Understanding Your Results

If both scores are near this end of the spectrum, not only are your lifestyle habits complimenting your overall health, but your blood is also reflecting positive signs of health.

When your scores are in the Room to Improve, it shows there is an opportunity to implement lifestyle changes to move closer to the ‘Optimal’ end of the scale. Your lifestyle recommendations can help you identify where to focus next.

A blood test score in this range indicates that your blood biomarkers are not reflective of a healthy lifestyle. When daily habit scores are in this range it indicates that this aspect of your lifestyle is negatively impacting your health.

Blood test

Your blood test score indicates how your body is currently responding to the quality of your lifestyle. It is made up of a group of biomarkers that are related to the quality of a specific lifestyle category. For example, your nutrition score is determined based on a group of markers that are associated with diet quality and the outcomes of diet quality on health.

An optimal score indicates that the blood markers are reflecting good diet quality. As a score heads to the right (towards the red end) it indicates that the markers that we measure are not optimal. Improving lifestyle habits and sticking to these over the long term will help you improve your overall health.

Habits Survey

Your Habits Survey score is calculated from the answers you provided in your lifestyle questionnaire. It is based on a set of well established guidelines that relate to the quality of your lifestyle. For example, your exercise score is calculated by looking at your minutes of exercise a week and strength training sessions compared to the recommended levels of 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (or 75 minutes of intense exercise) and 2 strength training sessions a week.
An optimal Habits Survey score means that your current lifestyle habits for this category are considered to be healthy.

A Habits Survey score in the “room to improve” area means that there are aspects of your lifestyle that are below the healthy amount. A Habits Survey score in the needs attention section means you are not exhibiting healthy patterns in your lifestyle. We suggest looking at the lifestyle recommendations in your dashboard for ways to improve your lifestyle.

What is a biomarker?

A biomarker is a naturally occurring element used to indicate and measure health and disease. Biomarkers serve multiple purposes. They can be used to identify an existing disease or to predict the likelihood a disease developing in the future.

Your WellBeing report contains an analysis of the biomarkers found in the blood. Drop Bio Health uses an analytical technology designed to track blood markers that exist in very low concentrations and play a role in many areas of health, including mental health, fertility, nutrition, and chronic disease development.

Biomarkers play an essential role in health. This is because they are objective, quantifiable characteristics of biological processes. It is interesting to note, however, that blood biomarkers do not necessarily correlate with people's perceived health and sense of wellbeing.
WellBeing analyses over 30 different blood biomarkers from finger-prick blood samples and compares them with self-reported daily habits to help you address the gap between how you feel and what is actually happening in your body. Your WellBeing report will also provide health insights to empower you to understand biological signals, manage your lifestyle and, most importantly, age healthily.

Your report contains an analysis of the biomarkers related to alcohol consumption, energy, exercise, nutrition & diet, inflammation, stress and sleep. Consult the list below to learn more about their role in your health.

Biomarkers measured in WellBeing

Adipsin

Adipsin is a protein secreted by fat cells, and it is involved in regulating fat metabolism and the insulin response to glucose. In addition, this biomarker also maintains beta-cell function in the pancreas. Research shows low levels are associated with glucose intolerance and impaired beta-cell function. If you have glucose intolerance, your symptoms may include increased thirst, frequent urination, tiredness and blurred vision. Adipsin can indicate weight loss or weight gain. A balanced diet combined with exercise and maintaining a healthy weight are actions to keep your Adipsin levels healthy and reduce the risk of glucose intolerance and diabetes.

Alpha-Fetoprotein

Alpha-fetoprotein is a protein found in the liver of a developing baby. It usually occurs at very low levels in healthy adults. High levels may be a sign of poor liver function. Symptoms of poor liver function can include fatigue, abdominal pain and weight loss. Reducing alcohol, a balanced diet and regular exercise are important lifestyle activities for maintaining a healthy liver.

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor is a protein produced in the brain cells (neurons). BDNF is important for the survival and growth of neurons and is involved in memory and learning functions. It also regulates mood, glucose, and energy metabolism. Low levels of BDNF are linked to brain fog and poor concentration. Regular physical activity and stress management can be helpful in improving brain function and reducing the risk of mental illness.

