This review is written with the intent to be as unbiased as possible. However, it represents the opinion of an individual reviewer and is therefore subjective. Furthermore, at Nebula Genomics we seek to educate the public about the benefits of Whole Genome Sequencing. Information about our Whole Genome Sequencing DNA test is therefore incorporated into the review.
January 27, 2021
Table of Contents
- 7 Facts about our InsideTracker Review
- InsideTracker Introduction
- InsideTracker Science: The analysis of blood biomarkers
- InsideTracker Review
- InsideTracker Costs Review
- InsideTracker Reports Review
- InsideTracker Privacy Review
- InsideTracker Pros and Cons
- Nebula Genomics
7 Facts about our InsideTracker Review
- Location: Massachusetts, United States
- Products: They have eight different biomarker testing plans: The Ultimate Plan, the High Performance Plan, The Home Kit, InnerAge 2.0, DIY Plan, Vitality Plan, and GoalGetter Plan (offered in collaboration with Helix)
- Cost: $29 – $589
- Reports: For each biomarker tested, they provide results in three categories: At Risk, Needs Improvement, and Optimized. They also give examples of nutritional foods that help improve each biomarker
- Privacy: The company is fully HIPAA compliant, and they use industry standards of information protection to protect personal information disclosed on our website
- Raw Data Access: InsideTracker provides access to raw data, although their partner Helix charges $469 for DNA data access
- Complementary Data Access: Nebula 30X WGS Sequencing provides all the information you need to know about your DNA. Reading over 6,000,000 positions on your genome, this test provides 100% of the information readable from your DNA
InsideTracker is an expert health and wellness-testing company based in Massachusetts, United States. The company was founded in 2009 by a group of individuals from institutions like Harvard, MIT, and Tufts. Unlike most other health and fitness companies that focus on only one sector of health, InsideTracker covers a large breadth of health aspects.
The company’s only known partnership is with the DNA company Helix DNA. Together, they made the GoalGetter product, which is InsideTracker’s only product that uses DNA for testing general health and wellness. All other products use the biomarker testing method.
The company was founded in 2009 by Dr. Gil Blander (an expert in longevity and biometric data), who is the Chief Scientific Officer of the company to date. Although he spearheaded the project, he started it with many renowned scientists from Harvard, MIT, and Tufts. Examples include Dr. David Sinclair (a professor at Harvard Medical School), Dr. Lenny Guarente (a professor at MIT), and Dr. Jeffrey B. Blumberg (a professor at Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy).
With their SegterraX algorithm, this company gives you some of the best insightful information on personalized nutrition, and lifestyle recommendations.
InsideTracker Science: The analysis of blood biomarkers
InsideTracker mainly uses biomarkers to test for different health factors in the body. Generally, a biomarker is any characteristic of the body that you can measure. Biomarkers encompass everything from vitamins and minerals to blood pressure readings. This company tests for the presence of specific biomarkers found inside the blood which impact optimal health. Examples of some common biomarkers tested for include glucose, cholesterol, and cortisol, Vitamin B12. They judge the optimal biomarker range based on your age, gender, ethnicity, lifestyle, and other demographic factors.
At InsideTracker, they believe the best way to know what is going on inside the body is to combine the analysis of the blood and DNA. This belief, that the combination of both will help give the most accurate personalized guidance possible, prompted a partnership with Helix DNA testing service.
They also look into other factors like your height, age, metrics, and lifestyle to determine the healthiest recommendations for you. The type of goal you want to achieve (endurance, metabolism, cardiovascular health, etc.) also plays a role in how InsideTracker streamlines your personalized recommendations.
Personal information gets entered into their data engine, the SegterraR. This engine helps to mine vast amounts of data to find people having similar metrics and lifestyle as yours. It then moves this data to the SegterraX, an algorithmic engine that produces the majority of InsideTracker’s action plans and recommendations.
It filters a combination of over 2,500 peer-reviewed scientific publications, a demographic database of over 180,000 healthy individuals, a database of over 8,000 unique foods, and the 200+ combined years of scientific experience across our team and scientific advisory board. As most of these factors listed above tend to change, the SegterraX is constantly evolving.
Due to the constant change happening in the genetic world, InsideTracker will advise you to take the test once every three months to know how your biomarkers have fared over this time. This way, you can also stay ahead of the new developments. To help you judge your progress over these intervals in real time, they compare your results to past ones if you’ve had a test with the company before.
