2023 was a year of health optimization and innovation for InsideTracker and its customers. As the leading blood testing and health analytics company, InsideTracker leveraged its robust dataset to uncover insights about how customers improved biomarkers and overall health last year. The data also highlighted predictions for emerging health trends in 2024.
Let’s dive into the data.
What happened in 2023?
Customers often come to InsideTracker because they want a baseline assessment of their blood biomarkers to find out where they stand and what they should improve for peak health. Each biomarker that InsideTracker tests is plotted against a user’s personalized optimal zone—the specific range that can promote optimal health for them based on age, sex, and activity level. And the best way to know if your actions are working for optimal health is to get retested and track your progress over time. When customers retested, 80% found that they’d moved a biomarker from a suboptimal level to an optimal one.
Certain actions made it easier for users to improve their health measures
- Creating an Action Plan: When you review your InsideTracker recommendations, you can create an Action Plan of lifestyle changes to improve your health. It turns out that creating an Action Plan through InsideTracker’s app is predictive of health improvements—customers who created an Action Plan were more likely to improve their biomarker levels on their next test.
- Connecting a wearable device: InsideTracker’s app connects to several sleep and fitness tracker devices, including Apple Health, for real-time insights into your health. Over the past year, people who connected a wearable device to the InsideTracker app were more likely to improve biomarker levels on their next test than those who didn’t have a wearable connected.
- Finding out your InnerAge: InnerAge is InsideTracker’s biological aging score based on blood biomarker levels. InsideTracker’s data showed that InnerAge customers outperformed general InsideTracker users—customers who knew their InnerAge optimized their biomarkers at higher rates than those who didn't. And having a high InnerAge provided motivation to change for many InsideTracker users; 60% of customers who had an InnerAge higher than their actual age lowered it on their next test.
Some healthspan categories were easier to optimize than others
Earlier this year, InsideTracker launched a new feature called healthspan categories. Across health areas like heart health, cognition, endurance, and metabolism, healthspan categories present ten simple ways to measure your health: they put your health into context, draw connections between blood biomarkers, and describe how a single biomarker can impact multiple processes throughout the body.
So, how did customers perform? The recovery score was the most improved category score of 2023. This aligns with health trends and technology in the health and wellness space. Many fitness trackers now have recovery scores, and recovery tools like massage guns and compression boots are widely accessible and often used to improve how the body recovers before the next workout.
Of all ten categories, metabolism and heart health were the least improved healthspan category scores. This didn’t come as a shock—and here’s why. With only 7% of Americans being metabolically healthy and heart disease being the leading cause of death in the U.S., it’s unsurprising that these two scores are the most challenging for the InsideTracker population to improve.
Bu there's good news: the biomarkers in these two categories (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, HbA1c, and hsCRP) are among the most well-researched and modifiable biomarkers that InsideTracker measures. By implementing nutrition, exercise, supplement, and lifestyle habits, optimizing these biomarkers and the corresponding areas of heart health and metabolism is within reach.
There were clear blood biomarker level trends
Certain biomarkers are easier to optimize than others—for example, vitamin D improves at nearly three times the rate of total cholesterol in the InsideTracker population.
Vitamin B12, glucose, and cortisol were among the top five improved biomarkers in 2023. While glucose and cortisol levels improved in 2023, they were less likely to be optimal in 2023 than in 2022. The personalized optimal zones are strict for these two markers, as they are well-researched and closely tied to health and longevity. This means that while they may be classified as within the “normal range” by a physician, they may not be quite up to the “optimal” standard that InsideTracker holds them to.
So, what do we predict will happen in 2024?
Glucose and cortisol will improve: With the rise in popularity of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and stress-management technology, like meditation apps, InsideTracker's team predicts that customers will continue to improve glucose and cortisol and even optimize them in 2024.
Better sleep and fitness levels were correlated with better health
Higher VO2max levels were associated with better health
VO2max is a key marker of endurance, fitness, heart health, and longevity. It reflects the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume during aerobic exercise—with higher VO2max, your body delivers oxygen to your muscles more efficiently.
Currently, VO2max can be estimated using smart devices and fitness trackers like Garmin or Apple Watch which can be synced with the InsideTracker app. It turns out that within InsideTracker’s customer dataset, VO2max is correlated with nearly every biomarker that InsideTracker measures, meaning when customers have a higher VO2max, they are more likely to optimize their biomarkers.
