Biohack: get on top of feeling good
Updated: Sep 30, 2019
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If you have ever been a serious runner, or if you have ever been pregnant, or maybe if you have just ever been to a doctor, then you should be familiar with the evil word “anemia.” Anemia is a word that can focus on a handful of culprits, from low hematocrit to low hemoglobin to low ferritin. Common symptoms in normal people are dizziness, fatigue, lightheadedness, malaise, or weakness. Symptoms in a runner are sucking wind while your training partners destroy you in races.
Other numbers that are easy to look at that will make you feel tired, sluggish and maybe even depressed are B12 and vitamin D.
I am an ambassador for Blueprint for Athletes, and I use their wide range of tests several times throughout the year. This is an incredible experience because they will mail your supplies to you and then send a phlebotomist to your house to take your blood. If you have ever sat in a waiting room at a lab for an hour after fasting since 8pm the night before, you will understand the benefits of at-home service.
If you try out Blueprint for Athletes, use the promotional code DSGNVC82 for 25% off your order.
I recommend signing up for a coach when you order stacks so that you have someone to help translate your results. If you don’t feel like you need a coach, the results they send you come with a graph and a great description of what it means to be out of range on each test. You can also take your results to your doctor and see what they have to say.
I am not a doctor, but here is my assessment of my recent results and what I am currently doing to make improvements:
These are the numbers that came back out of range for me. Blueprint for Athletes puts them right at the top for you, so they are easy to pick out.
According to my doctor, while my iron was high, it was not really concerning to him. He said he wouldn't really freak out unless it hit 300 mcl/dl. However, this test has been valuable to me for the last year because I have been anemic for most of my adult life and taking iron has been a way of life for me. For some reason, though, my iron has been super high for the last year and if I was still taking iron as a matter of habit, I would be putting my organs at risk. Most women, however, will not have this problem. Most women will see the opposite of what I am seeing.
In contrast, one of my husband’s athletes reported a total iron of 25 mcl/dl and a saturation of 6%. Her ferritin was 3 ng/ml. My ferritin in my last test, for comparison, was 67 ng/ml and I have been over 100 ng/ml more than once.
This is what the tests look like when you expand them (with more description that shown following each expansion):
Pro tip: the iron that got me over 100 ng/ml ferritin is also the cheapest iron I have ever bought: Whole Foods brand of chelated iron. I had a doctor/coach recommend a dosage of 1.5 mg per 1 kg of body weight when I was anemic, and 1 mg per 1 kg of body weight for maintenance, but you’re going to have to decide for yourself if you are willing to take that much iron because it is way over the recommended dose printed on the bottle and will do really fun things to your digestive system (starting with heartburn and moving its way down).
The other numbers that are easy to look at are B12 and vitamin D:
Both of these are showing in the green for me, but just barely. I believe that improvements in both of these numbers will lead to small improvements in both my day-to-day and athletic life. The range I am looking for in vitamin D is 40 to 80 ng/mL, with a target of 50 ng/mL. As far as B12, I am aiming towards the top end of the green range, and will do so with B12 injections or an attempt to diligently use a sublingual B12.