Blood Test, Bodybuilding, Bodybuilding Health, Haematology, Biochemistry, Kidney Function, Liver Function, Cholesterol Status, Endocrinology, Thyroid Function, Prostate Screen, TESTOSTERONE, Vitamins,

Why Do Bodybuilders Need To Do Regular Blood Tests?

Why do you need blood tests?

Very simply, because they are pretty effective at telling you what is going on in your body, which is why, should you ever turn up at A&E presenting with any number of issues, one of the first things they will do is take bloods.

The problem is however, that when you, the athlete, turn up at A&E, should this be your first blood test on record, it will not tell the doctor a whole lot unless there is something very obviously wrong. So, in the absence of anything obvious, if all your values came back high, but still just in the normal range for the average person, you will just be sent home.

It might actually be that, for the last 10 years all your values had been at the bottom of the normal range right up until yesterday, when they skyrocketed to the upper level, but the doctor isn’t going to know something is very wrong unless he has those older values on record.

Now, I work with aircraft. Before an aircraft is serviced it is put through pre-input testing, giving a baseline of values so that, when it is stripped and rebuilt, any changes can be identified with certainty.

As athletes we do very harsh things to our bodies every day from excessive exercise to extreme over eating and under eating, water manipulation, exogenous vitamin and minerals intake, hormone stimulants and synthetic hormones. So getting back to the topic of blood tests why wouldn’t you want to know what these things are doing to your body? I have been having blood tests done every 6 months or so since 2016, I wish I had started sooner, but I now have a very good idea of what my normal is.

Blood Test, Bodybuilding, Bodybuilding Health, Haematology, Biochemistry, Kidney Function, Liver Function, Cholesterol Status, Endocrinology, Thyroid Function, Prostate Screen, TESTOSTERONE, Vitamins,

How do you find out what YOUR normal is? Get a blood test!

There are several ways to go about this. If, like me, you are o50 years (AKA an ‘old git’) then your GP can be very helpful. If you are younger your GP may well want a reason to do a blood test and if this reason includes a list of meds you have been taking these will go onto your medical record. This is not bad in itself, but because doctors have a very ‘general’ and limited understanding of what we athletes do and why we do it, you may need to be prepared to have these things quoted, or unduly influencing, future diagnosis eg.  “I’m feeling a bit down” Doc:”it’s because you took steroids 25 years ago”.

So you’re a healthy 25 year old and you want a blood test but you don’t want to see your GP. You can alternatively, for a fairly reasonable cost, use a private blood test clinic of which there are now a number around. I have used both Gymdoctor and Medichecks, and, between these and my GP, I can say that I have had a very comprehensive set of parameters tested.

Below (Appendix 1) is listed the blood test parameters I have had tested. These parameters have not always been available in a single test and I do not test for all of these parameters every time, mainly because the more parameters tested the higher the cost.

Something to be aware of is that some of the parameters you may want to test for need to be done ‘fasted’, meaning you may need to be in a fasted state prior to the blood being taken. I have included a list of these, said tests, and the length of time you need to be fasted before blood is taken. Ultimately, Medichecks will confirm whether fasting is required on the order confirmation if you decide to purchase a kit.

Looking at the list of things that can be tested for may seem a bit confusing, or even scary! You may also have a value outside the norm, but this does not mean there is something wrong. You may have had this value all your life and it has not affected you one iota and never will. Remember, this is about identifying your ‘normal’ and you will get to know these parameters when you have your blood test results.

Blood Test, Bodybuilding, Bodybuilding Health, Haematology, Biochemistry, Kidney Function, Liver Function, Cholesterol Status, Endocrinology, Thyroid Function, Prostate Screen, TESTOSTERONE, Vitamins,

What about the cost?

This information is readily available on line, so have a look and do a little research. From my experience, a very comprehensive test will cost around £150 such as the Well Man Ultravit Blood Test from Medichecks. Should you just want to check your hormone levels, thyroid or haematology these tests are around £60. If you just want to see what your testosterone levels are a testosterone test will cost you about £29. But for me the best value combination for a pretty comprehensive test is the testosterone one and the Health and Lifestyle Check together they will set you back around £78. Let’s face it most of us spend this kind of money every month in the online supplement store!

What do I do when I get the results back?

Along with the test results, the online testing company should provide you with a Doctor’s Report so that you can, if you wish, then contact this doctor for questions about your results.

For example one of the tests I did with Medichecks returned a high Creatinine and a high CK level (creatine kinase). The doctor actually called me at home to ask if I was a strength athlete, and when I confirmed this, he explained that these said high levels now ‘made sense’ and were not a concern as they are a known result of muscle breakdown due to heavy training. I was also able to tell him that they had been this way since my first test.

With regard to some of the other test parameters that returned values just above or below the norm I was able to look up the parameter tested and see how it applies to my training and nutrition. For example if you are consuming higher levels of protein, you can expect your  Kidney Function (eGFR) to likely be a little elevated, and so this is nothing to worry about, but would be something that you would monitor in future blood tests.

The moral of the story: Get yourself regular Blood Tests!

