September 29, 2018
[0:00:00] Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor
[0:02:00] Episode Sponsors
[0:05:00] A Solo-sode
[0:10:00] Where I'm At
[0:13:00] Why Talk About My Blood
[0:16:59] Diving Into My Results
[0:19:36] Starting with the Basic Lipid Panel / Cardiovascular Profile
[0:27:10] The LDP Particles Section / My ApoB Elevations
[0:36:30] Ben Greenfield Coaching and More Episode Sponsors
[0:40:37] Inflammatory Markers
[0:43:00] Getting Into the Fatty Acids
[0:48:33] My Metabolic Health with Regards to Sugars
[0:51:18] The WellnessFX Panel
[0:53:00] HOMA-IR Score and What Let to Frequent Blood Labs
[1:02:26] Metabolic Hormones
[1:05:06] My Elephants: Cortisol
[1:10:36] Hormonal Parameters
[1:16:57] The Liver and The Kidneys
[1:28:36] Bone Health
[1:29:45] The Blood
[1:35:19] Vitamins and Minerals
[1:40:50] Reaching the End of a Comprehensive Panel
[1:44:31] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, it's Ben Greenfield. I need to give you a medical disclaimer because what you're about to hear is a pretty deep dive into my own blood work and biomarkers, and I like to reveal these to you so that you can see and understand what happens when you test your blood and what's going on with my data so that you can learn a little bit more about how to optimize your own blood and biomarkers. But I'm not a doctor. I don't want you to misconstrue. This is medical advice. I'm not a physician. Well, I'm an exercise physiologist and I've got a degree in Human Nutrition, Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology, master's degree in that. I've got a degree in Nutrition. I have a personal training in Strength and Conditioning Coach Certification. I've spent a couple of decades taking deep dives into biology and biomarkers and took a lot of 400 level classes in university on microbiology and biochemistry and everything necessary to kind of interpret what you're about to hear but I'm not a doctor. So, don't take anything that you're about to hear as medical advice because you may die, as they said once when I signed up for a Spartan race. That was what it actually said, “You may die,” and I signed anyways and I did it.
So, anyways, that is all I wanted to tell you before I also give you a couple of other things prior to jumping into today's show. First of all, I was traveling. I was in California last week and I had alcohol. I didn't have a lot of alcohol. I had a couple glasses of wine with dinner, but I wasn't sure of the source of the wine. So, what I did was I ate my toothpaste. I ate my toothpaste. I'm not kidding. I travel with this toothpaste that is comprised of calcium bentonite among other things. It's calcium bentonite. A little bit of essential oils like peppermint and cacao, some MCT oils, actually, which can do a pretty good job at cleaning your mouth because they're derived from coconut and then a bit of Stevia for flavoring. I did not have my charcoal coconut capsules with me so I instead ate a dab of my toothpaste, and it works really well. I woke up feeling pretty good. I also dabbed this stuff on insect bites and it sucks the toxins out of insect bites. It's incredibly versatile. Or you could just freaking brush your teeth with it. It is the MCT oil toothpaste made by my friends over at Onnit. They do a ton of really cool personal care products. They have wonderful supplements. They have functional foods. They have really cool fitness apparel. But the toothpaste, may I recommend, you purchase and travel with primarily to brush your teeth, but secondarily, if you need a desperate detoxification compound. You get a 10% off of anything on it. Just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/onnit. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/O-N-N-I-T.
This podcast is also brought to you by one of the best ways to give the middle finger to aging. I spent two years designing an anti-aging skin serum. A lot of people don't realize that I actually make beauty products, and this one has aloe vera, amla, Triphala, lavender, oregano, geranium, turmeric, patchouli. Not enough to make you smile like a hippie. Don't worry. Lemon, which is very interesting. Lemon has some really interesting research behind it for both the hair and also for keeping the skin clear of blemishes.
I have thrown a few other oils in there that have been studied for their ability to be able to reduce wrinkles, to serve as antioxidants for the skin. And what I do is I put a dab of this stuff on my skin in the morning and in the evening, and I also apply it to my hair a few times a week. It is called Kion Serum. It is featured along with all the other supplements and products that I design and feature over at getkion.com. That's getK-I-O-N.com. The one I just told you about is called the Serum, and it would be a wonderful addition to your shopping cart if you want to battle skin aging and get ahead of the clock. So, check it out, getkion.com, getK-I-O-N.com.
