How to analyze InsideTracker results over time
Quite often we gauge our progress at the start of the calendar year. It’s a natural marker to assess where we are in life. Around New Year’s Day, people regularly commence a new healthy activity or restart one that has fallen off in the past year.
There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But right now, I’m using my most recent InsideTracker blood draw results and recommendations to assess my progress in the past year. I also had one of their simple blood draws roughly one year ago so this is a good way to analyze how my health, fitness and well-being have changed in the past 12 months.
It was also last October when my father’s doctor called me, concerned about his memory. As I wrote about in a recent post, his Alzheimer’s has quickly led to his decline. I have been consumed in the past year with managing his affairs, as well juggling my regular full-time job, family commitments, coaching duties and my own training.
And, of course, for the past eight months handling all of that amid a worldwide pandemic.
But that’s among the reasons why it is so important to understand our own personal health. Oftentimes, issues lay underneath the surface. That is why regular InsideTracker tests can reveal how stress — physical, emotional, etc. — and nutrition are having an impact on dozens of biomarkers.
I have been using InsideTracker for several years now and its personalized analysis and recommendations have been a boost to my endurance running. 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 code for 15 percent off.
Comparing the data
In comparing my results from one year ago, I see several key takeaways:
1. Overall, my biomarkers improved significantly. The current test shows that 31 were considered optimized, up from 24 a year ago, while only five were deemed to be “at risk,” as compared to 13 a year ago. In both cases, six were classified as “needs work.”
2. Both one year ago and recently, my inflammation group was in the “at risk” category. A year ago, I attributed it to training for my 100-mile race in early November. I am still training for epic adventures and putting in a lot of 50-mile or so weeks so the training load is similar. I also had two InsideTracker tests between the two that I am comparing. Both of those show me in the optimal range, so I’ll need to focus on the foods that help inflammation. Those include chia seeds, avocados, chick peas, quinoa, various nuts and beans.
3. My Vitamin D levels have sunk. One year ago, they were barely out of the optimal zone — 32 is the bottom of the optimal range, and I was at 30 a year ago. Now, the number is 24. I’ve been taking a Vitamin D supplement almost daily, and will need to continue that especially now as there are fewer hours of sunshine in the day now. One change in my diet since a year ago is that I have gradually eliminated fish from my diet, and that is one of the recommended foods for boosting Vitamin D. Others include mushrooms and almond milk, both of which I enjoy.
4. Among the successes from a year ago is the improvement in my magnesium levels. One year ago, it scored in the at risk category. Now, it is in the optimal category for the first time since a test two years ago.
5. There was also improvement in the category called Oxygen Transfer and Blood Function. One year ago, I had four markers within this group in the at-risk category compared with one right now. It’s not perfect since there are several here that “need work.” The recommended foods to improve these scores include spinach, peanut butter and black beans, all of which are part of my regular food choices.
My next step is to review the food recommendations from InsideTracker to see how to tweak my diet to improve in the areas where needed.
The five areas at risk from the October 2020 test are Vitamin D, cortisol, inflammation, white blood cells and free testosterone. InsideTracker not only uses science to score and assess these key markers, they also offer recommendations, based on the individual’s nutrition preferences.
Since I have basically weeded fish out of my diet, I updated my preferences to remove fish. That limited the recommendations for improving my Vitamin D. Now it indicates maitake and oyster mushrooms, and chocolate almond milk as the ways to improve. Those along with a daily Vitamin supplement are on my to-do list.
For the other areas that need my attention, based on my diet preferences — gluten-free and vegan – these are among the foods recommended by InsideTracker: chia seeds (daily tablespoon), avocado (one cup daily), chickpeas (one cup, four times a week), toasted sesame seeds (one ounce daily), rolled oats (one cup daily), pecans (one cup daily), sunflower seeds (one cup daily), peanut or almond butter (one tablespoon daily), pistachio nuts (one cup daily), almonds (one cup daily), Navy beans (one cup four times a week) and quinoa (one cup daily).
With my new set of data and recommendations from InsideTracker, here are the goals for the next several months:
Oats: Get back in the habit of making and having overnight oats on a regular basis.
Vitamin D supplement: Take it daily, especially during the colder months when sunshine is limited.
Avocado: Have some daily.
Chickpeas: At least four times weekly.
Nuts: Hit daily target for various kinds of nuts.
Nut butter: Hit daily target for consuming a nut butter.
Water: Increase water consumption.
Seeds: Increase chia seed to daily.
Rest: Sleep longer.