It’s Halloween in Miami and Karl Alomar, 48, is dressed as King Triton, father of Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid. He’s shirtless, carrying a trident and wearing a white beard, accompanying his own 5-year-old daughter in her Ariel costume.
The next day, Alomar sees that someone posted his photo on the company Slack channel. The responses poured in, most in the vein of "I didn't know Karl had a six-pack!"
“I wasn’t looking for validation but it was a moment of feeling like, ‘okay, this is the result of me taking control of my health and performance,’” Alomar says.
Let’s back up: Alomar, a managing partner of a successful venture capital firm and former COO of a successful cloud infrastructure company, is a high-performance individual who’s used data to set — and achieve — professional goal after goal. Yet, he wasn’t running his biology in the same way.
It was in the spring of 2020, at 47 years old, that Alomar started to feel himself fading. He describes it as losing aspects, like energy and virility, of what he had in his youth. “Everything was just waning,” he says.
That led him on a journey that began with an in-depth diagnostic blood test and culminated with him feeling “100% on top of my game,” wishing he’d taken control of his health years earlier. And Karl is not alone — there is a shift underway in how people use blood tests to manage their health. (Learn more about the Lifeforce Diagnostic here.)
The Case for Regular Blood Work
It's worth taking a moment to think critically about how most people use blood tests and other health diagnostics. The traditional healthcare system is engineered to treat disease, and blood tests are usually only ordered when a patient is already sick and a clinician wants to confirm a hypothesis about the cause.
We at Lifeforce believe that if your goal is to live life at your peak — rather than simply ‘not being sick’ — regular blood testing is key. “Trying to improve your performance without an accurate baseline is like trying to hike a forest with no idea where you’re setting out from,” says Lifeforce Co-Founder Dugal Bain. That’s why a convenient, comprehensive, and affordable diagnostic is the first step in the Lifeforce journey. “We draw your blood right from your living room, and deliver the results via a convenient online portal,” Bain says.
For some people, the biggest benefit of a proper diagnostic is validation, says Dr. Kerri Masutto, Lifeforce VP of Clinical Operations. "People are used to shrugging their shoulders and accepting these things as an inevitability of age. When they see what they are experiencing reflected in actual data, and they learn there are actions they can take, it's incredibly empowering.”
Alomar agrees: "The results of my diagnostic showed that all of the symptoms that I was feeling in terms of rate of recovery, energy, sleep, even body shape, were related to the imbalances in key biomarkers. I was given a ‘biological age’ of 63, 16 years older than my actual age!"
The Most Important Biomarkers for Midlife
The Lifeforce Diagnostic creates a baseline of your health and performance across five key dimensions: hormone balance, metabolic condition, critical nutrients, organ health, and key risk factors.
Why “Normal” Isn’t “Normal”
Of the Americans that do get annual physicals (avoidance climbed to 31% amid the COVID-19 pandemic), only some will have doctors who order general blood tests for preventative reasons. However, like any data set, the value of a diagnostic is only as good as the doctor interpreting it. "Most ‘normal’ biomarker ranges are focused on highlighting serious health conditions, not on helping people understand how their levels compare to what’s optimal for performance," Dr. Masutto explains. For example, the traditional "normal" range for vitamin D, a critical nutrient for many systems in the body, is 30-100 ng/ml, however 50-100 ng/ml is really a more optimal range for performance, says Dr. Vinita Tandon, Lifeforce’s Medical Director.
What’s more, because Lifeforce focuses on optimization instead of illness, our diagnostic measures things that your typical primary care doctor may not order as part of your regular blood work, usually because of cost or lack of experience working with more cutting edge biomarkers. This is particularly concerning when you consider that it takes on average 17 years for medical breakthroughs to make it into mainstream medical practice. Lifeforce’s clinical team of functional medical doctors, clinical researchers, scientific researchers, endocrinologists, and neuroscientists have a combined 150+ years of hands-on experience moving people into the ranges that support high performance.
The Expert Opinion
As a Lifeforce member, five to seven days after your blood work, you'll receive your results in your dashboard. You’ll also get a personalized plan written by one a Lifeforce functional medicine doctor and the opportunity to schedule a free telehealth appointment to talk through your results and what you can do (via lifestyle adjustments, nutraceuticals, or pharmaceuticals) to level up your life.
“Often people end up overwhelmed by a big download of information and no idea how to actually put it into action,” says Dr. Masutto. “We wanted to join that all together.”
Seeing…and Feeling the Results
Let’s get back to Karl. The “normal” testosterone range is 270 to 1070 ng/dL, and Alomar’s results showed he was at 249 ng/dL. His cholesterol, ferritin, and cortisol were also outside the optimal range. Given his symptoms, his practitioner recommended testosterone replacement therapy combined with high-impact nutraceuticals. His blood work a year later showed he’d brought his testosterone levels up to the higher end of the range, improved his cortisol levels, and doubled his DHEA. “It felt great,” Alomar recalls. “I was back in really good shape — I improved my overall body composition, building muscle and shedding fat — and felt really high energy.
Interestingly, for Alomar it wasn’t a matter of working out harder or eating differently. “In that year I had continued to live a pretty consistent lifestyle. But whereas my chemistry had previously been working against me, now I could make some targeted interventions to get back in shape,” Alomar says. A follow-up diagnostic revealed that his biological age was down to 43 years old, five years younger than his actual age. “The more important thing was that I actually felt like I was 100% on top of my game.”
The biggest thing Alomar learned through his own experience: There's a lot more science and understanding around his biology than he realized. “The body's natural inclination is to start shutting down key activities after the age of 30 because that was just the expectation a million years ago,” he says. “Unless you address that, nature is going to take its course and you're going to go through the aging process in a more traditional way.” Alomar, and we at Lifeforce, know there’s a better way to enjoy life now, and for years to come.
Disclosure: The subject of this story, Karl Alomar, is a managing partner at M13, a venture capital firm that’s an early investor in Lifeforce.
This article was medically reviewed by:
Kerri Masutto, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Institute for Functional Medicine Certified Practitioner
Vinita Tandon, MD, ABIM Board Certified in Endocrinology and Metabolism