This InsideTracker Test Is The Ultimate Level-Up

By Julia Reedy Nov 05, 2018

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Each InsideTracker test is specifically built and balanced to paint a well-rounded picture of health and wellness. This precise architecture is what makes even our most minimalist tests a powerful tool for making meaningful changes towards a healthier life.

But sometimes, more really is, well, more. Think of your body like a car: You get the oil changed every few months to keep things moving along nicely. But every so often, you treat it to a special tune-up to ensure everything -- not just the engine -- is working smoothly and efficiently. And just as our cars need these tune-ups, so too do our bodies. This occasional extra level of maintenance can help us get a more complete picture of our health.

With 42 biomarkers (and over 20 not found on any other InsideTracker test), the Ultimate test is far and away our most comprehensive, making it the ideal candidate for this special tune-up. Here are a few Ultimate-exclusive biomarkers -- and what makes them so special.

 

Magnesium's a jack-of-all-trades

Magnesium is an essential component for over 300 reactions throughout the body, from muscle building to nerve function.1 Red blood cell (RBC) magnesium -- the gold standard for magnesium testing -- is also exclusively featured in the Ultimate test. While it’s not necessarily InsideTracker's most high-profile biomarker, magnesium's effects are certainly A-list.

Because magnesium is so essential for a wide range of biological processes, the benefits of optimal intake can vary greatly. First, multiple studies have found that optimal magnesium levels can help to increase testosterone levels. This can, in turn, positively influence lean muscle mass, strength, and sex drive in both men and women. So if you’ve been feeling weak or like you’re missing your spark, raising your magnesium might help you feel back on track.

Inadequate magnesium levels have also been associated with higher levels of stress, anxiety, and difficulty relaxing, which can have major impact on your ability to have a restful night’s sleep.2 By measuring your magnesium levels, you can find your ideal intake for an ideal snooze (eye mask not required).

 

A full iron panel gives the full story

All other InsideTracker plans assess your iron levels by measuring hemoglobin and ferritin only. Both markers are important for understanding your long-term iron levels and energy levels, but neither are ideal for describing your short-term (aka "acute") iron state.

Because free iron in your blood can be dangerous, your body binds and transports it quickly and efficiently with a molecule called transferrin as it enters your bloodstream. Therefore, your transferrin saturation (TS) -- the percentage of blood transferrin that's bound to iron -- is an important marker of your short-term iron intake.

TS has a narrow optimal range, below which indicates inadequate blood iron, and above which indicates iron overload. And while we often place attention on the side effects of inadequate iron intake (fatigue, low endurance, muscle weakness), iron overload can be just as staggering (think abdominal pain and fatigue). All of these effects can take place in the short-term and therefore may not be evident in hemoglobin or ferritin measurements. Ultimate’s full iron panel can string together the complete story of your iron status.

 

Electrolytes uncover an extra layer of heart health

Most InsideTracker plans include blood lipids, namely high- and low-density lipoprotein (HDL & LDL), total cholesterol, and triglycerides. And these biomarkers are incredibly important factors for your overall heart health, but they don’t provide the complete picture when it comes to blood pressure, specifically.

Blood pressure increases with the volume of our blood, so the amount of fluid in your veins can be a major factor on the health of your heart (high blood pressure puts a strain on our heart muscles). That's where the electrolytes sodium and potassium come into play -- they're the fluid regulators of the body. Sodium increases blood volume while potassium lowers it, creating a delicate balancing act responsible for preventing sharp changes or spikes in blood volume.

As a general rule of thumb, we should all have about half as much sodium in our diet than potassium to keep these sodium-induced spikes at bay. In reality, this ratio is closer to 1:1 for American adults, throwing the careful sodium-potassium scale out of whack and making the possibility of high blood pressure a reality for many people.3

But be careful: while it's true that high dietary sodium increases your risk for things like heart attack and stroke, it’s also important to know that especially low sodium levels are also dangerous -- they can lead to irregular heartbeat, poor kidney function, and muscle spasms. By measuring your personal electrolyte levels, you can get a more well-rounded idea of how your current diet affects your heart health.

 

Bonus: Cortisol and DHEAS give a glimpse of long-term wellness

Commonly known as the stress hormone, cortisol rises due to both emotional and physical stressors. And while Ultimate isn’t the only InsideTracker panel to offer cortisol measurements, it certainly deserves an honorable mention. Chronically-elevated cortisol can lead to things like chronic fatigue, weight gain, and heart disease. Cortisol levels can fluctuate widely in the short-term, so getting it measured periodically can help you monitor long-term stress levels.

As a precursor for certain estrogens, DHEAS is the exclusive marker for female sex hormones tested by InsideTracker. Optimal levels of this marker are associated with a healthy immune system, increased energy, better bone and muscle health, good sexual function, and good heart health. DHEAS blood levels increase steadily from childhood until age 20-30, after which they level off and begin to decline. These levels can lower even further due to things like high cortisol levels or birth control use. Measuring DHEAS periodically can help you understand your state along its natural age-dependent curve and implement InsideTracker recommendations to keep it optimal in the long-term.

 

Ultimate's for the eternal learner

Whether or not you've ever tested with InsideTracker before, Ultimate can provide novel insights not found anywhere else on our platform. By incorporating this panel into your long-term wellness habits, you can get a wide-angled look at your health -- and make the changes your body needs.


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References

[1] Maggio, M., De Vita, F., Lauretani, F., Nouvenne, A., Meschi, T., Ticinesi, A., ... & Ceda, G. P. (2014). The interplay between magnesium and testosterone in modulating physical function in men. International journal of endocrinology, 2014.

[2] Rabin, R. C. (2018, January 05). Does Magnesium Help You Sleep? Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/05/well/mind/does-magnesium-help-you-sleep.htm

[3] Drewnowski, A., Maillot, M., & Rehm, C. (2012). Reducing the sodium-potassium ratio in the US diet: a challenge for public health–. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 96(2), 439-444.

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