Overview: Personalized Health Recommendations
InsideTracker is a testing service founded in 2009 by experts from Harvard, MIT, and Tufts that unlocks information about your health through its blood and DNA testing.
Its tests look at a wide range of biomarkers relating to diet, health, nutrition, and overall wellness. While its premium tests are geared towards high-performance lifestyles, it has several options for those who are just starting to take control of their health or want to monitor their progress.
One thing that sets it apart from other services is its highly personalized guidance. For each biomarker it tests, it promises expert advice and actionable recommendations that can change the course of your health.
This all sounds incredible, but can these blood readings really deliver such insight? I was skeptical, so for this review, I personally took several of InsideTracker’s tests to see what I could learn.
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InsideTracker Products and Services
Health and Wellness
InsideTracker’s InnerAge 2.0 and Home Kit tests analyze biomarkers in your blood to reveal information about your current health. InnerAge 2.0 looks at up to 18 biomarkers to determine your biological age, while the Home Kit looks at hormones, inflammation, bone and muscle, and more to help you set wellness goals. The company’s DNA test uses genetic testing to review your predispositions, providing even greater insights.
- Using the results from your blood test, InnerAge 2.0 uncovers your biological age — if it’s higher than your chronological age, that means your body is aging faster than it should.
- InsideTracker uses your age, ethnicity, gender, and more to develop science-backed recommendations that will improve your health and well-being.
- For InnerAge 2.0, have your blood drawn at one of over 2,000 nationwide partner clinics, with the cost of your draw included in your purchase price.
- The Home Kit includes everything you need to collect a blood sample at home.
- Supplement your blood test with a DNA test that can reveal insights about your genes, the core of your being.
Diet and Fitness
If you’re concerned with your metabolism, quality of sleep, energy levels, and overall performance, the company’s Essentials, High Performance, Vitality, and Ultimate tests are geared toward you. They’re for active people who want to see where they can focus their efforts through diet and fitness to improve their health.
- The Essentials kit checks 13 essential biomarkers relating to metabolism, sleep, and energy.
- The High-Performance kit reviews 13 biomarkers for increasing physical performance.
- The Vitality kit evaluates 20 biomarkers for a look at your endurance and strength.
- The Ultimate Kit analyzes 43 biomarkers for a comprehensive read of your overall health.
- Improve at-risk biomarkers with nutritional recommendations that are proven to help.
- Track your progress and receive more recommendations with each new blood test.
|Test Kit||Description||Sample Collection||Analyzed Biomarkers|
|Essentials||Comprehensive analysis of key biomarkers for overall health||Blood (finger prick)||Cholesterol, glucose, iron, vitamin D, etc.|
|InnerAge||Measures the “age” of your body based on biomarker analysis||Blood (finger prick)||Telomeres, glucose, inflammation markers, etc.|
|Performance||Focuses on optimizing athletic performance and recovery||Blood (venous draw)||Testosterone, cortisol, creatine kinase, etc.|
|DNA Kit||Genetic insights for personalized nutrition and fitness||Saliva||Variations in genes related to metabolism, etc.|
|Ultimate||Comprehensive combination of blood, DNA, and InnerAge tests||Blood (finger prick)||Biomarkers from Essentials and DNA Kit|
|Energy & Vitality||Assesses energy levels and provides strategies for improvement||Blood (finger prick)||Iron, vitamin B12, thyroid hormones, etc.|
How Inside Tracker Works: Easy & Simple
To really understand the insight and recommendations that InsideTracker can provide, I chose to review its Ultimate test kit, plus added on InnerAge 2.0 and a DNA test.
For the Ultimate test and InnerAge 2.0, you have the choice of visiting a local lab or opting for a mobile blood draw, where a technician comes to you. I decided to visit my nearby Quest Diagnostics. It took only a minute to set up an appointment using the online scheduler, and I had the option to visit as early as the next day.
When I arrived for my appointment, I only had to wait five minutes. I’m not a fan of needles, but I can honestly say I experienced no pain — my phlebotomist was so kind and gentle. The blood draw took just 15 minutes, and I was on my way with no ill effects.
For the DNA portion, you’ll receive a testing kit that includes a DNA collection swab, a vial for depositing your sample, a biohazard bag for mailing in the sample, and an envelope with a prepaid mailing label. The supplies come in a slim box with clear, easy-to-understand instructions printed right inside.
Collecting my DNA was simple: I rubbed the swab against the inside of my cheek for about 20 seconds and then inserted the swab into the collection vial, pushing it up and down several times into a stabilization liquid. From there, I discarded the swab and packed up the vial for mailing. As the return envelope already has postage, you just pop in into your mailbox for the carrier to pick up.