C-Peptide

C-Peptide is used to monitor insulin production in the body. Low levels of C-peptide are linked to low blood sugar, impaired pancreatic function and metabolic dysregulation, which happens when the pancreas produces very little or no insulin. High levels of C-peptide may indicate your body is producing too much insulin. If your blood sugar is low, you may experience dizziness, hunger and sweating. Symptoms of high blood sugar include increased thirst, frequent urination and blurred vision. Keeping fit through regular exercise and balanced nutrition can reduce the risk of insulin-related issues.

C-Reactive Protein (CRP)

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is produced in the liver. Concentrations of CRP in the blood rise and fall in response to inflammation in the body. The inflammation could have a variety of causes, including infection, an autoimmune condition, or organ damage. If your CRP level is high, you may experience weight gain, pain, fever, chills, nausea, muscle stiffness, exhaustion or breathing difficulties. Balanced nutrition, exercise and quality sleep can help reduce your risk of excessive inflammation and may also help with recovery from infection and illness.

Chemerin

Chemerin is a molecule produced in fat tissue. It plays a crucial role in immune function and regulating insulin secretion. Elevated levels of Chemerin are linked to obesity and inflammation. If your levels are high, you may experience symptoms similar to insulin resistance which include increased thirst and frequent urination. Balanced nutrition, regular exercise and reducing alcohol can help prevent obesity and reduce the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and liver disease.

Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone released by the body in response to stress. Cortisol regulates energy, blood pressure, metabolism, inflammation and the sleep-wake cycle. When cortisol levels are high, you are likely to experience weight gain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and sleep problems. Low levels are associated with weight loss, muscle weakness and mood swings. Balanced nutrition, regular exercise, quality sleep and avoiding too much caffeine can help to regulate the impact of stress on your body.

Eotaxin-3

Eotaxin-3 is a protein that is part of the immune system. It stimulates the movement of specific immune cells to sites of inflammation. High levels are linked to overt anti-inflammatory responses such as allergies. Symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headache and breathing difficulties. Healthy individuals usually have low levels of Eotaxin-3. While allergic conditions and asthma may sometimes require treatments, looking after your wellbeing through balanced nutrition, reducing alcohol, quitting smoking, and regular exercise can help in the management of symptoms and support your immune system.

Estradiol

Estradiol is a female hormone involved in the development of the reproductive system in women. Men have low levels of Estradiol as well. This hormone also contributes to bone, joints and brain health. High levels in women have been associated with heavy periods, weight gain, brain fog and fatigue. In males, high levels may lead to sexual dysfunction and infertility. A low level of Estradiol can affect bone growth. It can also lead to decreased libido, bone density loss and increased abdominal fat in adult men and women. Levels of the hormone also decline with age and menopause, often affecting bone density. Maintaining physical fitness throughout life can help improve bone density, muscle strength, stamina and energy.

Fibroblast growth factor 23

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF-23) is produced in the bone cells and acts on the kidneys. It regulates phosphate levels in the body and has a role in the regulation of Vitamin D. Phosphate is controlled mainly by the kidneys, and high levels of FGF-23 may indicate kidney dysfunction. Symptoms can include pain with urination, blood in the urine, swollen ankles and high blood pressure. Low levels may lead to abnormalities in phosphate metabolism and bone weakening. Reducing or avoiding alcohol and improving physical fitness are essential things you can do to maintain your kidney health and prevent osteoporosis.

Growth/Differentiation Factor 15

Growth/Differentiation Factor 15 (GDF-15) is a protein involved in regulating inflammation, cell repair and growth, and biological ageing. It is produced in response to oxidative stress and inflammation. In young, healthy people, levels of GDF-15 are usually low. If your levels are high, you may experience symptoms of inflammation such as pain, fever, and nausea. Lifestyle and environmental factors can affect GDF-15 levels. Managing stress and maintaining a balanced diet and physical fitness can reduce the risk of many health problems associated with high GDF-15.

