I have been learning about dozens of biomarkers that evaluate my health from regular InsideTracker tests over the past few years. Through the results and recommendations tailored to me, I have made changes that have shown improvements. Among the most notable: taking a daily vitamin D supplement.
My first two tests showed that my Vitamin D levels were substandard, measuring 26 and 31. Since then, they have been in the optimized zone, most recently at 39 and continuing to progress in a positive trajectory upward.
InsideTracker is recommended for athletes of any skill or experience level, as well as anyone else wanting to learn more about various markers that define their health. To learn more, visit InsideTracker.com. And for my friends, I am offering a special discount for 15 percent off at InsideTracker with this link.
The test requires a simple blood draw from a facility in your local area. Within a week, you will receive a detailed, customized breakdown of your key health biomarkers, with recommendations on what to improve — with ideas on how to make those changes.
With regular testing, you can see how the recommendations you've incorporated can lead to positive changes. For example, I have covered previous tests that have shown progress from earlier tests where I instituted some changes.
Positive results but some work remains
In early October, I had another test, roughly nine months since switching to a pescatarian lifestyle. I was curious how dropping red meat, chicken, pork and turkey from my diet would affect my biomarkers. Previous to my switch, I didn’t eat a lot of those types of meats. Still the proof is in the blood work.
Some highlights from the most recent test:
• I have 32 optimized biomarkers, seven that need improvement and three that are at-risk.
• My Inner Age score measures 37.2, while my chronological age was nearly 50 at the time of the test; my optimal age is 31.5.
• InsideTracker recommended five foods to help lower my Inner Age: spinach, amaranth grain, salmon, pumpkin and squash seeds, and yardlong beans or Chinese long beans.
InsideTracker noted four areas that I need to work on. They are:
My vitamin B12 score is 791; my optimal zone is 488 to 775. My recent score nearly doubled from the previous one, which measured 473, as had two of the previous three before that one. Since cutting red meat, I have increased my consumption of eggs and energy bars — two foods that are high in vitamin B12. That explains the spike.
My TS (transferrin saturation) score is 68; my optimal zone is 29 to 47. TS represents my serum iron divided by the total iron-binding capacity, which is the maximum amount of iron that blood can carry. TS indicates how much iron is actually bound by the protein transferrin. A high TS level can lead to feeling tired or weak, and suffering from joint or abdominal pain.
My ferritin score is 216.8; my optimal zone is 60 to 150. In my previous test, the ferritin level had fallen to 193 — the lowest level I’ve had. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron. A high ferritin level means the body is storing more than is optimal, and levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol may rise. Fatigue is sometimes a symptom of elevated ferritin. It’s odd that among the recommendations was eating less red meat, which I haven’t had in nine months.
My iron score is 177; my optimal zone is 76 to 113. Similar to ferritin above, I need to reduce my iron levels.
One key thing to note about InsideTracker recommendations is that they are tailored to my individual profile and my chosen priority area, which is endurance.
Some key takeaways from the most recent test:
My cortisol levels fluctuate rapidly. The optimized zone is between 5 and 16.2 while my most recent tests are (in order from oldest to newest): 21.4, 16.2, 22, 15, 16, 22.7. The recommendations include regular yoga, daily Ashwagandha and daily meditation.
My glucose measurement showed that it is trending up; 92 compared with mid-80s during previous tests. The optimized levels are 65 to 83. The recommendations to improve my glucose levels include consuming probiotic foods daily, regular yoga, having a teaspoon of psyllium with water daily and consider switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet.
My platelet group showed a jump to “needs work” from a good rating, which has been consistent through all previous tests. Something changed in my MPV (Mean platelet volume), the average size of platelets in the blood, and is directly correlated with platelet count. Essentially it means that there are areas of high inflammation and my risk of blood clot is above average. It could be related to my hard training cycle but is definitely worth monitoring. Recommendations included eating quinoa, flaxseed, chia seeds, squash, avocado, granola, oats, chickpeas and various forms of nuts. After my May surgery, I had backed off chia seeds and oats. So I will need to concentrate more on the other foods in this group.
There is a lot of data to work through with these InsideTracker results — much more than what I highlighted here. The upshot from this most recent test is that my switch to eating pescatarian did not adversely affect me, even though I was in the midst of a hard training cycle when I had the bloodwork done.
I still have some work to do to improve in a few areas. Among the recommendations to address those areas, I will be:
Drinking more water daily.
Committing to resistance training three times a week.
Consuming a little caffeine daily.
Taking the Ashwagandha twice daily.
Trying to meditate more regularly.
In fact, I have already begun most of these recommendations, including once again taking Ashwagandha. After an earlier test, I took Ashwagandha for the prescribed time period, which helped improve that marker. Since then I have not been taking it regularly.
Will this renewed focus, thanks to InsideTracker, improve the areas that need it and lower my Inner Age? We’ll see fairly soon, as InsideTracker recommended for me to get tested again in January.