Ben: Welcome. This is awkward. This is a solo-sode. I think I just coined that term, a solo-sode. It's been a very long time since I, and this is Ben Greenfield, by the way, have done an episode all by my lonesome. This is the way that I used to do the podcast every single frigging week. Starting 10 years ago when I was a young personal trainer operating out of a gym in Spokane, Washington, I would sit down at the end of the day and I would go through The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and The Journal of the American Medical Association and research from the institutes of sports nutrition and all of these different scientific articles and research resources and journals that I was going through, along with my own forays into exercise and nutrition and even some of my early fledgling biohacking tactics. I would talk about all this on a podcast, just me, all by my lonesome.
It was actually the first two that I did–the first two that I did were video. And then, I realized that I didn't actually have to put on a shirt or do my hair or look nice for a video. So, I instead began to do audio podcasts. It was one of the only audio podcasts on iTunes at the time and I had to code my own RSS feed and it was just fraught with frustration and errors way back in the Wild Wild West days of podcasting. But, coming full circle, it was just me, all by myself. I eventually picked up a sidekick. I eventually began to interview others on the show rather than just having me talk incessantly into the microphone. And, obviously, if you are a regular podcast listener, as you know, come along ways.
However, today is a solo-sode for a couple of reasons. First of all, the topic of today's podcasts is my lab results, blood testing, how to interpret your own blood testing, how to go through it intelligently and how to make educated supplementation and diet and fitness and lifestyle decisions based on what you see. And so since I tend to just go through my own labs on my own, by myself, I figured why not to just let you be the fly on the wall who listens in during the process with the hopes that this will help you with your own decisions when you, for example, get a big blood test and you want to maybe look beyond what your doctor or your health practitioner might be telling you and instead be able to intelligently interpret and make sense of some of your own results because I think you'll learn some things in today's show that maybe your doctor isn't telling you when it comes to your blood testing, particularly.
The other reason that I wanted to record this as a solo-sode, and I promise not to use that word too much during today's show, is because I wanted to feel out whether or not you're okay with me occasionally doing this, occasionally having a show where it's just me talking. Why? Well, I want to continue as I have been doing, again, for the better part of the past decade pushing out to you a good two podcast episodes per week that educate and inform you on all things; health fitness, nutrition, longevity, biohacking, et cetera.
Sometimes, it's difficult from a scheduling and a scalability and sustainability standpoint to do that when you need to schedule another person or two other people and match up schedules and calendars. It's very simple for me to really, at the drop of a hat, duck away and record a podcast like this in my office, which is where I'm at right now in Spokane, Washington or elsewhere, such as when I'm traveling and I'm in a hotel room and I've come across some interesting things that I want to share with you but don't necessarily have a guest or someone to interview, or even a sidekick lined up per se, like my trusted Q&A podcast sidekick, Brock.
So if you're okay with me doing a solo-sode every once in a while, it's not boring for you to listen to one person talking–if it is boring for you, you probably haven't made it this far into the show anyways, then, let me know in the comments section of this show so that I can kind of give myself permission, so to speak, to record a solo episode for you. I mean, a solo-sode for you, when I have something that I want to tell you that I think is important and contains enough voluminous information where it could actually fill an episode because frankly, we're probably going to spend about the next hour or so at this podcast geeking out on my blood results.
So, the URL where you can go to comment, and also the URL where you can go to download the actual lab results that I'll be going through, should you care to print them off or view them in real time, should you care to give them to a close friend at a cocktail party, or perhaps, my health insurance adjuster, God forbid, then, as you'll learn during this episode, there are some things modern medicine considers to be risk factors that I don't, and vice versa, then you can access all the shownotes over at the BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdiveblood. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdiveblood. And, when you go to that URL, leave a comment if you're cool with me doing a solo-sode. And if it drives you absolutely crazy to sit there and listen to me talk all by myself, let me know that too. And also, of course, ask any questions that you have about blood testing and any of the things discussed in today's show. So, again, that URL is BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdiveblood.
