Biomarkers and Why They Matter for Your Health
Everyone undergoes blood testing as part of their annual physical. Generic blood work measures your cholesterol levels, red and white blood cell counts, electrolytes and blood sugar. But it doesn’t give in depth biomarker data or explain how certain nutrients are key to your long-term health.
What you might not realize is that blood testing can provide this type of information. By precisely measuring certain biomarkers –– like the levels of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids in your blood –– you can identify deficiencies of these nutrients, improve them to optimize your health.
Below, we explain why this test is important and how the insights that it provides can impact your nutrition, aging process, and overall health.
What are Biomarkers?
Biomarkers measure blood levels of nutrients or reflect biological processes like inflammation in your body. There are physiological biomarkers, like blood pressure and body mass index (BMI), and molecular biomarkers that measure vitamins, minerals, and the amount of other important compounds in your body.
The Ahara nutritional biomarkers panel measures your body’s use of two specific things:
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
These nutrients contribute to most crucial bodily functions, optimizing their levels through food and personalized supplements can greatly improve your health.
How Understanding Your Biomarkers Can Improve Your Health
The nutritional biomarkers that we test for are essential to various bodily processes. For example, Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in your body which is critical for optimal health. They have been shown to play an important role in vision and joint health, skin aging, as well as brain and heart health..
Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough vitamin D or omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. Vitamin D is produced in your skin when you spend time in the sun, but many people don’t produce enough due to factors like age, skin tone, and where you live. Plus certain health conditions, being overweight, and even certain medications can lower blood levels of vitamin D. Plus, there are genetic factors that can increase your vitamin D requirements. Omega-3 fatty acids come from fatty fish like salmon and the vast majority of people don’t get enough in their diet or take the right supplement. And genetics plays a role in Omega-3 levels too.As a result, you might be deficient in one or more areas, even if you eat well, spend time in sun,l or take nutritional supplements.
These biomarker deficiencies don’t always cause problems right away. But over time, they increase your risk of chronic health problems like heart disease and dementia, impair the functioning of your immune system, and speed up aging through chronic inflammation and other biological processes .
Measuring Biomarkers: The Omega-3 Index
To better explain why biomarker testing matters, let’s focus on the omega-3 index test. This portion of the nutritional biomarkers panel focuses on the levels of two omega-3 fatty acids (or healthy fats) in your blood –– eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Your test results are given in a percentage. An omega-3 index of 8% or greater is the best possible result. But the global average is around 6% or below. In America, that number is often lower (about 4%) which is considered the highest risk zone.
Since omega-3 levels have been linked to heart and brain health, skin health and longevity, staying at or above 8% is essential for optimizing your health. Knowing your biomarker levels is an important first step towards reducing your risk of chronic disease and aging healthfully.
Establishing Your Biomarker Baseline
Everyone’s body uses nutrients differently. Various factors contribute to this process, including age, activity level, gender, weight, and genetics. This is why biomarker testing is so important!
In short, it provides a foundation for better nutrition. Measuring your current biomarker levels helps us develop a personalized diet and supplement plan to help you reach the optimal targets. This empowers you to take concrete steps that can improve your health.
What To Expect With Your Test Results
After we process your nutritional biomarkers test and provide results, we plug them into our patent-pending, AI-enabled algorithm. The algorithm analyzes:
- Your results from the nutritional biomarkers panel
- Your results from the epigenetics and nutrigenetics panel
- Your Ahara Health Questionnaire responses
We use this information to develop a Precise Nutrition Plan, featuring foods and supplements that can help optimize your vitamin D omega-3 blood levels. At Ahara, we focus on food first, but we recommend supplements as needed and have advanced algorithms to truly personalize your dose of these key nutrients.
After 3 months, we retest your levels to make sure that they are within the optimal range. We test vitamin D twice a year to ensure that we are factoring in the variability in sun exposure throughout the year, especially if you live in more Northern latitudes. The follow up testing is essential and helps us personalize and optimize your nutrition plan far beyond what your doctor and most dieticians are able to do.
How to Take the Ahara’s Biomarker Test
The Ahara biomarkers panel is an at-home finger-prick test. After becoming a Preferred or Premium member, you’re mailed a kit that contains:
- Collection card or laboratory test tube
- Return shipping envelope
Taking a finger-prick blood test is not painful, and much easier than you might think. You simply read the included instructions carefully. Then, prick your index finger with one of the sterile lancets and place a few drops of blood in the designated spots on the collection card or inside the laboratory test tube.
Place the completed collection card or sealed laboratory test tube inside the return shipping envelope and place it in the mail. You will be notified by email and SMS when your test results, and recommendations for food and supplements, are available in your Ahara My Data dashboard.
Find out your biomarker baseline today by signing up for Ahara’s Preferred Plan