Understanding Your Results
When InsideTracker has finished the analysis of your blood, it sends an email to let you know the results are ready to view. I received mine just one week after my blood draw. I was expecting this to take a lot longer, so I was really excited about the speed.
The email contained a link to my results, so I clicked and logged in. From there, you have the choice of heading straight to your data or going through a questionnaire that produces recommendations right away. I did the questionnaire, choosing to focus on reducing stress and losing weight, and walked away with three lifestyle changes — incorporating olive oil, oatmeal, and dairy into my diet — that I should try for the next three months.
At this point, InsideTracker gave me the option to check-in daily. If I was an iOS user, I could download the company’s mobile app for easy check-ins and to review my info on the go. As I use Android, my only options for checking in were on the website or via text. I opted for text messages, even though I thought it would be cumbersome. To my surprise, it wasn’t bad — it only takes about 30 seconds to reply to all the questions (or 5 seconds and a single reply if I met all my goals).
The results and analysis of my blood test came next—it’s a ton of information to review and process. I took InsideTracker’s Ultimate test, its premier assessment of health. It analyzes over 40 biomarkers across the following categories:
- Metabolism and Weight Control
- Strength and Endurance
- Bone and Muscle Health
- Electrolytes and Fluid Balance
- Oxygen Transfer and Blood Function
- Liver Function and Toxicity
As you can see, this test is comprehensive and perfect for those who need lots of data to make important decisions about their health. It’s an obvious choice for athletes and other performance-minded individuals, but it was also a great option for someone like me — mid-30s and in relatively good health but ready to do better.
For as much information as you’re provided, InsideTracker does a phenomenal job of not making it overwhelming. You can scroll through to see the results of each biomarker and InsideTracker’s specific recommendations. If you’re looking for something specific, use a dropdown menu to sort by biomarker categories, like inflammation or metabolism, or results type, such as optimized or at-risk.
After spending some time scrolling through my results, I found that sorting by at-risk made it much easier for me to review those biomarkers that needed serious work.
For each biomarker, no matter its status, InsideTracker offers the following:
- a graph showing where you measured
- a rating of that measurement (high/low or good, needs work, or at-risk)
- information about how to use the graph
- a review of how the comparison is made
- recommendations based on your unique results
- an explanation of the science behind the biomarkers and its recommendations
Personally, my results showed I had high inflammation levels. Among others, InsideTracker recommended that I lose at least 10 pounds, exercise at least 150 minutes per week, and take a daily probiotic. On the plus side, my test results showed that my bone health, platelet group, blood pressure, and muscle health were doing great.
When it comes to the detail and overall actionability of InsideTracker’s recommendations, I was pleased with what I saw. This customized guidance is what differentiates it from other testing services, and I really feel it delivered. While it did suggest I refer to my doctor about some results, such as my low vitamin D and high LDL, all of its other suggestions were things I could immediately put into effect. They included:
- Spending 20 minutes outdoors in the sunshine to help with my low vitamin D levels
- Increasing my whole grain intake to two servings a day to improve borderline-high LDL
- Taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily to increase my low folate levels
- Practicing 30 minutes of mindfulness a day to lower my cortisol and glucose
As I explored my personal dashboard more, I found a place to download my results. It produces a clean read-out of your blood test analysis, perfect for taking to the doctor on your next appointment. You also have access to a nutrition center where you can review foods that will improve your biomarkers, create a shopping list, and put together meal plans.
The last place I needed to explore was the results of my InnerAge 2.0 test. According to the analysis of my biomarkers, InsideTracker showed I had an Inner Age of 44.9—more than eight years more than my actual age.
An in-depth review showed those biomarkers that were contributing to the age increase. For me, my HbA1c, LDL cholesterol, and body mass index were the biggest factors in making me older from the inside. My lymphocytes, basophils, and monocytes were helping bring my InnerAge down.
Learn About Health Potential, According to Your Genes
While my blood results came in incredibly quick, my DNA results took longer. According to InsideTracker, the wait could have been as long as four to six weeks, so I was again pleased when my DNA results were ready only three weeks after sending in my sample. As with the blood test, you’ll receive an email so you can head straight to the results.
InsideTracker’s DNA results aren’t uploaded to its dashboard like its blood results; instead, you have to download a .PDF file. I was surprised to see that mine was 47 pages long. A table of contents showed that it would provide an explanation of DNA and how mine was analyzed before revealing the results of my test.
