ThreeHealth Tracks Performance and Protocols with Heads Up

ThreeHealth Tracks Performance and Protocols with Heads Up

Medically-supervised weight management clinic, ThreeHealth, Inc., takes a multifaceted approach to wellness. Focusing on the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of metabolic health and weight loss, ThreeHealth combines science and technology with personalized behavioral therapy to deliver outstanding results for a diverse array of clients.

Founded by Brad Butterfield, Brandy Wiltermuth and Marlene Sexton, ThreeHealth treats diabetes, cardiometabolic, and weight loss issues with a uniquely client-focused approach. Taking into account medical conditions, behaviors, biometrics, and goals, ThreeHealth uses state-of-the-art technology to provide sustainable metabolic health results.

ThreeHealth Weight Loss Practitioner Team

Working remotely with clients, ThreeHealth needed a comprehensive way to upload, monitor, and interpret client data. When ThreeHealth discovered Heads Up (HU), the industry-leading health tracking platform, they found the perfect solution for their clinic’s needs. HU created a custom dashboard for ThreeHealth that included a bulk upload of client data, real-time health tracking, and tools for quantifying ThreeHealth’s performance.

“The Heads Up dashboard is an incredibly powerful tool,” says Brad Butterfield of ThreeHealth. “The tracking of all this information can be extremely freeing. Maybe that sounds counterintuitive, but it works, it really works.”

If you run a health practice and are interested in a comprehensive remote data monitoring system, reach out to our New Accounts team at Heads Up here.

About ThreeHealth

Comprised of licensed medical and behavioral specialists, ThreeHealth focuses on improving metabolic health, reversing diabetes, and developing sustainable weight loss programs. ThreeHealth uses a unique combination of metabolic assessment, behavioral health, and technology tools to support their clients’ goals.

The founding team at ThreeHealth consists of Brad Butterfield, LMHCA and Brandy Wiltermuth, ARNP. Along with Marlene Sexton, LMFT, director of Behavioral Therapy, ThreeHealth has a thriving direct primary care practice and robust telemedicine program with a track record of success. 

Beginning with cognitive-behavioral therapy to address the emotional responses behind eating, ThreeHealth helps clients understand their relationship with food. By uncovering the psychological factors of health, ThreeHealth then creates “individualized, medically-driven, holistic programs that treat the mind, the body, and the spirit,” says Marlene Sexton of ThreeHealth. “Everyone is different, and every patient requires an individualized program based on his or her personal medical conditions and profile.”

In addition to behavioral counseling and personalized nutritional prescriptions, ThreeHealth uses state-of-the-art technology to remotely support and monitor patients. Through the use of smart devices and wearable technology, such as the Oura Ring and Biosense, they are able to detect trends in vital body functions including weight, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep quality, and ketone levels. 

Business Challenge

ThreeHealth needed a system for measuring progress on the individual and cohort level to validate their protocols and promote client retention. Proving the success and capability of their methods is integral to ThreeHealth’s business growth and development. 

Because ThreeHealth provides their clients with a variety of tech tools to track health metrics, they also needed a way to compile client data for easy interpretation. “I can’t have six different platforms for the six different devices that I want people to use,” said Brandy Wiltermuth. 

According to Wiltermuth, compiling and interpreting data “opens the window into exactly what people are doing.” Working remotely with clients, ThreeHealth needed a way to monitor client data in realtime, as well as upload historical data to create accurate baseline metrics and chart progress.

Patient Working on Metabolic Health with Caring Doctor

Technology Solution

The goal for Heads Up was to create a comprehensive solution to meet ThreeHealth’s diverse needs. HU designed a custom dashboard that integrates with ThreeHealth’s smart devices. Additionally, HU designed a system to bulk upload client data that allows ThreeHealth to measure performance over time, both for individual clients and for the clinic as a whole. 

Heads Up delivers a clinical-style effectiveness proving platform, giving ThreeHealth all the tools they need to validate their protocols and verify the success of their methods. 

  • Data-Driven Key Performance Indicators
    • Using HU, ThreeHealth can define and measure progress against their program KPIs for business planning and adjustment to better serve clients.
  • Data-Driven Protocol Validation
    • With HU, ThreeHealth can validate their protocols on the individual and aggregate level, giving them the tools to guide business development and growth. 
    • ThreeHealth providers can continuously engage patients, increasing LTV by providing positive reinforcement in real time, based on graph data and metrics.
  • Data-Driven Client Acquisition 
    • With HU, ThreeHealth now has social proof of protocol efficacy that goes beyond written testimonials and before/after pictures. 
    • ThreeHealth can attract new clients based on quantified evidence of their success.
    Heads Up Custom Metabolic Health Dashboard on Tablet, Mobile, and Desktop

    Validating Protocols with Historical and Real Time Data  

    With years of data ranging from lean body mass to ketone levels, ThreeHealth needed to assess their clinic and client performance based on historical, as well as real-time, data. To address this, HU custom-designed a system for ThreeHealth to bulk upload client records, thereby giving ThreeHealth a holistic view into each client’s progress and a tool for validating the overall success of the clinic. 

