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Why Athletes Should Consider Blood & DNA Marker Testing

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Why Athletes Should Consider Blood & DNA Marker Testing


In Partnership with InsideTracker

You’re doing everything you can to optimize your training. Your training is dialed – but, something’s just not quite right. Something feels off, or you’re feeling flat or fatigued for workouts, and sometimes in daily life.

You may consider getting your blood and genetic biomarkers tested with InsideTracker.

The company was founded by scientists from Harvard, Tufts and MIT, who are passionate about leveraging big data for down-to-earth health benefits. InsideTracker is an ultra-personalized nutrition and performance system that analyzes data from your blood, DNA, lifestyle and fitness tracker to help you optimize your body and reach your health & wellness goals. InsideTracker transforms your body’s data into true knowledge, meaningful insights and customized action plans of science-backed, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle recommendations.

“InsideTracker has always been about blood—for years, we’ve helped our users transform their body’s blood data into actionable knowledge, insights, and customized plans to help them reach their health goals. A blood test is like a snapshot in time of your health,” says Dr. Gil Blander, founder and Chief Science Officer of InsideTracker. “It reveals how your current lifestyle and eating habits are affecting your body at an exact moment in time. And while DNA can determine your body’s potential, your genes are not your destiny. By combining and analyzing the specific blood, genetic & physiological biomarkers associated with athletic activity, you can clearly see the changes you need to make on the inside to get the results you want on the outside. Then, as you optimize your body, you optimize your performance.”

Beyond just looking for red flags in your biomarkers, InsideTracker helps you optimize your nutrition and habits for peak performance. While your general practitioner may not bat an eye at ferritin (an indicator of iron in blood) levels within 12-150 nanograms per milliliter in female athletes, studies show that going below 40 could seriously impact performance. While your ferritin levels may be considered healthy in the general population, it may not be ideal for the needs of endurance athletes. That’s where InsideTracker comes in.



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“Health and performance are often dictated by biomarkers we can’t see or perceive. All of the best training in the world can lead to regression if biomarkers are off. And not only that, training introduces stress that influences the body at a cellular level in ways that don’t always become apparent until it’s too late. Blood tests are like the pads at a bowling alley that prevent the ball of health and performance from going into the gutter,” says David Roche, coach of the Some Work, All Play Adventure Team.

InsideTracker takes into account your specific goals, whether it’s to optimize endurance performance, reduce stress or improve longevity, and gives you specific feedback based on what outcomes you’d like to see.

“Athletes who are injury prone can get tested for vitamin D and ferritin,” says Kylee Van Horn, a registered dietitian nutritionist whose expertise is in working with endurance athletes. Van Horn regularly consults with clients about their InsideTracker tests, to put their nutrition plans into action.

InsideTracker’s sophisticated and patented algorithm combines the data and most recently available scientific research to generate ultra-individualized recommendations and actionable insights to get you closer to your health goals. Data sources include biomarkers in blood, DNA data, personal info like age, height and weight, sleep and exercise habits and even mental health. InsideTracker helps you determine what information is most important for your goals, and lets you know if you should be prioritizing your vitamin B levels, or keeping a closer eye on cholesterol levels.

With InsideTracker’s new companion iOS mobile app, customers with existing blood plans can connect your Fitbit for an even more in-depth analysis that takes into account your resting heart rate and daily steps for further personalization and real time physio marker analysis.

You’ll get detailed but easy to read graphs that show digestible, deep-dives into your blood work, and how it changes overtime. Trend information can help you optimize habits and nutrition for peak performance for a goal race, or help you recover better after a big event.

“What I like most about InsideTracker is the ease and efficiency of getting the test done. It is so easy to set up a test, get the blood draw done, and then have the results on my computer within a couple of days! They make it so easy with almost no excuses for not getting it done,” says Mountain Running Champion Grayson Murphy.

After getting a simple blood draw (that’s paid for as part of your InsideTracker package) available at over 2,000 partnering lab locations across the U.S., you’ll usually get results within a couple of days.

“I’ve learned so much working with InsideTracker,” says pro-runner and Spartan Champion Nicole Mericle. “I especially appreciate the nutrition and supplement recommendations and how IT takes into account food allergies and preferences. Supplements are sometimes necessary, but I like how InsideTracker recognizes the importance of nutrition and lifestyle changes too. I also learned a lot through their DNA testing. For example, I know I genetically have a harder time keeping my hemoglobin levels up.”

One of the best features are InsideTracker’s recommendations. InsideTracker combines your preferences and bloodwork to give you personalized and actionable dietary advice, like a pocket nutritionist. For plant based athletes with low ferritin levels, it might recommend you up your tofu intake and pair your iron supplement with a source of vitamin c, while cutting back on caffeine where you can.

“Each recommendation we give you is backed by science and directly linked to peer-reviewed research, so you know how and why it works,” says Dr. Blander. “InsideTracker puts your body’s own data to work for you,”

Endurance elites like Keely Henninger, Mike Wardian and Grayson Murphy depend on InsideTracker’s insights to perform at their best.

“I’ve seen my muscle twitches improve as I optimized my magnesium group. I’ve also been able to track different iron supplements and different supplementation schedules’ efficacy. In general, IT gives me peace of mind knowing I can glimpse what’s really going on in my body and not just base my nutrition, supplementation and training on feel,” says Mericle. “I’d recommend IT to anyone looking to optimize their health, training, sleep or performance.”

InsideTracker gives you a personalized action plan that’s easy to understand and implement. Each recommendation is rated to reflect the strength of the science behind it for full transparency. You can even choose the insights that work best for you. For instance, if you don’t like garlic, it won’t tell you to eat garlic.

For the best results, it’s recommended that athletes get blood tests every three or so months so that they can see progress over time, and get a clearer picture of how they’re responding to certain interventions.

InsideTracker is more than a blood test. It’s a platform that helps you track and facilitate progress, keeping you accountable with check-ins and updates along the way. Athletes can even share their results with their coaches, nutritionists or doctors through the safe and secure dashboard, so that their full support network can reap the benefits of insider knowledge. InsideTracker is the system for any athlete who’s curious about their health, or wants to take their training and nutrition to the next level.