An important note about what differentiates DNA test results from blood biomarkers: DNA paints a picture of potential. It tells you about your predispositions and likelihoods, but biomarkers are rooted in reality, what’s actually happening. By comparing your DNA potential with your blood biomarkers, you can note conditions you should be aware of and monitor.
As my DNA test showed, I’m at elevated risk of gaining extra weight. I am overweight according to my blood and BMI analysis, so this lined up. However, remember that just because you have the potential to develop a condition, that doesn’t mean it will definitely happen.
For example, my DNA indicated I was at elevated risk for having high B12 readings, but my blood showed my B12 levels to be optimal. Does that mean my B12 levels will always be optimal? No. But being at elevated risk also doesn’t mean I definitely will see fluctuations in the future.
In all, I found that my risk of most things was determined to be average. I did find it amusing that I was more likely to consume more caffeine (I don’t consume any) and I was more likely to sleep longer (spot on— I knew it was genetics!)
Like its blood test results, the DNA analysis read-out is written using simple language, so it’s easy to understand. As it came in .PDF format, however, there are no links you can click to learn more. Instead, InsideTracker directs you to portions of its website, like the Nutrition page after discussing BMI, if you have more questions.
Another important note about this company’s DNA testing: It doesn’t provide any information about your heritage or family history. I was expecting to see at least a little information about my ancestral makeup, but there was absolutely none.
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How InsideTracker Compares to Other Companies
InsideTracker, SelfDecode, and LivingDNA offer different approaches to personalized health and genetic analysis. InsideTracker stands out with its comprehensive analysis of blood biomarkers, genetic testing, and lifestyle data to optimize overall health, athletic performance, and personalized nutrition.
SelfDecode focuses on genetic insights for various health traits and conditions, providing personalized health recommendations based on genetic analysis. LivingDNA specializes in ancestry analysis, genetic traits, and potential health risks, offering a comprehensive understanding of genetic heritage and wellness. Each service has its unique strengths, catering to different needs in the realm of personalized health and genetics.
|Type of Analysis||Blood analysis, genetic testing, and lifestyle data analysis||Genetic testing and analysis||Genetic testing and analysis|
|Health and Wellness Focus||Overall health optimization, athletic performance, energy levels, and personalized nutrition||Personalized health recommendations, genetic insights for various health traits and conditions||Ancestry analysis, genetic insights, and health trait analysis|
|Sample Collection||Blood (finger prick or venous draw) and DNA (saliva)||Saliva for DNA analysis||Cheek swab for DNA analysis|
|Biomarkers Analyzed||Comprehensive range of biomarkers, including cholesterol, glucose, vitamin D, inflammation markers, and hormones||Genetic variations related to health traits, diseases, drug response, and more||Genetic variations related to ancestry, health traits, and wellness|
|Personalized Recommendations||Offers personalized nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle recommendations based on individual biomarker and genetic analysis||Provides personalized health recommendations based on genetic analysis||Provides personalized insights on ancestry, genetic traits, and potential health risks|
|Turnaround Time||Blood analysis: a few days; DNA analysis: a few weeks||Varies depending on the specific genetic test kit||Varies depending on the specific genetic test kit|
|Medical Condition Diagnosis||Does not diagnose medical conditions||Provides insights into genetic predispositions and potential risks||Does not diagnose medical conditions|
|Data Security||Follows strict privacy policies and employs industry-standard security measures to protect personal information||Adheres to privacy policies and safeguards personal data||Adheres to privacy policies and takes measures to protect personal data|
|Pricing||Various test kits with different pricing options||Subscription-based model with different plans available||One-time fee for DNA testing, additional fees for health trait analysis and access to advanced features|
Pricing: A Fair Mix of Affordability and Customization
InsideTracker offers several testing plans, beginning with a DIY option for users who have already had their blood tested and would like to input the results for analysis. If you’re having your blood drawn regularly, this is an affordable option for continued monitoring.
While the remaining tests are pricier, it’s important to remember that they also include a full blood draw at a local clinic or the ability to draw at home.
InsideTracker recommends retesting every three months to see how you’re progressing. That’s affordable for the InnerAge 2.0, Essentials, and High Performance tests, but it will become expensive for the Vitality and Ultimate tests. The latter are definitely geared towards athletes and others who really want to monitor their performance.
When you get to the checkout, you’ll notice InsideTracker offers a variety of add-ons, depending on the kit you choose. You can add InnerAge 2.0 to any kit, except the Home Kit. You can also opt for a DNA kit or to upload existing DNA data from 23andMe or Ancestry. If you’ve changed your mind and want a different test, you can easily make the change using a dropdown box.
