By this point, you’ve probably seen athletes of all styles walking around with a large black dot on the back of their arm. It’s a wearable – actually a sensor – called Levels that helps you understand how your body uses carbohydrates (more on that below).
There used to be special health tests only on the orders of a doctor – now you can send in blood, saliva, and urine tests without ever putting on pants. This shift from outpatient to in-house testing is due to advances in sample collection. Whether you send in your samples or go to Quest Diagnostics, the science is basically the same, says Kamal Obbad, co-founder and CEO of Nebula Genomics.
The problem lies in the interpretation of the results. If your doctor orders a laboratory test, he will know your history and will review your data with that information in mind. But when an algorithm spits out recommendations in an app (under the supervision of a doctor you’ve never met before) “be careful about considering this informational diagnosis”. Translation: Don’t make medical decisions based on a home test. “If possible, talk to an expert about your results.”
You can use these at home tests to optimize your diet and fitness so you can feel better and function better.
Image used with permission
1st stages: Best for optimizing your diet
Glucose – which comes from carbohydrates – is the fastest and most accessible form of fuel for your body. Go into a workout without enough in your system and you will likely bonk. This bio-wearable uses a small sensor (attached to the upper arm) to monitor blood sugar levels 24/7 for two weeks. Manually log workouts and meals through the app and see live feedback on how they affect your blood sugar so you can adjust your habits to feel comfortable and do your best.
[$399 for one month; levelshealth.com]
Inside tracker Image used with permission
2. Inside Tracker: Best for fitness and performance insights
This blood test (go to a lab or have a technician come to your home) analyzes up to 43 biomarkers involved in energy, metabolism, strength, and endurance. Take the DNA test to see how 261 genetic markers affect your athletic potential. From there, the app marks problem areas and delivers custom interventions – “take a serving of probiotics a day” or “aim for three 20-minute HIIT workouts a week” – that can help you level up.
[From $179; insidetracker.com]
Everlywell testosterone test Image used with permission
3. Everlywell: Best for testosterone
Getting the right amount of testosterone flowing through you can make all the difference between feeling like a stallion or a gloomy zoo-lion. High or low T can lead to symptoms like fatigue, depression, and decreased muscle mass as it affects metabolism, sex drive, muscle production, and fat loss. Spit in a tube, send your sample to the certified laboratory, and an independent board-certified doctor in your state will assess whether your level is normal. If not, read the next steps in your own document.
Rootine Image used with permission
4. Rootine: Best when there is a lack of nutrients
Complete a 10-minute online quiz about your health and fitness habits, then take a DNA or blood test at home (or upload data from ancestry.com or 23andMe). Rootine’s medical genetics lab will analyze 52 genetic markers that have been studied in studies to have an impact on how your body processes nutrients. Based on your genetic needs, the company puts together a tailor-made micronutrient formula with up to 18 vitamins and minerals. Remember, dietary supplements should not be used in place of a healthy diet.
[$69 per month for 3 months; rootine.co]
5. Thorne: Best for fertility
Reproductive hormones that run out of control can cause unexplained weight gain, sleep problems, mood swings, fatigue, and more – problems that affect people beyond those who are trying to get pregnant. Send in your saliva swab and blood test in the mail and certified labs analyze hormone levels, thyroid function and stress responses to create a personalized health plan based on your results (think of tips like “focus on strength training in the morning” or “choose.” You a Mediterranean diet ”). Be careful with supplement recommendations; Since these are not regulated by the state, you should always discuss them with your doctor.
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