To paint a visual for you before we jump in, I am at my standup desk. I use this standup desk called a Rebel. It's a crank desk rather than being a motorized desk because I like to keep anything electronic as much as possible out of my office just so there's less electrical pollution floating around. So, I'm standing at my glass Rebel desk and I am leaning right now against a stool. I'm not walking on my manual treadmill. I'm instead leaning against a stool, this little two-pound stool that allows you to kind of be in a standing position but rests your tired ass a little bit. It's called the Mogo Upright Stool or the Mogo Stool made by Focal Upright. Aside from that, I just had a standing desk with a stool. I haven't turned on any of my crazy little biohacks because I don't want to be distracted while I'm recording this episode for you. But I like this one-two combo when I'm just kind of chatting at my desk for a long period of time. This little upright stool combined with the Rebel desk. So, there you have it if you want to upgrade your office in the same fashion as I have.
Okay. So, about three weeks ago, I drove to my local Safeway grocery store and I ducked into the quest laboratories that are located there at the grocery store and I had them draw my blood; 19 tubes of blood, which seems like a lot but it really comes out to about a sixth of the pint of blood that you would give, if you were to say donate blood. It's really not that much blood because these tubes are incredibly thin. The reason though that it was 19 tubes–and to put that into perspective for you, a typical blood evaluation, a basic blood evaluation that your doctor might do, you might have two to five tubes of blood. The reason for that is because what I was running on myself and what I'll be talking about today was a pretty comprehensive panel that I actually advised and worked with WellnessFX to design with the question that I asked in designing this blood testing panel being, what if you wanted to get the same type of blood test that says, would normally cost you tens of thousand dollars as part of a longevity package at a fancy longevity institute like Princeton or Duke or the human longevity project or something like that or even just like an executive CEO health panel and screening?
What if you wanted to take a look at a whole bunch of different blood variables that the average test that your doctor ran, such as a complete blood count or what's called a comprehensive metabolic panel is not looking at? And what if you want to be able to advise yourself on what you see on your results with a little bit more precision? Meaning, rather than just looking at–let's use a very simple example, TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone marker, to see if your thyroid is functioning properly. Actually, looking at some of the upstream and downstream metabolites of that; things like T3, total and free, T4, total and free, reverse T3, thyroxin. I realize a lot of these terms I'm throwing out could be foreign concepts to you. Don't worry. I will explain during today's show.
So, what if you could do all that but just do it all in one fell swoop? And so, I designed this package with WellnessFX. I designed one for men and then a separate one for women because there are some things, as you would probably guess specifically in the hormone department, that are different on a women's test versus a men's test. So, ultimately, what WellnessFX designed for me was a longevity blood testing panel for men and a longevity blood testing panel for women. I personally do this panel on a quarterly basis. I do not recommend necessarily, just from a pure pocketbook and budgeting standpoint, that you go out unless you just like to do this and have deep pockets. You go and do this on a quarterly basis. But even just once a year, or even really, I mean if you just wanted to at least once in a lifetime take a look at what's going on with your blood, this is something that I think is prudent to do.
Most of my clients I have complete this blood test along with some type of a gut test, some type of a DNA evaluation, and some type of a 24-hour urine evaluation of hormones when they come to me for coaching or consulting. And typically, I repeat a blood test like this once a year on my clients, repeat a gut test at least once a year, or if any symptoms arise, repeat a hormonal evaluation about once a year. The DNA test is about once in a lifetime. And then, any other tests that I use on myself or that I use on clients or folks who I work with to quantify blood, biomarkers or other variables. It's on a case by case basis, right? Let's say that you do everything that has been advised to you on a basic blood panel, gut test, DNA test and hormone panel and you're still having energy issues or sleep issues or you want to optimize even more just from a, let's say, a longevity standpoint, then you would do, for example, a micronutrient analysis, like what will be called a Metametrix ION panel. I recently wrote a pretty big article at BenGreenfieldFitness.com that outlines what I just explained to you in much more nitty-gritty detail. And I will be sure to link to that in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdiveblood if you want to go and read that article. It's kind of long but that's how I tend to write, so, my apologies in advance. I just know my readers are smart cookies and you can handle it.
Okay. So admittedly, that was a very long intro and I think we should just dive straight into the good stuff. So, like I mentioned, the entire PDF printout of my lab results from WellnessFX to accompany this episode are something that you can grab at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdiveblood. But, I will do my best to explain to you should you be out cycling or hiking or cleaning the garage or at the zoo or whatever else it is that you do when you listen to a podcast.
