Hi, I am new to quantified self. I followed Seth Roberts’ blog a bit and he had interesting ideas. I’m a 37 year old man, and I want to figure out what I should track and what is the acceptable range, via physical/blood work. My preference is getting blood drawn from the local centers and analyzing the data myself. In the past I have tried using doctors but they tracked LDL, HDL etc,…and I felt those weren’t important indicators…Also if this is too big to chew for an amateur, are there any sites that can help me figure out my blood work? I think someone like Tim Ferriss has a pretty good idea on what to track— though I don’t know what he exactly tracks. best,jeff
Tim Ferriss is kind of a hack… about 2/3rds of his last book wasn’t backed by science and was mostly just fairy tales to drive book sales.
I get regular blood work every six months. Get a CBC, free testosterone, vitamin D, ferritin, lipid panel. Don’t go too crazy. Some of the tests can get expensive. I think my panel is $1200 but insurance covers most.
If you are trying to establish a baseline of markers, I agree with the above but if it’s been more than a year since your last round of bloodwork you may want to include additional tests like thyroid TSH to make sure all is well. You could start off using a service like InsideTracker or WellnessFX for $150-$300 (there’s a link on my blog for 10% off InsideTracker), and if anything looks out of whack you can order up additional tests. But if you are looking to have it covered by insurance, you’ll need to have you doctor order the tests for you, then go to a lab.
That being said, while doing self-analysis and having a personal understanding of your markers/values/reference ranges is great, it’s still highly advisable to find a good functional medicine doctor to work with, who is experienced in diagnosing possible issues like thyroid/adrenals, chronic infections, etc. and can order additional tests if needed.
I’ll be talking tomorrow night about InsideTracker (review and 15% discount on my page) at the QS San Francisco meetup.
I still think there is much work to be done with retail blood works both pre and post test. Analysing the data yourself (without expertise) is a dangerous game. Equally, trying to match tests to a hypothesis is pretty difficult given bio individuality.
That said, InsideTracker or WellnessFX, as Bob notes, are great places to start from a non-diagnostic point of view. We’re working on direct to consumer home blood work solutions here at 20Signals too.