company SpaceX” and I had never really thought, frankly, that I had what it takes to be an aerospace engineer. I was focused on automotive stuff, but I put the application in, I worked all my connections to try and get anyone who knew anyone to say a good word for me. And they called me back and got in the door. They really just wanted people who could build things. And actually the majority of SpaceX’s engineering team at the time were people who built what’s called formula SAE cars. So in colleges, they have this program where you build little race cars. And so most people there were automotive nutcases like myself. So I fit right in.
Ben Greenfield: [00:10:32] Interesting. Interesting. Did you get to work a lot alongside Elon? Who’s obviously, you know, a super popular fellow right now, so we might as well bring him up.
Josh Clemente: [00:10:43] Yeah, you know, on and off, so it kind of depended on the program. I was on, once I was on that life support program towards the later half of my time there, I spent a lot of time, you know, explaining why we were making certain decisions to Elon and hearing his thought process on why that was a good or bad idea. And it was pretty interesting to get to know the way, you know, from an outsider’s perspective, the way his brain works, you know, he’s a few levels above myself in his ability to see the future and manifest it. So it’s a really good learning experience.
Ben Greenfield: [00:11:12] So at what point, along the way, as you were at SpaceX smoking weed with Elon did you wind up kind of getting interested in the whole idea of blood glucose management? Cause that’s kind of a far cry from cars.
Josh Clemente: [00:11:23] On the side, you know, I had played sports through most of my adolescence into college. I didn’t have that sports outlet once I was getting a career going. So I actually went and got my CrossFit level one trainer cert, I’m now a level two, but at the time, you know, CrossFit was my way of staying fit. And I kinda always considered physical fitness to be the best proxy for health. So at some point, and it was about 4 or 5 years into my SpaceX time, and I was hitting this crazy burnout mode, where mentally and physically, it just felt like I hit a wall every single day, multiple times a day. And my mood was just garbage. I was irritable, I was kind of dragging in-between meetings, frustrated, tired, I’d get shaky. And just generally felt like I had a terminal illness. And I actually told my doctor something’s going on here? We have to find out like, what’s happening under the hood? Because I should be healthy and I just do not feel that way. So this kind of energy thing was happening. And I didn’t know, I wasn’t sophisticated and on much of human physiology at the time. And so it was totally non-obvious to me what was going, what was behind the scenes. So I actually read a paper by Dom D’Agostino and this was as I was developing a breathing system for astronauts, and so this is an oxygen delivery system. And so I was reading a paper about potential for seizures in a high oxygen, high pressure environment. So basically divers, potentially astronauts, anytime you’re hooked up to a breathing apparatus that could potentially malfunction, there’s a scenario where you could be exposed to high pressure oxygen, which can, because of the reactivity cause seizures.
Ben Greenfield: [00:12:57] Yeah. I’ve talked with Dominic D’Agostino a little bit about that. Just because of all the research he did on ketosis and ketones to manage some of those issues.
Josh Clemente: [00:13:05] Yeah. And so this paper that he produced, which was studying mice, but it showed that if they were in a ketogenic state, they could survive 5 times longer in the same environment without experiencing central nervous system toxicity and seizures. And that totally blew my mind! I mean, it was like, it was literally a wheel screeching moment for me because up until that time, I was all physical fitness, workouts, you know, that’s the key to health. I had never, I was a calorie in, calorie out absolutist.
Ben Greenfield: [00:13:32] Oh, me too. I, you know, kind of another category in which we have a similar experience. I think it was like eight years ago when I was kind of on the tail end of my Ironman triathlon career, or at least a couple of years out from finishing it up. You know, I thought I was like God’s gift to cardiovascular fitness. I could ride my bike super fast on the highway and looks good in spandex. And literally was just like, fit as a fiddle. But I had gut issues. I had endocrine issues, like I mentioned. Like rampant blood glucose issues every time I tested. Elevated insulin, you know, just sucking down fructose and maltodextrin all day long to fuel my racing and my training. And that’s what actually initiated me to write my first book, which was called Beyond Training. Cause I took a dive into biomarker analysis and blood analysis. And all these things that athletes who think they’re fit, but are actually healthy on the outside and slowly dying on the inside, don’t actually take into account or look into. So that’s super interesting that you came at it from a CrossFit kind of background, me from an endurance background or an ultra-endurance background. But you know, it’s such a good point that a lot of people, especially people who are fit, and I see this a lot in the people I work with for, you know, lab and biomarker management. Particularly amongst other things, their blood glucose and their insulin is often way out of whack.
Josh Clemente: [00:14:49] Yeah. And I mean, it was happening to me and I really had no idea. But you know, that paper was the first thing that kind of shocked me out of my stupor of like”All you have to do is work out. Calories are calories.” I mean, obviously there are hormonal implications to everything we eat. And that point had never come home for me until reading that study. And so I was like, this is crazy. I mean, I feel terrible. I feel like I have a terminal illness. Obviously just working out harder is not the solution. I need some objective data to drive my daily choices. You know, what am I doing? Am I heading in a positive or negative direction? I have no reason to believe. I know what I’m doing anymore. And that led to a ton of just research into metabolism physiology. I started pricking my finger obsessively to measure blood sugar. Couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I then read Robb Wolf’s book Wired to Eat. And in that book, he briefly touches on CGM technology. And I was like, “Man,, that is what I need!” I’ve got black and blue fingers and no idea what’s going on. So I just need that continuous data stream. I asked my doctor for one- he was like, “Absolutely not. You know, you’re not diabetic. This is something that only people who have blood sugar dysregulation that’s much worse than anything you’ve got going on, should care about blood sugar levels.” That wasn’t satisfactory to me. So I eventually got a CGM and I found that just like you had mentioned, you know, in your triathlon days, my blood sugar was absolutely out of control. I mean, it was like, literally jagged peaks, deep canyons, spikes, crashes, diabetic range after meals hypoglycemic reactive lows, where I just want to, you know, irritability through the roof. No energy. You just wanted to go to sleep. All of this like, interoception, these feelings I had were suddenly connected to a data stream. And thinking about the hormonal implications, the insulin, you know, what’s happening behind the scenes, it was just immediately obvious to me that I needed to totally overhaul my lifestyle.
You know, I had no idea at the time what optimal should look like, but I knew it wasn’t that. And so I then, you know, turned this into a passion project, left my other projects behind and, you know, ultimately decided what needs to happen is we need to increase accessibility of this data, this technology, and then improve the actionability of it. So take this requirement to go study primary literature away and build, you know, the woop or the aura type experience for real time glucose data.
Ben Greenfield: [00:16:55] Interesting. You know, a lot of people, they’re familiar with the idea of measuring blood glucose I think, on a very shallow level. And many people may even use like an Accu-Chek or some other blood glucose monitor from Walgreens or CVS to prick their finger and test their blood glucose. But what I’d love from a rocket scientists’, a homeschooler standpoint, and I’m not going to call you Josh anymore. I’m just going to call you the rocket scientist homeschooler. How does a CGM work exactly? And what I’m specifically curious about is, you know, what it’s measuring? And how you would compare and contrast it to the blood glucose stick?
