4HB: Some Lab Work

If you are going to improve your health, then one thing you need to get is some lab work. So I got a number of blood tests done end of last year.

The Tests

In the Four Hour Body, Ferris suggests you get the Spetracell Vitamin Deficiency test. I went looking for someone near me that did the test and found Dr. Martin Basaldua, who is like 5 minutes drive from my work. He also does the kind of hormone replacement therapy that I’ve been going to Hotze Health and Wellness center for the last three years. I decided to change doctors since he is so much closer.

I went in and talked with Dr. Basaldua and gave him some older lab work Hotze had done. He wanted to get numbers on free testosterone and a PSA. Since I’ve got high cholesterol we also wanted to get that tested. Spectracell has a special cholesterol test that reports the size of the cholesterol lipids and I asked the doctor about it. He said he preferred the Berkley Heart Lab’s test, which breaks down your HDL and LDL levels into sub groups, some more important that others. I decided to do the Berkley.

I asked about testing Dihydrotestosterone as well, since Ferris recommended it and it is believed to the actual form of hormone that causes the benign enlargement of the prostate. The doctor wasn’t that interested in testing it because the OK range was so large as to be almost meaningless, and really you need to see is change, and since we don’t know what mine was, how can we know if there is a problem. I told him I wanted it anyway, because how would we know it changes if we don’t have a baseline.

Today I got back those results.

The Good

Spetracell came back showing I had no vitamin deficiencies. Dr Basaldua was impressed because he said since he’s been doing it only 5 people have come back with no deficiencies the first time. So I guess I’m doing something right.

I still want to do some research, especially into Vitamin D, because not being deficient doesn’t mean you have an optimal amount. Though it looks like the results are in percent of the control group, which might not be helpful.

The Bad

I know my cholesterol is high. Actually very high, with a low HDL. Low HDL is almost worse than a high LDL. About the only known treatment for low HDL is Niacin, and the doctor prescribed that even before the blood work was back.

It came back and even broken down, I’ve got issues. My HDL is just in the OK range according to Berkley and their test is actual level, where most test are calculated levels. Still the doc would like to see it higher. My HDL2b is an “intermediate” risk.

Total and LDL overall are high. Of the sub LDLs, most are OK, but the ApoB is very high. 141 where 120+ is bad and less than 60 is recommended. Homocystein, CRP, Fibriogen and Insulin are all green.

The most interesting finding was that my ApoE Genotype is 3/4. There are 3 kinds of genotypes that effect cholesterol, and for each of them some things work better than others. For instance in my type, exercise has only a moderate effect on raising HDL and lower LDL. Fish oil actually makes things worse, and the really effective treatment is a low fat diet.

I need to do some more research on this genotype stuff and I’ll be interested to see what 23andme says when I get my genetic profile back.

Action

Doesn’t do any good to know your values if you aren’t going to do anything about it. So what action am I going to take?

1. Niacin. I’m taking the Niacin the doctor prescribed every night. At first it wasn’t pleasant, but I’m getting used to it.

2. Exercise. While exercise may not help my LDL/HDL, it is still good for me. I’m training for the Warrior Dash and will be running at least 3 days a week.

3. Diet. It’s time to admit to myself I can’t keep eating anything I want. Even if my weight/body shape are something I’m currently comfortable with. I’m going to have to go on a diet. I’d prefer low-carb, or slow-carb and a day off like Ferris suggest in the book. But I may have to look into a low-fat diet.

4. Keep measuring. Did you know Google has a health tracking site? Google Health. I’m putting all my labs in there. I’ve hooked it to my pharmacy so it automatically get any medicine I’m taking. Tracks my Wifings scale results. I put in BP when I get it taken.

Getting old sucks.