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Combining Your DNA and Blood Test Data for More Sophisticated InsideTracker Recommendations

By Michelle Darian, MS, MPH, RD, October 13, 2021

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Combining DNA and blood test results can generate more dynamic and precise InsideTracker recommendations to optimize your wellness and performance. Integrating your genetic predispositions for certain traits with your body's current state (blood biomarkers) can paint the most complete picture of your well-being that science has to offer.

InsideTracker’s DNA test currently analyzes up to 29 wellness traits based on 261 genetic biomarkers in five key areas: weight, sleep, sensitivities, aging, and performance. For more information on how InsideTracker specifically developed these genetic biomarkers, check out this blog.

5 blood biomarkers all athletes should knowWhy combine blood and DNA data? 

Blood biomarkers are objective indicators of your body’s internal condition at a given time, as they shift in response to environmental and lifestyle changes. So, to track trends in your biomarkers (and your body) over time, InsideTracker recommends getting your blood tested every three to four months.   

However, DNA is typically tested once in your lifetime, as your genetic code never changes in response to your environment or lifestyle. But the static nature of DNA doesn't make it the sole determinant for your future health and wellbeing—a healthy lifestyle can out-work your genes. But to better understand the influence your genes might have in this process (and how hard you might have to work against them), InsideTracker evaluates your genetic potential for certain abilities and risks related to wellness traits. Then, by combining insights from your blood and DNA, InsideTracker provides additional context into your current wellness—and how your genes and lifestyle may be affecting it. 

 

What DNA can tell you about your risk of unoptimized biomarkers

InsideTracker compares your genetic potential to a population level average, categorizing your risk of unoptimized blood biomarkers as: 

  • Reduced risk 
  • Average risk 
  • Elevated risk 
Here’s what that risk can indicate. 

DNA and blood test results

At times, genetics work in your favor (reduced risk)

Let’s use HDL cholesterol as an example. HDL (good) cholesterol acts as scavengers in the body, ridding LDL (bad) cholesterol from the blood. Therefore, it’s beneficial to have increased HDL levels. So in your InsideTracker DNA report, your genetic risk will describe your potential for low HDL cholesterol. A "reduced risk for lower HDL cholesterol levels" would therefore indicate that your genetics are working in your favor. 

The next step is to look at this genetic potential in the context of your current bloodwork. If you have a reduced risk for lower HDL, but your blood work shows that your HDL is currently low, then that’s a strong sign that your current diet and lifestyle are pulling your HDL levels down, negating the potential benefits found in your genes. But, by prioritizing actions to raise HDL levels (like eating healthy fats and participating in aerobic exercise) you may be more likely to increase HDL cholesterol levels.   

Other times, genetics are working against you (elevated risk)

Let’s use vitamin D as an example here. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and protect bone strength. Optimal vitamin D levels are associated with strong athletic performance, immune health, longevity, and reduced risk of injury, all of which make it a critical marker to optimize. [1] And it’s a commonly unoptimized biomarker, as around 40% of InsideTracker users have low vitamin D levels.

If your genetic potential shows that you have an elevated risk for lower vitamin D levels, your genes are effectively working against you and making it hard to achieve optimized vitamin D levels. In this case, you will likely need to prioritize eating Vitamin D-rich foods like fish, mushrooms, and eggs or spending time in the sun to optimize your vitamin D levels. If these actions still don't optimize your vitamin D, a vitamin D supplement may be a better choice for you. 

And sometimes the risk is neutral (average risk)

You can also have an average risk for a certain wellness trait or biomarker level. In these cases, your genetic potential has a weaker impact on your blood biomarkers, and your lifestyle may mostly dictate their levels. 

 

Knowing your DNA can help you reach your wellness and performance goals 

The first step to creating your Action Plan on the InsideTracker app is selecting a “goal” to work towards. InsideTracker has 14 goals to choose from, ranging from Build Strength & Power to Improve Gut Health or Improve Sleep Quality. Goals prioritize recommendations for biomarkers that are most related to that goal and help you reach it more efficiently.