Josh Clemente: [00:17:31] CGMs, they are measuring glucose molecules. Which is really key because it’s not, you know, an approximation or anything. They’re interacting with glucose molecules. Now, the way it works is you have this patch, typically a disc or an oval shape, that you wear, it’s adhesively attached to the skin. And there’s this little filament, kind of like a hair that sticks down into the skin and it’s measuring and interacting with sugar molecules in what’s called the interstitial fluid. So, interstitial fluid is, it’s basically a sub solution of blood , it’s kinda like filtered blood. And so it’s not exactly, you know, capillary blood, but it’s very similar. And the difference is that interstitial fluid is slightly filtered and it takes a little bit longer to respond than your main bloodstream. So what that means is if you were to take a finger prick measurement and then compare it to a CGM in the moment, there could be a deviation, especially if things are changing quickly.
Ben Greenfield: [00:18:21] So basically if you had eaten a high carbohydrate meal and then you test using a CGM or look at your CGM, because the CGM is testing the interstitial fluid, which is not directly the blood, what you may see is that if you compare that to a blood glucose reading the blood glucose reading is going to be higher than the sensor glucose reading. At least temporarily cause the interstitial fluids kind of catching up to the blood measurement.
Josh Clemente: [00:18:46] That’s right. Exactly. So it’s like a phase shift. So the patterns and trends tend to match really nicely, but there’ll be offset somewhat. And this can cause some confusion because people will oftentimes gut check the sensors with finger sticks, and I’ve done this myself. It took me a while to recognize that, Oh, there’s this physiologic process happening where blood is then filtering out into the tissues towards the surface of the skin, which isn’t instantaneous. So your bloodstream changes, but then it takes a little while for that to get to, you know, closer to the surface of the skin where that filament is. Of course you can make the filament much longer and it could extend, you know, deeper into the but that could get uncomfortable and there’s a bunch of other side effects. You don’t necessarily need that, given that you know, like we’re talking about the patterns and trends match really nicely.
Ben Greenfield: [00:19:27] Okay. Now quick question about that, because this might not be somebody who hasn’t used a blood glucose monitor or a continuous glucose monitor would understand. But a lot of them actually allow you to calibrate to your blood glucose finger prick measurement. And that’s always confused me a little bit because why would you calibrate to a measurement that your sensor is lagging behind? Wouldn’t that result in like an inaccurate calibration or what’s the deal with the whole calibration thing?
Josh Clemente: [00:19:55] Yeah, so historically the calibration has mostly been a function of like what you’re saying, the desire to measure blood glucose, but with an interstitial sensor. And this is really important for people who are, for example, dealing with diabetes and need to be able to both monitor and manage very quickly. You know, for someone, for example, that has Type 1 diabetes, where you have to use exogenous insulin to manage your glucose levels, it’s pretty critical to understand as quickly as possible where you are, so that you can you know, either inject the appropriate amount of insulin, or if necessary, if you’re experiencing a low, you can get sugar into the body to restabilize immediately. So the reason those calibrations existed, as far as I’m aware, was the intention of trying to get interstitial fluid readings to match blood readings as closely as possible in time. So those calibrations actually try to estimate where your blood is based on where your historical interstitial fluid values are.
If that makes sense. So they’re almost predicting the future a little bit in trying to shift in time. So as we get into the more wellness use case, you know, where you’re not actively managing a condition, I think that delta between blood and interstitial fluid values is going to kind of go away. And we’re just going to focus on interstitial glucose. Because that’s really, you know, as we mentioned, the patterns are the same. And we don’t need to know immediately, we just need to learn the lessons about what you know, what’s happening. And a lot of us, we have this sort of intraception, which I’m sure you’ve experienced, where you kind of feel some things and then you see the data and you’re like, “Oh, that’s what that means.”, you know, connecting those dots. So that helps as well.
Ben Greenfield: [00:21:28] Okay. So do you need to actually calibrate when using, you know, for example, I’m using the Levels, which, and we’ll get into the different styles of blood glucose monitors. But I’ve got the Freestyle Libre, which is the actual piece with the long filamentous, you know, tiny hair-like needle that goes under my skin, that I attach to my body, that I change out every 14 days. And that is measuring my blood glucose and then sending the reading of my blood glucose to my phone, to the Levels’ app on my phone. Do I need to do any kind of calibration with the Levels app or have you found that to be necessary?
Josh Clemente: [00:22:02] So, right now? The Libre, but basically there are two devices out there, two manufacturers, and the Levels app will integrate with both with Avid and the Dexcom. Which is called the G6.
Ben Greenfield: [00:22:12] It works with the Dexcom too?
Josh Clemente: [00:22:13] Yeah we’re rolling that out very soon.
Ben Greenfield: [00:22:15] I was going to say, hook a brother up! I’m actually, you know what I’m actually I’m more interested in using the Dexcom, not only for accuracy reasons, but also because, you know, and this is probably getting into the weeds. But I believe it was a conversation that I had with Dr. Mercola about whether or not these blood glucose monitors, and in this, you know, my audience may be one of the few audiences that you speak to who actually cares deeply about this. Whether or not it produces any appreciable amount of EMF, you know, electromagnetic fields or non EMF, particularly. And while to my understanding and correct me if I’m wrong, neither the Dexcom, nor the Freestyle rely upon an appreciable amount of Bluetooth. And do they, by the way?
Josh Clemente: [00:22:57] The Libre does not, the Dexcom actually does. So the Dexcom is streaming on Bluetooth, low energy. So it’s the ultra low energy spectrum of Bluetooth full time. So you don’t need to scan the device. Whereas the Libre, on the chip it’s stores about eight hours of glucose data, and you need to scan the device with your smartphone. And it uses what’s called near-field communication, which is a very low frequency and power band wireless transmission protocol. So yeah, not Bluetooth.
Ben Greenfield: [00:23:23] Yeah, that clarifies. So, what Dr. Mercola was saying was he’s actually and I think it was him I had this discussion with, the low-level Bluetooth produced by the Dexcom is far less problematic than the potential wireless signal produced by the Freestyle. So if you’re concerned about EMF or EMF hyper-sensitive, a lot of people would do better with the Dexcom, you know, regardless of the fact that I think the Dexcom is more accurate and also more convenient. Cause it’s just tracking all the time.
Josh Clemente: [00:23:48] Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting. We really like the two different form factors. Both, I think have their place. The Dexcom’s a little bit more of , it’s like the level up from the Libre in a couple of different ways, its got a slightly more complex application process right now. But as you mentioned, its got a really great track record of accuracy. And generally the Bluetooth streaming, especially for athletes, you know, if you’re on the bike and you want to see your glucose in real-time, whether for fueling, or for just pacing yourself, you can do that without having to scan. So lots of really interesting stuff. And that’s why, you know, we’re building in this flexibility to be able to work with both sensors. And the other interesting thing is both of these technologies, the Libre and the G6, are factory calibrated. So the Dexcom actually offers the ability, if you want to manually calibrate with a finger stick, you can do that, but both of them are actually calibrated at the factory to a known glucose concentration. So that allows you to just apply the sensor and never have to prick your finger. As long as you’re not worried about, like I said, you know, a few percent of deviation between interstitial and blood values. And so that makes it very convenient for those of us who just kind of want to put this thing on and forget about it and learn from the data and not necessarily have to carry around a finger prick kit.
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So you’ve got this really tiny filamentous needle that goes under the skin. And the next question I have for you is I’ve been wearing my monitor on the back of my arm. Because I’ve found that to be more convenient and it just, it feels better. And I seem to get similar data as I do when I put it on my abs. But would you say there’s like a gold standard location for the placement of the monitor?
