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InsideTracker: Optimizing Health through Data-Driven Lifestyle Changes

By Mark Ogilbee posted 08-03-2023 09:43 PM

  

Created by experts in the fields of aging, genetics and biometric data, InsideTracker—an AgeTech Collaborative™ startup participant—provides a personal health analysis and data-driven wellness guide, designed to help people live healthier, longer. Integrated with an intuitive mobile app, InsideTracker reveals a personalized path to improving health and longevity from the inside out. 

Renee Deehan, vice president of science and artificial intelligence at InsideTracker, sat down with us to talk about how the company uses data to help its users make impactful changes to their well-being. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 


Can you tell us about InsideTracker? 

Essentially, we’re a digital guide to help people optimize their health. Our product helps you understand what your biological status is on the inside. We couple that information about your status with the extraordinary amount of scientifically validated knowledge from the public domain, such as peer-reviewed papers, in order to make personalized lifestyle-based recommendations for you to improve your biological profile.  

 

How are you able to do all that? 

First, we measure dozens of biomarkers in your blood, and we take data from your wearable fitness tracker to measure things like resting heart rate, sleep phases, and your exercise and activity level. We also ask you questions like, “Are you a vegetarian?” Because we wouldn’t want to recommend that someone eat a steak to increase their iron if they’re a vegetarian. 

We then look at all the information we’ve collected and say, “Here are the things that science has shown are likely to be most impactful for you.” All this information gives you a picture of your current biological state, and we can measure things over time so you can see if our recommendations are, in fact, helping you make the health improvements you want to make. 

 

How do you come up with your recommendations? 

Along with using artificial intelligence, we have subject matter experts in nutrition, exercise physiology and other lifestyle-based interventions, and they review all the information out there on a given topic. So our expert on cold plunges, for example, will read every paper ever published on cold plunges, and they’ll know that if you cold plunge at this frequency and at this intensity, you may expect to see changes in a certain biomarker or in certain data from your fitness tracker.

There’s so much information out there, especially in the wellness industry. We help separate the wheat from the chaff. 

 

Do you make the information you gather available to healthcare providers? 

We enable our users to take what they’ve learned from InsideTracker and share that information with their doctor. I’ve personally exported my own InsideTracker results and taken those into my doctor appointment.  

This is helpful for two reasons. In my case, my doctor has measured LDL and HDL levels every year for the past 20 years. But with my InsideTracker data, I was able to give my doctor much more granular information about my biomarkers. It helped me collect a very high-resolution picture of my health state, so my doctor could provide support and guidance regarding medications. 

InsideTracker can also flag unusual issues that are latent. Maybe your thyroid is out of whack, but you don't know it. When users have their biomarkers tested, if something is outside the clinical range, we recommend they export that information and take it to their doctor to review. In this way, InsideTracker plays a role in preventive health, so relatively healthy individuals don’t get to that point where they have full-blown Type 2 diabetes, for example. 

 

Clearly, InsideTracker could benefit people of any age. Are there particular benefits to people who are 50-plus? 

People talk about “diseases of aging,” which can include metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis and many other conditions. In any type of preventive health, you should be thinking, “I’m in my 40s or 50s; what can I do now to help myself when I’m in my 50s or 60s?” Because these things just become more and more important the older you get. But no matter your age, you can always make lifestyle improvements to support your health when you’re older, whether that’s through better nutrition, more sleep, exercise or meditation. 

For example, women typically go through menopause in their 40s or 50s. This is a huge transition, where you’re dealing with all kinds of symptoms and your risk for age-related diseases increases. So we can help women in that age range roll into menopause with all the advantages they can have, like building muscle mass and maintaining bone health. 

 

Are you talking about drastic lifestyle changes? 

We’re not saying you have to overhaul your life, because the best recommendation we can make is the one that you’ll stick to. So if we recommend starting a walking program but you find that difficult, you could commit to walking just one minute every day. Once you’ve got that down, you can increase to two minutes. You have to find the things that work with your life and schedule. 

 

What are your plans for the future of InsideTracker? 

We’ve just barely scratched the surface of what we can offer with fitness trackers, which are wonderful. They collect all this information about how you’re sleeping, how stressed you are, how many steps you take and so on, but the information is collected passively. We can look over the past year and see what happened: Did your biomarkers change when you started that weightlifting regimen? Is the unusual trend in your resting heart rate over the past three months due to starting a walking program? These are the kinds of integrated insights that we want to provide to people. 

 

Learn more at InsideTracker’s website. 

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