What I was most impressed with was the volume discounts. For any test requiring a blood draw, you can choose a single test or upgrade to two or four tests at greater savings. The best discount comes when you choose four tests, which coincides with the company’s recommendation of a retest every three months.
There’s no cost to maintain your InsideTracker profile, so even if you don’t go for the recommended quarterly testing, you can still work with your existing data and follow the company’s recommendations for as long as you’d like. Just remember that recommendations will change based on new data, so you should try to get new results periodically.
InsideTracker accepts credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, JCB, and Discover), but I was also happy to see Google Pay and PayPal for more flexibility. Orders are processed in US Dollars, even if you’re ordering from Canada or somewhere else around the world.
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Customer Support: Friendly and Responsive via Email, but No Live Chat
InsideTracker offers several ways to get help. When you click its Support link, you’ll find an extensive help section with hundreds of FAQs covering the most common subjects. If you can’t find the answer to your question by scrolling or using the search bar, you can reach out to support via live chat, email, or phone.
As the live chat option was featured at the bottom of every page, I tried that first when I realized I’d forgotten my password (and the security answer!) I was disappointed to find there wasn’t actually any live help — it was just a chatbot. No matter how many times I tried, the bot eventually asked for my email address so someone could reach out.
I emailed the company myself next. I provided my full name and asked for a password reset link. I received a response within a few hours asking for a phone number where someone could reach me. A representative called early the next morning and helped me set a new password.
On one hand, I would have preferred if there was a way to reset my password online. On the other, I was impressed with the diligence InsideTracker took to confirm my identity. All said, my issue was resolved within 24 hours, and the reps were helpful and courteous, both via email and on the phone.
When calling or emailing, note that customer support hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 AM to 5 PM EST.
Powerful Health Insights and Actionable Recommendations for Everyone
InsideTracker offers a variety of testing plans, making it an excellent choice for people from all walks of life. It offers affordable options if you’re just starting to take control of your health or are monitoring certain biomarkers, as well as more inclusive tests that provide a wide snapshot of your overall health and fitness.
While the Ultimate test provides the most raw data, its price will limit many from undergoing testing four times a year, as recommended by InsideTracker. However, the company’s a-la-carte options allow for total customization. Depending on your goals, you can opt for the Ultimate test once per year and fill in the gaps with other tests.
InsideTracker’s extremely detailed and personalized results and recommendations make it stand out from other testing services. I was worried about being overwhelmed by info, but the company presented the data in ways that were easily digestible and actionable. InsideTracker guided me through reviewing results and making decisions from the moment I logged in.
I can easily recommend all of InsideTracker’s blood testing options, especially for the scientifically-backed recommendations. You’ll receive a solid foundation to kickstart a healthier life. I found the company’s DNA testing less helpful, but it did provide interesting insight about my potential.
If you’re ready to analyze and optimize your health, you can’t go wrong with InsideTracker. It offers an array of tests that make it an affordable and helpful solution for all kinds of people.
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How accurate are InsideTracker’s results?
InsideTracker’s results are extremely accurate, and its customized recommendations are based on your specific test results. Whether you elect for a blood or DNA test, your sample is processed in certified labs by qualified technicians. When it comes to developing advice, InsideTracker turns to science. Its team is made up of experts from top universities, including Harvard and MIT, and its analytical methods have been proven through a peer-reviewed research paper.
How long does it take to receive InsideTracker test results?
The results of InsideTracker’s blood tests are generally available within seven days of testing. Its DNA tests take longer, but you should see results uploaded within six weeks.
Who should take InsideTracker tests?
InsideTracker offers a variety of tests, making its services a valuable tool for all kinds of people.
If you’re curious about particular biomarkers or want a simple snapshot of your current health, its InnerAge and Home Kit options are good places to start.
If you’re ready for more in-depth analysis so you can start to take control of your health, the company’s Essentials, High Performance, and Vitality tests offer more value. They’re geared towards people who want to lose weight, improve energy, or become more competitive.
InsideTracker’s Ultimate test offers the most comprehensive look at your health and wellness. It analyzes 43 biomarkers covering everything from inflammation and metabolism to bone health and blood function. It’s an ideal choice for athletes, trainers, and others focused on performance. However, it’s also a smart option for anyone who wants to jump right into turning around their health — you’ll receive tons of info to improve all aspects of your well-being.
Are my InsideTracker results private?
Yes, your InsideTracker test results are as private as they would be if you were dealing with your own doctor. That’s because the company is fully compliant with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations. This means your sensitive data is securely stored and can’t be shared without your consent.