How to take an InsideTracker test
To get any of their tests, you pick any of the plans on their website after registering as a customer and using your InsideTracker login. You need to provide some personal information such as your name, email, and other contact information.
After picking a plan, you provide a blood draw. You can either take the lab test option and go to one of the 2,000 locations of the Quest Diagnostics lab all over the U.S. or pay for a mobile blood draw (costs $96). In this second option, you arrange for a phlebotomist to come to your location at your preferred time to draw your blood. If you choose the first option, the blood draw cost is already included in the plan’s price.
After drawing your blood, the next step is to fill out a questionnaire about your habits and food preferences, such as your sleep pattern and the type of exercise you do. After filling this out and submitting your InsideTracker blood test results to InsideTracker, they analyze your blood and place your test results on your dashboard on the website within a week.
While InsideTracker services are excellent, their prices tend to be high, especially for someone who plans to use the service on a recurring basis. Their all-encompassing product is the Ultimate Plan, which tests for 43 biomarkers and includes the blood work. This plan is meant for anyone concerned about their general wellbeing. The test gives recommendations based on age, gender, ethnicity, and many more. It also helps you monitor your progress after enrolling for the test and allows upload of past blood tests.
They used to offer a plan known as the Vitality Plan meant for professional athletes or those aspiring to reach that level. The plan tests for 20 blood biomarkers. However, it has been discontinued for unknown reasons.
The InnerAge 2.0 plan, which tests for biological age of the body is for anyone who wants to improve their quality of life. This test uses the biological age of your body to provide recommendations backed by peer-reviewed science publications. It tests for 14 biomarkers in women and 18 biomarkers in men. At home testing options for biological age information are available from Elysium Health and Teloyears.
For people who are only interested in knowing more about their genes, the InsideTracker DNA Kit is the best option. The kit tests your DNA for 29 wellness traits using 261 genetic markers. It tests for how your genes affected wellness factors like sleep, weight, aging genetics, sensitivities, and performance. You could also add blood testing to the DNA kit to get even more information and precise recommendations.
With the Home Kit, you can take the test all from the comfort of your home. All you need to do is to mail a blood sample to InsideTracker. They will send your reports and personalized recommendations to your dashboard. However, this tests for only 7 biomarkers.
The Essentials Plan focuses on the markers that affect the factors for essential body wellness and health such as sleep, metabolism, and energy. The plan tests for 12 biomarkers. They provide recommendations backed by scientific publications to help with your general wellness quest.
The DIY plan is the 2nd InsideTracker plan that is available internationally (alongside the Home Kit). This plan allows you to upload your existing blood test results from other companies and InsideTracker will analyze the biomarkers they test for from these results and provide recommendations. There are two types of DIY plans: Basic and Advanced. The Basic tests for up to 28 biomarkers while the Advanced tests for up to 43 biomarkers.
All these tests (except the DIY plans) include a free blood draw where you’ll go to any of the 2,000 InsideTracker-certified locations in the U.S. to get your blood drawn. However, you could also choose the option of having a certified phlebotomist come to your home for the blood draw for an additional fee.
InsideTracker Costs Review
|Basic DIY Plan||$49|
|Advanced DIY Plan||$119|
|Mobile blood draw||$96|
|Analysis of DNA results from Ancestry and 23AndMe||$29|
The prices for the InsideTracker tests are quite on the high side, therefore those who are on a budget should consider cheaper alternatives, especially if you want to take the tests on a recurring basis.
InsideTracker Reports Review
InsideTracker reports are relatively comprehensive. They divide all the biomarkers the Ultimate Plan tests into eight sections. For other plans, it picks among these categories of biomarkers.
The White Blood Cell Count is grouped under the Inflammation category. There are other categories like Strength and Endurance, Oxygen and Performance, Bone and Muscle Health (tests your calcium levels), Brain and Body (tests haemoglobin), Liver Health (tests liver function), Electrolyte and Fluid Balance.
Each biomarker under these categories has its section in which they group your level of abundance of this biomarker into three categories: At Risk, Needs Improvement, or Optimized. If your level is optimized, they suggest foods to keep it at that level and encourage you to keep on with whatever you’re doing right. If it is in any of the other two categories, they do not only suggest foods but give tips on how to improve the abundance.