So, what you'll see at the very top of a blood panel like this is cardiovascular health. All the parameters that influence cardiovascular health, which would essentially just be your heart, your blood vessels, everything responsible for transporting oxygen, nutrients, hormones and waste products through your body. So, of course, one of the first things that you see associated with cardiovascular health is a basic lipid panel. And you can see there on my lipid panel that there are colors associated that are considered to be risk factors. Red would be–pay attention to this, this is a big deal and this would be the equivalent of like the H or the L that you would see on a typical blood panel from your physician, which would mean respectively high or low. WellnessFX has just color coded their results on this panel.
What I tell people is if your panel is lit up like a Christmas tree with reds, fret not. And you're going to learn why in this episode. Orange is kind of like a “Pay attention,” this could be a risk factor in the future or is something you should mitigate before it becomes an issue.” And then green is “Hey, you're just fine.” And, same thing, if you look at your results and they're all green or you get your blood results from your doctor and there's no Hs and no Ls and nothing scribbled on there and nothing in bold font, that does not mean everything is good. Remember, we are going after not just the absence of disease but we are going after longevity. And there, I say going from good to great, not from bad to good.
When many of us are looking at these types of panels, I really don't feel this podcast is necessarily for a predominantly sick and diseased audience but more for healthy people who want to become even healthier. That's not to say everybody including myself doesn't have some kind of a health issue they want to take care of, but, it really comes down to the fact that you want to pay attention to optimizing variables and not just fixing stuff that's really [censored] up, so to speak.
So, let's start off with the basic lipid panel. You can see the red value there at the top, total cholesterol. My total cholesterol flags as red. It's at 267. And the low-risk category would be anything below 200. So, my cholesterol is concerningly high. If a health insurance adjuster were to see this cholesterol, they would charge me more for a health insurance premium based on that cholesterol. However, when you actually look at what that cholesterol was made up of, you need to pay close attention because high cholesterol in and of itself is not a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, and study after study has shown us this.
What is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease is when that cholesterol becomes oxidized, such as can be the case when your inflammation markers are high, or your blood glucose is dysregulated, or even when you have a very high amount of triglycerides or what would be deemed an unfavorable triglyceride to HDL ratio? So, I don't just look at cholesterol. I look at all the other components that accompany that cholesterol to see whether or not high cholesterol is actually putting me or someone I'm working with at risk for some type of cardiovascular disease or incident in the future.
Now, in this case, you will note that below that total cholesterol number is my LDL. My LDL was at 102, considering that a low risk for LDL is considered by modern medicine to be 100 or below. My LDL was actually not that high. Now, granted, and I'll get to this in a moment, I'm a bigger fan of looking at proteins associated with LDL, and the LDL particle size rather than the LDL itself. But you'll note that really, the reason my cholesterol was so high is because my HDL levels are through the freaking roof. They're at 151.
Now, HDL cholesterol was a scavenger of excess cholesterol. It brings extra cholesterol from arteries and from your body back to your liver to be metabolized. It's transporting cholesterols. This means that in most cases, a relatively high level of HDL is assisting with cholesterol clearance. And research has shown that an HDL cholesterol greater than 60 will be called milligrams per deciliter, mg per dl, can indeed help to protect against heart disease. Although, I should throw in there the caveat that there is some pretty compelling research that has emerged over the past two years showing that more HDL is not necessarily better.
And the reason for this increased risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease associated with very high HDL levels is because a high level of HDL could mean that your body is having to carry a lot of metabolites back to the liver due to a state of constant inflammation. And so, this leads to one of the rabbit holes that inevitably arise when you're looking over your labs. And that would be, “Well, my HDL was through the roof. What the heck is going on with my inflammation? Do I need to be concerned from an inflammatory standpoint?” If you scroll down just a little bit, you'll see on the panel that I ran that I did indeed test all my inflammatory markers, which would be hs-CRP, homocysteine and fibrinogen. I will get to those in a moment, but the long story short is they're all rock bottom. I have very low levels of inflammation.