Josh Clemente: [00:27:40] So both of the manufacturers have taken a slightly different approach here. The Abbott device, the Libre was developed and tested in the back of the upper arm location. Whereas the G6 was tested in the abdominal location. I think what’s necessary is that the sensor filament be in softer tissue. Not in, like directly in the, you know, if you have thin skin area and a lot of musculature, low body fat, it might go into the muscle itself that filament, and that can cause issues. What I’ve seen, with the contraction of the muscle affecting, basically like local pressure it seems, or something and moving, it can seem to interfere with glucose values. I don’t have enough data to know yet.
Ben Greenfield: [00:28:15] That’s good to know. Cause I’m actually very low body fat and got massive guns. Not really but I do have like lean muscular arms. And so I wonder, and I use them a lot. You know, I have a lot of triceps muscle contractions, cause I mean, you know, I have little pomodoro breaks I take throughout the day. And you know, any given hour, I’m probably dropping and doing 30 to 50 pushups. So my triceps are just working all day long. So I’m wondering if I might actually get a better reading from my abdominals, which are, you know, I don’t even carry much fat there. But you know, I guess those are the top 2 locations. Am I correct? The triceps or the abdominals?
Josh Clemente: [00:28:48] That’s right. You know, I’ve noticed, and I’ve tried both, I’ve noticed that the difference is minimal enough that it doesn’t really affect me and how I’m using the data. But more importantly, I find the back of the arm much more comfortable, much more convenient. So, I personally use the back of the upper arm. I go right between the upper tricep and the deltoid. I have this kind of, that’s the softest region right there, between the tricep and deltoids for me. So that’s kind of where I put it. Both Dexcom and Abbott I’ll wear them both up there. And yeah, I just generally don’t like having something on my stomach, you know, sitting down or anything like that. It becomes uncomfortable.
Ben Greenfield: [00:29:20] Okay. Got it. And then another usage question. How do you get yours to stick for long periods of time? And that would include like, in water, in saunas, or in hot tubs. Like I have a trick that I’ve found, but before I get into that, I’m curious what you do.
Josh Clemente: [00:29:36] Yeah. So there’s two kinds of things that I focus on here. You know, the first is that the adhesive is going to be very sensitive to oil and skin flaking. So actually most skin cells will only live about two weeks, total, and then they’ll start to flake off. So it’s pretty important, given that these sensors can, the Libre for example, lasts for 14 days, that’s like the entire lifespan of the skin cells. So I always make sure, 100% of the time, that I shower and scrub the application area really well before I put a new sensor on.
Ben Greenfield:Ben Greenfield: [00:30:06] I just use an alcohol wipe. Cause I mean, do you think that would do it, or do you do a full on shower?
Josh Clemente: [00:30:10] I do the full on shower because I think that removing that like, sort of those cells on the outermost area, or the outermost surface area will, the cells, you know, by making sure that you’ve removed any that are already flaking you can make sure that you’re not going to end up having, you know, some skin cells starting to flake off while the sensor’s under there. I also use the alcohol wipe, but mostly to sanitize it. You know, make sure it’s fully sanitized and then I let it dry completely. So I’ve gotten the best results by just doing that shower, alcohol wipe, and then application process. And I have no problems getting the full two weeks out of them. The second thing though, is the performance covers we’re working on. So we’ve done a ton of iterations on these. They’re basically, they’re a larger footprint than the sensor itself. And we also have this backing where there’s the center disc, essentially that prevents the sensor from sticking to the cover.
And that allows you to replace these covers numerous times without peeling the sensor out. And that’s been huge for me. You know, I was, pre-COVID I was training for a triathlon and I was doing a ton of pool time. And it was really important that I was able to replace that cover essentially a few times per sensor. Because the cover would start to peel but it would have protected the sensor from peeling and that’s huge, you know, especially for spending a ton of time in the water.
Ben Greenfield: [00:31:17] Okay. That’s actually really good to know about that, about cleaning the skin beforehand. I’m sorry about the triathlon. By the way, I had actually a few people I was coaching for triathlons before COVID hit and they all got canceled or alts moved to “Do your own race inside your home gym” I was just, nobody was too excited about it. So I actually signed up for a kettlebell cert that keeps getting moved farther and farther forward. So I was telling my wife last night, I’m like, “Okay, I’m done swinging kettlebells. I want to do this cert and then move on to something else.” Anyways, the thing that I found is that the adhesive tape, you know, before I was using the Dexcom and just would go to Amazon and buy CGM adhesive tape. But then there’s also a like a topical, and I found this on a diabetic forum, I forget what it’s called but it’s like a topical adhesive. Almost like a glue that you can apply over the tape. Have you experimented that much?
Josh Clemente: [00:32:08] So you can get these wipes that are called SkinTact.
Ben Greenfield: [00:32:11] Yeah, Skintact, exactly
Josh Clemente: [00:32:13] Yep. And you can basically, after you clean the area, these are there presanitized so the adhesive is clean, and you can basically rub that in the area and it’ll leave this little, it’ll basically seal the skin and help with this same issue. It works really nicely. I don’t use it all the time because I’ve been able to kind of get things to work without it. But definitely a ton of people say that works really well for them as well.
Ben Greenfield: [00:32:35] Yeah. If you do a lot of sauna or much hot tub or anything like that, like hot/cold thermogenesis, like I’ve found that SkinTact actually vastly increased the amount of time that the thing stays on, or that the tape stays on. So that’s a tip I’ll give to any of you active folks out there. I also wore my CGM a few times during Spartan races where you’re just crawling around on the ground and scraping against shit and found that it was pretty effective for that too. I would warn people that if you use the SkinTact, if you can, put it, like open the windows or put it on outside. Because it does have a little bit of kind of a well chemical content and chemical smell. And, you know, initially you don’t want to be huffing that stuff into your sinuses. Do it the same way you would use paint basically. But once you get it on it’s fine. It’s not going to be toxic once it dries. And it really is over top of the tape. So not much is getting absorbed through your skin or anything like that unless you’re like super duper orthorexic. I don’t think it’s something you have to worry about.
Okay ,the next thing. And I realize I’m just asking you a lot of practical questions here, Josh, but I’m hoping this is really helpful for people who want to use a CGM and just don’t know a lot of these things. I don’t think get discussed enough. You know, everybody talks about the, you know, why to measure blood glucose and why having blood glucose normalized is healthy. But I think most of my audience is kind of familiar with that. So I just want to dig into a lot of this more practical stuff. Anyways, from an insurance standpoint, you know, if people wanted to get one of these, I guess, can you walk me through the process of getting a CGM? Cause I think that confuses a lot of people thinking they have to go to their doctor and you know, pretend to have diabetes.
Josh Clemente: [00:33:56] Yeah. I, you know, I kind of ran into the accessibility issue myself when I was first trying to get a CGM. And you know, the mainstream perspective is that this is a device for the management of diabetes strictly, and you don’t really need to worry about this otherwise. But you know, obviously as we all know there is huge value in, first of all, managing what you can measure. And first you need to measure in order to manage. And of course, none of us want to just get snuck up on by metabolic dysfunction. And in fact, many of us can benefit from actively focusing on building metabolic fitness by tracking these things the way that we track heart rate or sleep quality.
You know, right now the devices that are available are all prescription only. So they’re class 2 or class 3 medical devices, which in the United States require a prescription. And that requires a physician’s order. So traditionally, you know, you kind of had to have diabetes in order to get that, because that was the most common use case. So Levels is developing, you know, our platform and package includes a physician consultation for that specific reason. So speaking with telehealth providers who are familiar with the use case for CGM outside of diabetes management. And so anyone who gets a CGM through theLevels platform, it comes with that prescription. And that allows one year of pharmacy fulfilled sensors. You know, you’re not buying some sort of gray market thing. And it, it also is fully above board in terms of what is needed. Now, insurance does not yet consider the use case, for the wellness use of CGM to be a coverable use, right?
