How To Get 6 Gigabytes Of Data From Your Gut: The Fascinating Future Of Stool, Blood, Saliva & Urine Testing (From The Comfort Of Your Own Home).

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Podcast, Self-Quantification

Imagine an all-encompassing platform that allows you to keep track of your blood, stool, saliva, and urine testing results, along with self-quantified data from wearables, and even pulls in all health testing you've done in the past as part of a single dashboard.

And imagine that platform could then use highly advanced artificial intelligence to tell you exactly how to eat, how to supplement, how to exercise and much more.

All from the comfort of your home, without needing to drive to an expensive lab for multiple blood draws or fill out confusing paperwork.

That's exactly what the brand new company Onegevity Health has the money, technology and data to do, and so I decided it was high time I sat down with their two chief scientists to learn exactly how this process works. I've already sent in my own stool using their Gutbio shotgun stool sequencing test that we discuss in this episode.

My guests are Dr. Joel Dudley and Dr. Chris Mason. 

Dr. Dudley is currently Associate Professor of Genetics and Genomic Sciences, Endowed Chair of Biomedical Data Science, and founding Director of the Institute for Next Generation Healthcare at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Prior to Mount Sinai, he held positions as Co-founder and Director of Informatics at NuMedii, Inc. and Consulting Professor of Systems Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine. His work, published in >120 peer-review publications, is focused at the nexus of digital health, artificial intelligence (AI), scientific wellness, and healthcare delivery. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, MIT Technology Review, CNBC, and other popular media outlets. He was named in 2014 as one of the 100 most creative people in business by Fast Company magazine. He is co-author of the book Exploring Personal Genomics from Oxford University Press. Dr. Dudley received a BS in Microbiology from Arizona State University and an MS and PhD in Biomedical Informatics from Stanford University School of Medicine.

Dr. Christopher Mason is currently an Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, with appointments at the Tri-Institutional Program in Computational Biology and Medicine between Cornell, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, the Sandra and Edward Meyer Cancer Center, and the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute. He is also Director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction, which bridges prediction methods in finance with genomics. His work spanning >140 peer-reviewed publications has been featured on the cover of Science, Nature, and Cell journals as well as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, and other major media outlets. Dr. Mason was featured as a speaker at TEDMED and he was recognized in 2014 as one of the “Brilliant Ten” by Popular Science magazine. He completed his dual B.S. in Genetics and Biochemistry (2001) from University of Wisconsin-Madison, his Ph.D. in Genetics (2006) from Yale University and then completed post-doctoral training in clinical genetics (2009) at Yale Medical School while jointly a post-doctoral Fellow of Genomics, Ethics, and Law at Yale Law School (2009).

During the show, you'll discover:

-What Onegevity is, and what it does…9:45

  • “Health intelligence” company
  • History of the company
    • Frustration with how long it takes research to reach the consumer
    • 17 years to reach just the clinic; many years after that to reach the consumer
  • How is it different from other biome testing companies
    • Shotgun sequencing vs. 16S
    • Translate the results along with actionable steps to take
    • Recreational health information vs. health management companies
    • Vertically integrated with Thorne, who develops the actual solutions
    • Starting over in some ways in the realm of microbiome testing

-What a metatranscriptome analysis is…18:00

  • “Meta” = Across all species
  • DNA + RNA analysis
  • Challenges with RNA analysis – some clinicians consider it useless
  • Only top few % of species generate RNA in the sample
  • Comparable in price to shotgun sequencing

-The actual testing process at Onegevity…20:45

  • Very small stool sample required, as compared to other tests
  • 6 gigabytes of data after sequencing DNA
  • Each fragment compared to all known species on earth
  • Interactive report on the web; suggestions on what food and supplements to order
  • Network modeling:
    • How are changes in the microbiome propagating to the blood
    • More comprehensive than guessing based on correlations
  • What is measured in the blood?
    • TBD based on the individual's health

-How Joel and Chris overcome challenges and skepticism in their testing processes…28:20

  • How can you measure the whole gut with a stool sample? (Spatial microbiome testing)
  • Not necessary, even harmful, to sample from other areas of the gut

-The role of artificial intelligence (AI) in the testing process at Onegevity…36:40

  • Predicts diseases/conditions based on the shotgun sequencing
  • Recommend foods and supplements to consume
  • Each company has its own variables, testing protocols, etc.; results in differing test results
  • Database continues to grow with each test; data becomes more reliable
  • Data is not for sale to outside parties; will partner under the right conditions

-How you go from stool, to shotgun sequencing, to “don't eat green beans”…40:35

  • Internal trial; shocking results
  • Can determine the efficacy of the test at certain benchmarks; 15-day, 30-day, etc.
  • Very positive feedback from those who were tested
  • Does Thorne produce a special probiotic that seeds the gut?

