Last week I posted a bit of the background on why I had gone to InsideTracker to get blood work done. Today, I’m going to go through some of the results, and what my plan of action is.
I had the Performance Test done. The blood work is grouped into categories, Metabolism and Weight Control, Bone and Muscle Health, Electrolytes and Fluid Balance, Cognition, Inflammation, Strength & Endurance, Oxygen Transfer and Blood Function, and Liver Function & Toxicity.
For each metric, or test, they have three ranges, Good, Needs Work and At Risk. My results came back with many in the ‘Good’ range, some in the ‘Needs Work’ range, and none in the ‘At Risk’ range. I’ve done some research of their ranges, and they are very much aiming for the pointy end of health, which I think is a good thing. What I mean, is that their ‘Needs Work’ is often within a range that your doctor would consider ‘normal’, but I think it’s better to aim for the very best normal that you can. Their recommendations, and ranges are based on a database of more than 150,000 healthy people as well as more than 10,000 publications.
Vitamin D (Bone health and energy)
54 ng/mL, optimal is 40-100 ng/mL, recommended action is to continue what I’m doing.
- This is interesting, because this is the level I was worried about. I am going to continue to take 2000 IU’s per day through the winter, and hopefully it stays where it is.
Iron Group – Ferritin (Iron Storage)
49 ng/mL, optimal is 60.0-232.0, recommended action is to consume more vitamin C with sources of non-meat based protein, to ensure I recover well from heavy training, and to avoid consuming calcium with iron rich foods.
- I have never had an iron deficiency, and have never supplemented it. I know it’s a common deficiency in women, especially athletes. I’m just below optimal for Ferritin, and my Hemoglobin is optimal (14.8 g/dL). My plan here is to take an iron supplement for a month or so to boost my stores, and retest after that. This is a common test that I can easily get at my regular family physician.
The screenshots above are an example of what the data looks like, and the type of recommendations that InsideTracker makes to help improve your results.
Total cholesterol: 192 mg/dL, optimal is 100-170, borderline high is 200-239.
HDL: 75 mg/dL, optimal is 67-200
LDL: 105 mg/dL, optimal is 0-70, borderline high is 130-159
Triglycerides: 58 mg/dL, optimal is 0-99
- This was the biggest surprise! I’ve never worried about my cholesterol, and it’s always come back normal in my yearly bloodwork. The results are all within what a family Dr. would consider normal, but you can see that they are edging towards borderline high (with my HDL being just within the normal range). There is a lot of debate in the medical community whether cholesterol even contributes to heart disease, a lot of people are making the argument that it does not. I’m not willing to live on the edge of science though when it comes to my health, and don’t see any harm in trying to bring those numbers down a bit. I will also admit that I eat a rich diet, I do not avoid red meat AT ALL, and love my butter and cheese. I am going to focus over the next few months on eating less red meat, and increasing my good fat intake (HELLO AVOCADOS!) I’m also going to make sure that my doctor tests my cholesterol in the next month, and work with her on a plan to ensure I’m as healthy as possible.
Calcium (Bone Health)
8.6 mg/dL, optimal is 9.1-10.2, 8.6 and below is Low.
- I’m really close to being Low, and out of the normal range. I eat a bit of dairy (yogurt and cheese primarily), but not a lot. I had just in the last month started on a Calcium supplement, but hadn’t taken one before that. I am going to supplement with Calcium and try to get a bit more through diet over the winter. I will definitely retest this one, and will revisit it depending on the results.
Vitamin B12 (Energy production and muscle repair)
326 pg/mL, optimal is 488-767, 200 and below is Low.
- This is another one that probably would have come back as “normal” from my family Dr. My plan here is to supplement (my Iron supplement includes B12), and also to try to improve it through diet. My hubby and I had been talking about trying to increase our organ meat intake. I’ve never been a huge fan of it in the past, but that was as my mom cooked it when I was a kid… and I had many things I disliked in that form, that I love now (brussel sprouts anyone??), so I’m willing to give it another shot with some creative preparation.
All of my other results, Testosterone, Liver, Inflammation, Magnesium, Creatine, Folate, Potassium and Sodium, came back in their normal or ideal ranges. I’m happy to share specific numbers if anyone is interested, just shoot me a message.
As a summary, here is my plan of action over the next months:
- Supplement Iron (for a month as a booster), B12 (along with my Iron), Vitamin D (2000/day), and Calcium.
- Smoothies for breakfast. I want to increase a number of things, spinach, fruit, yogurt, etc, and smoothies are fantastic ways to get many of these things in one shot. I’ve been trying to decrease my processed carbs, so this is also a good way to not eat processed carbs for breakfast.
- Add in some organ meat. The jury is out on this, but I’m willing to try it. I’ve always been a big believer in enjoying what you eat, so I’m not willing to hate meals, I’ll let you know if I come up with some tasty ways to cook liver!
- Reduce red meats, butter and cheese intake. I want to be a bit more aware of bad fats in my diet, I’m not going to go crazy here, but I want to be aware and see if my numbers improve.
- Increase fish and seafood. We already eat a good amount of fish and seafood, my family loves it, and it is so healthy, so I want to make sure it stays as a good portion of our diet.
As for my impression/review of InsideTracker and their services.
- Getting the tests setup was super easy. They work with Quest Diagnostics in the US, and there were many labs that were close to where we were staying north of San Francisco.
- I had booked an 8am appointment for the lab work, and arrived right at 8am. It took about 10 minutes to be seen, and then I had to give them the requisition form that I had printed out, the lab tech had to enter my information into their computer. I thought it should have been there, but it wasn’t. I had to have a US address to give her, as their system would not accept a Canadian one. They didn’t use the address for anything, so I just used the address of the house we had rented. After the paperwork, it took another 15 minutes or so to do the blood draw. I was finished by around 8:30.
- My blood draw was Friday morning, and Tuesday night around 7pm I received an email stating that they had my results. I thought this turnaround was really good.
- I logged into the InsideTracker webpage, and everything was there. It was very “graphical” at first. I think most people love the graphical part, and want to see where they stand, I was looking for numbers, but luckily it only took me a minute to find the link that showed the raw data on my numbers.
- I’ve been reviewing, googling and researching my results since I received them. Overall, I’m pretty impressed with the ranges that InsideTracker uses for Optimal, Normal, etc. They are much more narrow than what is typically used as normal by your family physician, but I think that the typical client of InsideTracker is looking to find that pointy end of “healthy” that we want to make sure we ‘re optimizing things so that our bodies can perform well in endurance sports.
InsideTracker is launching a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal to their current customers on the Ultimate Plan, and have offered it to my readers as well, just enter “THANKSTERRY” and you’ll get their best deal of the year on the Ultimate Plan!
If you’d rather purchase one of their more basic plans, you can use “THANKSTERRY10” for 10% off.
*Please do not use any information that I provide as a substitute for seeing your own doctor to discuss your own personal medical needs. I do not have any medical training, and am sharing my personal experiences, not giving advice or recommendations.