The science of feeling great
Vessel is on a mission to help you access, understand, and optimize your health and wellness from the comfort of home. In order to accomplish that, it’s important that we get the science, engineering, and software right. So let's dive in, shall we?
Find your better
Most of our healthcare system is focused on poor health and disease states. But what about proactive measures to feel better? That's what Vessel is all about.
The wellness continuum
Diagnosed and treatment started.
- Chronic diseases
No symptoms but damage to body and mind.
- High cholesterol
Healthy but may be having issues.
- Poor sleep
- Low energy
- Brain fog
Feeling and performing at one's best.
- Waking refreshed
- Consistent energy
- Clear headed and calm
If your body could talk, what would it say?
Take a journey inside the Vessel experience with our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Dave Larson. He shows
you how urine can be used to determine your body's general levels of nutrients, hydration, and
From top doctors and scientists to nutritionists, our team has a deep passion for and expertise on what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. And they’re here at Vessel because they share a common vision of improving the vitality and longevity of humankind.
David Larson, MD
Chief Medical Officer at Vessel
Jesús M. Gonzalez, PhD
Chief Science Officer at Vessel
Dr. John Brownstein, PhD
Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
Maryam Soltani, MD, PhD
Paula Sturm, RDN, FMN, CFSP
Linda Lillingworth, RD
Mike Moreno, MD
Mona Ezzat-Velinov, MD
Over 350 scientific studies
They say you can find a study to prove just about anything. And while that may be
true, what about when you have 50 studies, 100 studies, or 350 studies proving the same thing?
That’s a different story, right?
Well, our team has done a lot of that research, linking over 350 studies in the app (and it’s the double-blind, placebo-controlled good stuff).
How we determine low, good, high
We search the scientific and medical literature for the most updated research
on the levels found in urine along with what is considered a normal range. We then design our
assays to match this normal range and extend it to cover reported abnormal readings. Once the
assay is designed, we conduct extensive testing with synthetic samples covering all the expected
ranges as well as in multiple real bathrooms covering a wide set of lighting conditions. We then
perform a statistical analysis and specify the buckets so that there is a 95% chance of the
results falling within one, this way we can assure that we can distinguish between normal and
Multiple factors affect the number of buckets that we can “extract” of each chemistry. This includes the efficiency of the chemical reactions involved as well as the color that the assay yields. Some colors are easier to detect than others.
We are always improving our tests, raising better antibodies, experimenting with new chemical reactions, and implementing new assay technologies to expand the number of buckets that we can offer.
How we make recommendations
We look at the results of each test and the related scientific
studies on how to improve those results. We then utilize machine learning and algorithms to
identify the right foods, supplements, stress-relieving activities, and even the amount of water
you need to drink to get hydrated. It's a combination of science and software that delivers your
personalized recommendations. All related science studies are linked to right in the app for
The science behind how you feel
See what the scientific studies say about the various things Vessel tests
for: sleep, energy, mood, and more. These studies are all available in the app as well.
Vessel uses existing technology that has been around for decades. A single Vessel wellness card has
15 colorimetric assays (used on pee sticks) and 6 lateral flow assays (used on pregnancy tests).
Colorimetric tests and LFAs are routinely used in labs and medical offices and are both reliable and
affordable, making them ideal for at-home testing.
Dr. Rosalyn Yalow
Physicist & Nobel Laureate
Standing on the shoulders of geniuses
Vessel would not exist today if it wasn't for this amazing woman Dr. Rosalyn Yalow. It was her
groundbreaking work on assays that earned her a Nobel Prize, and is the foundation of the science
Rosalyn, as her friends would call her, passed away in 2011. Her accomplishment of creating an affordable and accurate way to see what is going on inside our bodies will continue to make a positive impact for many many more years to come.
This isn't your grandmother's pregnancy test
But we gotta give some love to the OG pregnancy test. It was a game changer in allowing women to tell if they were pregnant from the comfort of home. Fun fact: the first at-home pregnancy test was made available in the US in 1977.
Help us determine color changes due to lighting conditions.
This helps make sure the urine is dispersed along the tests evenly.
This helps the reader identify the calibration data for that specific batch
of test cards.
