Take Control of Your Immune System with InsideTracker

nutrition-food-label-kitchen-womanThe COVID-19 pandemic has left an unprecedented mark on society. Our lives are drastically different than a mere two months ago—both in how we live day by day and what we hold most important. And it seems that we can agree that our health and wellness are our most valuable assets. Luckily, in a time when it seems that much is out of our control, we can still take steps to ensure we're doing everything possible to protect ourselves and our loved ones. It's just critical that we take the right steps. That's where we come in.

In this current world, where wellness advice is easy to come by but hard to corroborate, science is king. It's imperative that any steps we take (or recommend to our loved ones) are backed by hard scientific evidence. And our community knows that science is the backbone of InsideTracker—that's why they've always relied on us to be a guiding voice for health and wellness advice. So we knew that, in this new reality, when so much is changing and so little is clear, we needed to step up. Our goal has always been the same: to provide expert, personalized, scientific recommendations to improve your wellbeing. 


We know the immune system is incredibly complex and has countless moving parts...

The entire world is talking about immunity right now, and rightfully so! The immune system is our first line of defense against pathogens like SARS-CoV2. But newsfeeds are packed full of a grab bag of tips for “boosting immunity," and sometimes more information isn't always better, particularly if the scientific support isn't there. But if you’ve been following along with us at the InsideTracker blog over the past few weeks, you've seen plenty of science-backed recommendations to support your immune system and all its complexities—and you know that building immunity is so much more than quick fixes.

We like to think of the immune system as the defense of your body's football team. There are many different positions, each unique and just as important as the other. But the team is only as strong as its weakest player and even a single error can end up costing the game. The good news is that just like a football team, we can train our immune system to become stronger come time for the big game—or the fight of our lives! By using this analogy, we can better visualize how complex our immunity really is. 


...So a strong immune system is therefore one with a diverse playbook

It’s important to note that SARS-CoV2 is a completely novel virus and all research regarding it is preliminary. But over the past month, we have illustrated the key components of a healthy immune system:

  • Supplements: Probiotics, vitamins C and D, zinc, ginseng, and garlic is associated with decreased risk, severity, and duration of respiratory infections. 
  • Exercise: A great way to boost immune surveillance and catch those pesky invaders. Restricting intensity to moderate levels and focusing on simple recovery methods are key, as overdoing exercise can actually impair immunity. 
  • Nutrition: Through food, we can regulate things like cortisol, blood sugar, and inflammation—all of which can dampen immune response if left unchecked.
  • Sleep: 7-8 hours of quality sleep can promote an ideal environment for your immune cells and ultimately reduce your chances of getting sick. Inadequate sleep is a major risk factor for various types of infection.
  • Mental Health: It’s important to prioritize your mental health. With such a strong focus on physical health at this time, it’s easy to put this aside. However, in times like these, anxiety and stress levels are often at their highest. We need to rely on each other, come together as a community, and take time to reflect and de-stress.


Now, you can take control of your body's defenses with InsideTracker

Our team of expert scientists have compiled several biomarkers specifically related to supporting immunity, decreasing stress, and boosting sleep. The InsideTracker Ultimate Plan assess key aspects of your immune system, identify any weak points, and provide insights and research-backed recommendations to improve them—thereby supporting immunity and equipping your body to respond to future infections. After purchasing an Ultimate Plan, you can set your goal to Immunity—which provides you with personalized recommendations to improve your immune system based on your blood analysis.  


Biomarkers that directly affect immune function

White blood cell count

White blood cells (WBC) are the soldiers of the immune system that search for and fight harmful pathogens. Measuring your WBC count therefore gives a direct look at the state of your immune system. InsideTracker Immunity provides both a total count of WBC as well as the breakdown of specialized cells like lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils and others in a complete blood cell count (CBC).


High sensitivity C reactive protein (hsCRP) is a marker of general inflammation in your body. Elevated levels can be indicative of a wide range of states, including disease. While it’s not directly indicative of viral infection, it is used to shed light on the body's overall inflammation levels—and we know that chronically-elevated hsCRP can impair immunity and leave us vulnerable to infection.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a hormone that plays several roles in the body, one of which is the production and maintenance of several types of white blood cells. We know there’s a direct link between vitamin D deficiency and elevated risk of respiratory infections—recent research has even found a possible link between severe vitamin D deficiency and severe cases of COVID-19. Adequate levels of vitamin D are difficult to get from diet alone, but the first step towards achieving optimal vitamin D status is measuring your blood levels.

