I’m pushing 32 years old and had my obligatory physical last month. Unlike a lot of men, I love getting physicals because it means bloodwork results come with it. I love reviewing my bloodwork to see what’s working and not working in my diet and exercise programming.
Some things can slowly creep out of the healthy range (especially as you age) and staying on top of them can be huge for quality of life and longevity.
Here’s a snap shot of my blood results with details on how you can keep each area healthy:
While higher hematocrit values can mean increased oxygen carrying capacity and thus improved cardiovascular performance, values that are too high can be dangerous, increasing the risk of blood clots, leading to stroke or heart attack. High hematocrit also means the heart must work harder to pump thicker blood.
How to keep your hematocrit at healthy ranges:
- Don’t do steroids (lol)
- Get checked for Sleep Apnea, which is a serious condition that can lead to dangerously high hematocrit levels.
- Men on high protein diets should avoid iron supplements, or multi-vitamins containing iron (multi-vitamins suck in general)*
- Smoking can raise hematocrit (and do a bunch of other nasty shit as you know)
My hematocrit reading: 0.456 (range: 0.4 – 0.52). If you test above the range, you can donate blood to bring it down.
*My iron (ferritin) reading was 211 (range: 24-453) so all good, despite a very steady diet of red meat. I’m a meatitarian.
Cholesterol gets a bad rep because of old school dogma linking it to heart disease, and while high cholsterol can contribute to plaque build-up in arterial walls, you don’t want it too low. It is an important molecule involved in the synthesis of vitamin D and many hormones, notably testosterone.
- HDL: The “good” cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) carries cholesterol to the liver for metabolism
- LDL: The “bad” cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is able to carry cholesterol to the arterial walls where it can lead to atherosclerosis.
Keeping cholesterol at healthy ranges:
- Reduce refined sugars intake
- Eat a moderate intake of healthy fats to increase HDL (don’t go too low fat nor too high in saturated fats!)
- Exercise regularly (cardio is good here)
My HDL reading: 1.4 (range: >1). My LDL reading: 2.13 (range: <3.5). Cholesterol/HDL ratio 2.7 (range: <3.5)
NOTE: My HDL is OK, but I’d like it a bit higher. Everything else is optimal.
Blood sugar (glucose) is at the heart of diabetes management. Diabetes develops when your pancreas can no longer produce insulin in sufficient quantity, or your body becomes less sensitive to the insulin you produce.
Keeping blood sugar at healthy ranges:
- A moderate carbohydrate diet that’s in relation to your activity levels (the less active you are, the lower your carb intake)
- Sauna use can improve insulin sensitivity (and reduce blood sugar as a result)
- Weight loss. If you’re overweight, it will be easier to stabilize blood sugar more effectively if you lose even a few pounds
- Drinking in moderation. Alcohol can cause an immediate rise in blood sugar and then a drop a few hours later.
My glucose fasting test result was 5.1 (range: 3.6-6). Anything over 6 to 6.4 is pre-diabetic and > 6.4 is diabetic. Mine could be a little lower, but what I ate the night prior may have contributed.
The liver can be stressed by various supplements, consuming large amounts of food, and even dieting.
Doctors will often only test AST and ALT, which found in liver cells, that when damaged, leak into the blood and can be measured. These can often be elevated from strenuous exercise alone, so avoid exercise three days prior to your blood test.
Keeping liver values at healthy ranges:
- Limit use of medications like Tylenol etc., alcohol, and prescription medications.
- The liver is resilient, but the odd break from pain killers, herbal supplements, and medications can help restore optimal functioning. Consider using 100% pure cranberry juice every couple months (complete a bottle over 5-7 days)
My ALT reading: 25 (range: <46). My AST reading: 28 (range <37)
NOTE: These are near perfect as far as I’m concerned.
This is another big one if weight loss is a goal.
Your thyroid produces thyroid hormone (TH), which regulates, among other things, your body’s temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat.
If you’re still tired in the morning or all day after a full night’s sleep, that’s a clue that your thyroid may be underactive.
Suggest getting tested for TSH, T3 & T4. Sadly my doctor only ordered TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).
My TSH reading: 1.82 (range: .035 – 5)* I’ve always been a bit too low in this, but not to the point of requiring medication.
I’ve documented how I used to be fairly low-normal in this. Without any drugs or supplements (aside from vitamin D) I’ve raised in considerably.
Read how I did it here: http://mitchcalvert.com/top-12-ways-raise-t/
My Testosterone Reading: 26 (range: 6.7 – 28.9 nmol/L)
(Scanned copy of full results below)
DISCLAIMER: All diet, nutrition, training, lifestyle advice and information contained herein is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician, dietician or other medical professional! This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease, medical problems or substitute for appropriate medical care. Consult your physician with questions before starting this or any nutrition, exercise, diet or dietary supplement program.