    HU’s bulk upload solution allows ThreeHealth to easily track individual and aggregate success through the practitioner portal. With HU, ThreeHealth is able to customize thresholds and reference ranges for tailoring KPIs to their specific needs. This gives the clinic the ability to: 

    • Define the KPIs to track to validate programs at individual and aggregate levels
    • Provide TheeHealth with the tools to easily see results in real time
    • Display the clinical and functional data for metabolic health monitoring 
    • Dig deeper into each client’s health with markers specific to the ThreeHealth program

    ThreeHealth generates graphs showing individual or aggregate weight loss over any time frame, be it a week or the duration of the program. In looking at the data point of weight, or other biomarkers like BMI or blood glucose, ThreeHealth can see overall trends over a given period of time.

    Using Heads Up to gather and track their clients health information, providers can not only see progress at the individual level but also validate and improve their protocols by looking at their clients’ data holistically. In 2020, they saw a significant drop in weight correlated with increased Aces gathered from clients’ Biosense devices. Using this kind of information to feed their programs means they can deliver a more competitive, data-driven approach.

    Client Metabolic Health Progress Charted on iPad

    Custom Lifestyle Dashboard

    Heads Up displays data for clear interpretation by ThreeHealth providers and clients alike. Facilitating patient engagement, data from smart devices is elegantly showcased on the client-facing dashboard, making it easy for clients to monitor their progress. That same data is available through the practitioner-facing portal, allowing ThreeHealth coaches to interpret and clarify metrics for their clients in real time.

    The HU custom lifestyle dashboard was preloaded with tracking tiles specific to the clinic’s needs. ThreeHealth is committed to empowering their clients with information and they track not only weight loss and blood pressure, but other unique metrics including sleep and ketone levels.

    Having a full suite of health information at the fingertips of both the clients and practitioners on one central platform, ThreeHealth can then easily interpret and explain metrics to their clients. The data becomes the foundation for curiosity and a tool for education, empowerment, and understanding about how lifestyle changes affect metabolic health.

    With the HU custom dash, the clinic gives their clients the tools for success, fostering client engagement and increasing LTV. By detecting data trends in vital body functions and promptly intervening when needed, treatments can be easily adjusted and administered quickly based on insights gained from HU’s customizable reports.

    Heads Up Lifestyle Dashboard for Metabolic Health on Computer

    Custom Dashboard Metrics for Metabolic Health

    HU integrates seamlessly with a wide range of wearable health devices and ThreeHealth’s custom dashboard gives an in-depth platform to record and interpret client data. The clinic uses a unique set of metrics from smart devices and wearable technology to optimize clients’ health and weight loss. Beyond the obvious weight management metrics of body weight and blood pressure, ThreeHealth provides their clients with BIOSENSE ketone monitors and Oura Ring sleep monitors. 

    The Three Health client dashboards consist of the following metrics:

    • Sleep and Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
      • Disrupted (e.g apnea), insufficient sleep and chronic stress all have an adverse effect on metabolism and appetite control. All ThreeHealth clients are given an Oura Ring to accurately monitor sleep quality, circadian rhythm and HRV. ThreeHealth practitioners use this data to detect sleep and stress issues and work with clients on corrective measures
    • Ketosis
      • Entering into a state of nutritional ketosis is an important part of the ThreeHealth program. ThreeHealth uses the BIOSENSE breath acetone meter to teach clients how to maintain a state of ketosis for optimal weight loss, blood sugar control and energy levels.
    • Macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs, and calories consumed)
      • ThreeHealth clients maintain a food journal using the Cronometer app. This allows ThreeHealth practitioners to optimize macronutrient ratios for optimal weight loss.
    • Blood Pressure
      • When needed, ThreeHealth uses the Qardioarm blood pressure cuff to remotely monitor blood pressure on clients.
    • Weight, Lean Mass, and Body Fat
      • ThreeHealth makes a keen distinction between weight and body composition. Clients use the Withings scale for monitoring weight at home, in addition to an Inbody clinical grade scale for more in-depth analysis of body fat and lean mass. 
    • Lab Testing
      • Clients also obtain periodic lab testing (cholesterol, Hba1c, etc.) to ensure all clinical markers are improving as their clients body composition, diet, sleep and stress improve during the course of the program.

    All of this data is centrally managed for each client in the Heads Up platform. This gives ThreeHealth a powerful solution for remote monitoring and tracking outcomes at the individual and aggregate levels.

    Woman at Home Using Telemedicine Portal for Weight Loss

    Conclusions

    ThreeHealth is committed to solving the metabolic health challenges with a multifaceted approach to wellness. By combining health data with behavioral counseling and nutritional programming, ThreeHealth delivers industry-leading weight loss results for their clients. HU designed a seamless user experience on both the frontend for clients and backend for practitioners, allowing the team at ThreeHealth to focus on supporting their clients, improve metabolic health, and keep weight off for a lifetime.

