Q and A: Kenny Westerman, PhD - Insight on Biomarker Data and Personalized Nutrition


This Q and A with Kenny Westerman, PhD features insight on InsideTracker's a biomarker and personalized nutrition platform. The insight is based off of findings from a recent peer reviewed paper, titled "Longitudinal analysis of biomarker data from a personalized nutrition platform in healthy subjects". The bottom-line is the data shows that biomarker and personalized nutrition works.

1. What was the most surprising learning/finding from the study?

We made a couple of interesting observations from the data presented in the study:One was about the complexity of the relationship between some biomarkers and health -- for example, iron deficiency is known to be problematic and can be high in certain populations, but we also saw positive correlations between markers of iron and detrimental metabolic markers like cholesterol. So, our data speak to the fact that there is so much more to find out about what goes on inside our bodies.

Another was the fact that, apart from the effects of specific interventions, there was a trend towards general improvement in biomarkers for people who chose more interventions overall. We see this as an indicator that increased engagement with the platform can have direct implications for success in behavior change and health improvement.

2. How do you find that the data supports routine bio-marker testing to support training/nutrition for athletes and others?

We show results in the publication for differences between first and last tests, but many of those users had multiple tests in between and may have reached those improvements only through consistent tracking and behavior change. We also saw that individuals were typically not "all-or-nothing", but rather had only a handful of biomarkers out-of-range. This and other data we have analyzed suggest that even generally healthy athletes often have a few biomarkers that are problematic, and in fact, that there are specific biomarkers that are more likely to be unoptimized for athletes.

3. The study found that biomarkers improved/trended towards normalcy - what do you think helped drive that change?

One of the difficulties in our data analysis for the study was trying to tease apart the effect of different components of our program in affecting biomarker levels. There are multiple key possibilities, including awareness of out-of-range biomarkers, personalized recommendations to improve biomarkers that are sub-optimal for a given individual, and customizable plans that help users craft realistic plans for long-term behavior change.

4. What other education/benefits comes with using a program like Inside Tracker?

While we will provide a specific recommendation to improve sub-optimal biomarkers, the overall InsideTracker experience is filled with interesting and actionable information. While seeing recommendations to improve your iron levels, you may at the same time learn recipes, discover interesting exercises, and better understand what is going on inside your body.

5. Do you have any insight on how long someone should use a program like Inside Tracker to gain maximum benefits?

In our published analysis, we saw biomarker improvements in individuals spanning a wide range of time frames, from a few months all the way up to 5 years. However, our analysis on the available research suggests that for optimal results, biomarkers should be measured every 3 months or so for multiple sessions in a row, to be able to see not just a snapshot of your biology but how your action plan is working over time.

For more on Inside Tracker, check out their Website: https://www.insidetracker.com/