Local Service May Promote Health and Longevity for Users
We are all going to get older—if we’re lucky—but Ponce de Leon was definitely on to something when he went searching for the Fountain of Youth. Little did he know that centuries later, there would be a multi-billion dollar anti-aging industry. It seems everyone is looking for that magic pill. Newsflash: There isn’t one. But researchers are still trying.
Enter InsideTracker, the brainchild of local biologist Gil Blander.
The InsideTracker platform—launched by the eponymous Cambridge-based company in 2009—is designed to do just that by providing users with ultra-personalized recommendations to enhance health and promote longevity. The recommendations, which include everything from nutrition and exercise plans to lifestyle changes, stem from a detailed analysis of a user’s bloodwork.
Developed with the help of scientists from MIT, Harvard, and Tufts, the Web-based service relies on a unique algorithm to assess important “blood biomarkers” that have known correlations to health and wellness. Blander, an expert in aging research, says that the inspiration for InsideTracker came, in part, from his observation that people don’t take care of themselves as well as they take care of their cars. He points out that many people take their cars to mechanics for maintenance every few thousand miles, yet fail to visit their doctors for their own routine check-ups. “Nobody is looking at us every 5,000 miles to diagnose what is happening inside our bodies and give us information in order to maintain ourselves for another 5,000 miles,” he says.
InsideTracker, Blander suggests, fills that void. The service detects areas of weakness in biomarkers such as glucose and vitamin D levels, and generates recommendations meant to help users restore those biomarkers to what Blander refers to as the”optimal zones,” which are different for everyone. Blander says that all InsideTracker recommendations are based on scientific research, which the company shares with users so they can make informed decisions about which recommendations to follow.
Although the pilot program was tested by professional athletes, InsideTracker can be used by any healthy member of the general population. Catering to the masses seems especially important to Blander, who says he gave up aspirations of a career in academia to found his own company.
“At an early age I was fascinated by the aging process, so I decided to try to improve the quality of life for myself and all human kind. That’s the reason I decided to study biology,” Blander says. “But when I arrived in Boston, I started to understand that I can contribute much more to humanity if I start my own company than [if I become a] professor in a lab and publish a paper once a year that maybe five people will read.”
It is in this spirit that Blander and his colleagues have launched InnerAge, a new InsideTracker service designed to lower a person’s physiological age by as many as 15 years. The company is also working on a new service that will focus exclusively on women’s health. Blander says that he expects this new product to be available within the next few months.