Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group, LLC Blog

Blood Analysis in the NBA

Posted by Boston Sports Medicine and Performance Group on Mon, Dec 23, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

Inside Tracker


by Gil Blander


A recent article about the Los Angeles Lakers nutrition program has created a firestorm, with different opinions weighing in on the dietary practices of NBA players. Any time blood analysis is brought up, we tend to get many coaches and nutritionists requesting more information about our blood analysis services and our thoughts on the articles in question. As the Chief Science Officer of InsideTracker, I felt compelled to speak my mind on the matter of athletic diets and biomarkers for sports performance. We have a massive database of athletes and have tracked professional athletes for years using our service. Several athletes, including NBA players, have come to us to get the full window inside their bodies in order to perform at their best.


Because we service different sports, we have the responsibility of looking at a wide range of athletes with unique demographics, training plans, and of course diets. Nutritional habits are difficult to change and improve, but this is precisely why sharing blood test results with the athlete can help with compliance. In the recent article, Dwight Howard’s high sugar intake, the nutritionist’s fear of diabetes, and his election to lower his intake were discussed. His intake of candy and sugary drinks was out of control, but he looked like his nickname, Superman, fooling everyone into thinking his nutrition must be fine. Many athletes look amazing on the outside and perform miracles on the court and on the field, but internally their bodies are very much mortal and some are dangerously unhealthy. We love the fact that blood analysis led to behavior modification and eating healthier foods. The questions we are getting now include whether all athletes should be following 25% carbohydrate intake diets, and what happens over a season with different diets such as Paleo and low carbohydrate options. Nutrition is the hardest area to monitor, but we have experience looking at the complete picture — and agents, private coaches, and teams are seeing the results when blood analysis is part of the program.

It was great that Los Angeles decided to do blood analysis, and the biomarker glucose was mentioned. Anticipating that teams and athletes would ask similar questions about biomarkers, I wanted to explain the importance of testosterone and share how carbohydrate factors in.

Testosterone is a hormone that is widely known, for good reason. It’s one of the most important biomarkers to athletes and we track both total testosterone and free testosterone with our Ultimate Panel, soon to be released to the public.  

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