So, the next question with the high HDL becomes, are you a lean mass hyper-responder? And this is very fascinating. This is based off of David Feldman's protocol and writings. David Feldman has a website called the Cholesterol Code. I will link to it in the shownotes. And he has found, after pouring over data from thousands of folks, specifically their cholesterol data, that there is a certain subset of the population, particularly, lean or athletic folks who eat a low carb diet, who tend to have three things in common. They have low adipose stores, they have low glycogen stores because they're eating a lower carbohydrate diet, and they have high energy demands because they are exercising or moving with frequency intensity or both or volume, frequency intensity and volume or all three. So, what happens is your body seeks to keep your glycogen stores in your liver and your muscles reasonably well stocked, even if you're on a low carbohydrate diet. The body gets very good at sparing fuel in order to keep glycogen fuel tanks elevated. So, if you think about this, you have a low adipose fuel tank. You have a low glycogen or storage carbohydrate fuel tank and you have high energy demands, it would make perfect sense the body will desire to mobilize more fat-based energy to meet those needs. That will ultimately mean that you're going to have a few things happen.
First of all, you're going to have a higher amount of VLDLP. That would be your LDL particle count. It's going to be higher because your body has to move more triglycerides to the cells. And so, a lean mass hyper-responder could have a higher particle count, specifically a higher LDL-P particle count. So, when I see high HDL and inflammation is low, I'm not necessarily concerned. When I see high HDL and LDL particle count is elevated, I'm often also not concerned if that person is a lean low carb, heavily exercising or moderately exercising athlete.
Now, this explains why both LDL-P and total LDL are higher in lean folks with low glycogen stores who exercise a lot. It also explains why triglyceride levels would be so enormously low because the triglycerides are getting depleted. They're getting depleted from use. And there are more of these–you could think of them as boats that carry these triglycerides around throughout the ocean that is your bloodstream, these LDL particles. They actually are going to be higher while triglycerides are lower.
So, ultimately, what you see in a lean mass hyper-responder is high LDL, often a high HDL, and then very low triglycerides. And I fall into that category quite nicely. What this all means is that when you're looking at the basic lipid panel, you don't necessarily need to be concerned if total cholesterol or LDL cholesterol is high. You also don't necessarily need to be concerned if the LDL particle count is up if you fall into the category of being a lean mass hyper-responder.
Now, are there certain issues that you do need to pay attention to if cholesterol is high? Sure. If cholesterol is high and inflammation is high, that's bad news bears. Same goes for if cholesterol was high and blood glucose is high. The same would go for if cholesterol was high–and I'm talking very high in this case, like a case of familial hypercholesterolemia, in which case, a lot of that elevated cholesterol can indeed become inflammatory and that would indicate typically total cholesterol that's well in excess of 400. You'll see a very high cholesterol in that case. And so, there are certain subsets of the population for whom high cholesterol would be concerning. But high cholesterol always needs to be considered in the presence of some other factors.
Now, below that basic lipid panel, you will also see the LDL particles. Now, one of the first things that you see, there's apoB. Now, apoB is the protein in LDL cholesterol that helps these particles bind to or coagulate blood vessels. And because apoB can increase this clogging potential, it is likely a better measure of cardiovascular risk than say LDL cholesterol is. High levels of apoB have been shown in research to potentially increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. And apoB would ideally, according to most research, be lower than 80. You'll see that my apoB is about 85.
Now, like I mentioned, my body is going to need a higher number of particles to carry triglycerides to cells. But, when the apoB is elevated, sometimes that can be concerning and it's certainly something that I pay attention to because apoB is a protein involved in the metabolism of lipids, particularly LDL. Now, here's the deal though. My LDL is elevated for the reasons I described earlier, me being a lean mass hyper-responder. And a mildly elevated apoB and a lean mass hyper-responder is once again not a huge cause for concern to me.
Now, would there be ways that one could naturally lower apoB if it were high? Yes. There are certain supplements and lifestyle parameters that have been shown to safely lower apoB. For example, exercise training is one of the biggest factors that–just frequent physical activity. And especially, in what I found to be the most significant study when it came to apoB, folks are doing endurance exercise three times a week and they had also increased their fish intake. And it's true that fish and/or fish oil can do a good job at lowering apoB.
There are some other things too that can lower apoB that are quite interesting. One is called pantethine. Pantethine is just a derivative of vitamin B5. Consuming just for general mitochondrial health, a full vitamin B complex is a very good idea. I like, for example, the Thorne brand multivitamin due to its pretty high levels of vitamin B from a high-quality standpoint. That's a perfect example of–well, that's the multi that I use when I travel. I don't use it when I'm at home because I had a very nutrient-dense diet when I'm at home. I just don't consume a multivitamin when I'm at home. But when I travel, I use this Thorne multivitamin. And, one of the reasons for that is it has this really good B complex in it.
