InsideTracker's solution to at-home blood tests
In this era of social distancing InsideTracker has made it easier for its customers to get reliable tests, valuable data and personalized recommendations.
Following the coronavirus outbreak, InsideTracker added a Home Kit to its options. This allows the client to draw his or her own blood from the comfort of their own home or wherever they choose. After mailing in the postage-paid sample, the results of a half-dozen biomarkers are available and, if the client has DNA data available, it is automatically updated.
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 use my special code for 15 percent off.
My at home test
The draw is very similar to when a professional takes the blood. Once a client signs up and receives the kit from InsideTracker, it is pretty simple.
After a 12-hour fast, the client uses a disposable gadget to prick their finger and then place blots on a card (pro tip: tape it onto a countertop or something that will hold it about waist-high). After blotting the appropriate areas, let the card dry while you write down the basic information such as your name, and day and time of the draw. There is a postage-paid box where everything is sent. After a couple of weeks, the results are uploaded to your personal InsideTracker page.
And just like the more comprehensive tests, InsideTracker provides individual recommendations on ways to improve.
How I stacked up in key areas
Vitamin D: This was certainly a surprise. This test, taken in late June, indicated that my Vitamin D levels have fallen to the lowest point of any InsideTracker test I’ve had, which date back to July 2016. While this is the best time of the year for soaking in natural Vitamin D from the sunlight, I believe my levels have fallen due to the heat wave which kept me indoors during the heat of the day and the fact that I have regularly fallen short of my goal of two servings of fish weekly. This also serves as a reminder to take my Vitamin D supplement daily, which I had backed off of because it's summertime.
Cortisol: My levels fell slightly to 23.3, just over the danger zone of 22. My levels historically have been up and down, ranging from 15 to 24.6. This is likely the product of when in the training cycle the test is administered. Of course, the stress in my own life varies too, which can account for the ebbs and flows.
HgbA1c: This is the amount of blood sugar or glucose bound to hemoglobin in the blood. HbA1c reveals one’s average blood glucose levels over the previous 90 to 120 days, which is the typical lifespan of a red blood cell. My HbA1c is optimized and has been steady each time its been tested.
hsCRP: The high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein test measures CRP, which is a marker of inflammation throughout the body. When the hsCRP test shows optimal levels of CRP, it indicates that the total amount of inflammation in the body is very low. My levels have been optimal at every test except one, which was taken during a very active training period — just after my first 100K and Boston Marathon last year. This is good news as the hsCRP test is very sensitive to the amount of CRP in the body and is a better indicator of whole-body inflammation than the ordinary CRP test.
My action plan
After evaluating my results, I reviewed the recommendations and picked out three to focus on during the next three months. They are:
• Resume eating fish twice weekly and having daily Vitamin D supplements.
• Keep practicing yoga to improve my cortisol levels. I regularly do yoga weekly so this would be a good reason to add in a second day.
• Catch up on sleep. InsideTracker suggests finding two days a week to catch up with 10 hours of sleep nightly. I doubt that many hours is possible but I will try to add in two more sleep than I currently get.
Check back to see how I do in these items on my next InsideTracker test in around three months.