Ben Greenfield: [00:35:23] Unless you have diabetes.
Josh Clemente: [00:35:25] Unless you have diabetes, that’s right. And so right now, you know, Levels for example, is cash pay only, you know, you’re totally allowed to get access to it, but it’s just not going to be covered by insurance. Certain insurance providers seem to be willing to reimburse, but that’s on a case by case basis. You know, I’m certainly optimistic that as more people adopt this, as the data set gets larger, as clinical research is conducted, showing that people who track this glucose information are improving their sort of quantitative risk of chronic illness, you know, it’s only a matter of time until insurance companies become increasingly open to covering for really anyone.
Ben Greenfield: [00:35:58] And so if that weren’t the case and weren’t covered by insurance, what’s the approximate cost for someone to say, jump in, let’s say using a platform like Levels and to start their, like a monthly blood glucose monitoring?
Josh Clemente: [00:36:12] Yeah. So the Levels program, the first month, which includes that physician consultation, includes a series of reports, the 2 Libre sensors, and an access to Levels software, that first month is $399. All inclusive, it’s direct to your doorstep. And then you can get ongoing subscriptions for just the sensors after that first month which are $199 a month. And you know, right now the devices are fairly bespoke, they’re expensive. Obviously not being covered by insurance, you know, the price is a little bit stiffer right now. But with time, you know, we’ve seen a really dramatic improvement in the unit costs of CGM sensors just in the past 2, 3 years. And I think that trend is going to continue. Especially as market forces work – as you get increased adoption, demand goes up, supply goes up, we’re going to get a, I think, a really nice improvement over the coming years as this becomes more common and more mainstream.
Ben Greenfield: [00:37:01] Now do most people use their’s the entire year? And the reason I ask is you know, kind of, ketone measurements. For example, I will dip in and out throughout the year to kind of keep my finger on the pulse of my blood glucose, but I’ll go sometimes without putting it on. Just because a lot of times I’m eating in a similar fashion and I’ll track it for a few weeks. And then until I change my diet or my lifestyle, or my exercise dramatically, or I’m having something going on, let’s say a sleep issue, or an energy issue that I want to get more insight into I will not wear it. I’ll take a break. I’m curious if that’s common or if most people just wear these all year long?
Josh Clemente: [00:37:38] I think, you know, there’s a ton of individuality here. I’m a person who, I feel essentially my accountability comes from what I’m measuring. So I’ve made the decision that I want to maximize my, you know, every day. You know, I want to be optimizing my lifestyle and doing whatever I can to improve my performance mentally, physically, and also my longevity. And so having that metric is a massive accountability piece for me. It keeps me on track.
Ben Greenfield: [00:38:06] Yeah. I agree. Like I wear the Oura ring for example, and it is incredibly motivating for me because I look at my step count literally at the end of every day. And I will go for a walk, I’ll go for a postprandial stroll after dinner, if I haven’t hit 15 K steps. And I realize that, you know, speaking of orthorexia, that sounds a bit anal, but it’s just like my metric. And if I’m not wearing the ring, I really don’t care that much. I kind of lose track, I don’t move as much, I don’t take as many postprandial strolls. I don’t go up and down the stairs as much or take my pomodoro breaks. But if I just know, regardless of any workout that I do, that I want to hit a 15,000 step count. You know, what gets measured gets managed, I believe is the saying You may have been homeschooled better than I was. So you might know if that’s exactly how it goes. But yeah, essentially I have noticed that there’s a little bit of a cognitive shift. As silly as it seems, you know, you’d think if you knew and you had been measuring at various intervals throughout the year, that you would just make the right dietary choices anyway. I’ve actually found when I wear it, even at a restaurant. I just know that if I got to look at my data later, I’m just more careful. It’s, you know, just weird irrational human psychology, or maybe it’s rational human psychology.
Josh Clemente: [00:39:10] Yeah. I think it’s self preservation. You know, when you’re faced with something that you know is detrimental, you’re very unlikely as a human being to make that decision. It’s just, when we can put it out of sight, out of mind that we make those decisions that compound negatively over time. You know, if you could get a live look at your lungs every time you smoke a cigarette, I think very few people would do it. It’s just the fact that you can wait decades before you get that cancer diagnosis, you know. And similarly with metabolic dysfunction, you know, you can eat junk for a long time and we’re flying blind. We don’t have feedback on that. So once you get the feedback loop it’s it’s a totally different experience from somebody saying, “Oh, you shouldn’t eat that or eat healthier, workout more.” It’s no, this is your body saying, that’s not great. And also on the opposite side of the coin is, when you get, at least for me, when I get that positive feedback of a great day where my glucose was, you know, I was nailing both time and range, postprandial work was awesome. And you know, I’m seeing the benefits of exercise, focus, effort, repetition, all the things I’ve been doing paying off in better glucose management and correspondingly insulin management. I feel great about that. You know, it feels just like waking up and I use Whoop rather than Oura, but I wake up, I check my recovery score and I’m excited about it. You know, and all these wearables, they should have that mechanism where it is driving better behaviors. And so I certainly feel that generally we just we just want to meet people where they are. So if you’re the type of person that wants to wear a CGM 1 month, every quarter or continuously, that it’s available, the technology and accessibility should be such that you can do that. And that’s all we want.
Ben Greenfield: [00:40:37] Okay. Now I want to dig into the actual dashboard itself because, you know, when I use the Freestyle Libre, for example, it comes with the app, the Libre link app, which is pretty bare bones. I mean, it just gives your blood glucose and kind of the daily graph, the daily trend. You guys are doing some interesting things at Levels. And one of the first things that I see when I open up my app on my dashboard, I see something called “My metabolic score.” So what was the idea behind the metabolic score?
Josh Clemente: [00:41:01] This is a metric we’ve been developing and certainly going through iterations on to fine tune, but it gives you an idea directionally of how well your metabolic system performed that day. So the idea is that, you know, taking in a number of composite, sort of background metrics – so things like rate of change, the amount of variability, your average glucose, time and target range. There’s all this stuff going on behind the scenes. We can filter that down into a single score that shows you, like a grade on a test, 1 out of 100%, how well you perform that day. And so the intention is that over time you start to connect the dots between the lifestyle choices you make on specific days and the quality of that metabolic score. And the goal is to shoot for a 100% just like in most things in life. And string together streaks of really high quality metabolic scores. And so that’s the kind of the metric that you focus on as the bottom line for how well you are functioning, how well you’re treating your metabolic system, and how well it’s treating you.
