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Levels app is one of the many new biotech devices developed within the last five years that target people seeking to optimize their health and lifestyle. With a team of experienced tech entrepreneurs, this company has gained an important following among influencers and is determined to leave its mark. This article will tell you more about Levels, what it does and who they are, and the importance of Continuous Glucose Monitoring.
What is Levels App?
Levels is a health-tech company that aims for the improvement of wellbeing through specific data concerning glucose levels. Levels app scans Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) devices to have real-time data on users’ glucose levels. The app is touted as a device to «monitor your metabolic fitness.»
Metabolism regulates our sleep, our appetite, our weight, and our energy levels. Levels helps you maximize your metabolic health so you can live a longer, fuller, healthier life.Levels
The draw of the device and app is that it will monitor your glucose levels for four weeks. It will also interpret data and assign you a «metabolic score» depending on the readings and additional information you would add to the app, such as your sleep rhythm from your iOS-Health app on your iPhone or Apple Watch.
How Does Levels App Work?
Levels include a CGM device, a patch to cover it, and an app. The CGM device has a very fine needle that you must insert into your arm. Surprisingly, this procedure does not hurt. The small filament reads the glucose on the fluids underneath the skin, called interstitial glucose.
Levels app must be installed on your iPhone, and it scans the CGM data by just placing it a few centimeters from the patch. Once the app is installed, you can track your glucose levels. The app will guide you with alerts and a graphic display of data to make it easy to understand your metabolism. You can get daily reports in the app or by email. They include your day’s performance, average glucose level and variability, time in an optimal range, among others. The CGM resets every 8 hours, so you have to make sure to scan data within that range of time.
What Profiles are They Targeting?
Josh Clemente, Levels’ co-founder, came up with the idea when he discovered he was pre-diabetic, so he expects Levels to help people prevent metabolic diseases. However, the app is targeted at the general public, especially fitness enthusiasts or those who are willing to lose weight and improve their lifestyles.
Most CGM users have metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, hyperglycemia, or hypoglycemia. As with all CGMs, showing a physician’s prescription to acquire Levels is mandatory. However, Levels is entering the biotech market, specifically the lifestyle and fitness sector.
A general health and wellness program not intended to diagnose, manage, or treat any health conditions.Dr. Casey Means, Levels co-founder, and Chief Medical Officer.
The device is not cheap, and the Levels CGM price will require the willing participant to hand in 398 dollars for the 30 days read. One hundred ninety-nine dollars for an annual subscription and 199 dollars for the two CGM devices. Most of the price derives from the cost of the two CGM devices included, which have a 14-day duration.
Rapid Growth at a Beta Phase
Levels app was founded in July of 2019. It is currently in its late-stage beta phase, available for limited iOS users in most U.S., except for Alaska, Arizona, DC, Hawaii, and Nevada.
From the early stages, it developed its software and gained the attention of investors and individuals interested in its device. In 18 months, it quickly went from being a start-up with less than 100,000 USD cash on hand to a full-time staff of thirteen, more than 12 million USD on hand only from a seed round and, as of December of 2020, a waitlist of 68,000 people to use their device and app.
Levels app will launch its full version to the open public in 2022. Meanwhile, you can sign up for their waitlist on this link.
From Space X Engineering to Healthcare
Josh Clemente worked for six years as a hardware engineer at Space X. In an interview with The Hustle, he said that working with Elon Musk was an enriching experience that helped him learn about constant improvement and being a visionary.
The levels app was born when Clemente started having problems with ups and downs. After several medical studies and visits to the doctors that didn’t answer, he decided to begin research on his own. Josh started taking up to sixty finger-prick blood sugar tests a day and wrote all that data on Excel. By studying the data, he realized his energy drops were correlated to glucose levels. Eventually, he got a CGM for his own and found out he was pre-diabetic.
A Healthtech Startup on Experienced Hands
Josh Clemente came up with an app that could be paired with a CGM, which would have an easy and attractive User Experience (UX). He based his project on one certainty: everybody wants good health.
