Dr. Caroline Leaf – Words like “health”, “wellbeing” and “longevity” are often thrown around, but what do they actually mean, and what do they mean for you? In this podcast (episode #258) and blog, I speak with Dr. Gil Blander, director, founder and chief scientist at InsideTracker, about how InsideTracker can improve your mental and physical health, my own experience with InsideTracker, how to not become too stressed or obsessed with biohacking, data and numbers and still enjoy good health, how thinking affects your health and metabolism, and how to proactively have a long and quality-filled life!
At a young age, Dr. Blander was stunned by the early death of a family member. His commitment to advance the field of human longevity was made there and then. Working alongside some of the world leaders in aging research, such as MIT biologist Dr. Leonard Guarente and Harvard geneticist Dr. David Sinclair, he came up with the idea for an automated, algorithm-based personalized nutrition and lifestyle platform, founding InsideTracker to help people from all walks of life live better, longer and happier lives.
At InsideTracker, they believe the most impactful science and technology products result from constant learning and data. They create evidence-based solutions that are simple, clear, and actionable, based on your unique biology and experiences. They cut through the “noise” by analyzing your blood, your DNA, your lifestyle and nutrition habits, and tell you how to live, look, age, and perform better for you.
InsideTracker products have already helped thousands of people optimize their health by improving their bodies from the inside out, using personalized recommendations for nutrition, supplements, and lifestyle. They are optimizing everyone, from athletes to busy professionals and stressed-out parents!
As Dr. Blander notes, personalized health choices based on data, which is at the heart of what InsideTracker does, is one of the most powerful weapons for fighting chronic disease, improving mental health, and increasing longevity. Your blood, DNA and habits are a goldmine of data. They’re a snapshot of your body in time; they tell you what’s going right, what’s not. They give you a window into how your brain and body are functioning. And the team at InsideTracker can tell you how to use this data to improve, including what to eat, how to exercise, what your body needs and more!
This is important for both our mental and physical health. We can use biological markers like blood glucose levels, white blood cell counts (which is one marker of our inflammatory response to stress or a lack of quality sleep) and cortisol levels to examine how these impact our overall cognition and mental health, and what we can do to improve our stress resilience, sleep, clarity of thought and self-regulation. We can even use this data to start acting to prevent or heal inflammatory, age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s!
Of course, there can be downsides to “biohacking” our health in this way. Although there are many health benefits to tracking our biomarkers, we need to be careful that we don’t become obsessed with our health data and stress about “biohacking” our life, especially if we are not trained to read or understand the results. Take the data and make sense of it with the help of a professional (like the highly-qualified team at InsideTracker), but don’t overload yourself with data and become obsessed with it, which can negatively impact your overall mental and physical health!
We need to recognize that platforms like InsideTracker are guides, not the whole picture of everything that is going on all the time. Using these health guides to track your biomarkers in real time can be incredibly empowering—you don’t have to just follow a trend and hope it works for you, as Dr. Blander notes. You can see, over time, how your eating habits, exercise habits and your other lifestyle choices affect your health. Tracking your health using platforms like InsideTracker helps you understand what is going on in your brain and body, which permits you to make sustainable changes and improve your overall health and longevity. It puts the quality of your life in your hands!