Ben Greenfield: [00:41:58] Okay. Now there’s some things that actually concerned me a little bit about the metabolic score. Because there are certain activities that I think confuse people because they cause a glucose excursion, yet do not result in a problem with long-term down the road, say insulin desensitization or poor blood glucose management. Because it’s a transient rise, typically of glucose, due to your liver releasing storage glycogen that then spikes the blood glucose in response to a metabolic stress or that’s arguably healthy. And what I mean by that is many people will see their blood glucose rise even if they haven’t had, let’s say a sugary sports drink or gel or something like that beforehand, during a high intensity exercise session or weight training session. Even in a fasted state where the liver releases glycogen. And that results in an elevation in blood glucose that can often stay elevated depending on how intense the workout is and how much epinephrin or norepinephrine or adrenaline was released during the workout. For, you know, an hour afterwards, sometimes. And I have seen the same thing occur, and this is also primarily due to the epinephrin and norepinephrine response. The same thing happens with a sauna, with heat stress. You see, actually I see a massive spike in blood glucose during my sauna sessions. A lot of folks will have a fasted morning cup of coffee, or like no sugar, no milk, totally black coffee. And again, because coffee causes like a mild metabolic stress, kind of a surge in energy, this is one way it works. And it’s the cortisol response in that case, that can cause a rise in blood glucose. Now all of these are not because you’re consuming a food that’s sugary or because you’re necessarily metabolically broken. It’s the body’s natural response to provide energy to you during stress. And the interesting thing is long-term exercise normalizes blood glucose and insulin sensitivity. So does hyperthermia and sauna, which I recently did a podcast on in which I talked about the benefits of cold and heat. Coffee, you know, arguably you, you see in some studies, a massive drop in risk of diabetes in response to coffee consumption yet all of them spike blood glucose. And what I’m getting at here is if someone is regularly, like me, doing exercise and sauna and drinking coffee, aren’t you going to see that artificially show on the Levels app? That you have a poor metabolic score when in fact your metabolic score is just fine and probably is going to be improved by such practices?
Josh Clemente: [00:44:23] Yeah I love this line because this is the core of the intelligence we’re building into the Levels system. You know, we’re still relatively early in the process of taking a CGM and turning it into a platform for non-therapeutic use case. And there’s a ton that we’re working on behind the scenes to develop intelligence, to detect these sort of healthy adaptive stressors, that you just touched on a great number of them, and adjust accordingly,. To incentivize instead of de-incentivize. So the intense exercise for example, I see the exact same affect, you know, those glucocorticoid hormones being released, cortisol, epinephrin, my blood sugar has reached over 200 on a CrossFit workout and stayed elevated above my target range for over an hour. And you know, that being said, high intensity interval training, it’s associated with cardiovascular development, insulin sensitivity in the long-term. This is something we want to incentivize. And so we’ve recently rolled out a strenuous exercise detection. So by integrating with Google Fit, Apple Health, we can use other wearable data like your accelerometers, your heart rate data, to detect, oh, you’re actually working out. This is not you know, eating Chick-fil-A or something, this is a high intensity workout. And we will auto detect that. We’ll surface that and we’ll actually remove that data point from your metabolic score calculation.
Ben Greenfield: [00:45:37] This is really fantastic! Sorry to interrupt, but are you saying that if I have my Oura ring and I’ve checked on my iPhone, that I’m okay with the powers that be at Apple having full access to all my health data. With my Oura ring feeding into my Apple Health, that by the nature of that, the Levels app will then be able to detect via my Oura, the rise in heart rate or the rise in activity level and account for that as being an activity that spiked blood glucose and not say, a dietary sugar consumption error that spiked the blood glucose.
Josh Clemente: [00:46:08] Exactly, Yep, so that’s live today.
Ben Greenfield: [00:46:10] That is cool.
Josh Clemente: [00:46:11] You have to also authorize the Levels app to access Apple Health. But once you have that set up yeah, we’re pulling in heart rate, movement data, and glucose info, and we know, and we can auto import that workout. And so now, rather than you having to log it, we know exactly when it happened. And we know that it was strenuous because you saw both a high threshold heart rate, which was sustained, and you saw eight glucose elevation. So we won’t dock points, or we won’t cut out, notch out the workout timeframe if your glucose does not elevate.
Ben Greenfield:Ben Greenfield: [00:46:37] I love that.
Josh Clemente: [00:46:38] So definitely, we’re detecting this stuff and we’re getting smarter about it. And this is a constant rate or, you know, improvement based on feedback. But yeah, that’s already in place. But then you’ve got stuff like sauna, you know, which you touched on. This is a little bit trickier because most thermal or most wearables don’t expose thermal data. So they don’t tell you body temperature.
Ben Greenfield: [00:46:56] Well, the Oura does.It. It’ll tell body temp data.
Josh Clemente: [00:46:58] It does, that’s one of the few. And it actually doesn’t, there’s no Apple Health integration for that unfortunately. So a direct integration might be possible in the future to do something like that. It’s really interesting to think about. And something we should probably talk to the Oura folks about. But yeah, so as more wearables start to expose thermal data, we’re going to be able to do a much better job at detecting sauna. And you know, one of the ways, for now people can just, if necessary, they can just log a workout at that timeframe or something along those lines to identify that this is a stressor that’s probably adaptive. And for example, Dexcom has thermal couples or resisted thermal devices inside their sensors. And it’s possible that we could get access to that, to identify both cold and hot thermoregulation. And so I’m optimistic, we’re just going to be able to continually improve all of these adaptive stressors to the point where, you know, your metabolic score is an actual depiction of how your system was stressed by these non-adaptive factors like food and legitimate lifestyle stress that should be controlled. We’ll get there. And I’m glad you touched on the coffee.
Ben Greenfield: [00:47:59] I was going to say, what about coffee?
Josh Clemente: [00:48:01] Yeah. That one is interesting. So I’m personally super sensitive to caffeine it seems. And I’ll have a 20 point spike on a delicious cup of black coffee every morning. And you know, I’m trying to figure out more about this. I think I really want to get some studies underway. Hopefully we can be involved in that from the Levels side, to look deeper into the caffeine mechanism. I think you’re right, that it’s like cortisol response, but it’s so individual. Some people have absolutely no movement as a result of drinking coffee. And I don’t know if I’m one of the lucky ones or one of the unlucky ones. I want to learn more about that.
Ben Greenfield: [00:48:29] It could be related to some of the CYP genes and then the other genes responsible for whether you’re a, you know, a lot of people are familiar with this whole idea of being a “fast” versus a “slow” caffeine metabolizer. And it could just be that fast coffee oxidizers or fast caffeine metabolizers will see a more distinct rise in blood glucose. There’s, I wouldn’t be surprised by that. There’s all sorts of different things you could experiment with to test this. Like drink decaf and see if you see a similar blood glucose response, in which case, you know, it might be that you have a little bit of a coffee bean protein allergy that’s mounting. Like a little bit of an immune response, which is very interesting because blood glucose rise after a meal can theoretically, especially if it’s a low-glycemic index meal and you’re seeing a big rise in blood glucose, indicate a cortisol response to that meal that might be kind of like food allergy, or immune reaction based.
I’ve noticed that happen. Like I, on my Cyrex food allergy testing, I test allergic to very little, but interestingly, and I consider Cyrex to be one of the gold standards for food allergy testing. The one vegetable that I actually test to have an immune system response to is green beans. And the reason I found that out is because every time I’d have green beans, which were a staple in my diet for a long time, we’d love to have roasted green beans with dinner and green beans at Thanksgiving. I’d see a spike in blood glucose, which you would not expect from a plant legume like that. And then, once I wound up testing, it turns out I’m allergic to green beans, and now it makes total sense why my blood glucose, in response to a vegetable, that normally wouldn’t spike blood glucose, becomes elevated. So the same thing could be, some people do have coffee reactivity or coffee gluten cross-reactivity. And so that could be a factor. Another factor could potentially be whether it’s like organic versus non-organic you know, mold or fungal or pesticide exposure. It could be whether you’re a fast or slow coffee oxidizer. Like, there’s a lot of different ways that you could test something like that to see. But ultimately, I think it’s probably nitpicking at a relatively meaningless issue because we know from most data long-term coffee consumption actually normalizes blood glucose. So I’m not personally too concerned about it. I think that the metabolic benefits of regularly drinking coffee exceed any short-term rise in blood glucose that might result from consumption of it.