    Clarifying data and making it accessible to clients and practitioners paves the path to success. Like so many clinics working in functional and integrative medicine, ThreeHealth needed tools to validate their protocols and verify the effectiveness of their methods. Heads Up delivers a business development tool for new client acquisition and a data-driven platform to validate their methods and engage their clients.

    Interested in a custom data portal for your practice? Click here to learn more about the Heads Up platform and schedule a demo with one of our team members.

    Getting Back On Track: How Danny Davisson is Taking Back Control of His Health with Heads Up

    Getting Back On Track: How Danny Davisson is Taking Back Control of His Health with Heads Up

    How many of us find ourselves slipping in our health habits and fitness levels from time to time? Heads Up user Danny Davisson’s life has been filled with amazing athletic endurance achievements, such as completing five double centuries and climbing the infamous steep Mount Baldy on his bike. And at age 60, even though he isn’t where he used to be, Danny, an endurance athlete from Southern California, is using Heads Up to plan his future health goals, aiming to live a long life. 

    Maybe not all of us have been at the level that Danny Davisson’s been at as an endurance athlete.Yet how many of us have made strides in our fitness and health, progressed, yet at some point, especially as we age, lose some of that progress? That’s just the human experience. None of us, even the most dedicated biohackers and health optimizers can be 100% perfect. Whether it’s our diet, exercise regimen, sleep, stress management, productivity or performance, none of us can be fully on 24/7. Life has a way of throwing curveballs at you, just when you least suspect it. (A global pandemic, anyone?) 

    That’s what’s great about Heads Up. You can use your own health data to empower you, to motivate you. To see where you’ve been, where you are now. As the captain of your own ship, you can always chart a new course!  

    And that’s exactly what Danny is doing: Taking back control of his own health, his level of fitness and his life. 

    “I’m learning how to step back and say, ‘How’s my plan?’ Gotta go slow to go fast. I wanna train to live up to 95,” he shared with us in a recent interview. “Heads Up helps me bring data together that I care about to figure out where I’m going. It’s one of the main tools that I’m using to track where I’m headed from a health perspective.” 

     

    “Heads Up helps me bring data together that I care about to figure out where I’m going. It’s one of the main tools that I’m using to track where I’m headed from a health perspective.” – Danny Davisson

    Danny Davisson White Mountain Double Century

    Danny Davisson’s Health Journey

     

    In spite of his athlete lifestyle, Danny, an avid cyclist and ultra runner, running 7-minute miles, has faced lifelong chronic sinus infections. As a result, he had taken repeated antibiotics which has taken a toll on his body. To combat the infections, he had started a Mucusless diet of lean meats, fruits and vegetables from 2013 to 2016, which reduced his infections to once a year.

    In September 2016, Danny injured his right calf on a 45-mile High Sierra run, which led him to stop all running and cycling for two months. This was when he lost 30% of his fitness. 

    A month later, in October, after a 16-day Mediterranean cruise where he ate a lot of different foods, the sinus infection reared its ugly head and he was back to starting antibiotics again. From November to January, he experienced erratic heart rates without chest pressure. At that point, he couldn’t regain fitness or energy, continuing the antibiotics for his sinus infection, feeling like he wasn’t getting enough blood to his legs.  

    But since he began a low-carb keto diet in February 2017, he’s been antibiotic free, showing the power of diet to impact your health. 

    Even though Danny hasn’t regained the fitness level he used to be at in 2016, he trusts that he has a plan. “I’m not where I want to be but I’m working on it,” he says with confidence.

    Danny Davisson Heads Up Health Dashboard

    Taking Back Control of His Health with Heads Up

    Ever since he heard about Heads Up on Jimmy Moore’s podcast around 2017, shortly after he began eating low-carb, Danny has been using Heads Up because it allows him to bring together everything he uses to stay healthy — Garmin for sleep and steps, his blood tests and medical records via Labcorps and Kaiser, and more — allowing him to see trends in his health.

    “Heads Up is great for me, it’s really cool. What I love is that you can bring all the sources of data together to see the trends. Where I’m at. Where I’ve been. My primary use for Heads Up is seeing my bloodwork all in one place. Cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides, blood pressure and more.”

    Danny takes his blood pressure everyday, seeing it on his dashboard, along with the other health data he’s interested in such as those mentioned above.

     

     

    Danny Davisson Taking Control of His Health

    Danny Davisson – 45 Mile Rae Lakes Run

     

     

    How Danny Davisson is Using Heads Up to Plan His Health Goals Now

    Danny’s main goal now is to get healthy, to get back to being able to live a normal life. He plans to order additional blood tests, look at the trends, and share his Heads Up data with his nutritionist, who can help him fine-tune his diet. 

    This winter, Danny plans to focus on a carnivore-style elimination diet. He is really looking forward to using Heads Up to see how his body responds. He’s even bought a sous-vide machine that he loves, so he can cook up the most tender rib-eye steaks, Shawn Baker-style. He plans to get blood tests before and after switching to carnivore keto eating to see what’s changed, using Heads Up to spot the trends. Another strong focus right now is looking at sleep trends using his Garmin that he connects to Heads Up.