Hepatocyte Growth Factor

Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) plays an important role in cell biology, organ development, cell and organ repair and inflammation. Since HGF is critical for the protection of cells, high levels occur in response to cell stress. When HGF levels are too low, this protection system may be lacking. If your levels are high, you may experience breathlessness, nausea, anxiety, weakness, swelling in the extremities and chest pain. Managing nutrition and avoiding excess alcohol are necessary lifestyle actions to maintain the health of your kidneys, liver and other organs.

Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1

Intercellular Adhesion Molecule 1 (ICAM-1) is a protein that regulates a range of cellular functions. It is involved in inflammatory processes, immunity and wound healing. In healthy people, the level of circulating ICAM-1 is generally low. High levels can occur in response to injuries as well as metabolic stress. If your levels of ICAM-1 are high, you could experience symptoms of inflammation such as fever, pain and nausea. A balanced diet, avoiding excess alcohol and quality sleep are important lifestyle actions for reducing the risk of diseases and for supporting injury recovery.

Interferon gamma

Interferon Gamma (IFNG) is produced by immune cells in response to infection and inflammation and is involved in controlling antibody production. High IFNG may indicate inflammation. Symptoms associated with low levels include high thirst, frequent urination, slow healing and blurred vision. A healthy balanced diet, regular exercise and reduced alcohol consumption can lower the risk of many diseases and improve general immunity.

Interleukin 6 receptor alpha

Interleukin 6 receptor alpha (IL6Ra) controls the behaviour of some immune cells, regulating mood and stress. A healthy lifestyle through balanced diet, physical activity, and managing your stress can help support your immune system and reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases.

Interleukin-1 beta

Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta, IL-1ß) is produced in response to inflammation and infections, making it an important protein for immune system functioning and healing. Symptoms from high levels of IL-1ß may include pain, fever, joint stiffness, chronic fatigue, and weight gain or loss. Maintaining good general health is vital for supporting the immune system and reducing the risk of inflammatory diseases. This includes avoiding smoking and excess alcohol, regular exercise and a balanced diet.

Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist

Interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1Ra) is a protein secreted by various cells, including immune cells. Immune balance regulates the actions of IL-1. This helps prevent uncontrolled inflammation occurring as a result of immune system responses to infection or illness. If levels of IL-1Ra are too low, the result can be excessive inflammation. This increases the risk of auto-immune inflammatory diseases, symptoms of which include joint pain and stiffness and skin lesions. You can reduce the risk of inflammatory diseases and help support your immune system through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding smoking and excess alcohol.

Interleukin-10

Interleukin-10 (IL-10) has potent anti-inflammatory properties. It plays a crucial role in immune responses to pathogens while preventing tissue damage. If levels of IL-10 are high, it may indicate inflammation, and you may experience pain, fever, and loss of energy and appetite. However, poor utilisation of IL-10 in the body may lead to autoimmune conditions. You can reduce the risk of inflammatory conditions and support your immune system by avoiding excess alcohol and lifestyle improvements such as a healthy balanced diet and regular exercise.

Interleukin-17

Interleukin-17 (IL-17) is a chemical messenger produced by T helper cells. It plays a key role in immune responses. High levels of IL-17 may indicate infection or illness, which could result in fever and pain. High IL-17 can also lead to autoimmune disorders. Taking good care of your health through balanced nutrition and fitness can support your immune system and its response to illness or infection.

Interleukin-2 receptor alpha

Interleukin 2 receptor alpha (IL-2Ra) is produced by a variety of cells in the immune system and has been linked to depression, anxiety and stress. It helps maintain immune balance and the actions of IL-2 to help prevent excess inflammation. High levels of IL-2Ra may indicate infection. For example, people with severe COVID-19 show high levels in their blood. Low levels can lead to frequent infections. A healthy lifestyle can help avoid imbalances in your immune response and support your immunity to fight infections and keep Interleukin 2 receptor alpha (IL-2Ra) at optimal levels. This includes a balanced nutrition and avoiding stress, as chronic stress can suppress the immune system.