Josh Clemente: [00:50:38] Yeah. My opinion is if that’s the last thing, you know, the last straw, everything else has been optimized, I’m in a good place. Yeah, so, I’m willing to hold off on that.
Ben Greenfield: [00:50:45] And if I gotta die early from you know, a horrible blood glucose management issue, and it strips a couple of weeks off my life, but I’ve got to drink a cup of coffee every morning, I’m kinda cool with that. What about, so you have a metabolic score, another term with which I was unfamiliar, that is on the app, is called an activity response. What’s the activity response?
Josh Clemente: [00:51:04] So activity response is a way of basically categorizing everything that you do in your day. So we’re all making decisions every day. You know, some people are sitting down for lunch, they want to know what to eat and why, they want to know how their body’s responding to that lunch. Some of us are going into stressful meetings. Some of us are drinking coffee, exercising. All of these are activities that have metabolic implications and none of these choices happen in a vacuum. So actually, all of our actions compound together and create an environment or a context that our bodies are operating in. So an example of this is you eat a meal and you have, based on how your glucose levels change, you know, how quickly, how high, how quickly they come back to normal. We can monitor how that is happening and make assumptions about the hormonal effects of that decision, right? So you eat a big meal, your blood sugar spikes, and then crashes back down. We can make assumptions, based on what we know of the human body, on whether or not that was a good meal for you. And we can score that. Now, let’s say you eat that same meal, and then you take a postprandial stroll. So you finish the meal and put the dish in the sink and you walk out the door and walk for 20 minutes. The effects of that walk, using the large muscles in the posterior chain, it can immediately supplement your metabolic system. So those muscles are pulling glucose out of the bloodstream without the need for insulin, using it directly for energy and helping to blunt the effects of that same meal. And so those two things coupled together, the meal and the walk, and combined you’re going to see a different metabolic response and that should be scored differently. And so what the Levels app does is it detects these combinations of activities as they’re happening and surfaces them for you as insights.
So you can compare, you know, let’s say a pizza. If you’re going to indulge, you have a pizza, you sit on the couch, and kind of sleep it off. And then the next day you get the same pizza and you go for a 25 minute walk right afterward. Those two things are completely different in terms of the way your body likely responded. And you can compare those using features like our comparison function. But ultimately, the goal is to show you how your activities compound together and can affect different outcomes. So if you are going to indulge, it’s teaching you that you have some power to control your metabolic response.
Ben Greenfield: [00:53:10] Okay. I dig it. So I could even use, cause what I do, I’m totally into time hacking and I eat, in many cases the same type of meals day in, day out. So in my Levels app, you know, my morning smoothie, I don’t have to re-input all the ingredients or anything like that every time. I just say, I click on the morning smoothie that’s already saved in the Levels app. But what it can do is it can also pull in my different activities. Whether I walked, whether I took a cold shower beforehand, whether I had a sauna that morning, cup of coffee, a blood glucose disposal agent, which we’ll talk about momentarily. And then it will actually show how my blood glucose may have responded differently to that meal based on how I kind of hacked my day to, to one activity versus another.
Josh Clemente: [00:53:51] Exactly. And, you know, again, we’re building more intelligence in each wearable. So like the Oura versus other wearables, they’ll all have different ways of surfacing activities. So we’re slowly developing the range of activities that can be auto detected. But if you log, you know, if you log a walk as a workout and those types of things where you’re manually making sure that everything is covered, you can very quickly learn these deeper insights that some of them are very counterintuitive. Some of them are very intuitive. But over time you start to get this sixth sense for how you can modify to optimize. You know, make these little micro optimizations and get a digital receipt for it. You know, have the Levels app show you that that worked. You know, you just ate that indulgent meal, but you walked it off. And then for people who are going through life changes, where one of the 4 levers of metabolic function, or lifestyle decisions rather, nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress, one of those is compromised. So let’s say you just had a baby and your sleep is totally blown up. Once you learn the connection between poor sleep and insulin resistance, acute insulin resistance, and the way that affects glucose management, that lesson is really powerful. And you can start to realize that when I’m compromised on sleep, it’s even more important that I make up for it with effective combinations of activities. Whether that’s the nutrition I choose or the way I add postprandial walks to every meal that is further on the glycemic load spectrum. But you start to learn that it’s actually, when I’m most tired, I’m most frustrated. I’m most likely to cheat on my meals, that’s actually when I need to make these optimizations. Even, more critically than otherwise.
Ben Greenfield: [00:55:21] Yeah, and speaking of micro optimizations, which by the way, someone needs to buy microoptimizations.com if you haven’t snagged that one yet. There are some things that I want to get into. I have discussed many times on my show before and so this isn’t going to be a newsflash for folks. That the number 1 thing, more than anything else that allows me to have stabilized blood glucose the rest of the day, even when eating an appreciable amount of carbohydrates, is morning cold thermogenesis. And we’re not talking like a 20 minute ice bath. We’re talking about, you know, even as little as three to five minutes of relatively cool cold. Or like 30 to 40 degree plunge. I have this unit called the Morozko Forge outside my office, that I’ll go take a dip into. You know, and even before a meal, quick, cold shower, cold brisk walk outside, etc, beats the pants off of just about anything. And so that would be one example of how to improve your insulin sensitivity or your blood glucose response. Long-term, you know, we’ve talked about how activities such as exercise, sauna, or even coffee might actually normalize it as well. But I’m curious because you guys have built in to the app, this idea of “challenges” right? And so if I open up my Levels app, I see all sorts of different challenges that I can engage in, that I assume other people would actually be also doing. So you guys are probably getting some data here and correct me if I’m wrong, about what type of things people are doing on a day-to-day basis, that’s actually causing them to have a higher metabolic score. Is that kind of what the challenges are allowing you guys to gather data on?
Josh Clemente: [00:57:01] You know, the Levels dataset is large and there’s a ton of various user, kind of populations, inside of it. So we’re generally learning a huge amount about the implications of certain decisions. This is essentially an unstudied space, you know, it’s entirely green fields. And the idea of what is optimal in terms of glucose management remains to be seen. And specifically to individuals who have different phenotypes, right? Over time, you know, we are learning more and more about outcomes of specific actions over longer terms. The challenges are a really good way to see individual sensitivities. And rather than just doing those behind the scenes, we’re exposing that to the user because it’s really valuable to understand specifically how you respond from one decision to the next.
Ben Greenfield: [00:57:47] So it’s more of like a chance for you to compare.
Josh Clemente: [00:57:50] That’s right. It’s great for you to compare. So an example would be, and actually I’ll provide a little context here. The individuality of glucose response is pretty incredible. So there is a study, you’re probably well familiar with in Cell that was published in 2015. It’s the Weitzman Institute trial.
Ben Greenfield: [00:58:05] The Day 2 Trial Israel?
Josh Clemente: [00:58:07] Yes. Yeah. They took 800 people without diabetes and put CGMs on and they studied a whole host of things. But one of the most interesting lessons learned was that two people who ate the exact same two foods in this case, a banana and a cookie made with wheat flour can have equal and opposite blood sugar responses to those two foods. So one person spikes on the bananas, flat on the cookie and vice versa. So the implication there is that it’s likely that they’re having equal and opposite hormonal responses, so equal and opposite insulin release. And that has all these other downstream effects. So those results were also supplemented or replicated by the glucose types trial at Stanford, the Predict trials that are still ongoing in the UK. And actually, the Predict trial showed that affect even continues to twins. So you have identical twins that share a 100% of DNA, they also can have very different glucose responses to the same choices. And that kind of flips this whole glycemic index, one size fits all concept on its head.