Your genetics can tell you about sleep

Sleep is one of the best legal performance enhancers out there. Prioritizing a restful night’s sleep significantly impacts health in many ways. So, whether you’re working to improve a specific biomarker or you’re chasing down a PR, sleep can help you get there. 

InsideTracker’s genetic report includes four sleep-related insights. One genetic variant predicts your potential sleep duration—knowing your potential for this trait can help to inform a sleep routine that works best for you. 

Another genetic variant indirectly tied to sleep influences caffeine consumption. Studies show that people with this variant are more likely to drink an additional one-third cup of coffee each day. Knowing your genetic potential for consuming more caffeine can help you think more about when you’re consuming it so that it doesn’t negatively impact your sleep quality and duration. 

Your genetics can also tell you about your athletic potential

Certain genetic variants can predict the type of athletic activity—endurance or strength—at which you’re most likely to excel. Of course, genetics aren't destiny, but can provide context as to why some seem to naturally excel at running or adapt more quickly to weight training. 

 

Adding DNA insights to your blood test results elevates your InsideTracker experience

Receive more sophisticated ProTips

InsideTracker’s ProTips are sophisticated and engaging recommendations. Delivered daily via the mobile app, ProTips bring the recommendations you’ve chosen in your action plan to life. ProTips are carefully selected for you based on your DNA, blood data, and current habits. ProTips are delivered as a push notification to your phone and stored in your app’s notification center. 

ProTips incorporate your unique data into nuggets of wisdom that are easy-to-follow, laser-focused recommendations. All of the ProTips that you receive are science-backed recommendations from InsideTracker’s registered dietitians who have decades of experience in counseling clients. These ProTips truly mimic the personalized experience of working with a dietitian. Incorporating these pointed recommendations will have the most significant impact on helping you reach your specific health goals and their associated biomarkers.  

InsideTracker Pro Tips

Build a hyper-personalized action plan 

Once you have blood data in your InsideTracker account, you can build your personal InsideTracker action plan. However, knowing your genetic potential for specific markers and wellness traits can help prioritize the recommendations that may have the most impact on your goal. For example, your DNA and blood levels may indicate that the recommendation “take a vitamin D supplement” or “incorporate more olive oil” are best for you.

 

Already have DNA data from 23andMe or Ancestry? 

Upload your 23andMe or Ancestry DNA results to your InsideTracker account. No need to get another DNA test. You can receive insights on 22 wellness traits from your existing DNA. 

 

Summary

  • InsideTracker’s DNA test analyzes up to 29 wellness traits based on 261 genetic biomarkers in five key areas: weight, sleep, sensitivities, aging, and performance.
  • While you can't change your genes, lifestyle can interact with and impact genetic potential. 
  • Combining DNA data with your current blood biomarker data helps you to best select your path to achieving your selected InsideTracker goal.
 

Connecting to InsideTracker

What can you expect from an InsideTracker DNA kit? Once your DNA data is processed, you’ll receive a full PDF report to interpret your results. Download the InsideTracker app to receive insights and recommendations personalized to you based on your unique DNA and blood results. Interested in learning more about InsideTracker’s DNA plan? Check out this page for more information on the kit. You can also select the InsideTracker DNA kit as an add-on at checkout when you purchase an InsideTracker blood plan like the Ultimate panel.  


05 Ultimate Blood+DNA+Fitness




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Michelle Darian, MS, MPH, RD
Michelle is a Nutrition Specialist at InsideTracker. As a Registered Dietitian, you’ll find Michelle analyzing the research behind recent nutrition trends, bringing actionable food and supplement recommendations to the platform. When she's not myth-busting, Michelle can be found exploring new restaurants and getting creative in her kitchen.

Resources:

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31405892/