How precise could wellness tracking be for optimal health?

Precision wellness tracking is becoming easier to do at home. What the Future asked InsideTracker's Gil Blander how precise, personalized health insights can improve our future wellness.

How precise could wellness tracking be for optimal health?
The author(s)
  • Kate MacArthur Managing Editor of What the Future
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What the Future: Wellness
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InsideTracker is a 12-year-old company that uses blood and DNA samples and fitness tracker data to help people optimize their health, wellness and athletic performance. Clients follow 90-day intervention plans with recommendations for food, supplements, exercise and other lifestyle changes and results tracking. What the Future asked Gil Blander, cofounder and chief scientific officer, how getting precise, personalized health insights can make a difference in our future wellness.

Kate MacArthur: What’s the advantage of doing this kind of program?

Gil Blander: All the recommendations are based on science. We are telling you to eat this food or to do this exercise or to take this supplement based on the data that we extract from peer-reviewed, scientific publications. We are combining blood, DNA and the fitness tracker together. We’re looking at 43 blood biomarkers, so we are really giving you a holistic picture.

MacArthur: Your biomarker targets use more narrow ranges than the “normal” medical ranges for blood tests. How much better is that going to make your longevity or your health?

Blander: Because our optimal zone is always narrower than the normal zone, if we are trying to help you to stay in the optimal zone, there is a better chance for you not to get outside of the normal zone. So, basically, what we are trying to do is prevention.

MacArthur: You’re not only drawing blood, but doing DNA tests, too. Do you see a point where you’ll be able to do this in less intrusive ways?

Blander: I think that day will come. Apple is working on having a continuous glucose monitor inside the Apple watch. In the future, maybe you’ll have a machine at your house that can prick your finger and run 12 to 15 biomarkers in two minutes. It’ll go to our server, and we’ll tell you, “OK, today you shouldn't exercise. You should eat that, and at 1 p.m., you should take a nap for half an hour.”

MacArthur: How much more life do you think we can build into our lifespan by optimizing?

Blander: Lifespan is basically how long you live from the moment that you have been born to the moment that you die. Health span is how long you live in a good condition. We know already that the lifespan was significantly increased in the last century, so I don’t see a problem to get to the highest limit. We have seen a French woman who lived to 122. Can everyone get to that? No, it’s a lot about genetics. I always look at genetics like the cards when you go to the casino in Las Vegas. You have the cards that you have that we cannot change, but let's give you ammunition to play the cards the best that you can in order for you to live a longer, better life.

MacArthur: For many, the meal planning and prep is a big hurdle. How do you help people with that?

Blander: The nutrition part is one of the biggest hurdles or mountains that we will need to climb in in the next few decades. We have more than 8,000 different kind of foods available for us, and if you look at the average American on an average week, we consume maybe 20 of those.

Part of what we are trying to do is educate you about other kinds of food. Then we are also giving you some recommendations on how to cook it with recipes and other things. What I’m working on right now is a nutrition solution inside your pocket that will give you, all the time, recommendations when you need them.

MacArthur: How would that work?

Blander: It’s very similar to the Waze navigation system. We are working to develop a Waze for health, wellness and performance. We’re building something that will either push or pull information from you, and all the time, be your guardian angel for health.

MacArthur: One tension we find is people want to get insights from providers, but they’re really concerned about protecting their data. How do you see this changing in the future?

Blander: The way that the consumer needs to look at that is the value versus cost. The value for you to live another five years, let’s say in a good condition, in my opinion is greater than the cost that someone might know the level of your cortisone.

The author(s)
  • Kate MacArthur Managing Editor of What the Future