    To get even more power out of Heads Up, Danny can use our graphing feature on the web app to graph and correlate up to SIX health metrics. With his new goal of trying out the carnivore diet, Danny can then monitor how this new lifestyle modification is impacting other health markers, such as fasting glucose and weight. Or even how this new diet may be affecting inflammation markers such as CRP or cholesterol markers, since it’s easy to correlate with his medical records to spot trends over time. 

     

    Keto Tracking with Head Up Analyzer

    When one of our team members stacked 30-days of a nose-to-tail carnivore diet with a prolonged fast near the end of January, she wanted to see how these two self-experiments impacted her fasting glucose, ketones, and weight, her last six months captured in this graph on the left. It’s interesting to see how glucose takes a nose dive and ketones rocket upwards, while weight begins to drop after sandwiching a week-long fast between carnivore-eating.

    Danny Davisson Bike Image HU

    In His Own Words: Interview with Danny Davisson

     

    How are you using Heads Up?

    Using Heads Up to bring health data together in one place so I can see trends.

    Blood Work

    Blood Pressure

    Sleep via Garmin

    Activities

    Some nutrition (My FitnessPal) when I input.

    Weight

    etc.

     

    What is your favorite feature on Heads Up?

    Heads Up gives me the ability to see health trends.

     

    What metrics do you track?

    See above

     

    Have you connected Heads Up to any devices, apps, wearables, and/or medical records/blood tests?

    Yes, Garmin, MyFitnessPal, LabCorp, Kaiser.

     

    Are you using a health coach, nutritionist, naturopath, and/or functional doctor?

    Just sent my link to a nutritionist, but have not connected yet.

     

    Advice for others about taking control of your health?

    Do your research and commit.

     

    Any favorite ___(ex. podcasts, books, recipes, other) you want to share?

     

    Books:

     

     

    Podcasts:

     

    KetoMojo Meter and Laptop v3

    Ready to Take Control of YOUR Health?

     

    At Heads Up, we’re excited and inspired by Danny Davisson’s health journey, happy to play a part in helping him steer his ship back on-course. As long as you’re alive, you have a chance to keep going. To not give up hope. You CAN regain your fitness levels. You can regain your health. No matter what the world is throwing at you, YOU can control your own lifestyle choices. Progress is rarely linear. As Jimmy Moore says on his podcasts, “Progress, not perfection.”  

    Like Danny, you can use Heads Up as a tool to track your health trends and stay motivated to keep going. This is an excellent way to keep yourself accountable. With our one stop dashboard you can aggregate all the various health wearables, devices, apps and even your medical records and blood test results to track and trend how different lifestyle choices are affecting your particular and unique body. At any point in your health journey, you can also share with your practitioner or loved one the story of where you’ve been, where you’d like to be heading, and easily share using our report feature. 

    With Heads Up, you can track as little or as much as you want. Did you know you can also import your blood tests to correlate how a particular diet or prolonged fast is impacting your HbA1c or other markers, such as CRP and HDL? You can also keep track of other vital markers such as sleep data and HRV via wearables such as Oura or EliteHRV. You can even see how cryotherapy sessions are impacting your health! 

    You can read more inspirational health journey stories such as 60+ year old Ginny, a retired long haul driver, who reversed her prediabetes using Heads Up as a tool to take control of her own health.

     

    Calculating the Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) as Immune and Inflammatory Markers

    Calculating the Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) as Immune and Inflammatory Markers

    Guest post by Dr. Nasha Winters

    Conventional vs. Functional Lab Testing Ranges And Markers

    The Neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio is a blood marker calculation used in functional medicine, particularly in the fields of immunology and cancer.  Looking at conventional lab testing can be a great screening tool for diseases and disorders, but looking at them through a functional lens can provide insight into the health trend of a patient long before a disease is discovered.

    Functional ranges and ratios can help a clinician to see the health trend of a patient long before a diagnosis is made, thereby improving the overall health, wellness, and longevity potential of a patient, lowering medical costs, and improving the quality of life.

    What Is NLR?

    The neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is a calculation that can be run off of a Complete Blood Count (CBC), which is a very low-cost, low barrier test picked up by most insurance companies or available through any direct to consumer lab testing. This marker  “may be an indicator of systemic inflammation, as neutrophils and lymphocytes are thought to be significant in tumour immunology and inflammation.

    What Do Neutrophils And Lymphocytes Do?

    Neutrophils are a white blood cell (WBC) and are part of the innate immune system, which is the branch of our immune system that we are born with and identifies potential threats as either self or not-self. They make up about 60-70% of WBCs, are made in the bone marrow and are found mostly in the lymphatic system including the lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus.

    Lymphocytes are another type of white blood cell, and are part of the adaptive or acquired immune system, making up about 20-25% of the WBCs and are more specific in their targets. They are what we acquire after exposure to a virus or pathogen and is the system that vaccines are based upon.

