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wow… wellnessfx makes some really bold and, i think, potentially misleading claims. so much so that i’m writing this unfortunately long, awkward post with very few jokes in it.
the idea that more information with regards to these biomarkers, is always a good idea, is pretty flawed.. i know many of yall know a ton more about this than i do, but i’m going to share my thoughts anyway..
There are several tests that you dont get, labs you dont chase and results that you dont react to because we dont know enough about what they mean or if they mean anything at all.. And sometimes the interventions out there are more dangerous than the potential condition. PSA is a great example. For an asymptomatic 75 year old man, what do you do with an elevated PSA? The sensitivity and specificity of the test arent great.. so do you follow it up with additional testing and a biopsy -which is in itself not without risk? and then what do you do if you find a cancer which is very likely not aggressive? do you treat it? i’d argue that youd have been better off never getting that PSA level in the first place – better for both the individual and the healthcare system as a whole. 75+ labs, especially in the absence of symptoms, magnifies this problem. lets say you’re feeling completely fine and your wellnessfx profile comes back with a slightly elevated alk phos (normal range is something like 20-140.. huge range). now you know that there is maybe something going on with your liver or a bone.. any bone..or you’re pregnant, hyperthyroid, have an infection, secondary hyperparathyroidism, or cancer. I would say thats not the most valuable information – good for making you crazy/potentially prompting a more extensive workup than is likely necessary.
i think the great thing about this is that it makes people more involved in their own healthcare.. always a good thing. and maybe someone will pick up some terrible cancer in an early stage that they mightve missed otherwise. everyone should ask questions, look at their charts, understand whats going on with their bodies, and be more proactive with regards to their health. however, few of these lab values are diagnostic and many of these ranges/goal numbers are fairly arbitrary. Several of them also change all the time, for a multitude of reasons, and everyones “normal” is different. i also cant understand why having these labs done with wellnessfx would be any better than having them done at your doctors office..(unless you really hate money?). the idea that someone would recommend changes or interventions based primarily on lab values is, in my opinion, a potentially dangerous one.
all that said, i’ll probably email them in the next couple of years bc it does seem like a pretty excellent way to make some cash
I’m glad someone else took the time to read/watch this article… It immediately reminded me of http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9hEa8LKG4c for those of you that used to watch the series Scrubs…
I agree. One of my major goals for the gym as it pertains to the general health of our athletes is to have you to be more involved and understand what/how things work in the human body. Whether it simply be nutrition, physical conditioning or rest… understanding and determining exactly what is needed by the human body is of potential grave importance.
I understand your point of view that indiscriminate testing of many possibly dependent/independent can lead to classic data overload and likely lead down the road of overprescription and inaccurate diagnosis.
But on the other hand, we have a good idea that nutrition is crucial to your general health and it is even more important for a wannabe weekend athlete. It would be wonderful to quantify if our eating lifestyle over a certain period of time has improved some body metrics that correlates with stamina, strength, etc. Every person seems to have their own approach and they feel that this works for them but besides the subjective metric, “I feel better…”, I would think that there has to be an objective means to evaluate different eating lifestyles and how that affects performance. Standard metrics like body weight, BMI, etc. just do not provide enough information.
That is why this WellnessFX service seems slightly appealing because, on the surface, it aims to filter out the noise and give you the true signal (sorry I slipped into acoustics lingo). It actually reminded me of an article I read about Dwayne Wade and his visit to Gatorade Sports Science Institute. http://espn.go.com/nba/truehoop/miamiheat/story/_/id/7188674/dwyane-wade-miami-heat-seeks-edge-via-full-battery-tests-gatorade-lab
Wade went through a battery of tests to find out how he could improve his performance on the court. The Institute’s suggestions for Wade probably won’t apply to the average cat because minor changes to his diet have more appreciable effects at his elite level compared to the average YMCA baller (ie. me). However, he said that their suggestions made a difference and if someone asks why, he could point to a report and say because of X (or Y-Z).