This improves accuracy by getting to the specifics of how long it’s been
since you peed on the test card (coming soon).
Help us determine color changes due to lighting conditions.
Helps us determine the color change of the climatic assays.
Creatinine ratio can detect interferences like drinking a bunch of water before testing.
This helps the reader identify the calibration data for that specific batch of test cards.
This improves accuracy by getting to the specifics of how long it’s been since you peed on the test card (coming soon).
Turning your phone into a card reader
The Vessel app turns your already amazing smartphone into a card reader that
uses computer vision and machine learning software to accurately scan a card in the various lighting
environments found at-home. Kinda like magic, but it's just 0s and
Computer Vision and Machine Learning
Test card reader
Computer Vision and Machine Learning
Test card reader
Third-party accuracy study results
One of the pillars of the scientific method is to have other researchers
independently replicate your results. We have evaluated the tests extensively in our labs, but
to verify our results, we sent our cards and app to a lab specialized in biological sample
collections and testing. They used control samples to activate our cards following our testing
The control samples spanned the complete range of the assays and the cards were activated under various lighting conditions. The control samples were tested multiple times with different cards so that over 500 pictures were taken. This was done to measure repeatability and to ensure the results were statistically significant. View full accuracy report
Exact match means the % of the time the results fall within the exact bucket.
Within one means the % of the time the results fall within one bucket up or down.
Each test has a resolution of 3-6 different ranges that can be differentiated by your smartphone camera. We call these ranges buckets and we measure accuracy based on how well our analysis system places your results in the correct buckets.
Exact match: 75.7
Within one: 98.6
Exact match: 98%
Within one: 100%
Exact match: 63.4
Within one: 98.6
Exact match: 70%
Within one: 100%
You’re a nerd. We dig it.
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Here you can find some of the most common questions we’ve been asked and our replies. If we didn’t answer your question, please don’t hesitate to Contact us.
Can diseases and medications impact results?
Absolutely. Our biomarker tests
depend on normal kidney function to be accurate, so any diseases or medications that
impair kidney function can cause inaccurate results. Some examples of diseases
that can reduce kidney function include high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune
diseases like lupus, and infectious disease caused by group A streptococcus. Usually
kidney function is estimated by a blood test called eGFR or estimated glomerular
filtration rate. If you have an abnormal eGFR you unfortunately can’t count on the
accuracy of your Vessel test results.
Other medical conditions that can impact your results include endocrine diseases that alter your antidiuretic hormone levels, as well as diseases of your urinary tract such as kidney stones or urogenital tract cancers.
Certain medications can also affect the way our kidneys work, and lead to erroneous results. Some examples include diuretic medications such as furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide), chlorthalidone (Hygroton), or Spironolactone (Aldactone).
If you think you might have a medical condition or are taking a medication that impacts kidney function, ask your doctor before acting on any Vessel test results.
Why test with urine rather than blood?
Most of the nutrients that help you to
feel at your best act within the cells of your body where they do things to help to make
enzymes function well, improve mitochondrial function, and impact DNA expression. Our
circulatory system (blood) helps get those nutrients from our gut where they are
digested to the organs, tissues, and cells where they are needed.
If nutrients are not needed, they are not absorbed by the cells and continue on with the bloodstream to the kidneys. As blood passes through our kidneys, they filter approximately 125 mL of blood per minute, and through a very complex process help to pull out excess nutrients that we didn’t need, and combine this with water and other metabolic byproducts the body doesn’t need to make our urine, which collects in our bladder until we go pee.
A blood test measures nutrients in your bloodstream at a moment in time, whereas the first morning urine test that Vessel uses reflects around 8 hours of nutrient levels (depending on when you last went pee before bed), which is much more useful information.
Furthermore, because we also test for something called urine creatinine we can normalize your results regardless of how much water you drank (how dilute your urine is).
Urine is increasingly being used for what’s called “precision nutrition” because it can accurately reflect not only what nutrients we have consumed, but also how those nutrients are being utilized (by measuring what are called metabolites). Fine tuning your nutrient levels often requires repeated testing, which can be painful, expensive, and inconvenient if it requires a blood draw. Testing urine makes this process much easier to do.