Clemente gathered a high-profile team to start Levels. Their founders are an experienced group of tech workers and entrepreneurs: Sam Corcos from CarDash, Andrew Conner and David Flinner from Google, and Dr. Casey Means from Stanford University.
They also have an impressive list of advisers, including Dr. Gerald Shulman, professor of Physiology at Yale University, and Dr. Robert Lustig, Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco.
Levels app is backed by worldwide capital backers: Andreessen Horowitz (A16Z), its lead investor, Loupventures, FounderCollective, BaseCamp Fund, and Shrug Capital.
Leaving Blood Glucose Monitoring Behind
For many years, people with medical conditions that require monitoring their glucose relied on Blood Glucose Monitoring (B.G.M.). These devices would measure the level of glucose in that person to control their situation through the administration of insulin adequately.
This traditional method is better known as finger sticks. They are the old way of measuring glucose levels by drawing a drop of blood and placing it on a measuring stick. This would usually happen before meals or at certain times of the day, or when necessary.
What Is a CGM Device?
Due to medical advances, this process can now be around the clock, and thus these next-generation devices are called Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM). Some of these devices are currently approved for replacing finger sticks for consultation with the treating physician.
Most CGM kits include the following components: a sensor, a transmitter, and a receiver, which are worn on the arm or stomach and work for 7-14 days, depending on the device.
Competitors in the CGM Market
While the F.D.A. does not medically approve the Levels app as a CGM device, some are currently on the market that can be used for that purpose. Devices such as Freestyle Libre 2, Guardian Connect, Dexcom G6, Eversense, and NutriSense are good options for someone looking for devices of this nature.
Levels seek to stand out among competitors by offering a more intuitive interface with a more complex algorithm to interpret data to function as a personal nutrition coach. Overall, their bet is to provide a more satisfactory user experience (UX).
Tesla positioned itself as a luxury good to destigmatize electric vehicles, and we’re trying to do the same thing for blood-marker monitoring.Josh Clemente
How Glucose Levels Affect Your Body
Your body requires energy to live. This energy is mainly supplied to your body by the carbohydrates we regularly consume like apples or cherries, pasta, and of course, everyone’s favorite: ice cream. One of the leading causes of obesity in the United States and throughout the West is overloading the types of sugars that are difficult for our bodies to process efficiently (like soda and candy).
Diabetes and Its Consequences
Our bodies have not evolved from our hunter-forager days of 10,000 B.C., and certain sugar-heavy products consumed daily can wreak havoc on our system. Unfortunately, one of the disastrous consequences of our overconsumption of sugar is the rising incidence of diabetes, and with it comes a host of health-related complications such as kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, and neuropathy, to name a few. The American Diabetes Association is an excellent resource for more information on this terrible disease.
Factors that Affect Sugar Levels
According to the webpage diatribe.org, at least 42 different factors can affect the glucose in your blood, and that can increase or decrease your blood sugar levels. These factors include food, medication, activity (exercise), food and insulin timing, or biological factors such as sleep or lack of sleep, stress, illness, allergies, menstruation, puberty, smoking, etc.
Is Levels a Good Option to Improve My Health?
CGM devices are an excellent source for people to monitor their glucose levels because «you learn what uniquely affects you and how you respond,» according to Diana Isaacs of the Cleveland Clinic Diabetes Center.
As its purchase requires a prescription, it is also recommended to have a physician’s guidance for its use, especially for patients with metabolic diseases. Instead, if you are willing to use Levels for fitness purposes, it would be necessary to accompany its use with a scientific basis about glucose and metabolism to make informed decisions regarding nutrition and exercise regimes.
What’s excellent about Levels is that it can help you see how some food you thought was very healthy, nutritious, and light, for instance, some protein bars, or morning cereals, may spike your glucose levels. It is also beneficial to understand your metabolism because most diets stand on standard parameters, and metabolism may vary depending on characteristics like age, weight, genetics, whether you have a health condition or not, etc.
Several cons must be considered, though. Overall, it is an exciting app to improve your health. Hopefully, the company will have solved those issues when its launch is official.
Ingeniero en sistemas con interés en gadgets, startups, programación, ciberseguridad y machine learning.