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How DLW tests can enhance metabolic health decision-making

May 15, 2024

Here at knownwell, we are always looking for ways to enhance our patient’s wellness journey with the newest advancements available. This is why we are excited to tell you about an innovative approach to understanding your metabolic health: the Doubly Labeled Water (DLW) test

knownwell is partnering with Calorify to offer these tests to patients when it might benefit their care plan, in order to uncover insights for those managing obesity and related metabolic health issues.

These tests are just one possible tool to help patients and their providers better understand their bodies. This approach is entirely optional and would only be offered if it is considered right for a patient's care. If you are interested in using these tests, please reach out to your knownwell provider to start the conversation.

Understanding the Doubly Labeled Water Test

The DLW test is a method for measuring two important aspects of your health: your individual total energy expenditure over a period of one to two weeks, and body composition. It involves consuming water where both hydrogen and oxygen have been replaced with stable isotopes: deuterium and oxygen-18. 

These harmless and natural isotopes allow us to track the elimination of oxygen and hydrogen from the body through urine. The resulting data provides a precise calculation of total energy burned, reflecting both physical activity and metabolic processes.

Why is this Important for Our Patients?

Understanding your daily caloric burn through the DLW test can significantly impact your management of metabolic health conditions, including obesity. This newly added insight has proven particularly crucial for patients whose standard calorie estimation models may be held back by various health factors.

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Body composition is expressed as the percent of your total weight from fat and fat-free mass (sometimes referred to as “lean body mass”). Reduction of fat mass and maintenance, or even increases, in lean mass are important to long term metabolic health and function.  The DLW test determines this by measuring the dilution of the hydrogen isotopes in your body after you drink the labeled water.

knownwell's patient-centered approach prioritizes your unique metabolic health by crafting tailored care plans to optimize wellness goals. To better guide and inform this effort, the DLW test can help tailor nutritional plans and lifestyle adjustments more accurately to each person's unique body needs by creating a detailed snapshot of an individual’s energy expenditure.

How Can the DLW Test Benefit You?

  • Personalized Treatment Plans: The detailed insights gained from the DLW test enable healthcare providers at knownwell to design highly personalized treatment strategies that align better with your physiological needs and improve the effectiveness of your health management plan.
  • Monitoring Progress: For those already on a treatment plan, this test provides a detailed overview of how different interventions are impacting your energy expenditure, offering a clear metric to gauge progress or reassess strategies.
  • Empowering Patients: Understanding how your body processes and expends energy empowers you to make informed decisions about your health and lifestyle.

Advances in DLW Technology

Thanks to technological advancements, such as off-axis integrated cavity output spectroscopy, Calorify has improved the sensitivity and accuracy of DLW measurements. These advancements have made the test more accessible, allowing it to be taken at home without the need for expensive and time-consuming lab visits.

Interested in the Doubly Labeled Water Test?

At knownwell, we are committed to harnessing innovative health technologies like those offered by our partner Calorify, ensuring that each patient receives the most informed, effective, and personalized care possible. 

If you believe the DLW test might benefit your care, please speak with your provider about whether this test could be right for you. Additionally, you can contact our team at for more information or to discuss incorporating this test into your healthcare plan.

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knownwell Comprehensive Primary Care
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