Cutting Through the Clutter - How InsideTracker Can Help You Optimize Yourself

By Margie Ploch, September 24, 2015


Another study? Another headline? Another list of things to eat, or not to eat? Every day, there’s new advice -- about what diet you should follow and when you should exercise and how much sleep you really need. It’s overwhelming.How do you know which advice is solidly backed by science? There are all kinds of recommendations on the internet and in the media. Some of them conflict. Worse yet, it can be hard to tell which studies are well-designed, and which are faulty. 

Even if you feel confident that you have found a trusted source of information, you still have to figure out which advice makes sense for you. The same recommendation doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. What is right for you? for your body? for your goals?

Stop worrying, let InsideTracker do the work for you

InsideTracker was founded by scientists from MIT, Harvard and Tufts University to give you blood-based, science-driven, effective advice on simple changes you can make to optimize your performance and health. An InsideTracker plan starts with a quick blood draw and analysis of key biomarkers, substances in your blood that show your body’s state. Instead of just telling you whether your blood results are normal as your doctor would, InsideTracker scientists analyzed peer-reviewed research to derive personalized optimal zones based on your age, gender, ethnicity, activity level, sport, performance goals, body composition goals, and other factors unique to you.

If your results are not in your optimal zones, InsideTracker recommends simple, science-based interventions using nutrition, exercise, lifestyle, and supplements to help you improve your biomarker levels. Instead of drowning in the flood of internet advice, let InsideTracker be your guardian angel for health and give you advice grounded in scientific research and tailored for your body and your needs.


How do InsideTracker scientists create recommendations?

At InsideTracker, our experts are constantly evaluating peer-reviewed research in the most well-regarded scientific journals. What are they looking for? First, they are validating the research. Is there just a single study, or have multiple research projects confirmed these results?  Second, our scientists find studies that show how people can significantly change their biomarkers. Third, they are evaluating the interventions, to find the ones that will give you the biggest benefit for your effort. If you’re going to make a change, you want to feel confident that you’ll see lasting results.

What does this mean for you?

InsideTracker experts do the analysis for you, reviewing thousands of papers each year to find the best, most reliable data. Our users know they can count on InsideTracker to provide the best personalized nutrition advice for optimizing biomarkers. They know that only InsideTracker takes into account a person’s dietary restrictions, food preferences and activity level in recommending which foods to eat.

In the past three months, InsideTracker scientists have invested a major effort in expanding the breadth of our recommendations for nutrition, supplements, exercise and lifestyle. More than 500 new recommendations have come from their work.

Supplements: when can they help?

At InsideTracker, we strongly believe that the best interventions to optimize your biomarkers are the most natural. Whenever possible, it is better to modify your diet than to take supplements. But some important nutrients, such as Vitamin D, are difficult to get from food alone. And of course you don’t want to increase your risk of skin cancer by spending too much time in the sun to increase your Vitamin D. Because Vitamin D is so important and many people have lower than optimized levels, InsideTracker recommends that you consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.


Other supplements, such as berberine, may come from plants that are not typically part of Western diets. But don’t worry, InsideTracker won’t recommend a new or unusual supplement until our scientists have found solid peer-reviewed research that shows these supplements are safe and can really make a difference in your biomarker levels. Recent research on berberine, for example, has shown that it can help significantly to lower your LDL and triglycerides levels so InsideTracker added a recommendation: “To reduce your triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, consider taking 1000 mg of berberine in .two 500mg doses a day for at least 12 weeks.”

Exercise: advice tailored to fit your training program

Most InsideTracker users exercise, but many have questions about what type of exercise would be best and how to tailor their training program to optimize performance while reducing risk of injury. InsideTracker isn’t a personal trainer, but our exercise physiologists have combed the scientific literature for research on the most effective ways to train. Recent studies have shown that weightlifters who spread the same training volume over more sets achieve the same gains in strength with smaller increases in cortisol levels. We added the following recommendation:

To get the greatest training benefit while preventing increases in cortisol, spread your training volume over more sets instead of taking sets to failure.  For example, do 5 x 6 reps at your 10 rep maximum instead of 3 x 10 reps at your 10 rep maximum.


In researching the new exercise recommendations, InsideTracker scientists made a special effort to expand our advice tailored for highly competitive amateur and professional athletes, based on studies of elite performers.

Lifestyle: Small changes can yield big rewards

Sleep, stress, and travel are all factors that can influence your biochemistry. What can you do to minimize or reverse their effects? InsideTracker’s new lifestyle recommendations focus on making changes that work. For example, chronically low sleep of 5.5 hours per night or less disrupts your cortisol levels. Getting just 30 minutes more sleep per night (6 - 7.5 hours) has minimal effects on your cortisol levels. How can you get more sleep? InsideTracker has some new recommendations for that too. If sleeping when you are changing time zones is the problem, try shifting your meal times 1-2 hours earlier if you are traveling east and 1-2 hours later if you are traveling west. In addition to finding new interventions, our scientists are constantly reviewing current recommendations and updating them based on the latest research.


What is in the future for InsideTracker recommendations?

Instead of waiting for new studies, especially for those rare studies that track interventions in active, healthy participants, InsideTracker is carrying out our own research. We partnered with GU Energy Labs, CrossFit New England and Spartan Race, three companies focused on elite performance, to conduct a Super Human Study with their extreme athletes. InsideTracker experts periodically tested and offered science-based nutritional advice to participants such as Freddie Rodriguez, Mat Fraser and Ben Bergeron as they prepared and competed in major endurance events including cycling's  Amgen Tour of California, the iconic Reebok CrossFit Games and the grueling Reebok Spartan World Championship. More new research will come from the InsideTracker-Quantified Self challenge to QS members to see what they can learn from self-experiments using InsideTracker blood analysis.

The results of the Super Human Study and the InsideTracker-QS challenge will form the basis for new recommendations for you, based on studies of healthy people who are trying to optimize their performance - just like you. Only InsideTracker customers will have access to this unique and powerful data.

So don’t let the flood of supplement, diet, lifestyle and exercise advice sweep you away. Sign up for InsideTracker to get personalized, actionable recommendations based on your unique blood analysis. Remember only InsideTracker experts thoroughly review the latest scientific research to advise you on how you can achieve your optimal self.

Are You Optimized?

Wondering what ALL of your biomarkers mean? We've created this handy biomarker guide for reference—it's FREE & it's yours to download!

Get the Biomarker e-book!

Some other blog posts we think you'll love:

8 Ways to Biohack Your Health

Free eBook


New call-to-action