The last time I posted about my blood work was in Nov. 2015. Here is my March 2016 update:
And here’s a comparison with past data:
Context and Analysis
There are a few things that I want to discuss.
First, I don’t like to see my fasting blood glucose levels at 88 mg/dL, even though my HbA1C is at a level that I purpose to maintain. Out of the many variables that I play with, I suspect a few of them are directly involved in this; and probably the most important regards supplementation.
Analyzing past daily logs, I see that before previous blood tests I was supplementing with what I consider a powerful blood glucose lowering concoction (daily for at least 7 days before test). Conversely, before my most recent blood test, I happened to be on break from these and from other supplements.
But, exactly what supplements?
The ones I consider to be efficient in terms of blood glucose are: policosanol, garlic extract, and green tea extract. With this in mind, I am curious to see how future blood tests could be impacted by different supplements.
I am also interested in the impact of donating blood on HbA1C. I had donated blood about a week and a half before my current blood tests. I suspect that the effect may be to lower A1C, though I’m not sure if it’s still observable or if it has any significance at ~10 days post donation.
Lipid Profile Changes
Triglycerides are slightly higher compared to Nov. 2015, but they are well within the normal range. LDL is significantly higher compared to Nov. 2015. I suspect my daily consumption of eggs may have a word or two about this. HDL looks good and is consistent with past data.
My T3 is lower compared to Nov. 2015. It is not in the normal range (what is normal?). I did not test for TSH this time. I think that restriction in both calories and carbohydrates have a lot to do with it.
How does this impact my wellbeing?
Well, not in any negative way that I feel or know of.
My energy levels are constant throughout the day; they are elevated from the moment I wake up until the moment I hit the bed. I sleep extremely well, by subjective measures – compared to the quality of my sleep in the past. Circadian synchronicity for the win!
My gym performance (heavy lifting) is at its best. I train 3-4 times per week (sometimes more frequent, sometimes less) for 40-60 minutes. My current protocol is described in my course and my book.
I would be curious to see how reverse T3 (rT3) fits into this picture. However, rT3 has to fit into my pocket first. And right now, it’s quite expensive to test for it.
One reason I do not worry about my lower T3 (especially since I do not show or feel any sign of pathologic condition) and, in fact, one reason I’d like to keep T3 at this level is because of its possible longevity implications. I wrote about this here and in more depth here. I also restrict protein for that matter (50-70g a day – sometimes lower, sometimes more). ‘Slow metabolism’ myth anyone?!
Testosterone levels are consistent with past data. T is in good range.
It’s interesting how my long term restriction of calories and carbohydrates, as well as my low body fat (judging by the mirror – see picture below) do not reflect what everyone else out there is saying: that you’ll destroy endogenous testosterone production if you commit the heresy of restricting any or both of these crucial factors. Keto-adaptation.
I describe my approach to maintaining my testosterone levels at healthy levels in my book T-R(x) and in short, for free, here.
Highly Sensitive CRP
My hs-CRP (marker of inflammation) is at its lowest value ever. Honestly, from all the studies I read, I did not encounter a level this low. If you know of any study or empirical evidence on this, please let me know. It would be interesting to study the context.
Food and No Food
In terms of my nutrition, I made a few adjustments since my last test.
I considerably upped my consumption of vegetables. Cabbage (red and white), broccoli, cucumbers, carrots, beets, tomatoes, are to name a few. Here’s a cabbage roll with all sorts of stuff in it. Takes 2-3 minutes to make.
I also consume a lot of nuts and peanuts (and I could not care less that peanuts are legumes).
I also eat more beans.
Foods that make the everyday menu: eggs and dark chocolate.
The 2016 Orthodox Great Fast started about two weeks ago and it ends at the beginning of May – marked by the Orthodox Easter (Pascha). I was raised in Christian Orthodoxy; there are many facets of this religion (and all other religions) that I do not particularly agree with.
Anyway, the hard core version of the fast would be to consume nothing but water for 40 days. And we know humans can fast at extended length (case in point here and here).
Many followers of Orthodoxy do this for health and for religious purposes combined. One of the lighter versions of the fast (in Romania) is to refrain from animal products (dairy, meat, eggs, etc) every Wednesday and Friday of the fast.
I currently do daily intermittent fasting of 21 to 22 hours of fasting and 2-3 hours of eating. I’m not particularly interested in doing prolonged fasting though I did it in the past – for the sake of it. So, no 40-days for me – at least not for now.
That’s why I thought of combining my IF with the no-animal-foods on Wed and Fri until the end of the fast.
It would be curious to see if this has any impact on the biomarkers that I test. If I do another blood test until May, I’ll most likely post about it.
On another note, those of you who follow my stuff know that I’m not a big meat eater. This is not to say that when I have a stake, I don’t enjoy it a lot. Of course I do 🙂 Nothing compares with a big juicy stake…
I also have the occasional 1-2 glasses of red dry wine.
Most Consistent – IF+Keto
With all these alterations and modifications, one thing that remains constant is ketosis. The metabolic state is probably boosted by my daily intermittent fasting and possibly indirectly by some of the supplements (alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, etc).
During my fasting window, I drink water and plain strong coffee (no oils or butter in it – to me, this makes no sense).
During my feeding window, the eating experience is so enjoyable because I have to eat a lot in a very short feeding window. I basically stuff myself. Most often I cannot meet my daily energy requirements so I have to strategically overfeed every few days. I don’t want to lose more weight. I’m at maintenance since early 2014.
The more I play with variables the more I learn about my biochemistry; most importantly, the more I become aware of the individuality of each of us. Everything makes sense in context. We are genetically different. Moreover, different epigenetic factors touch an individual’s health and wellbeing in a unique way. I think this is a big call for highly personalized approaches, whether you want to treat disease, or simply improve living conditions.
Of course, you can start by adopting more generalized strategies that work for many people and which make sense to you. This can be a good starting point. Then, at every step of the way, you have to tailor, modify, and adapt these strategies to your individual needs.
I really hope that these examples that I’m posting about are helping you one way or another. And I can’t be more excited about the days when we’ll be able to track AMPk, mTOR, IGF-1 and many blood markers on our smartphones. More variables to play with!
I’ll finish-off with a recent picture of me (favorable light):