    Together the neutrophils and lymphocytes work to protect the body from potential pathogens or threats, by increasing inflammation to bring nutrients to the site of injury or using inflammation to keep the infection or pathogen from spreading to other parts of the body easily.

    How Can The Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio Benefit Myself Or My Patients?

    Looking at the ratio between neutrophils and lymphocytes can help to show if there is an increased likelihood of inflammation and other threats to the system that are working in the background against the body on a chronic or acute level.  This ratio is often used with functional doctors who work with cancer patients. One study found that preoperative breast cancer patients with a high NLR had worse outcomes than those with a lower NLR. Another study found that the NLR in conjunction with a CRP (C-Reactive Protein) could be a better predictor of outcome for gastric cancer patients utilizing a ratio known as COC-NLR.

    NLR may help to reflect systemic inflammation in patients with cancer and their immunologic capacity to mount an attack against the malignant cells. An increasing number of recent reports suggest that NLR can be used as a prognostic marker in various malignancies”.  The NLR “has been shown to predict cardiac arrhythmias as well as short- and long-term mortality in patients with acute coronary syndromes”.

    How Do I Calculate Neutrophil-Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR)?

    To calculate the NLR marker, you simply need to divide the neutrophils into the lymphocytes based on your most recent CBC. Rather than manually calculating your patient’s NLRs, Heads Up is now calculating this measurement for you when you import or enter your lab values into our system.

    Seeing the trends over time will provide an even deeper insight into the health trend of your patients and can be a warning sign that it’s time to take action with diet or lifestyle interventions or perhaps even consider further testing.

    What Do The Numbers Mean?

    I use a 2:1 or better ratio for neutrophils to leukocytes for the NLR when working with patients. For example, a ratio of 55-60:25-30 would be the highest/lowest I would want to see a neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio.

    I also look at how big of a gap there is between neutrophils and lymphocytes, with a larger gap indicating a higher risk. Additionally, there is cause for concern if there is a relative ratio switch and the lymphocytes are elevated, and neutrophils lowered which could equate to blood dyscrasias, leukemias, lymphomas.

    Consult with your health professional of choice if you have questions on these or any other lab values.

    How can I track my NLR?

    If you are using the Heads Up app to track lab values, you can either use the default ranges or enter your own custom ranges depending on your unique health objectives.

    <This video> will show you how to track lab values and customize ranges in your Heads Up profile.


    Resources

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4839997/

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30544398/?from_term=NLR&from_page=2&from_pos=1

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29491721/?from_term=NLR+&from_page=2&from_pos=4

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458276/

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26878164/?from_term=NLR&from_pos=1

    https://ic.steadyhealth.com/low-neutrophils-and-high-lymphocytes

    Dr. Nasha Winters

    Guest Lecture: Nutrition & CBC Blood Testing

    3 Keto-Mojo Pro Tips

    3 Keto-Mojo Pro Tips

    Once you’ve got the basics of using the Keto-Mojo covered, it’s time to start looking at the bigger picture of how your keto lifestyle is affecting your overall health and performance.

    1. Ditch the scale

    Scales don’t always tell the full story (and they can drive you nuts). Lock the scale away in the closet and use the good ol’ fashioned tape measure!

    Pro tip #1: Instead of daily scale measurements, just take a waist circumference measurement once a month. It’s a much more predictable (and lower stress!) way to assess your weight loss.

    Optionally record your measurements in your Heads Up account so you can track your progress over time.

    In the graph below, our social media manager (Lily) graphed her waist circumference and her glucose-ketone index in her Heads Up profile.

    The results speak for themselves as she lost 5 inches off her waist over the course of 14 months!

    2. Take the carb-tolerance test

    Pop quiz: How high does your blood sugar go after your favorite restaurant meal?

    If you don’t know, reach for the Keto-Mojo and test your blood sugar before you eat. Test your blood sugar again 1 hour after eating and again 2 hours after your meal. Record all three numbers.

    Pro tip #3: Try to choose meals that keep your post-meal blood sugar below 120 mg/dL (6.7 mmol/L). Learning how to control post-meal blood sugar is a powerful tool in your health arsenal.

    You can also record results using the ‘Carb Tolerance Test’ feature so you can keep a journal of which foods work best for your own body.

    Click Here for Carb Tolerance Test!

    The Carb Tolerance Test is a powerful tool from Heads Up Health
     that anyone can use to optimize their health. 

    3. Integrate fasting

    There are so many health benefits to both intermittent and prolonged fasting (72 hours or more)! Benefits such as reduced inflammation, insulin, glucose, IGF-1 and helping with metabolic health. Not to mention the potential anti-aging and anti-cancer benefits. [1]

    Pro tip #2: Track your glucose and ketones before, during and after you fast. You should see your glucose drop and your ketones rise as you go deeper into the fasted state.

    You can also try our Fasting Timer. Record your fasting intervals and graph them alongside your Keto-Mojo readings to master your metabolism.