And so wouldn’t it be cool to go through a similar process and have an objective, pseudo-scientific reason about your eating lifestyle and its effect on your health and everyday physical performance? I find that possibility very enticing! Just saying!
kevin, hi! thats the problem with this.. its all noise and not at all like what they are doing at the sports science institute. My initial reaction to clicking that link was that this is not the most ethical company in the world. it really is very much like selling full body CT scans.
if any of the results you get from a random, one time blood test are meaningful, it probably means one of two things.. 1. you actually have a medical problem that needs to be addressed by a professional or 2. its a lab error.
there just isnt any evidence that these labs are meaningful in this sort of context/the way this is being marketed. we dont know “optimal levels” for lots of these values as they correlate to physical performance.. and if those optimal values do exist, they are different for everyone. Things like cholesterol will respond to and reflect diet.. but the other things they are looking at like electrolytes, a liver panel and inflammatory markers won’t give you meaningful information regarding your diet or performance (the cases they present are pretty ridiculous). the gatorade sports science institute actually looks at how your body works during exercise by looking at labs and doing crazy tests and things WHILE you exercise/are hooked up to all sorts of monitors..and they still dont know if they are learning anything meaningful. this is sooo much less than what they are doing there. its literally just labs, anytime during the day, followed up by a few phone calls..
anyway – i’m sorry for this poorly put together response! and if you’re ever tempted to spend 600 dollars for someone to tell you that your blood looks like the blood of a champion, please contact me first! i’ll only charge you $300 .. what a deal! you might also have to bring your own blood bucket.. i’m not very good at getting it in those little tubes
I’ve really enjoyed reading this discussion … I think it’s a necessary one.
There’s the GOOD => programs attempting to increase awareness such that athletes can benefit from evaluating their health on a more holistic level (exercise, nutrition, rest, recovery, etc.), rather than what they see in a mirror.
There’s the CONFLICT => overlapping objectives of making money and providing (potentially misleading or not-so-important) data, to an athlete community that may either be 1.) uninformed, and/or 2.) hyper-sensitive to minor data points (the “Scrubs” theory).
From Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point”:
“We all want to believe that the key to making an impact on someone lies with the inherent quality of the ideas we present. However, there is a simple way to package information that, under the right context, can become irresistible.”
To me, the WellnessFX concept is marketing very effectively to a specific audience. They know that many crossfitters will do whatever it takes to improve their performance. Build a product that is convenient, “eliminates the guesswork”, and is backed by respected experts (KStar). It isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, well-packaged product targeting crossfit athletes.
So – the GOOD – maybe WFX gets more athletes focused on what really makes their body, performance and recovery tick?
My QUESTION – is the high price point worth the “expert” analysis, convenience, and potential performance / health improvement? I think that’s debatable. I can’t claim to be well-informed, but I know enough that I can spend $25-50 to get periodic blood panels taken, share the results with my doctor, and track my own performance and nutrition. As Dr. Cordain shared (and is often true in nature), the difference between an 80% solution and attempting 100% is usually minimal.
PS: I think this topic has generated the highest # of words per post ever – PR!!!
I love your revulsion to this type of blood testing and it seems that any mention of WellnessRX or the like prompts an immediate response of “Snake oil!” from your mouth.
But trust me, there is a sizeable and, I think, burgeoning market for people looking for objective means to evaluate the effects of their diet and lifestyle on their health and athletic performance. Check out this article on a community of gym rats, geeks, and whoever that monitor various body metrics (http://www.technologyreview.com/featured-story/424390/the-measured-life/). Professional sports teams pay big money to figure how to not only physically optimize their athletes performance but also mentally and emotionally (see http://www.sloansportsconference.com/?p=5479). This effort goes hand in hand with the profusion of sports analytics and finding other metrics to more accurately evaluate a player’s performance on the field (ie plus/minus, offensive efficiency per 100 possessions, DVOA…i could go on).
And so maybe blood work is not the most objective means to evaluate a players performance but the scientists at the Gatorade Institute are researching ways to better understand, like you said, how the body works during exercise and try to improve an athlete’s performance while exercising…which is exactly the point of our discussion and crux of my argument.
Is there a way to objectively evaluate the effect of what I am eating on my strenuous exercise activities (ie. basketball, crossfit)? I know that there has to be a correlation because eating BBW wings & a couple of Sam Adams beer before Crossfit Open Wod 12.3 was not good for me. Ok so tell me specifically why?!
From your comments, and I hope I am reading this right, you feel that this endeavor is a pointless task and an utter waste of money. I, on the other hand, am a bit more inquisitive and prefer not to throw the baby out with bath water. Just saying!
haha.. how do you think i got these dimples? mouth full of snake oil!
but you’re very right – i am really not a fan and i think its all about marketing to the obsessed gym goers out there with a big chunk of disposable income and a serious desire to move their names to the top of white boards with the newest shoes, etc.. (the market that i believe anthony was referencing)..
i’ll stop subjecting the website to my ramblings (sorry john!) but i’ll probably email you when i get a moment to compose coherent thoughts and i’m happy to chat next time i run into you..
No apologies needed! I’m just glad somebody gets something out my article postings. I like to share with you all that I find interesting as it relates to our health and physical fitness, for the good and bad.
Keep posting when you find something you like or dislike, it’s a very healthy discussion forum.