Ever since I heard about a San Francisco based startup called WellnessFX, I’ve been interested in getting blood tests.
The way Tim Ferriss described periodic blood testing with WellnessFX, it sounded so obviously important, that I couldn’t understand why we don’t do it.
He described it like this. Imagine trying to tell what’s happening in a football game, if all you’ve got is one freeze frame on the tv. Now imagine you’ve got freeze frames every few minutes, you can start to build up a picture of what’s happening.
That’s not too dissimilar to blood testing, if we can build up a picture of our hormone and vitamin levels over time we can pre-empt illness, and take evasive procedures to avoid it.
And then… I came back to Earth, and remembered I’m in the UK, without private healthcare. And the only way I’ll get blood tests on the NHS is if I have symptoms. I need to be ill otherwise they don’t want to know.
So I kinda forgot about the blood tests for a while, until a friend mentioned Thriva.
They offer a basic panel of blood tests (Cholesterol, Triglycerides, Vitamin D, Iron & Liver Function) for £49.
And the great part about their test, is you don’t need to go anywhere to do it. They send you a small pack in the mail that gives you everything you need to take your own blood (less than 1ml!) and send it back to them.
How Does It Work?
Here’s what the kit looks like, and how to use it (roughly speaking):
It’s a game changer really. All of a sudden it allows people to take health into their own hands.
What Does It Tell You?
So you’re probably wondering… okay, so I send my blood off… what next? Here’s a quick video showing the Thriva dashboard where you can get your results:
Is It Worth The Money?
If you’ve got a health care plan that covers tests like these, then sure, there’s no need. But for the rest of us, £50 is a reasonable price to pay for keeping on top of our health.
How could they improve things?
Currently the number of tests available through Thriva is limited. However, they are working on expanding things.
My ideal scenario, would be for them offer a large range of blood tests, all at affordable prices, and available through the mail. I believe there are some tests that should be taken in a clinic setting (e.g. homocysteine), but if they can get the majority to work via mail that would be ideal.
Currently they offer recurring tests, so that you can measure progress over time. Again, more customisation on those tests would be good.
Additional tests I’d be interested in seeing include:
- Glycated Hemoglobin (A1C) – which measures 3 month average plasma glucose concentration. High levels = bad
- C Reactive Protein (CRP) – this is a substance produced by the liver when inflammation is present. High levels = bad
- Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) – is a precursor to testosterone and estrogen, produced in the adrenal glands. Low levels = bad
But credit where credit is due. Thriva is a relatively new company, which may or may not be profitable yet. They need scale. What they’ve done so far is incredible, and I hope they’re able to continue to do so.