When Tim Ratto’s one-year old nephew was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, he started wondering what he could do to help.

“I thought it would be great if his mom had a tool that [didn’t involve doing] finger sticks all the time,” he says. That way, she could quickly see when he was at risk of having too many ketones in his blood and getting dangerously close to an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis.

Being a biophysicist, Ratto became interested in developing sensing technologies for detecting chemicals in human breath, which he realized contained many molecules linked to metabolism. This led to the creation of BIOSENSE™, a device that can measure ketones in breath, eliminating the need for costly single-use strips and painful finger sticks. 

“Probably the biggest advantage is that you can do as many measurements as you want,” Ratto explains. “This  gives you a tool to see what your metabolism is doing in real-time.” It means you can see how your ketones are changing based on the actions you take— for example, when you exercise, when you don’t sleep enough, or when you eat one donut too many.

Ketones are produced when your body switches from metabolizing glucose— or stored forms of glucose, like glycogen— to metabolizing stored fat. When the body produces ketones, it first makes acetoacetate, which is not a stable molecule. Your body converts acetoacetate into beta-hydroxybutyrate, which is a ketone found in blood. Acetoacetate also gets converted into acetone, which is the ketone found in human breath.

Ketones can change a lot over the course of the day. But this variation is different in different people. The device can help you optimize the time your body is spending metabolizing fat. “[If you are not a type 1 diabetic], the more time you spend with elevated ketones, the clinical evidence is that that is better for you,” Ratto says.

To get an accurate picture of your metabolism, Ratto recommends measuring your ketones before you eat each of your meals. To use the device, you first blow through a mouthpiece.  Once the exhale has proceeded long enough, pressure sensors activate a pump that pulls a breath sample into the device. The device then measures the acetone concentration in your breath. A result is displayed on the device’s screen in units called ACEs,  on a scale from 0-40. The more time you spend anywhere above 5 ACEs, the higher the likelihood that you will lose weight.

A phone app connected to the device automatically syncs your measurements to allow you to track your ketones over time.

This panoramic view of your ketone measurements could help you get out of a weight loss plateau and see what you might be doing wrong. 

One of Ratto’s Muslim colleagues who was fasting for Ramadan was excited about trying out the device because he wanted to see how his ketones were changing with his long fasts. Much to his surprise, his ketones didn’t change at all, even though he was going for 20 hours without eating. “The reason they weren’t changing is because he was eating massive amounts of food at night, particularly rice and carbohydrates,” Ratto said. 

You could also use these objective ketone measurements to get to know your body better. Ratto has found that he can’t exercise as much while fasted. He’s learned to restrict carbs on days when he doesn’t exercise, and to eat a small amount of carbs the night before if he has a workout planned for the morning after.  “When I do that, I actually can get through four times as much exercise as when my ketones are very high,” he says. He’s also noticed that his ketones are low if he doesn’t sleep for at least 8 hours every night. He now knows his optimal time to exercise and how much sleep he should get because he has the data to back it up. 

Readout Health, the company co-founded by Ratto to manufacture BIOSENSE, is partnering with LifeOmic. You can now sync your breath ketone data with the LIFE Extend app and make correlations between your breath ketones and how much you sleep and how much exercise you are doing. “Sleep seems to play a major role in how your body is metabolizing fat,” Ratto says.  “Exercise also plays more of a role than you would realize.”

For a limited time, you can get an exclusive discount on the BIOSENSE device, by clicking the Buy Now button below or using the LIFEOMIC30 coupon code.