And it’s really important that the individual is not comparing themselves against the average, but it’s actually comparing themselves against themselves and identifying the optimal choices. So the challenges are grounded in that concept where you can test different foods that may be a part of your staple, they might be recommendations based on what we’ve seen inside the dataset. But you can see, for example, how brown rice versus white rice affects you. How a smoothie that’s blended up with a lot of ingredients versus a whole fruit or a whole vegetable affects you. Poor sleep versus good sleep. Adjusting the meal order so, whether you’re putting carbohydrates up front or protein up front. And people are learning these, you know, what ultimately becomes an insight, that they can use throughout their life going forward, but is grounded in this like personalization mechanism.
Ben Greenfield: [00:59:43] Yeah. And, you know, I’ve got my Levels app out right now, I just whipped out my phone. And there’s some cool ones in there, like vinegar versus no vinegar. Or cinnamon versus no cinnamon. You know, those are two things that we know are our GDAs, glucose disposal agents that would actually, when taken before a meal, in most cases, actually will allow for a lower blood glucose response to that meal. You know, particularly a couple teaspoons of Ceylon cinnamon that is a relatively high volume based on the studies on cinnamon. But, you know, that’s easily put into a smoothie or a shot, literally like one shot of Apple cider vinegar. I’ve experimented with both those and they do both work for me for lowering blood glucose. Rice versus cauliflower rice. Fresh starch versus cold starch, if you cook a potato, then cool it, then take it back out and reheat it. Or the same with rice, for me personally and for many people, and this again is based on research, better blood glucose response. I mean, you’ve got everything from, you know, all that stuff to like water with a meal versus water without a meal. And so it’s pretty cool how you can begin to really identify the things that are going to be impactful for blood glucose.
One thing I wanted to ask you about related to these challenges, is if you’ve looked into, cause don’t see them written in the challenges. Cause now we’re getting into the whole messy world of supplements, which I know is rife with a lot of bias. And sometimes you know, marketing is blown out of proportion. But have you looked into blood glucose disposal agents that go beyond kind of like the standard Ceylon cinnamon or Apple cider vinegar? Like berberine or bitter melon extract or even a pharmaceutical like Metformin? Have you guys gathered much data about whether any of those work or compare to any of those?
Josh Clemente: [01:01:18] It’s a great question. We don’t yet have any sort of publishable or statistically significant result there. But for most of our users who are not managing a metabolic condition, they aren’t typically taking something like Metformin, berberine, and and some of those others. I’ve tested myself. I’ve tried a few different blood sugar control capsules that include these sorts of supplements. And I haven’t really noticed a big affect. If there is one, it doesn’t seem to be significant. And actually just like the regular perturbations and what I’m doing tend to be much more significant. I have yet to see and it could be another situation where it’s just kind of individual and maybe someone else is seeing a dramatic result. And that’s the fascinating thing about increased access to individual data. Is that we can start to go and of one, you know, if the average doesn’t work really well, but for an individual, it has a massive impact on glucose, that’s great! I mean, that’s a good thing for that person to know and they should probably implement that. And you know, for me, the biggest one is just consistent exercise and consistent sleep. Those are by far, you know, besides my sensitivities to certain foods, which I improve portion sizing or just remove, those are the biggest levers for me. If I can manage my schedule consistently and hit those, my glucose is significantly better. And that’s just, those are my levers.
Ben Greenfield: [01:02:28] Yeah, for me, outside of anything in the realm of pill popping, it’s cold and weight training. And then from a supplementation standpoint, you know, I got my hands on some Metformin and I compared it to some of these blood glucose disposal agents. And I actually, I see a really good response to two compounds that I’ve experimented. One, which I compared against Metformin. And one, that I didn’t have a chance to compare against Metformin because I got it after I’d already used my Metformin, this was a relatively recent one. But the most recent one was dihydro berberine. Kind of a more biologically available derivative of berberine that seems to inhibit the mitochondrial respiratory complex and have a really profound impact on blood glucose. And they’re looking into it now as like a novel therapy for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. And you can actually get it now in supplemental form you know, on Amazon, for example. But it’s a far more bioavailable form of berberine. Which I think we’re going to see probably popping up in the diabetic and blood glucose management literature a lot more. So that one I’ve seen good responses too. And then you know, full disclosure, I realize this sounds like the fox guarding the hen house, but I developed this after a bunch of kind of internal testing. And that’s the formula I developed at Kion, my supplements company, which is basically a blend of a concentrated extract of bitter melon with panax ginseng and astragalus. Kind of a compound called InnoSlim. So it’s glycostat blended with InnoSlim. And that one, 2 capsules before a carbohydrate rich meal, I compared that to Metformin and saw an equivalent response in blood glucose management. So that’s one that I know based on testing actually works. And, you know, we did a bunch of testing in developing that one. Those are a couple – dihydro berberine, and then the the glycostat combined with the InnoSlim, that is in the Kion Lean, that I’ve found. ,You know, it’s still not going to touch cold thermogenesis or weight training or a lot of these lifestyle practices. I don’t want to make people think they can pop a pill and go eat a pizza and get away with it. But those are a couple I’ve found to work.
Josh Clemente: [01:04:23] Now I definitely have to try those 2 you just mentioned because I do not yet have experience with them, but I’m always fascinated by these mechanisms that are not quite a pharmaceutical grade.
Ben Greenfield: [01:04:32] Yeah, and arguably more affordable. So the other the other thing I actually wanted to ask you about was, just from usability standpoint, is there a way to scan? I haven’t figured this out, may I’m just a Luddite, is there a way to scan straight from the Levels app? Or do I still need to open the Link link, scan with the Libre link, and then the Levels app imports that?
Josh Clemente: [01:04:51] The short answer is you can’t yet scan straight from the Levels app. The longer answer is – this is something we’re desperately are working towards, and it’s essentially a regulatory situation where right now the Libre link software and the hardware itself are combined, considered a medical device. And so we’re a third party to that. And if we interface directly with the hardware, we need an approval for that. And you know, it’s something we can get, something that we’re working towards, but it’s just a matter of making sure we dot our I’s, cross our T’s before we roll that functionality out.
Ben Greenfield: [01:05:23] Okay. Got it. I also wanted to ask you, being a rocket scientist, homeschooler, with an insider working knowledge of blood glucose management – what are your own, besides some of the things you’ve already highlighted, like CrossFit or walking after a meal, what your own personal practices are that you specifically do yourself? You know, based on your previous history with crashes and spikes and your obvious interest in this? What’s some of your, kind of insider hacks are, or any best practices that you haven’t had a chance to share yet?