-How comprehensive the dietary recommendations are after a Onegevity test…48:52

  • Not simply a particular diet, i.e. Mediterranean, Ketogenic, etc.
  • Can make specific food, meal recommendations
  • Possibly partner with food delivery services to provide customized options
  • Very close to being perfectly genetically tailored in both microbiome and saliva tests

-How customer data is protected if Joel and Chris choose to partner with a pharmaceutical company…55:20

  • Customers are opted out by default; can choose to opt in.
  • Potential to benefit monetarily by opting in

-What the Onegevity platform looks like from a user standpoint…1:01:55

-And much more!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources from this episode:

Click here to visit OnegevityHealth.com for the testing we discuss in this episode. Use discount code: BEN20 to receive $20 off your own test.

-Book: Exploring Personal Genomics by Joel Dudley

Episode Sponsors:

Kion Organic, high-antioxidant Kion Coffee, Kion Clean Energy Bar, a complete line of supplements for total mind, body and spirit optimization and more! Kion also proudly carries Thorne products, including the multi-vitamin, which I take every day.

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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Joel, Chris or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question


23 thoughts on “How To Get 6 Gigabytes Of Data From Your Gut: The Fascinating Future Of Stool, Blood, Saliva & Urine Testing (From The Comfort Of Your Own Home).

  1. Diane says:

    I did Viome and, while I found it interesting, what was missing for me was some of the “why” – example being that salmon was listed as a superfood for me, but sardines, anchovies, and trout should be minimized. This doesn’t make any sense on a macro level, and as a very healthy and knowledgeable individual I would prefer the underlying info/reasoning – it doesn’t really help me to have a list of a hundred foods to scan through. I’d like to know on a more micro level what it is I should be avoiding or increasing. Does Onegevity’s test provide deeper info regarding WHY certain foods should be avoided or included more in one’s diet?

  2. Mike W. says:

    Hey Ben, great show. The dashboard they speak of sounds a lot like Heads Up Health that allows you to track everything from daily ketone/glucose readings to macros, to sleep score along with many others and most integrate with your wearables or other apps like Oura Ring. You are also able link with your labs and physician to bring all your health data into one location…so you can get rid of your large dropbox folder. I dont recall if I originally hears of Heads up Health from you but are curious how you would compare the two.

  3. Eric S. says:

    HI Joel and Chris, terrific podcast and I think what you are doing is super interesting. As a long time biohacker, a few questions for you (and Ben).

    -How soon is blood and saliva testing coming?

    -What tech underlies your NGS Shotgun approach? Is is based on Illumina or IonTorrent?

    -What AI engines are you using? Nearest Neighbor? Decision Tree? Neural Networks? Is it explainable? In other words is there an explanation behind the recommendation?

    -Is there any incentive for getting in early? Reduced subscription for future testing?

    -How soon will you be able to integrate your Whoop or Oura Ring Data?

    -Does it test for SIBO and H. Pylori?

    Thanks and look forward to the responses! Eric S

    1. Joel Dudley says:

      Eric, thank you for your interest and your thoughtful questions. Please see my answers below.

      -How soon is blood and saliva testing coming?
      JD: Blood testing is coming this year. Unfortunately I can’t offer a more definitive estimate because the timeline involves some rigorous and necessary regulatory processes that can be difficult to predict. However I can ensure we are very hard at work on the blood testing products and services and look forward to launching them as soon as we are able.

      -What tech underlies your NGS Shotgun approach? Is is based on Illumina or IonTorrent?
      JD: Our current pipeline is based on Illumina sequencing and we are currently evaluating various long-read sequencing technologies as part of our R&D roadmap. We are lucky to have Dr. Mason as a co-founder team who has been working on the forefront of genome sequencing technology for the past several years (including work with NIST and the FDA to establish quality standards).

      -What AI engines are you using? Nearest Neighbor? Decision Tree? Neural Networks? Is it explainable? In other words is there an explanation behind the recommendation?
      JD: Unfortunately I can’t share too many details on the AI platform here but I can mention that the platform incorporates a mix of various AD/Machine Learning techniques and technologies. Both Dr. Mason and myself and published extensively on the use of machine learning approaches for modeling and integrating complex biomolecular and clinical data. There is no single AI/machine learning tool or technique that is appropriate for all tasks so we carefully consider many factors about the data, the prediction or integration task, memory/CPU/GPU requirements, etc. in developing the platform. Explainability is an important consideration in AI/machine learning and our deep experience applying machine learning in the clinical setting has helped us to develop useful techniques and best practices.

      -Is there any incentive for getting in early? Reduced subscription for future testing?
      JD: Stay tuned for more news on this front but we are definitely exploring several different ways to thank our early customers.

      -How soon will you be able to integrate your Whoop or Oura Ring Data?
      JD: I have been doing academic research and clinical studies on the integration of wearables into clinical care and disease risk modeling for the past several years and we are very excited for the opportunity to bring these data streams into our platform. Our deep experience with these types of devices has given us lots of insights on when these devices can add positively to predictive modeling and user experience. It’s critical for Onegevity that when we bring data into our platform that it is scientifically validated, reliable, actionable, and does not add complexity to the user experience. We are currently evaluating several different wearables and expect device integration will roll out in future service offerings in some form by mid year.