    That’s all for now folks! Hope you enjoyed our tips. For more great information on how to optimize your health, join our FaceBook community, subscribe to our podcast, or hit us up on Instagram.

    Ready to start tracking? Start your free 30-day trial (no credit card required) using the button below.

    References
    [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673798/

    11 Remarkable Health Benefits of Fasting

    11 Remarkable Health Benefits of Fasting

    Fasting vs. Starvation

    Many people mistake the practice of fasting with starvation, especially in the United States where food abundance and the idea of being hungry is perceived as a negative state (or altogether inhumane, something only happening to the ‘less fortunate’). The truth is, fasting and starvation are two completely different things. That’s why we put together this list of 11 remarkable health benefits of fasting… but before we dive in, a few other background points.

    Starvation deprives you of nutrition and begins the process of breaking down your body, while the benefits of fasting on the other hand, are as long as they are deep. Fasting is a time-tested and controlled state that is not only beneficial to your health, it’s essential for creating optimal health, managing chronic diseases, reaching a healthy weight for your body type, reversing aging and much more. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the benefits of fasting… the healthy way, as recommended by Dr. John Limansky, the Keto Doctor… Heads Up friend and advisor. Thank you Dr. John!

    The Health Benefits of Fasting

    1. Achieve your optimal weight. Different than starvation, fasting gives your body a chance to burn the energy from food instead of storing it as glycogen or fat. During longer fasting periods your body will burn through the glycogen stores and then begin burning fat stores.
    2. Overcome insulin resistance and balance blood sugar levels. Fasting gives your cells an overdue break from insulin so that they can ‘rediscover’ their sensitivity, overcome insulin resistance, and use glucose more effectively. That means blood sugar crashes along with your sugar cravings, taking the strain off of your overworked pancreas while significantly reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 
    3. Increase metabolism by as much as 18%. It’s been long-believed that fasting will bring your metabolism and weight loss efforts to a grinding halt. The good news is that’s no longer true. Research now shows that a stress hormone called norepinephrine increases during fasting, releasing fatty acids from the fat cells. This in turn makes it faster and easier for your body to use its fat stores. 
    4. Keep cortisol levels in check and better manage stress.
      Remember the research that suggested that your cortisol response depends on having glucose in the blood? In those same studies, participants who fasted and drank water had a much lower cortisol response than their peers who drank glucose solution. This indicates that fasting keeps cortisol levels low, helps us to respond to stressful situations in a much healthier manner, and protects us from the harmful effects of chronic stress.
    5. Reduce inflammation by inhibiting the immune response.
      Inflammation occurs in response to pain, injury and/or disease, and in some cases, your immune system continues releasing inflammatory chemicals even after the original state is gone. Such sustained exposure to those chemicals can create other chronic disease states, but fasting helps inhibit that prolonged immune response and blocks the continuing release of inflammatory chemicals
    6. Regenerate your immune system from the inside out. When you fast, your body saves energy by recycling old or damaged white blood cells. This drop in white blood cells flips a ‘regenerative switch’ in the body, stimulating the production of new stem cells. These stem cells then go on to develop into new, healthy immune cells, meaning you’re essentially regenerating a whole new immune system.
    7. Improve heart health by reducing blood pressure and LDL cholesterol.
      Fasting is shown to reduce blood pressure and harmful LDL cholesterol, and it also helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of diabetes. It also reduces heart disease risk by protecting your vascular system. 
    8. Improve brain health by stimulating the production of new neurons.
      Fasting stimulates the growth of new neurons and increases production of a hormone called brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Altogether, this helps to protect against depression, improve brain function and memory, slow cognitive decline, and reduce the risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.
    9. Protect against cancer.
      Cancer is characterized by the rapid and uncontrollable growth of cells. Although further studies are needed to confirm this, fasting is believed to help prevent cancer by depriving cancerous cells of the essential hormones they need to grow. Insulin Growth Factor, or IGF-1, is one such hormone, which goes into decline as soon as you stop eating. 
    10. Increase cellular turnover and regeneration.
      Fasting sends your body into cell recycling, a process of self-digestion at the cellular level called autophagy. But you’re not just digesting your fat to fuel yourself while fasting. Your body also targets malfunctioning cells and old tissues to optimize resources for survival.
    11. Improve sleep quality.
      New studies show that routine intermittent fasting in many ways helps the body stay well aligned for sleep and strengthens the circadian clock. That means it’s easier to fall asleep and stay asleep so you can wake feeling more rested.

    Is it working? Track it and see.

    The best way to understand how your body is responding to fasting, no matter what plan you’re on, is with hard data. Getting an app that collects your key health metrics along with tracking your fasting cycles is not only an easy way to track progress and see how you’re changing, it’s also a fun and motivating method to stay on track. 

    The Heads Up app, for example, offers a fasting timer, along with a dashboard to track weight, body fat percentage, sleep, blood sugar, ketones and other vital health metrics, giving you a holistic view of your health before, during and after fasting. Start with their 30-day free trial to connect your other health data, then select an affordable monthly plan to continue tracking your metrics over time.