Glucose & hemoglobin A1c

Glucose regulation is a hallmark of proper bodily and cellular function. Impaired glucose regulation can lead to hyperglycemia and insulin resistance, both of which are known to suppress the immune system. Glucose is a short-term measure of this, and hemoglobin A1c provides a more long-term view.

Biomarkers related to stress response and recovery


Known as the “stress hormone,” cortisol spurs the body to respond to emotional and physical stressors. And while this function is essential in isolated spurts, chronically-elevated cortisol levels can weaken our immunity, prevent recovery, and make us more susceptible to infections.

Sex hormones

InsideTracker Immunity includes testosterone for men and DHEAS for women. Both are essential anabolic hormones that promote recovery, tissue repair, and energy production. High cortisol levels are almost always paired with low levels of sex hormones, which can exacerbate negative effects on immunity and the body's ability to manage infection. Moreover, emerging research suggests that hormonal imbalance, particularly in relation to aging, may result in poor COVID-19 prognosis. On the flip side, research also indicates that excessively-high testosterone levels may lead to an increase in viral infection susceptibility. So, as with all our biomarkers, keeping your sex hormone levels optimal may be more important than ever.


ALT is an enzyme found in the liver and muscles. When we exert ourselves in a workout, muscle cells break down and leak ALT into the blood, making it a good marker of physical over-exertion and strain in the body. On a more holistic note, ALT (along with other liver enzymes) can provide insight into our overall health, as elevated levels of ALT have been associated with high levels of hsCRP and systemic inflammation, which we know can impair immunity.


Ferritin is an iron storage molecule, making it an important long-term measure of your iron status. Low ferritin can indicate physical overwork or inadequate recovery, particularly in those who regularly do endurance activities like long-distance running. And if left untreated, iron deficiencies can make us more susceptible to illness. But high ferritin levels can also pose an issue. Like humans, pathogens like viruses and bacteria need iron to survive. When inflammation is high, as is the case during infection, your body hides and stores the iron as ferritin to prevent its uptake from invaders. And it's for this reason that high ferritin can potentially shed light on an infection. Ultimately, your best bet is to get your blood ferritin levels tested to ensure you're in the optimal range.


Much like vitamin D, magnesium is a mineral that serves many functions in the body, including proper brain function, maintaining energy levels, and even supporting quality sleep. This is critical, because sleep is one of the most important immunity-supporting tools we have: 7-8 hours of quality sleep promotes a favorable environment for immune cell function, and lack of sleep can increase your susceptibility to viral infections.  We’re therefore including both serum magnesium and red blood cell magnesium in the InsideTracker Immunity panel because optimizing your magnesium levels can help ensure quality sleep and proper recovery, ultimately leading to increased immunity support.


How to get and use the InsideTracker Ultimate Plan

While you might have had all or some of these markers tested in the past, it’s important to avoid relying on old test results when assessing your health and immunity status in such an important time. These biomarkers are very dynamic, and outdated results likely won't reflect the current state of your immune system. 

So how can you get these immune-focused insights? You'll then have to schedule a new blood draw (you can visit this page to check current availability by state) to get a snapshot of your current immune system. 

Once you get your results back, it’s time to put them into action! When creating your Action Plan on your InsideTracker dashboard, select the “Immunity” goal. This will ensure that the personalized and science-backed recommendations you get prioritize the biomarkers that most heavily affect your immune system.



Jimmy Kennedy, CF-L1
      • Jimmy is a Senior Scientist and Science Marketing Liaison at InsideTracker. In the final stages of his PhD in biochemistry, he has researched genetics' influence on immune response to infectious diseases and has a strong passion for translating science to better people’s health and wellness. Jimmy is a lifelong athlete, having played competitive hockey and more recently competing in CrossFit where he teaches the importance of exercise and movement in his spare time as a CrossFit Level 1 certified coach.

Reedy Headshot (3)Julia Reedy, MNSP
      • Julia is a Written Content Strategist & Editor at InsideTracker. She loves to use her experience in cutting-edge nutrition research and writing to spin complex health and nutrition topics into clear, approachable info everyone can relate to. As an inquisitive food shopper, she's constantly reading ingredient lists—and leaving shelves of backward products in her wake.

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