First off, I want to say that this is in no way a sponsored review. I heard about InsideTracker and I was intrigued, so I signed up for two tests. I’m getting no discount, no kickbacks, no nothing. I just wanted to share this information.
So if you follow me on Twitter, you know that last week, I had blood drawn for some testing. And I got the results over the weekend. What was I having tested? All sorts of things!
InsideTracker is a really cool health analytics company. Essentially, you sign up, have your blood drawn and the results sent to them, and they analyze and give you recommendations. There are a number of different plan levels that you can choose from. I chose the Performance level, which is sort of the “middle of the road” level. I was intrigued by the hormone levels tested in the Ultimate level, but wasn’t quite ready to shell out the money just yet.
So what did I have tested? The Performance Level tests the following levels in the following categories:
- Metabolism & Weight Control
- Total Cholesterol
- Bone & Muscle Health
- Vitamin D
- Electrolytes & Fluid Balance
- White Blood Cells
- Strength & Endurance
- Creatine kinase
- Oxygen Transfer & Blood Function
- Liver Function & Toxicity
And in general, the news was good! I’m doing quite well in many of these areas. Means I’m doing something right. But it wasn’t all good. This isn’t a surprise. From previous doctor’s visits, I knew my cholesterol numbers were a mess. So I wasn’t surprised to get these results:
InsideTracker even sent me a separate email with all the results I should talk to a doctor about, including these. So good job, InsideTracker. But what I like about these results is that they give me some meaningful things I can do in addition to talking to my doctor. This could just be something that I’m genetically stuck with. My old doctor (who left her practice) basically said “Well, lose weight and exercise more.” That’s just what someone who had finished a triathlon two days prior wants to hear. I’ve found a new doctor who comes highly recommended and I’m hoping that she has some tips.
Then there were some results I totally didn’t expect:
With my love of sunscreen, I can’t say I’m surprised that my Vitamin D is low, and hopefully that’s an easy fix with a supplement. But speaking of supplements, look at that Folate level! I don’t drink energy drinks, so my only guess is that my women’s multivitamin is the culprit. It does allegedly provide me with 100% of my daily folate, so maybe it’s time to find a different vitamin.
One thing I love about InsideTracker’s results is that it gives you that “optimized zone” that you see above. So many times, a doctor has said “Oh, your numbers are fine.” They’ve never said “Your numbers can be better.”
I will admit, these cholesterol numbers do not make me happy. It’s a kick in the pants to lose the weight I’m carrying around though. I wish it were as easy as dropping fried food. If only that were my problem.
So I don’t have low iron, but it could be better. Again, easy to fix with diet, I hope.
Fasting glucose? Not awesome. Again, helped by weight loss. I sense a theme here.
Also, do you see how this result has two dots? Well, that’s because InsideTracker also has a DIY option. If you’ve had bloodwork done recently and you want to put the numbers into the program to see your recommendations, you can do so for only $50. BUT! If you buy a program, like the Performance plan, you can put in your DIY tests for free. I had access to an old blood test from well over a year ago and so I plugged in the numbers just to see how they compared. When I see my doctor next month, I’m also going to try to get my hands on my cholesterol numbers from last year to see what’s changed, if anything.
One thing that’s interesting is how the various categories link. It makes sense in many cases. The cholesterol numbers and the glucose numbers are all linked. Improving one is going to help improve others. But one interesting point in the science section was that a way to increase HDL cholesterol is to increase blood levels of Vitamin D. (Apparently, increased Vitamin D levels can also help you lose weight, but I’m not holding my breath on that one).
In addition to these results, InsideTracker has a page that will give you more details on foods that are good and bad for you based on your results. In some cases for me, it’s disheartening. To help my cholesterol issues, I have to eat less fast food. And less squid. Neither of which I have consumed in the past few months. But in many cases, it’s helpful. It points out that folate levels can be raised from nutrition bars. I don’t eat a ton of them, but various bars are my go-to snacks on the run. I won’t name names yet, because I haven’t looked at the nutrition info on them to check the folic acid, but they could be working against me.
One thing that’s clear, I need to add more fish to my diet. Salmon, here I come!
They also offer you a nutrition plan if you want. Based on the number of calories, they will offer you suggestions of foods to eat to help you meet your nutritional goals, AND you can specify whether or not you eat a specific diet, like gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian, or if there are just things you don’t like. Rather than try to follow their plan, which I don’t think is really ready for prime time just yet, I’m going to add various foods and use their plan to get meal ideas.
I signed up for two tests, so in about six months, I’m going to re-test and hope that the changes I’m making in my life result in changes to my results. Even though I’m not a scientist, I love seeing these results in front of me and knowing what to do to make positive changes. Wish me luck!
Oh sweetie I feel your pain. After hemming and hawing for years, and drug non-compliace after that, I’m on the cholesterol meds which I hate. I also just started taking Vitamin D drops, which is easy enough for me to keep doing. I really do like my doc, but when she points to my blog and is like “I see what you eat” (negating the fact that 1) most of it is healthy and 2) the desserts that aren’t, I bring in to work and 3) I exercise my ass off 6 days a week 4) I have PCOS) I definitely leave crabby. Blah. Enough of my Monday rant. I’m glad that you like this tool and hopefully it helps you!
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It’s pretty clear that the cholesterol issues are likely hereditary, given that my father and grandfather also have issues. But given all the scares I’ve had with my heart, I’m up for medication if my doctor recommends it, at this point. Are there side effects I should know about that you’ve experienced?
This is so freaking cool – I love this stuff! I think it’s amazing that you took the liberty to get these tests done! A lot of people (myself included until about 2 months ago) have no idea what their blood test results are and how to interpret them.
I still don’t totally understand all of the readings (but hopefully I will in the next few years when I graduate 😉 ) but I was surprised to see that your folic acid was so high, because that’s definitely not the first thing that comes to mind when I think about blood test results. I’ve read a few articles with opposing viewpoints about whether it is/is not possible to overconsume vitamins, so it’s really interesting that they suggest reducing your intake. A lot of green vegetables have folic acid in them so maybe you’re just a veggie queen 🙂
Thanks so much for sharing!
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I like the visual breakdowns you. I request copies of my lab results for my annual checkup, and I get something similar from my doc. I’ve have low iron since I was a teenage girl, and becoming overweight as an adult, I’ve been told I have to be vigilant about cholesterol and several other risk factors – that also run in my family. But my longtime vegetarian diet has always kept me in the clear – while others in my family, younger and much thinner are already on meds. Since eliminating the dairy and going completely plant-based in the past 2 years, even my iron issue has corrected itself. So now all but one of my numbers are in the ideal range. I had a Vit D deficiency pop up at my last checkup (crazy since I live in the Sunshine State, right?), and now wonder if it because I am so religious about the sunscreen. Thanks for sharing your detailed breakdown. Diet really does play a huge role in our health.
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