    Should you fast?

    With so many metabolic health benefits that are now research backed, it’s hard to say fasting doesn’t have some benefit to most people, however, it’s important that certain demographics should not fast at all, such as those with diabetes or other chronic disease, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, the elderly and children. Most importantly, check with your doctor before starting any new diet regimen. 

    Once you decide to give fasting a try, check out all the various fasting routines to get a sense of what type may be right for you. Not all fasting plans are right for everyone. The other key will be to find a useful tool (e.g. web or mobile application) that you can use to track your fasting plan as you go, and as importantly, to track your key health stats during the fasting state. 

    This will be a good indication of how fasting will work for you, and how it impacts your health day to day. It will also be the perfect data to offer to your doctor as you work to achieve your personal health goals over time. 

    The big picture? Fasting can become a steady and ongoing part of your healthy lifestyle plan for the long haul, rather than just a diet fad. 

    As with any healthy lifestyle plans, consult with your health practitioner first.

     

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    Top 11 Genes for Keto Diet Success

    Top 11 Genes for Keto Diet Success

    Setting Yourself up for Success

    Whether you’re ready to dive into the ketogenic diet for the first time, or you’ve tried it in the past and didn’t achieve the results you’d hoped, this article is for you! Using your genes for your methylation status, digestion and to help you avoid metabolic syndrome, we walk you through Sarah Morgan’s work in using your genetics to optimize the keto diet for you.

    Genetics, through the study of epigenetics, can provide a framework for understanding why we react to our food and environment in a certain way, and why the same diet produces different results in individuals. Why do some people do exceptionally well from the beginning with a ketogenic diet while others struggle? Well, genetics may play a large part in that.

    Due to the large increase in the quantity of fats consumed on the ketogenic diet, some people may struggle to be able to break down those fats and turn them into ketones for energy and brain power. It turns out that this is often due to several genes that affect how we process fats in our bodies. 

    Whether you want to focus on more of a traditional keto diet, a carnivore diet or a ketotarian diet, your success will come down to what your genes need to support them. So, you can see why knowing this information before beginning a dietary shift like this can be beneficial.

    Just like you don’t have to fall victim to the keto flu with proper support, you also don’t have to struggle to get into ketosis if you know ahead of time how to navigate what your unique body needs.

    The following genetic interpretations and information are based on the work of Sarah Morgan, the “Gene Queen.”  (Make sure to check out her podcast episode). So grab your Nutrition Genome, 23 and Me or other genetic SNP report and learn how you can customize the keto diet based on your SNPs. Make sure to sign up to track your data with the Heads Up app (download in the app store for on-the-go tracking), where you can directly sync your blood test results with your food tracker, Keto Mojo, blood sugar, HRV, sleep and more.

    Reading a Genetic Report

    When interpreting genetic data, you will commonly see plus and minus signs next to the gene.  The more plus signs you see, the more variants of that gene you have. Use the following to interpret them if they are not already labeled as such:

    • -/-  Normal or Wild Type
    • +/- or -/+ Heterozygous
    • +/+ Homozygous
    # 1 Gene: PEMT

    What it does: Makes choline to support liver functioning. The liver needs to converts fats to ketones, so this is super important with the keto diet for keeping the liver healthy and not bogged down processing the increased fat in the diet. Choline is also supportive of brain health for memory and cognitive ability.

    Where to find it on your report: Methylation
    Common symptoms associated with it/indicators for support:

    • Anxiety
    • Trouble with fats
    • Pregnancy
    • Nursing

    How to support it: Eat choline-rich foods like egg yolks, Brussels sprouts, liver, and can also be used in a supplement form.

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning: Liver function tests ALT and AST to monitor liver functioning and the potential need for additional choline in the diet. 

    # 2 Gene: FADS2

    What it does: Indicates your ability to convert shorter chain omega 3 fatty acids to longer chain fatty acids, like EPA/DHA, which are critical for brain health. If you have one or two copies of this gene, you will need more fats from fish or supplemental support to get enough EPA/DHA for brain health, as you will not be able to convert enough of the shorter chain omega 3’s, (such as from plant sources like chia seeds, flaxseed, hemp hearts, etc.) for your brain’s needs.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion
    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Metabolic symptoms
    • Neurological symptoms

    How to support it: Eat more fish or take a fish oil supplement
    What labs to run to monitor its functioning: Check EPA/DHA levels to see what your status is based on your diet and ability to convert plant-based fats to DHA and EPA for optimal brain function. 

    # 3 Gene: FUT2

    What it does: Plays a part in how well you absorb your fats based on the type of bacteria living in your gut microbiome. If you have one or two copies of this gene, then you’ll need to bring in more prebiotic rich food for your good gut bugs to feed on.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion

    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Craving more veggies on a keto diet or not doing well on a carnivore diet.
    • More inflammation, or increase in inflammatory blood markers in response to a higher fat diet.

