Tag Archives: blood testing

Unlocking the Answers in Your Blood



Last week, together with our friends from InsideTracker, we ran a short contest to see what kind of experiments and tracking projects could be supported by having access to InsideTracker’s Ultimate Panel biomarker tests. And wow, the response was amazing.

We received so many great entries from the community. From individuals wanting to understand how their training and activity affect their hormones, to people just wanting help figuring out how chronic conditions are affecting them. It was hard to choose just two winners, so thanks to the generosity of the team over at InsideTracker we were able to choose three!

Congratulations to Dana Greenfield, Mary Eggers, and Felipe Gerhard! We’ll be doing more in-depth follow-ups with each of the winners here on the blog soon, but until then here are the great experiments and projects they proposed:

  • Dana Greenfield - “I want to learn if certain foods I eat –such as spearmint tea, or omega-3 supplements–have actual effects on free testosterone or other altered biomarkers associated with my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome diagnosis…”
  • Mary Eggers - “I’ve been a triathlete for 20 years. Multiple Ironman races and and high volumes of training have left me with anemia, high levels of cortisol and some other issues. In August after age group nationals I’m going to switch my focus to swimming, with the goal of competing at USMS nationals. When I return, what will happen then? I am also switching from a paleo based diet to plant powered for this journey. What will that effect? This would be a fantastic chance to properly measure change…”
  • Felipe Gerhard - “I want to study how a diet based only on Soylent will affect my overall health, hormones, and energy levels. How will I do it? I will switch to an almost exclusive Soylent diet for at least two months with one cheat day per week (~85% caloric intake from Soylent). One InsideTracker Ultimate Panel will be performed in the beginning to establish baseline value and a second one towards the end, 6-8 weeks into the diet. During the experiment, I will supplement with creatine, vitamin D, and any additional supplements recommended by InsideTracker after the first blood panel. I will continue ongoing tracking of basic QS stats such as body weight, body fat percentage, Fitbit data, daily and weekly habits, and sleep. I will start to track compliance with the diet and my energy levels through a subjective rating scale. What will I learn? Changing to Soylent as an almost exclusive source of food is a radical change in diet (#ForgetNormal). Though there are anecdotal long-term reports of people switching to Soylent, these reports are typically not accompanied with such an extensive blood panel that is offered by InsideTracker. In addition, there have been discussions around potential negative effects on hormonal levels. Therefore, tests for Testosterone, DHEAS, Cortisol, and other hormones included in the Ultimate Panel will be a crucial component of this experiment. I am personally interested in improving my sleep and energy levels and hope to see a correlation not just with the change of diet, but potentially also with the range of biomarkers that InsideTracker provides…”

Want to learn more about InsideTracker and what you can learn from blood and biomarker tests? Come see them in person at our QS15 Expo! Tickets are now on sale and readers of the blog get a special $10 discount! Register today!

Posted in Conference, QS15 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Forget Normal: A QS + InsideTracker Challenge


Most people think of blood tests as medical procedures ordered by a doctor, but in the Quantified Self community we’ve seen many fascinating self-experiments using biomarker panels to answer personal questions about sleep, stress, mood, exercise, and more. Thanks to our long time friends and QS sponsors InsideTracker, we’re inviting you to take part in an exciting challenge to develop new ideas and questions about what we can learn from unlocking the information stored in our blood.

Participating in the challenge is easy. All you have to do is propose your own self-experiments using InsideTracker’s extensive biomarker analysis capabilities.  Use this form to tell us what you want to learn about yourself and why your question is important to you.  We’ll select two ideas that we think will be especially meaningful for everybody to learn from.  The winning ideas will receive two free Ultimate Panels (valued at $499 each) to support their project, and be asked to present their ideas and initial data virtually or in-person at the QS15 Conference & Exposition. All entrants, whether selected as winners or not, will receive a discount on InsideTracker, and a $100 discount on QS Conference registration. We’ll be accepting entries until May 30th, so act fast!

Enter Now!


Not sure where to start? Here’s a great example from our friend and QS Seattle community member, Mark Drangsholt:

We’re sure that you have some great ideas for what you could do with access to the answers in you blood. Share your ideas with us and the Quantified Self community on Twitter using #UnlockBlood. We’d love to see how you want to learn!

Want to learn more about InsideTracker? Read this great ToolmakerTalk with Gil Blander, founder and chief science officer. 

Want to meet the folks behind InsideTracker in person? Come to our QS15 Expo, where you can hear more from Gil and the InsideTracker team! Quantified Self website readers get a $10 Discount on tickets so act fast. Register now !

Posted in Conference, QS15 | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What We Are Reading


A short list this week. Enjoy!


How Networks Bring Down Experts by Max Borders. Max gets double points for this great piece on using networks and peer-to-peer learning for developing personal expertise. Loved the reference to the writing of Michael Polanyi.

Mark Cuban on Blood Testing- Drawing the Wrong Conclusion or a Step in the Right Direction? by Bruce Williams. A nice piece by Dr. Williams about the recent controversy over patient generated blood testing brought on by Mark Cuban.

Defining a New Indicator of Cardiovascular Endurance and Fitness by Marco Altini. Marco has been exploring fitness and heart rate variability detection using iOS applications. Recently he’s been using activity and HRV to examine a new method for determining fitness level. As per usual, Marco wrote an amazing and in-depth report using his own data to showcase what he’s learning from his new application.

Quantified Self: A Data Visualization by Joyce Chow, Kinan A, and Adam S. Three students explored data visualization and self-tracking through logging diet and activity.

Access Links

Americans’ Views on Open Government Data
Thank you for sharing

From the Forum

I wrote an open-source app to track everything. It draws nice charts
Continuing posts on visualizing my weight workout data


Posted in What We're Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Aaron Rowe on Daily Lipids Tracking

Aaron Rowe is a biochemist and researcher. When he realized that his lifestyle was leading him towards a unhealthy future he designed and tested an intervention to lower his cholesterol through nutritional supplements. In this talk, filmed at the Bay Area QS Meetup Group, Aaron describes his testing methods and his results from testing for 12 consecutive days.

Aaron cites a 1939 study of daily cholesterol variation as inspiration for this project. If you’re interested you can find that paper here.

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment