When you receive blood work back from a physician, you're often presented with a laundry list of biomarkers that are either within a given reference range or outside of it. And if the markers are considered within a "normal" reference range, you may not hear about them again until your next annual physical. Unless you are a health clinician, you may not know what these results actually mean for your health.
To effectively use data to extend your years spent in good health, context matters. That's why InsideTracker created healthspan categories—scores that quantify how your body is performing in 10 key areas. Through scores on heart health, metabolism, cognition, and more, you can understand how your blood, DNA, and fitness tracker data contribute to crucial aspects of your healthspan.
Let's dive into how healthspan categories can help you to live healthier longer.
Why did we create healthspan category scores?
InsideTracker is on a mission to help people live healthier longer lives. And while data are helpful, they can also be overwhelming to interpret. Healthspan categories present 10 simple ways to measure your health. Here’s a closer look at what these scores achieve:
Put your results into context: Healthspan categories can help you to understand how your biomarkers relate to your real life. It’s one thing to see that you have low iron, and another to know how your low iron has impacted your endurance. And that knowledge is key—behavior change is sustainable when there is an understanding of how results impact your health.
Connect the dots between biomarkers in the body: The body is a complex system and nothing happens in isolation. Healthspan category scores bring together blood biomarkers and physiomarkers (like resting heart rate and sleep) to describe the health status of various functions and systems of the body.
Describe how one biomarker impacts multiple processes in the body: Biomarkers rarely serve a single purpose in the body. This is why each biomarker can contribute to multiple healthspan category scores. The bad news is that a suboptimal biomarker level can influence the body on multiple levels. The good news is that improving the biomarker level can have a cascading beneficial effect.
What are the 10 healthspan categories?
Your health is complex, and healthspan is multifaceted. Here are the 10 ways InsideTracker quantifies healthspan.
Heart health refers to the health of your cardiovascular system, including arteries, vessels, and more. Blood biomarkers of heart health can also indicate your body's ability to transport and clear cholesterol from the body.
Key markers of heart health include ApoB, HDL cholesterol, and resting heart rate.
Your body's metabolism reflects the processes in the body that consume and use energy for the growth, repair, and maintenance of cells, tissues, and organs. Your metabolic biomarkers reflect the efficiency of this process.
Key markers of metabolism include glucose, HbA1c, insulin, ApoB, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
Cognition reflects the body's brain and nerve function, impacting reaction time and mood. Cognitive biomarkers indicate your ability to focus, process information, and consolidate memories.
Key markers of cognition include cortisol, vitamin B12, and insulin.
Sleep is paramount for the body's repair processes and memory consolidation. Blood biomarker levels can impact—and are impacted by—your ability to fall asleep and achieve good quality sleep.
Key markers of sleep include magnesium, vitamin D, glucose, deep sleep, and REM sleep.
Hormones are chemical messengers in the body that signal the start and stop of various biological processes. The balance between hormone levels in both men and women can reflect life stage, your body's response to emotional and physical stress, and can impact your sleep quality and energy levels.
Key markers of hormone balance include testosterone, SHBG, and cortisol for men and estradiol, progesterone, and DHEAS for women.
Fitness refers to the body's ability to perform physical activity. Fitness-related biomarkers reflect energy levels, response to stress, the efficiency of cellular repair, and overall muscle health.
Key markers of fitness include testosterone, vitamin B12, and step count.
Recovery biomarkers provide insight into the body's response to exercise or physical activity across different intensities and durations.
Key markers of recovery include ALT, AST, and magnesium.
Your endurance capacity indicates your ability to sustain cardiovascular and muscular activities. Endurance biomarkers reflect aerobic capacity, energy utilization, oxygen transport, and stamina.
Key markers of endurance include ferritin, hemoglobin, and vitamin B12.
Inflammation describes your body's ability to protect and respond to foreign substances, including pathogens, infections, viruses, and lifestyle stressors like too much or too little exercise and sleep.
Key markers of inflammation include hsCRP, vitamin D, and white blood cell count.
The body's gut health reflects the abundance and diversity of microbes in the gut microbiome. Biomarkers impact—and are impacted by—the gut microbiome. And the gut microbiome affects many of the body's systems and processes.
Key markers of gut health include cortisol, glucose, and hsCRP.
How are healthspan category scores calculated?
Markers are weighted based on impact according to science
Healthspan category scores include biomarkers and physiomarkers. Biomarkers are weighted based on their respective impact on the category, determined by InsideTracker’s scientists and the existing body of evidence available about the marker.
As an example, significant scientific evidence connects blood glucose levels to your overall metabolism. And comparatively less evidence connects total cholesterol levels to metabolism. So when it comes to your overall metabolism score, glucose has a greater contribution than total cholesterol. For a full breakdown of how each marker contributes to your healthspan category score, select “How your score is calculated.”
Biomarker zone determines contribution
The zone you land in for each marker on your latest set of results determines its contribution to the total category score. Each marker on the InsideTracker platform is classified as optimal, normal, high, or low. “Normal” is what a physician would consider “clinically healthy” based on a reference range for a general population.
InsideTracker takes this a step further by developing and displaying personalized optimal zones for each marker based on age, sex, ethnicity, and activity level. If your latest result shows that a marker is optimal for you, you’ll receive a better contribution to your overall category score than if the marker is above or below optimized.
Recent results are required for accurate scores
All healthspan category scores are calculated based on your most recent set of biomarker results. Each category contains "required markers," meaning we cannot create a score for you with partial or missing results. If your most recent result set is missing markers, results from previous tests are used in your score. However, we can only substitute results from previous tests if they were measured within 90 days of your most recent result.
Biomarker data describes a snapshot in time. And while it's critical to track your biomarker levels over time, we can't confidently combine results that were recorded greater than 90 days apart to deliver an accurate healthspan category score.
How are healthspan category scores displayed?
Healthspan category scores are displayed as a numerical score out of 100 with a descriptive label: optimal, good, fair, and needs work. If a healthspan category score comes back as “needs work,” aim to prioritize improving this focus area first.
How can I improve a healthspan category score?
If a healthspan category score is under 100%, you’ll see a mix of nutrition, supplement, lifestyle, and exercise recommendations to improve it. These recommendations are science-backed ways to improve the biomarkers that negatively impact your category score. When you select each recommendation, you can see exactly why that recommendation was tailored to you based on your latest biomarker result, how to incorporate that recommendation into your routine, supporting scientific references, and even tips from expert dietitians.
Category scores make improving your healthspan easier
Biomarker data can be incredibly valuable, but can also be overwhelming and difficult to understand taken in isolation.
- Healthspan category scores are a game-changing way to interpret your biomarker, DNA, and physiomarker data.
- These scores are linked to important components of healthspan and provide the context you need so you can focus your efforts to meet your health goals.
- InsideTracker's plans help you uncover where you're suboptimal and guide you on how to improve so you can extend your lifespan and do what you love for longer.