      -Does it test for SIBO and H. Pylori?
      JD: The current GutBio test is not designed to test for a specific indication. The test will identify the full tapestry of bacteria, virus, or fungi in the sample and provide recommendations based on the the unique microbiome profile of the individual.

      Thank you again for your thoughtful questions and interest in our product.

      1. SLF says:

        Hi Joel. Layering on Eric’s question, wouldn’t H. Pylori show up on your test because it is a bacteria (I assume it is one of the “known species”)? Also, does your test include parasites? I am working with a functional medicine doctor. She is recommending I take the Diagnostic Solutions GI Map test. I assume your test is more comprehensive. Will you please confirm?

        1. Joel Dudley says:

          SLF,

          Yes, if H. Pylori is present in the sample then our test would identify it. And yes, our test also includes parasites.

  4. Johnny Whitehead says:

    ben you sound like the biggest dickhead in your intro. please change it.

    1. Carol says:

      I wouldn’t say he sounds like a dickhead. It is good but I actually like the older intro better. It actually gets you going & you know what you will hear on that episode is great. Please go back to that one or something similar.

    2. Eric S. says:

      Hey Johnny, not sure such comments are helpful. I actually like Ben’s new intro monologue and music and find it inspiring.

    3. Cherie says:

      I agree with Johnny and Carol. I too, prefer the previous intro. The music was upbeat and revved me up for the podcast. The narrator had a hint of humor in his voice, which reminded more of the playful and funny Ben I like.

      1. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Robert Allen says:

    I have done Viome’s test and their food recommendations have moved the needle for me. I do feel like I have a slightly better understanding about how the foods I choose affect how my body works. I have only partly followed their supplement protocol so I am not sure on that portion. I still want more. I like the ideas that Onegevity is working towards. I particularly like their idea of using AI to comb through the data that I produce on “my” body over time. With that said, there are so many confusing possibilities in the marketplace right now it is difficult to know which direction to go in and exactly how to best utilize the data I generate. Trying everything is part of my protocol right now so I am going to submit a sample to Ongevity but this definitely feels like a future shot.

  6. Fred Lewin says:

    I’ve done both Viome and Onegevity. How was part of the original research group. My problem was corrected by their recommendations. I took two products from Thorne . Both prebiotic and
    my problem was corrected in one month.

  7. Wayne says:

    How can I get the test if I live in NJ?

  8. Matt S says:

    Anybody else getting annoyed by every new company coming along and saying everybody else is wrong/inaccurate/incomplete? 23andme is only looking at a fraction. DNAFit is all wrong. uBiome is terrible, Viome is far better, but wait, Onegevity is the only one that provides real data. I imagine 10 years from now we might have some of this sorted out, but seems like right now everybody is just making claims that there product is the best.

    1. I take a look at alot of these companies from the inside, and I do think that Onegevity is incredibly legit.

      1. Orly says:

        They are all legit.
        It is just based on different science – that’s all. And like anything else in science – to each their own.

      2. Mike says:

        Hi Ben, after doing both (and you knowing both ownership teams, etc.) – would you recommend Viome or Onegevity?

        1. Ryan Dixon says:

          Want to second this. Curious to know your thoughts…

      3. Julio says:

        Yes, I am curious too. I did Viome and my problem with them is that their food recommendations change every time they do an app upgrade.

      4. Joshua" Paul says:

        Ben – I would like to distribute your coffee to local independent coffee shops in Southern Cal. How can we proceed with that?

        Thanks!

        Joshua’ Paul

        CEO

        A Knights Life Health

        Below website is in progress – but allows you to know something about me.

        1. Kion will not be launching a wholesale program until later 2020.

    2. Tom M says:

      After listening to this podcast, I am reminded that Ben is on the cutting edge of these products and services and that his experience is purely anecdotal. I completely appreciate the lengths to which he goes to “experiment” on himself on our behalf, but I’ve come to realize that most of these products and services aren’t really beneficial unless you have an underlying issue that you’ve been unable to solve. I agree with Matt S – most of these companies are at least 10 years away from “dialing in” their results and recommendations.

      After trying a lot of the products and services recommended on this podcast (and other podcasts) over the past year, I’ve learned that most of the products have a mild effect and the “test services” are wonky. One thing that I can say that is that ALL OF THESE PRODUCTS AND SERVICES ARE VERY EXPENSIVE.

      What’s moved the needle for me are the things that are free to everyone – meditation, intermittent fasting, walking in the morning, more wind sprints, etc. I’ve come to the conclusion that physiologically, we are so varied that one must experiment to really figure out what best works for them individually. Which is why I’ll continue to listen to this podcast because it’s a great resource for understanding “what’s out there”.

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