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How to compare InsideTracker tests

InsideTracker tests, custom suggestions and easy-to-read data help me improve my health.

By Henry Howard


I recently had my 25th InsideTracker blood draw and received their easy-to-understand data along with customized recommendations, based on my age, fitness level, dietary preferences and more. I’ve learned a lot about my health over the years and regularly use the InsideTracker information to improve key biomarkers.


My most recent blood draw was June 3, after my training for the Kettle Moraine 100 was completed and several days before the race. Last year, I also had a test in July, after the bulk of my 100-mile training for Burning River.


While I knew the data would be jacked up from the physical stress for both tests, I wanted to be able to see how I fared this year compared to a year ago. Additionally, I took a test in December just over a week after my last race of the year, a half marathon.


Regular InsideTracker tests allow me to analyze how my training, nutrition, recovery and other factors impact my overall health. After each blood draw, I receive comparable metrics for more than 40 biomarkers in three categories — optimized, needs improvement or at risk. From there, I receive science- and nutrition-based recommendations on how to improve certain areas.


I’d recommend everyone look into an InsideTracker test. It’s the best way to get a science-backed analysis of your health. Get 20% off any InsideTracker test with this link.  


Using InsideTracker data to compare progress over time


About five days after a simple blood draw, the InsideTracker results are ready.

Based on my experience, this is how to compare InsideTracker tests. After reviewing results from a test, I create a to-do plan for myself. I also publish the action steps I will take to hold myself accountable so that the next test should yield better results.


In this example, I compared the recent numbers to those from roughly a year ago when I was also completing a peak training cycle for a 100-miler attempt. I also kept the metrics from December 2023 as a way to further analyze any changes. But, for the most part, I wanted to see how the training for this year’s 100-miler affected my overall health and fitness as compared with last year. Here are some takeaways:


Cortisol: Year over year, the number improved from 26.2 to 23, which is a tick over the normal range of 15.4 to 22 and far above the optimized zone. The good news here is that it improved from a year ago as well as since December when it hit 28.3.


Magnesium: My level went from 4.2 to 3.9, just below the optimized level of 4.0, which was a first. Among the InsideTracker recommendations was to take a magnesium citrate supplement, ideally on an empty stomach, either one hour before or two hours after a meal. Another recommendation was to have a sprouted grain cereal four times a week. Fortunately, there are a few varieties that are gluten-free so I’ll be trying that as well.


Cholesterol: High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) are the "good" cholesterol. They act as cholesterol scavengers, picking up excess cholesterol in your blood and taking it back to your liver where it's broken down. My score hit 91, above the 87 from a year ago and the highest it’s ever been. Good news for me: The higher your HDL level, the less "bad" cholesterol you'll have in your blood.


What does other InsideTracker data show


Overall, the year over year data show a slight improvement in health, according to the biomarkers. Overall comparison:


  • Optimized: 36 (July 2024), 34 (December 2023), 34 (July 2023)

  • Needs improvement: 9 (July 2024), 8 (December 2023) 9 (July 2023)

  • At risk: 7 (July 2024), 10 (December 2023), 7 (July 2023)


Still, there is work to be done. In checking over InsideTracker’s recommendations, there were several that came up repeatedly for the at-risk categories, which are:

Unlike most fortified cereals, which are full of sugar and refined carbohydrates), sprouted grain cereal has a naturally healthy vitamin and mineral content.

Increase your daily dose of ashwagandha. Most mornings I have a bowl of fruit, granola and seeds, with a plant-based milk mixed with cacao and ashwagandha powders. When I travel, I generally don’t bring that mix with me so I may need to start supplementing again with an ashwagandha capsule during work trips.


Start taking a magnesium supplement. After my recent 100-miler, I caught a cold and bought some magnesium capsules as part of my recovery. Good timing as I’ll be implementing them more often into my routine.


Have a bowl of sprouted grain cereal. This is another way to improve the magnesium score. Unlike most fortified cereals, which are full of sugar and refined carbohydrates), sprouted grain cereal has a naturally healthy vitamin and mineral content. As someone with Celiac disease, I need to be careful about staying away from sprouted grain cereals that contain wheat or other triggers. However, I have found a few options to try out.


Get more sleep. I average about 6:45, less when I am in peak training mode unfortunately. At least seven hours would be ideal and more is always better.  


While I still have work to do, I’m grateful that I am able to use InsideTracker’s easy-to-understand, customized, science-backed data to improve my health. And no matter what this year brings as far as running performance, I know I’ll be healthier thanks to InsideTracker.



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