Based on this insight, InsideTracker is bringing VO2max to the product in early 2024, providing data-driven personalized optimal zones, recommendations, and insights to improve customers' VO2max levels.
Sleeping 7-9 hours per night was beneficial for multiple health markers
Studies consistently show that sleep improves just about every process in the body. So, it comes as no surprise that in InsideTracker’s customer population, sleeping between 7-9 hours per night is correlated with a higher VO2max level. Sleep is also correlated with better cholesterol levels. And with cholesterol being one of the most challenging and most relevant biomarkers to improve, it’s important to see that consistently prioritizing good sleep is one way to move the needle.
And finally, InsideTracker’s customer data showed a bidirectional relationship between sleep and exercise intensity and duration. Those who exercised more regularly slept better, and those who slept better tended to exercise more. Getting enough quality sleep is an important recovery tool, so it’s no surprise that customers can perform at their best when they focus on sleep.
New DNA scores were created and plotted against InsideTracker customer data
In 2023, InsideTracker made ten new DNA scores related to healthspan available to all InsideTracker DNA customers. These scores describe aspects of healthspan, like one’s genetic predisposition to having visceral fat, cognitive aging, better hand grip strength, and more. These ten scores complement the legacy 28 scores that describe one’s genetic predisposition to having certain biomarker levels, like high LDL cholesterol or high fasting glucose levels.
And InsideTracker’s customer data proved critical in creating and delivering these ten new DNA scores. In fact, the Genomics Team plotted customers’ genetic risk for having high ApoB levels against their ApoB blood biomarker levels. This data provided tangible proof and confidence that the ApoB DNA risk score predicted one’s risk of having high blood ApoB levels.
Customers viewed their health holistically, and biologically
InsideTracker customers using the InsideTracker app can select a health goal to focus on. The data for 2023 health goals shows that over 50% of InsideTracker customers set overall health or InnerAge as their primary health goal for 2023. Rather than choosing a narrowed focus goal, like building endurance or reducing stress, nearly 1 in 3 customers focused more holistically on their health. This corroborates a general health trend that shows consumers are starting to think more about their health as a whole rather than focusing on one specific outcome.
With 1 in 5 customers selecting InnerAge as their health goal for 2023, we see that aging, specifically biological aging, is important to customers. Biological aging clocks—ways to measure how your body is aging internally—are starting to take off. What makes InsideTracker's biological aging score, InnerAge, different is that it is based on blood biomarker levels, which are both well-studied and modifiable. The increase in customers who selected InnerAge as their health goal shows a clear motivation to improve biological age.
Simple lifestyle changes were preferred
In 2023, consumers got better at discerning “fact from fiction” regarding the latest fads and crazy health claims. They weren't as easily convinced that a new supplement or food would transform their health and wellness in isolation. Rather, they focused on scientifically-proven ways to modify their health.
We know that InsideTracker customers prioritize science-backed, simple, effective, and sustainable ways to improve their health. And the data confirms this to be true. Of all the nutrition, supplement, lifestyle, and exercise recommendations that InsideTracker offers, the recommendations most likely to be added to customers’ Action Plans included simple dietary changes, like consuming more olive oil or probiotic foods. Easy-to-implement additions like taking a probiotic or a psyllium supplement were also popular with InsideTracker customers.
2023 InsideTracker data highlights recapped
- Overall, InsideTracker customers improved their health in 2023—80% did so by optimizing at least one biomarker.
- Creating an Action Plan and connecting a wearable device to the InsideTracker app predicts greater health improvements.
- Customers who measure their InnerAge are more likely to improve their health markers.
- Recovery scores were the most improved healthspan category scores in 2023.
- Heart health and metabolism scores were the least improved but can still be optimized through lifestyle changes.
- Higher VO2max and 7-9 hours of sleep per night correlate with better blood biomarker levels and overall health.
- Over 50% of customers focused on overall health or biological aging as 2023 goals, showing their interest in holistic health and longevity.
- Customers prefer simple, sustainable lifestyle changes over fads—the top Action Plan recommendations were to eat more olive oil and probiotic-rich foods.