Blood Test, Bodybuilding, Bodybuilding Health, Haematology, Biochemistry, Kidney Function, Liver Function, Cholesterol Status, Endocrinology, Thyroid Function, Prostate Screen, TESTOSTERONE, Vitamins,

Appendix 1

Parameters that are tested in one of the more comprehensive tests, such as the Medichecks Well Man Tests:

HAEMATOLOGY

Red Blood Cells

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

HAEMOGLOBIN (G/L)

G/L

130.00 - 180.00

HCT

L/L

0.37 - 0.50

RED CELL COUNT

x10^12/L

4.50 - 6.50

MCV

fl

82.00 - 98.00

MCH

pg

27.00 - 32.50

MCHC (G/L)

g/L

300.00 - 350.00

NUCLEATED RED BLOOD CELL COUNT

10*9/l

0.00 - 0.0110

HEAEMATOCRIT

RATIO

0.40 - 0.54

RDW

%

11.80 - 14.00

White Blood Cells

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

WHITE CELL COUNT

x10^9/L

4.00 - 11.0010

NEUTROPHILS

x10^9/L

1.60 - 7.50

LYMPHOCYTES

x10^9/L

1.00 - 4.00

MONOCYTES

x10^9/L

0.20 - 1.00

EOSINOPHILS

x10^9/L

0.04 - 0.44

BASOPHILS

x10^9/L

0.00 - 0.10

Clotting Status

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

PLATELET COUNT

x10^9/L

150.00 - 400.00

MPV

fl

7.00 - 13.00

Inflammation Marker

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

CRP - HIGH SENSITIVIT

mg/l

0.00 - 5.00

Vitamins

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

ACTIVE B12

pmol/L

25.10 - 165.00

FOLATE (SERUM)

ug/L

2.91 - 50.00

25 OH VITAMIN D

nmol/L

50.00 - 200.00

Serum vitamin B12 - (JC1

ng/L

200.00 - 900.00

BIOCHEMISTRY

Kidney Function

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

SODIUM

mmol/L

135.00 - 145.00

POTASSIUM

mmol/L

3.50 - 5.30

UREA

mmol/L

1.70 - 8.30

CREATININE

umol/L

59.00 - 104.00

eGFR(MDRB)(Caucasian Only)

ml/min/1.73m2

>60 unless evidence of CKD

Liver Function

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

ALKALINE PHOSPHATASE

IU/L

40.00 - 129.00

ASPARTATE TRANSFERASE

IU/L

0.00 - 37.00

ALANINE TRANSFERASE

IU/L

10.00 - 50.00

CK

IU/L

38.00 - 204.00

GAMMA GT

IU/L

10.00 - 71.00

BILIRUBIN

umol/L

0.00 - 20.00

Proteins

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

TOTAL PROTEIN

g/L

63.00 - 83.00

ALBUMIN

g/L

34.00 - 50.00

GLOBULIN

g/L

19.00 - 35.00

Bone Health

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

CALCIUM

mmol/L

2.20 - 2.60

SERUM INORGANIC PHOSPHATE

mmol/L

0.80 - 1.50

CORRECTED CALCIUM

mmol/L

2.20 - 2.60

Gout

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

URIC ACID

umol/L

266.00 - 474.00

Diabetes

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

HBA1C (MMOL/MOL)

mmol/L

20.00 - 42.00

Iron Status

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

IRON

umol/L

10.60 - 28.30

T.I.B.C

umol/L

41.00 - 77.00

TRANSFERRIN SATURATION

%

20.00 - 55.00

Troponin-T

ng/L

<14

CRP

mg/L

<5.0

FERRITIN

ug/L

30.00 - 400.00

Cholesterol Status

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

TRIGLYCERIDES

mmol/L

0.00 - 2.30

CHOLESTEROL

mmol/L

0.00 - 4.99

HDL CHOLESTEROL

mmol/L

0.90 - 1.50

LDL CHOLESTEROL

mmol/L

0.00 - 3.00

NON-HDL CHOLESTEROL

mmol/L

0.00 - 3.89

Heart Disease Risk

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

HDL % OF TOTAL

%

20.00 - 100.00

ENDOCRINOLOGY

Thyroid Function

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

THYROID STIMULATING HORMONE

mIU/L

0.27 - 4.20

FREE THYROXINE

pmol/L

12.00 - 22.00

Prostate Screen

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

PROSTATE SPECIFIC AG (TOTAL)

ug/L

0.00 - 3.10

PROSTATE SPECIFIC AG (FREE)

ug/L

0.00 - 0.90

FREE: TOTAL RATIO

0.19 - 1.00

Hormone

Test Substrate

Units

Normal Range

TESTOSTERONE

nmol/L

7.60 - 31.40

FSH

IU/L

Men 1.5-12.4

LH

IU/L

Men 1.7 - 8.6

17-Beta Oestradiol

pmol/L

0.00 - 191.99

Oestradiol

pmol/L

41 - 159

SHBG

nmol/L

16 - 55

Free-Testosterone (Calculated)

nmol/L

0.3 - 1.0

Prolactin

mIU/L

86.0 - 324.0

Cortisol (8-10am)

nmol/L

133 - 537

Free Androgen Index

Ratio

24.0 - 104.0

Parameters you may need to fast for:

10 -12 Hour Fast

ACTH (Adrenocorticotropic Hormone,  Bile Acids,  C-peptide,  Carotene, Cortisol,  fasting free fatty acids,  Ghrelin,  Lactic Acid, Lipoprotein Subfractionation, Proinsulin,  Vitamin A, Vitamin E.

8 Hour Fast

Ammonia, Catecholamines,  Cholesterol (lipids),  Glucagon,  Glucose, Oral Glucose Tolerance (GTT), Homocysteine,  Insulin,  Lactose Tolerance,  Thiamine, Xylose Absorption.

Kidney Function

SODIUM, POTASSIUM, UREA, CREATININE, eGFR(MDRB)(Caucasian Only).