Josh Clemente: [01:05:50] Yeah. I mean, I’ve completely remodeled my nutrition and removed a ton of the old staples. I mean, I was basically having rice or brown rice or sweet potatoes with every meal. I kind of used to be this, like I picked up all of the traditional sports science talk. You know, where it’s you gotta replenish glycogen after every workout, you got to be carb loading in order to hit the gym and perform at your peak. And in reality, once I had glucose information, I’m having these smoothies that are bran flakes, there’s a banana in there, there’s like protein with sugar in it. I’m drinking this thing, my blood sugar is going through the roof and then crashing back down. I’m having a reactive hypoglycemic event as I step into the gym to do the first rep. And it suddenly became clear why I’m yawning at the beginning of workouts and I was supposed to be hyped up and hitting this. So, I’ve completely removed these glucose spiking food ingredients. You know, I eat a low-glycemic diet. I prioritize protein for sure. I moderate fat. I’m not ketogenic, but my goal is to maintain consistency and I get my energy through that consistency. So I’m not having these crazy fluctuations. I’m not looking to lift cars and flip those over all day. I don’t need a ton of circulating glucose and all the side effects of that are certainly cause enough to manage them.
So I’m pushing more towards nuts and seeds. You know, I swapped out like oatmeal, for example, for chia pudding. I absolutely, chia seeds are like my secret weapon now. I have chia pudding with like almond butter, I’ll add, I’ll typically go with collagen protein these days, but I’ll add some protein in there, mix that up. And it’s just a delicious, like kind of morning breakfast for me. And you know, that collagen example, instead of whey protein, I’ve been biasing more towards the collagen and cause I tend to get a reaction to the whey. And it’s pretty insulinogenic. And I’m also trying to obviously manage insulin so, collagen tends not to have that effect for me.
You know, and then some other stuff is just like biasing towards fat mobilization. You know, I was always in the CrossFit space, working out in the glycolytic regime, you know, really hard anaerobic workouts. And I’ve lately been doing more endurance training, trying to train fat adaptation and metabolic flexibility, which I really don’t do well. I have a long way to go to get to the point where I’m able to really consistently maintain. I think that, fat mobilization that I would want to be able to perform in an endurance environment, but I’m making moves, you know, I practice intermittent fasting pretty consistently. And over time there’s just been this tremendous sort of food freedom where I now eat for function as opposed to out of requirement. I no longer have that like, crazy cycle of hunger and irritability driving my food decisions and I’m much more consistent. And then the other big thing is just stress. I mean, obviously starting a company, super stressful as you know. And maintaining sleep management and just stress management, like taking time out to breathe and chill out. It’s really crucial. And not only for CGM management, but or, sorry, not only for the stress management side of it, but also for glucose management. You know, I see that effect in real time when I’m letting my heart rate climb and blood pressure climb and my cortisol levels are going through the roof and blood sugars following it. You know, it’s pretty amazing to see and it really drives home that all of these 4 things are connected. I’ve got to maintain mindfulness and high-quality sleep, or my metabolic fitness is gone.
Ben Greenfield: [01:09:09] Yeah. Yeah. I mentioned that briefly in the introduction when I was talking about toxic relationships and how I’ve found, you know, even something as simple as an argument with a loved one will spike the blood glucose. Which is just super interesting, you know, especially when you look at a lot of the data on things like bitterness and anger and traditional Chinese medicine and the correlation between toxic relationships and emotions and chronic disease. And I would not be surprised if elevated blood glucose or poor insulin sensitivity was playing some kind of role in that as well. And the other thing that I’d be remiss not to mention is – I went to India a few months ago and there is a pretty significant rise in diabetes there without a concomitant increase in carbohydrate consumption.
And you actually see this, even in US epidemiological data. You know, a lot of times sugar is thrown under the bus and carbohydrates thrown under the bus when in fact there’s more of a correlation between the rise of vegetable oil consumption and linelaic acid and canola oil. And a lot of these processed seed and nut based oils with poor blood glucose management and diabetes then there is with sugar and carbohydrates because of the impact on the cell membranes. And a lot of the insulin sensitivity issues that occur, along with the resistance of fat cell to lysis, and the inflammation that’s produced via a fat cell hypertrophy, like an increase in the size of the fat cells, in response to a high vegetable oil consumption.
And so that’s another thing that I just want to remark upon. And, there’s some interesting studies and I’ll link to them in the show notes. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/levels, that’s where I’m keeping track of everything that Josh and I talk about. And, you know, there’ve been studies in which they have fed mice, for example, oils such as coconut oil and palm oil and found that there really wasn’t much of an effect on plasma lipids or on the blood sugar increase. But then you see everything from rodent studies all the way up to human studies, a vast increase in insulin resistance and in poor blood glucose management in response to linoleic acid vegetable oils. And you know, there’s even one study I’ll link to in the show notes, a human study in which they found that reduction of animal fats and replacement of these animal fats with vegetable oils, which a lot of people think is a healthy thing to do, that actually resulted in increased cardiovascular disease and all cause mortality, including an increase in blood glucose, and a drop in insulin sensitivity because of something as simple as stopping marbly red meat and consuming canola oil instead. And I think that the vegetable oil consideration here is something important as well. It’d actually be interesting to add that in as a challenge for you guys in the challenge part of your app, is you know, I cooked my eggs and coconut oil versus spray on Pam or something like that. And I’ll bet you’d see some differences there as well.
Josh Clemente: [01:12:06] Yeah it’s pretty fascinating. I mean, ultimately I think it comes down to energy toxicity. When you overfeed with poor quality ingredients, whether that’s vegetable oils or carbohydrates, I think you can ultimately reach a state of energy toxicity where things start to go haywire. And ultimately we want to be able to incorporate additional analytes. We know, you know, just the glucose breakdown by-product of carbohydrate consumption is not the panacea. It’s a really interesting and important indicator of metabolic function, but we want to get to the point where we can get a little bit deeper and add additional analytes that give insight into some of these more fatty acid related concerns. And it’s a tricky one to solve because the massive rise in consumption of all of these hyper processed and ultimately, I’ll call them synthetic ingredients that did not exist in nature until humans came along. It’s going to take some time. We need to course correct across all of the nutrition spectrum.
Ben Greenfield: [01:13:01] You guys are doing some cool stuff at Levels regarding this and I know that, I think that we have a special code. Because you guys have a wait list going and I believe the way that you’re running things is that if people hear this show and they want to get shoved to the front of the waitlist, so to speak, we have a special link. And what I’ll do is I’ll put that in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/levels and then you just, you click on that and that’ll get you access to go to the landing page, or you get access to the app.
Josh Clemente: [01:13:29] The link should be levels.link/ben.
Ben Greenfield: [01:13:32] Yeah, I I think you’re right. Yeah levels.link/ben yeah and I’ll put that in the show notes too.
Josh Clemente: [01:13:37] Awesome. Yeah. And, you know, we’re in this development mode still where we’re doing early access. We have, as you mentioned, a very long wait list and definitely looking to get great feedback on the product and continually developing. You know, even if you don’t want to jump in on early access, definitely check out our website levelshealth.com.
Ben Greenfield: [01:13:54] Josh, this has been a fascinating discussion and it’s always fun talking to a fellow homeschooled geek who also happens to be interested in health and fitness. It’s a rare unicorn who’s as weird as us, but hopefully people got some good information out of this. And I would encourage everyone. If you haven’t tried a continuous glucose monitoring system, at least once in your life to get a real understanding of everything that’s going on, you really should because it’s so biochemically individualized, and you get such a massive amount of actionable data. I put it right up there with like sleep tracking or activity tracking or HRV tracking or any of these other metrics. So Josh, thanks so much for coming on the show and sharing all this stuff with us.
Josh Clemente: [01:14:32] Ben, thanks so much for having me, thanks for being a supporter of Levels and I’m stoked to do more of these.
Ben Greenfield: [01:14:37] Awesome. Awesome. All right, folks. I’m Ben Greenfield, along with Josh Clemente, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com/levels, have an amazing week.
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