Some popular ones like glucose and cholesterol are under Energy and Metabolism. Cortisol, a stress indicator, is located under the Strength and Endurance category. In a report, you can see your latest quantitative result at the top right and comparison of where your level should be on the left hand panel. A clear indication of whether your levels are within the optimal zone is included with the dietary recommendations.
If a biomarker is outside the optimal range, InsideTracker will provide additional detailed steps based on your current information and lifestyle, as is shown in this example of iron below.
The InsideTracker fitness app analyzes data from the blood, DNA, lifestyle and fitness tracking to give you readily accessible results.
InsideTracker Privacy Review
InsideTracker is fully HIPAA compliant. For DNA testing, you can opt-in for your data to be used for their scientific research, but this is not essential, and you can opt-out at any time.
While they claim not to use the personal information collected for any marketing or financial purposes, they might provide this information to data storage services and service providers and to provide products and services.
They state that they use the industry standard of protection in safeguarding their clients’ data. At Nebula, we use a combination of blockchain-type security and privacy computing to make your data inaccessible to anyone except you.
InsideTracker Pros and Cons
- Option to analyze biomarkers and DNA
- Comprehensive analysis and recommendations
- Prices can be expensive.
- The information given in the results could be overwhelming
- They charge for raw data access and upload of DNA files
- Their tests do not test for susceptibility to diseases
The bottom line: InsideTracker mainly focuses on biomarker analysis, but has recently expanded to offer DNA analysis. The focus of their DNA test is to compliment their blood test by providing insights into things like weight, sleep, aging, performance, and food sensitivities. In total, the company says that it analyzes up to 261 genetic variants for these specific health areas that it includes in its reports. While we don’t cover biomarker analysis, Nebula Genomics decodes your entire genome to provide insights into the topics covered by InsideTracker plus much, much more.
With Whole Genome Sequencing, Nebula provides the most comprehensive results for the most affordable price. Unlike other DNA testing companies like 23andMe and AncestryDNA, which only read approximately 600,000 positions (0.02%) of your DNA, or InsideTracker which only focuses on a few hundred, we read approximately 6,000,000,000 positions (100%).
Once you buy our kit, you get access to our genome exploration tools, which you can use to continuously answer new questions regarding how your genes affect health, wellness, and various other traits. Bundled in with your one-time payment for this kit is lifetime access to Nebula Explore, our weekly updated blog, which keeps you updated about the latest happenings in genetic research and provides personalized DNA reports.
|Testing Method||Blood sample (biomarkers) and cheek swab (DNA)||Saliva sample|
|Number of genetic variants tested||261 (DNA test), most tests use biomarkers instead of DNA||~ 6,000,000,000 (30X Whole Genome Sequencing)|
|Reporting||Abundance of biomarkers related to health and wellness and new DNA testing option||Genetic predispositions and updated weekly reports (learn more)|
|Data Upload options||Yes (for $29)||Yes (for free)|
|Ancestry reporting||No||Deep ancestry reporting with a full Y chromosome and mtDNA sequencing|
|Focus on Privacy||No||Yes (learn more)|
|Tools to explore data||No||Yes|
|Cost||$29 – $589||$0 – $299|
If interested in other at home health and wellness testing, InsideTracker alternatives include:
- BlueChew (at home diagnosis and prescriptions for erectile dysfunction)
- Cove Migraine (telemedicine consults and treatments for migraines)
- Everlywell (wide range of health and wellness tests)
- imaware (at home blood tests for wide range of health conditions)
- LetsGetChecked (wide range of health and wellness tests)
- LifeDNA (nine reports based on SNP analysis)
- MyLab Box (at-home STD testing)
- Paloma Health (at-home thyroid testing and consultations)
- Personalabs (over 400 lab tests taken at local labs)
- Rightangled (UK based DNA and biomarker testing)
- STDcheck.com (on-site STD testing and consultation)
For gut health:
- Biohm (gut health, including bacteria and fungi)
- DayTwo (gut health, personalized recommendations for blood glucose optimization)
- Ixcela (blood test for gut health and personalized recommendations)
- Onegevity (gut health and personalized recommendations)
- Psomagen (gut health and gene test)
- Rootine (personalized supplement and vitamins based on DNA test)
- Sun Genomics (gut microbiome testing and personalized probiotics for adults, children, and infants)
- Thryve (personalized probiotics)
- Viome (gut health and microbiome testing)
Did you like our InsideTracker review? You can read more reviews on our blog and check out our complete guide to the best DNA test kit and other home tests through links on our site.