Interleukin-4

Interleukin-4 (IL-4) regulates the production of antibodies and T-cell responses. It can have pro- and anti-inflammatory effects and plays a role in normal brain function and regulating allergic inflammation conditions. When levels are high, it may indicate your immune system has commenced an overt anti-inflammatory response, and you may notice pain, fever, fatigue and loss of appetite. Some studies suggest that very low IL-4 may provide greater resistance to allergic inflammation. You can also help support your immune system by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, improving fitness, managing stress, and reducing alcohol consumption.

Interleukin-6

Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a chemical messenger released by immune cells. It is involved in producing antibodies and in raising body temperature during fever. IL-6 is not usually detectable in the blood of healthy people, so high levels may indicate inflammation. Taking steps to maintain your health is important for supporting your immune system and the health of your liver and kidneys. This includes physical activity, quality sleep, balanced nutrition and reducing alcohol.

Kidney Injury Molecule-1

Kidney Injury Molecule-1 (KIM-1) is a protein that occurs on the surface of injured kidney cells. It is also produced at low levels by some T cells. High levels of KIM-1 may indicate kidney dysfunction. Symptoms include changes in urine excretion, ankle swelling, shortness of breath, nausea and chest pain. Actions you can take to look after the health of your kidneys include avoiding smoking and excess alcohol, reducing salt and drinking plenty of water.

Leptin

Leptin is a hormone produced predominantly in fat cells. It regulates hunger by providing the sensation of satiety (feeling full). Leptin’s primary function is to balance food intake and energy use – so you don’t feel hungry when you don’t need energy (calories). Low levels are very rare and cause people to overeat due to constantly feeling hungry. Because the amount of Leptin in the body is directly associated with body fat, obese people often present high levels. High Leptin can be a side effect of poor sleep and leads to leptin resistance, which results in increased hunger and appetite. Balanced nutrition, quality sleep and regular exercise may help in reducing excess Leptin and improving leptin sensitivity.

Monocyte Chemotactic Protein 1

Monocyte Chemotactic Protein 1 (MCP-1; CCL2) is a chemical messenger that has a key role in immune responses. High levels may indicate injury, infection, or kidney inflammation. Symptoms vary and may include fever, pain, respiratory distress and/or difficulties with urination. High MCP-1 indicates a proinflammatory response, which can result in joint stiffness and pain. Reducing alcohol consumption and adopting a healthy diet are important measures for looking after your kidneys and your physical health in general and for supporting your immune system.

Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (also known as Lipocalin-2)

Neutrophil Gelatinase-Associated Lipocalin (NGAL - also known as Lipocalin-2) is involved in regulating the immune system. It appears to slow bacterial growth by binding iron. NGAL levels rise in response to kidney dysfunction. Symptoms of kidney stress can include blood in the urine, swollen feet and ankles, excess fatigue and nausea. High levels of NGAL also indicate an imbalanced immune response. Reducing salt and alcohol intake combined with balanced nutrition and drinking more water can help you care for your kidneys and your health in general.

Osteopontin

Osteopontin (OPN) is a protein involved in regulating bone tissue mineralisation, reducing calcium crystal build-up and in immune responses. It is particularly important for older adults and women undergoing menopause because of this biomarker's role in bone density. High levels have been linked with low bone density, whilst low concentrations have been seen in some patients with kidney stones. A balanced diet combined with regular exercise are important actions you can take to build strength and fitness and reduce your risk of inflammatory diseases and bone weakening.

Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1

Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) is a protein your body needs for normal blood clotting. In healthy individuals, concentrations of PAI-1 are low. However, people with a deficiency of PAI-1 (a rare condition) experience excessive bleeding and bruising and slow wound healing, due to an impaired ability to form clots. High levels may be associated with clotting issues. These conditions often require medical advice and intervention. However, reducing alcohol, avoiding smoking, balanced nutrition and stress management can all help with reducing the risk of clotting disorders, such as stroke and deep vein thrombosis.

Progesterone

Progesterone is a female sex hormone that helps regulate the menstrual cycle and maintain the lining of the uterus during pregnancy. Men also need some progesterone to produce the male hormone testosterone. Low levels in women may lead to difficulty falling pregnant, irregular periods, low mood and energy, weight gain and reduced libido. In men, low progesterone can result in hair loss, lower bone density, weight gain and erectile dysfunction. High progesterone levels in women can lead to anxiety, weight fluctuations, depression and reduced libido. In men, high levels will result in higher estrogen, and this can lead to depression and reduced energy. While health problems associated with progesterone levels may need treatment, a healthy diet combined with regular exercise can improve energy, strength, bone density, help stabilise mood and reduce the risk of heart conditions.

