Blood test to determine best diet?

I was listening to an interview with an NFL player yesterday (Trey Burton, Chicago Bears) and he was talking about how he had blood work done in the offseason for the purpose of determining the best diet for him to both eat healthy as well as maintain weight during the season. It also helps with recovery and reduces inflammation, etc.

He mentioned all sorts of interesting findings like pork is much better for him personally than beef. He needs a high sodium intake — and the result has been that he feels much better and can keep weight and strength up durning the season. He likes to play at 240 lbs., but during previous seasons had fallen as low as 215lbs, etc., and he never gets cramps anymore which he used to struggle with.

While he mentioned all these things, he did not say where he had the tests done.

Has anyone heard of this before? Has anyone had this type of bloodwork done?

I think it would be one of the more useful lab tests to help improve cycling performance. I’m almost surprised the podcast crew hasn’t done this if readily available.

I’d say ask your doctor, a reputable functional medicine MD, or a reputable, properly certified dietician. If you’re already past the point of self-guided plans like Matt Fitzgerald’s or similar (you’re far enough up the performance ladder you’re chasing marginal gains), be sure the person you work with is following their own advice and showing good results, whatever their age.

Googling suggests tests to recommend diet are trendy (based on sources like Shape, Health, and other popular media). The test strategies usually involve one or more of blood, DNA, and lifestyle analysis. For testing to work, you’d need regular testing (at least annual) so you can adjust as needed.

Blood tests that detect nutrient deficits seem reasonably valid, though personal variations may mean the lab’s “normal” isn’t valid for you. Each doctor may have his/her own interpretation of “normal.” For example, mine likes Vitamin D numbers at or slightly above the upper end of what the lab calls normal and is happy to cite the body chemistry and studies that lead to his preference. I’d rather discuss tests and test results with a medical professional face to face than a web site, regardless of what they claim about privacy and data security.

I seriously question all but the most well-vetted genetic tests (heart disease risk, etc.) because we don’t have a comprehensive enough view of the human genome to say, “You need 1250 mg of sodium a day, not 1400 mg.” Most of the well-vetted tests are high level and need tests for specific body chemistry to confirm specific, personal risk as opposed to a generalized risk based on genetic profile. For example, you may have a genetic propensity for heart disease, but have good cholesterol levels and balance, low coronary inflammation scores, good aerobic fitness, etc., that mean your personal risk is low. Also, given the reports of occasionally questionable results from some of the big DNA ancestry companies, companies recommending wine based on your DNA, etc., I don’t trust them with diet recommendations. I’d rather talk to a person I trust.

Lifestyle testing is potentially useful, but probably won’t tell much you couldn’t figure out yourself if you’re honest with yourself. (“But I have a 400 calorie deficit every day, so that nightly, large serving of ice cream is okay.” Probably not.) Sometimes figuring out the questions is challenging. I think that’s the main value of this type of testing–learning the questions you need to ask. Again, rather talk to a person.


I’ve been interested in doing one of those dna tests. There’s a few services that offer it. Lance advertises one on his podcast. I think it’s Helix.
Haven’t read this but here ya go

But there are others. They test your body’s “reaction” to something like 1000 foods.

50% off right now

There are a few nutritionists that have been using lipid profiles to determine what type of macro ratio to target and I used that info to put together my weight loss strategy for this season, since I had a recent lipid profile handy in my medical records

N=1 caveat applies, but my lipid profile recommended an equal macro ratio and its been working really well for me.

I used this book as a reference:

From the article on “Lifestyle DNA Testing”

“ Yet another caveat to the science behind lifestyle DNA tests: Some of the research used to formulate recommendations was done on very specific populations. Research in Olympic athletes, for instance, suggests that there are genetic characteristics of the muscles that might predispose someone to be a better sprinter than a long-distance runner—but we don’t yet know how those findings apply to those of us with less ambitious fitness goals, Dr. Bodurtha says.

She recommends considering lifestyle DNA tests with “a healthy dose of skepticism,” especially any that offer to tell you exactly what to eat or how to exercise. She’s also concerned that they might serve as a distraction, and lead people to ignore more established markers of poor health. “You don’t want somebody saying, ‘I’m out of breath and my fingers are turning blue, but my DNA test told me I wasn’t likely to have a heart attack.’”