    How to support it: Eat more fibrous vegetables (prebiotics) to feed the good bacteria in your gut and increase levels of bifidobacteria, which also helps lower inflammation. You’ll need 25 different plant species per week.
    CAUTION: Extremely restricted diets can be potentially detrimental, so use caution if you don’t have all of the information on how it will affect you before beginning a very restricted diet. Test, don’t guess, then monitor frequently in the beginning.

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning: Comprehensive GI panel or Viome testing to see microbiome diversity as well as homocysteine, CRP, and Sed Rate to watch for inflammation.

    # 4 Gene: ACAT

    What it does: Allows your body to convert proteins and fats to ATP (energy). We make our body weight in ATP every single day, so we want to make sure we can get good energy from our fats and proteins when this is our primary source of fuel.  

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion

    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Fatigue or hypoglycemia symptoms on a high fat or carnivore diet.
    • Cholesterol goes up eating a high-fat diet.

    How to support it: Eat a more vegetable-heavy form of keto and avoid carnivore if you have one copy of this gene, but especially if you have two copies. You are not a good candidate for a carnivore diet.

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    • Cholesterol labs – Total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL, HDL, and LDL particle cholesterol testing if budget allows.
    • Liver Enzymes AST, ALT
    • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
    • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
    # 5 Gene: ADIPOQ

    What it does: Relates to a hormone released in the intestinal tract when we eat foods, which has to do with how much insulin is secreted, affecting blood sugar, type 2 diabetes, etc. Those with this gene are more predisposed to metabolic syndrome.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion

    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Insulin resistance
    • Heart disease
    • Increased risk of colon cancer

    How to support it:

    • Exercise
    • Intermittent Fasting
    • Omega 3’s to increase adiponectin secretion
    • Turmeric
    • Berries
    • Ginger

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
    • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
    • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
    • Daily monitoring of fasting glucose at home with Keto Mojo
    • CRP to monitor for inflammation
    # 6 Gene: SLC22A5

    What it does: Picks up fats and shuttles them to the mitochondria to be burned as an energy source, which then goes through the digestive tract and is absorbed across the gut barrier. L-carnitine then picks up the fats and shuttles it to the mitochondria.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestive
    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Low energy

    How to support it:

    • Getting enough L-Carnitine in your diet or through supplementation if needed
    • Adequate vitamin C intake
    • Making sure you’re methylating well
    • Adequate intake of amino acids
    • Optimizing digestion

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    # 7 Gene: PPAR Alpha

    What it does: This plays a role in fatty acid metabolism and can make it difficult to get into ketosis.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion
    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Difficulty getting into or staying in ketosis
    • Problems in a cholesterol panel – HDL, LDL, triglycerides
    • Hypoglycemia on a high-fat, low carb diet

    How to support it:

    • Exogenous ketones to get into ketosis

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    • Watch cholesterol levels closely if homozygous and taking exogenous ketones. Total cholesterol, LDL, HDL and triglycerides.
    # 8 Gene: ACSL1

    What it does: Has to do with how well you metabolize saturated fats from animals like bacon, fat bombs from dairy, etc.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion
    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Higher fasting glucose
    • Insulin resistance

    How to support it:

    • Focus on getting your fats from plant sources
    • Eat a more Mediterranean style keto diet
    • Coconut oil is okay

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
    • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
    • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
    # 9 Gene: APOA2

    What it does: This runs an enzyme that regulates appetite. People with this gene who eat more fat, tend to be more hungry and consume more calories in a day.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion
    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Weight gain with higher fat diet

    How to support it:

    • Exercise
    • Don’t have a sedentary desk job

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    • CRP to monitor inflammation
    • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
    • Liver enzymes, ALT, AST to monitor liver functioning
    # 10 Gene: FTO

    What it does: Relates to the hunger hormone ghrelin, which regulates hunger.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion
    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Especially those who are homozygous (2 copies) may feel hungry all the time

    How to support it:

    • Don’t consume a high glycemic diet
    • Pay attention to hunger signals

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
    • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
    • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels
    # 11 Gene: TCF7L2

    What it does: Has to do with incretin hormone which relates to insulin sensitivity.

    Where to find it on your report: Digestion
    Common symptoms associated with it:

    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Weight gain
    • Dysregulated insulin
    • Carb cravings

    How to support it:

    • Be careful with your carbs. If homozygous, be REALLY careful with your carbs.

    What labs to run to monitor its functioning:

    • Fasting insulin, to watch for insulin resistance
    • Hemoglobin A1c, to monitor blood sugar averages
    • Fasting glucose, to monitor blood sugar levels

    About Heads Up

    Heads Up is an app designed to empower individuals who want to take a self-directed approach to managing their health. Instantly centralize your medical records, connect your favorite devices and apps (e.g., Oura, MyFitnessPal, Keto-Mojo, FitBit, Apple Health, MyMacros+, Withings and many more) and use data to optimize your health.

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