RANKL

RANKL is a protein produced in a range of cells and tissues. It regulates various cell types in the immune system and is involved in bone formation and density. During Menopause, estradiol suppresses RAKNL, accelerating bone turnover, reducing bone density and increasing fracture risk and osteoporosis. High levels are associated with joint stiffness and pain. Low levels can lead to poor bone formation and may result in back and leg pain and difficulty walking. Physical fitness through regular exercise can help you build and maintain bone density and strength, especially when combined with a balanced diet.

ST2

ST2 is useful as a biomarker of heart health. Heart dysfunction symptoms may include chest pain, feeling weak or faint, pain or numbness in the arms, shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen limbs. Improving your fitness through regular exercise, a balanced diet, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol can help prevent heart disease, cardiac stress and reduce your risk of heart failure.

Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin

Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a protein that binds to sex hormones such as testosterone and estradiol and determines the bioactive level of sex hormones available in the body. Low levels can occur with diabetes, polycystic ovaries, and high cortisol levels. Symptoms of low SHBG in women may include weight gain, increased body hair, reduced breasts and irregular or absent periods. Low levels in men are less common but may lead to infertility, aggression, breast growth and erectile dysfunction. High SHBG in women is associated with decreased libido, reduced bone and muscle mass, memory loss and irregular periods. In men, they include infertility, low libido, breast growth and reduced energy, bone and muscle mass. Conditions associated with SHBG may need treatment, but regular physical activity combined with quality sleep, balanced nutrition, and management of stress can help with managing symptoms and improving overall health and wellbeing.

Testosterone

Testosterone is a male sex hormone produced in the testes of males and, to a lesser extent, in the ovaries of females. It helps control libido, energy, immunity and protects against osteoporosis. Elevated levels in men that occur naturally are unusual. Symptoms may include fertility problems, aggression and high blood pressure. Polycystic ovary syndrome can sometimes cause high testosterone levels in women. Symptoms include thinning hair, deepened voice, excess body hair, infertility and irregular periods. Testosterone levels usually reduce with age. Low levels can also be caused by injury to the testes or ovaries. Signs can include low libido, weakened muscles, low energy, lethargy, and impotence in men. While low or high testosterone may sometimes require treatment, energy, strength, and health can be improved through stress management, quality sleep and regular exercise.

Thyroxine (T4)

Thyroxine (T4) is a thyroid hormone involved in regulating fat metabolism, growth and development, body temperature and heart rate. A low level could indicate an underactive thyroid, which occurs when the thyroid gland makes too little thyroid hormone. This can result in weight gain, slowed heart, and increased risk of heart attack. High levels could be due to an overactive thyroid, which can lead to weight loss, neck swelling, tremors, anxiety and low tolerance to heat. While these conditions usually require treatments, actions such as regular exercise, a balanced diet, and stress management can be helpful for managing symptoms.

Triiodothyronine (T3)

Triiodothyronine (T3) is a thyroid hormone which helps regulate metabolism, growth, body temperature and heart rate. High levels are associated with an overactive thyroid, where the thyroid gland makes excess thyroid hormones. This can lead to trouble sleeping, tremors, neck swelling, low heat tolerance and weight loss. Low levels may be due to an underactive thyroid, with symptoms including weight gain, low cold tolerance, low energy and slowed heart rate. These conditions often require treatment, but symptoms may be improved through regular physical activity, stress management, and balanced nutrition.

Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha

Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is secreted by immune cells in response to acute inflammation and offers protection against infection. High levels are associated with loss of appetite, low blood pressure, fever, muscle aches, redness, and swelling at the site of an infected wound. Low or inhibited TNF levels can increase the risk of infectious diseases. Managing your health through balanced nutrition, quality sleep and stress management can support your immune system and improve symptoms. It also helps with recovery from illness.

References

Source: “What are biomarkers?"