Urine isn’t the best for everything, and that’s why we are also creating simple fingerstick blood tests to pick up things like COVID-19 antibodies in just 15 minutes.
Is it FDA approved?
The Vessel wellness test card falls under the general health and wellness guidelines of the FDA and therefore we are not seeking approval for it. We are seeking approval for our blood based at-home COVID-19 antibody test and have recently completed our clinical trial.
Does it warn you if you have any dangerously high or low
Yes. Each of our tests has different
reference ranges of possible levels. Just like when you get a lab test done for your
doctor, there is usually a range of “normal” results as well as “flagged” results of too
high or too low.
Many of the biomarkers we test for are rarely dangerous at very high or very low levels (biotin for example), however some results such as very high ketone levels can be a reflection of a dangerous underlying disease (such as diabetic ketoacidosis).
When your results are critically high or low you are alerted through the app to repeat the results to confirm accuracy again and to alert your healthcare provider for further evaluation.
Cortisol tests and other urine tests can be 24 hours, how does
24 hour urine tests are often
considered the “gold standard” in urine testing, however as you can imagine it’s tough
to bring a big jug with you all day and night to collect your urine. To make this
process more convenient, doctors and scientists have found ways to accurately estimate
24 hour urine by using a ratio of the biomarker to urine creatinine.
Creatinine is a product of muscle metabolism, and produced at a nearly constant rate moment to moment and excreted in the urine. Because of its constant rate of production, the amount of creatinine in the urine reflects how many hours of urine have been collected. Therefore the biomarker to creatinine ratio in the urine helps give you a result that correlates quite well with 24 hour urine studies (a correlation coefficient of over 0.92 for you science nerds).
Urinary folic acid doesn’t test as well as homocysteine - how did
we select the tests we did?
We chose our tests based on what would
be the most useful to our users goals of improving their health combined with what tests
we can accurately measure using Vessel’s technology. Some of these tests didn’t
exist and we had to build them from scratch which as you can imagine doesn’t happen
You’re right, homocysteine is a better marker of folic acid status than folic acid levels alone, and even better than that would be urine formiminoglutamic acid levels. We are working hard on building out these tests in future versions of our card, along with many more useful biomarkers.
Does alcohol have any effect on the results?
Mild or moderate alcohol consumption
the night before your test (1-2 drinks) shouldn’t have a major impact on the
However, excessive alcohol can lead to a variety of physiologic changes including reduced plasma volume, altered acid-base balance, and electrolyte changes that can make your Vessel results inaccurate. Because of this we don’t recommend testing if you have been drinking heavily.
If I’m pregnant, can I still use Vessel? What’s different?
When you’re pregnant, not only does
your blood become more dilute (watered down), but the blood flow going through your
kidneys increases up to 80 percent by 12 weeks of gestation. This can lead to more
dilute urine, and our usual way of compensating for this (with urine creatinine levels)
often isn’t enough.
Because of this, your Vessel test results can appear lower than they actually are. This usually isn’t a problem because in pregnancy you also have increased nutrient needs. However with some tests such as calcium and cortisol, we don’t recommend relying on Vessel’s results.
Can I test while I’m on my period?
Yes, you can still use your Vessel
wellness test during your period, just be careful to perform a “clean catch” urine
collection and avoid having any blood contact the urine test card as this can alter the
Can I test while I’m breastfeeding?
Yes. When breastfeeding you often have
increased nutrient needs, and getting accurate information related to your nutrient
status can be very important for you and your baby’s health and wellness.
Can children use this test? Are there age limitations?
Renal physiology changes a great deal
in early childhood, and urine biomarker reference ranges are very different for infants,
toddlers, kids, and teenagers. Their nutrient needs and recommended daily intake are
also quite different.
Because of this, we don’t recommend that any children under age 13 use our test, and we don’t recommend that children age 13 - 18 use our tests without explicit parental consent.
Finally, because nutrient supplementation hasn’t been as well studied in children we recommend against supplements such as Vessel fuel for kiddos. Using Vessel results to help guide dietary nutrient changes through whole foods is often very helpful to promote the wellness of our children.