Ask Me Anything (AMA): Optimizing Health and Longevity with Dr. Gil Blander and Ashley Reaver, MS, RD, CSSD

By Longevity by Design, July 8, 2024

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In the latest Ask Me Anything, Ashley and Dr. Blander answer popular questions about optimizing health and longevity. Dr. Blander discusses the rationale behind InsideTracker's shift to a subscription model, emphasizing the importance of continuous engagement for long-term health improvement. He explains how this model encourages users to maintain their health optimization practices consistently over time, enhancing the overall effectiveness of their health plans.

Ashley and Dr. Blander also dive into the recent updates to InsideTracker’s blood work page, which now categorizes biomarkers into healthspan categories such as cognition, endurance, and gut health. This reorganization aims to simplify complex data, making it more accessible and actionable for users. Dr. Blander highlights how these changes help users focus on the most critical health areas, guided by clear, data-driven recommendations.

The conversation also touches on the impact of real-life data from InsideTracker’s extensive user base. Dr. Blander shares fascinating insights, such as the relationship between sleep duration and cardiometabolic markers, and the influence of genetics on health outcomes. He underscores the importance of prevention, citing examples like early intervention in cardiovascular health and the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight and muscle mass for longevity. The episode concludes with a discussion on the growing trend of at-home testing, highlighting its convenience and potential for expanding preventive health measures.



Episode highlights

  • The Importance of Metabolic Health 00:12:35
  • Rise of At-Home Testing 00:15:49
  • Prevention as a Strategy for Longevity 0:20:39
  • Role of Genetics in Health Optimization 00:23:53

Membership drives continuous health engagement

InsideTracker's shift to a membership model is designed to encourage ongoing health optimization. The membership model facilitates sustained engagement, prompting users to consistently monitor and improve their health over time. This approach aligns with the understanding that health improvement is a continuous process, not a one-time effort. By maintaining a membership, users are more likely to stay committed to their health goals, and InsideTracker can better support their long-term wellness journey. This model ensures that users receive regular updates and recommendations, keeping them actively involved in their health management.

Simplifying health data with healthspan categories

The reorganization of blood work results into healthspan categories makes it easier for users to understand and act on their health data. Instead of dealing with individual biomarkers, users can now see their results categorized into areas like cognition, endurance, and heart health. Each category provides a score from zero to 100, highlighting areas that need attention. This structured approach simplifies the complexity of health data, making it more accessible and actionable for users. By focusing on specific categories, users can target their efforts more effectively, leading to better health outcomes and more efficient use of the platform.

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Real-life data reveals insights into health optimization

InsideTracker leverages real-life data from over 100,000 users to uncover valuable health insights. One key finding is the significant impact of sleep on cardiometabolic health. People who sleep between seven to nine hours have better cardiometabolic markers compared to those who sleep less or more than that. The data also highlights the influence of genetics on health outcomes, showing that while genetics play a role, lifestyle and environmental factors are crucial in managing health. Continuous monitoring through InsideTracker allows users to improve their blood biomarkers over time, demonstrating the long-term benefits of personalized health optimization.


The importance of metabolic health 

Metabolic health is crucial for overall well-being, yet only a small percentage of U.S. adults are metabolically healthy. Research using NHANES data indicates that just 6.8% of Americans meet optimal metabolic health criteria. Factors influencing metabolic health include blood glucose levels, blood lipids, and cardiovascular markers. Socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and age also play significant roles, with wealthier, younger, and more educated individuals typically faring better. 

"The food that we are consuming includes a lot of processed food. We are not exercising enough. We have a lot of toxins in our water, and in our air."

Prevention as a strategy for longevity

Preventing chronic diseases is more effective than treating them, making prevention a cornerstone of longevity strategies. Early intervention, such as monitoring trends in biomarkers like APOB, can help minimize health issues before they become severe. Maintaining a healthy weight, building muscle, and increasing aerobic capacity are essential actions for disease prevention and improving lifespan. 

"If you have a lower BMI, you have a better chance to have the marker in the right range and live better longer." 

Role of genetics in health optimization

Genetics play a significant role in determining health risks, but lifestyle and environmental factors are equally important. Understanding genetic potential and risk allows for targeted interventions. For instance, those with a high risk of high visceral fat can focus on specific exercises and dietary changes.

"When you know your genetic risk, you know how to fight it." 

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Longevity by Design

Longevity by Design is a podcast for individuals looking to experience longer, healthier lives. In each episode, Dr. Gil Blander and Ashley Reaver join an industry expert to explore a personalized health journey. The show helps you access science-backed information, unpack complicated concepts, learn what’s on the cutting edge of longevity research and the scientists behind them. Tune into Longevity by Design and see how to add years to your life, and life to your years.

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