Aging is a relatively mysterious concept that requires more research into understanding how it works and how to slow it down. One thing we can do is change our daily lifestyle habits, one of the most effective ways to improve health and delay aging. Eating healthily and exercising regularly should be top priority as they ultimately influence how long we live for. However, in the busy modern world, it can be easy to lose track of our healthy habits. InsideTracker offers a simpler way to improve both health and lifespan with their new health tracker that uses at-home tests and an app.
Lifespan versus healthspan
The longevity field has succeeded in helping people live longer, but not necessarily healthier lives. There remains a gap between lifespan (how long we live for) and healthspan (how long we live for in good health). Interest in longevity is growing like never before with new biotech companies like Altos Labs popping up, and hopefully this discrepancy will be addressed. Until then, increasingly more people are using self-testing and health apps to take control of their health and longevity.
Founded in 2009 by a group of leading aging scientists from MIT, Tufts and Harvard, InsideTracker has science at its centre. It aims to offer people a clearer picture of what’s going on inside their bodies than ever before, so that they can improve their lifestyle habits and live a longer and healthier life.
InsideTracker does this by tracking your biomarker data using easy at home tests that are then analysed. This generates super personalised, scientific recommendations for lifestyle changes in nutrition, exercise, supplements and general lifestyle, which users can track their progress towards.
“InsideTracker is a truly personalized nutrition and performance system,” say its founders. “Our mission is to help people add years to their lives and life to their years by optimizing their bodies from the inside out.”
How does the health tracker work?
Self-testing has become increasingly popular, offering people added convenience, privacy and control. 76% of biological age diagnostic tests are sold directly to consumers, and this market is set to grow to $6.53 billion by 2025. InsideTracker has capitalised on this trend by offering people an easy at-home test to calculate their health status.
Our bodies contain a goldmine of data that can tell us everything from how well we are aging to our propensity for different diseases. The three main biomarkers that InsideTracker uses to track health and determine your personalised health plan are blood, DNA and lifestyle habits. Users take easy, at-home blood and DNA tests before filling out a questionnaire about their nutrition, habits and lifestyle.
InsideTracker explains this choice of biomarkers: “When it comes to understanding what is going on inside your body, blood and DNA is a powerful one-two punch. Your blood data is dynamic, changing over time from your environmental exposure and dietary choices to your sleep and stress levels.
“Your DNA is hard-coded into each cell and may provide a high-level picture of your body’s genetic potential – that is, how you might respond to certain outputs like food, sleep, exercise and stress.”
Together, blood and DNA provide as accurate a health reading as possible and give you an advantage in reaching your health and wellness goals. The data from the self-tests is analysed using an algorithm called SegterraR, which generates a personalised action plan to improve your health delivered on the InsideTracker website and mobile app. This includes personalised daily tasks, healthy recipes and workouts. InsideTracker can also be integrated with your favourite fitness tracker such as a Fitbit to give you health recommendations in real time.
The science behind InsideTracker
InsideTracker takes a thoroughly scientific approach, comparing your data with over 2,500 scientific papers, information from a database of over 180,000 healthy people, and a database of 8,000 foods. The SegterraX algorithm is continuously refined using cutting-edge research and technological advances.
Indeed, a 2018 study in Nature‘s Scientific Reports journal proved the validity of InsideTracker’s scientific approach. The study tested InsideTracker on 1,032 seemingly healthy people using at least two blood tests. The subjects were given individual interventions to do with food, supplements and lifestyle from the SegterraX algorithm.
The study then assessed whether people’s baseline biomarkers improved after the lifestyle changes recommended by InsideTracker. They found a noticeable improvement in most of the biomarkers. While it was not able to identify which health interventions were responsible for the change, the study nevertheless demonstrated the InsideTracker improved people’s health parameters.
While critics have questioned the accuracy of at-home testing and health apps, InsideTracker offers a personalised, scientifically-validated insight into improving your health and longevity from the comfort of your own home.