But there are a couple other things that could be helpful as well for apoB in addition to endurance exercise, in moderation of course, and pantethine. And one, in particular, that's quite interesting is the chlorogenic acid that you find in artichoke leaf extract. Consumption of artichokes or consumption of some type of supplement that contains artichoke extract appears to have a beneficial effect on apoB. So, that's another one that you should pay attention to. That would be some type of artichoke leaf extract for lowering apoB. That seemed to have a pretty good effect as well in addition to that vitamin B complex.
And the last one that I would look into that's just fantastic in general for mitochondrial health and also for cardiovascular health, particularly on people who are on statins but in the general population as a whole, I'm a fan of this, and that would be Coenzyme Q10. Currently, myself and my children all take Coenzyme Q10. We get it from a supplement called Almsbio, which is the glutathione that we use. And I will certainly, anytime I mention something like the Thorne multivitamin or the Almsbio Glutathione with the Co-Q10, I'll link to these things in the shownotes over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdiveblood. So, that's the deal with the apoB on the lipid panel.
A couple of other things that you'll see on there, LDL size. So, LDL particles tend to vary in size and density. So, the smaller LDL particles have been shown to cause a higher risk of heart disease. And that's because those smaller size particles can more easily penetrate blood vessels and leave deposits that could contribute to atherosclerosis, which would lead to heart attack or stroke. And the peak size of your LDL particles, in most cases, should be larger. They should be of, as you'll hear many physicians or health practitioners refer to them too, they should be the large, fluffy variety of LDL.
You can see that WellnessFX gives me a running tally of all of my lab results over the past several years. I've been running tests like this for the past six years and you'll see many of the results for the past two years, particularly on the screen that you're looking at. I switched accounts about halfway through testing and never actually updated and transferred over all my old data into my new account, but you can see at least the past two years' worth of data. And you can see that my LDL particles have been getting larger and larger, oddly enough and I'll allude to this later on. Trust me.
Since I began to live a more natural lifestyle, pay attention to air, light, water and electricity, do less chronic cardio, engage in less inflammatory activities and just live more naturally as a whole; my peak LDL size has simply been climbing since that point. It started off at 210. Now it's at 213. It's at 220. I'd like to get it above at least 222 and a half, which is considered to be getting up into the very large and fluffy variety. And it appears that my body is responding quite well to what I've been doing to increase the size of my LDL particles. So, that's great.
Another couple of things that you'll see on here are the number of the LDL particles. Not only is the size important but the number is important because the more LDL particles that you have, the more there are to potentially contribute to plaques on blood vessels that cause cardiovascular disease. It's quite interesting that even though my LDL is very high, and it's likely due to my high levels of physical activity, my attention to things like fasting and some amount of carbohydrate restriction, my LDL particle count is pretty low and it's in a very low-risk category. So, LDL is high, right? And all the health care practitioners and the health insurance adjusters and everybody freaks out, but LDL particle count is low, HDL is high, triglycerides are low, inflammation is low, blood glucose is low. And so, when you begin to look at cholesterol in light of all these other parameters, you're far more well-informed about what is going on.
One of the last things I wanted to mention when it comes to cardiovascular health is the small low-density lipoprotein. And again, LDL particles come in a variety of sizes and densities. You want these smaller denser particles to preferably be minimized. And you'll note that my small LDL is also pretty low in addition to my total LDL count and my peak LDL size. So ultimately, I'm pretty dang happy from a cardiovascular risk disease standpoint about the only thing that I would like to see is continued increases in the size of my LDL particles. And aside from that, I simply kind of keep my eye on inflammation.
A couple of other things you'll see on this panel that are interesting that I didn't refer to yet. One would be the apoA-1. It's similar to apoB being the protein that's associated with LDL particles. apoA-1 helps HDL particles bind to blood vessels and carry material away from your arteries. And so apoA-1 helps HDL clear blood vessels. So, you wouldn't want low levels of apoA-1, you would want high levels of apoA-1. And as you would expect, due to my through the roof HDL levels, my apoA-1 lipoprotein particles are very high. In addition, the actual size of those particles, because very similar to LDL particles, large HDL particles are known to be more protective than small HDL particles. The size of my HDL particles is also very high as well. So, I am quite happy with my cardiovascular risk disease results.
Now, I did mention inflammation, and it does appear underneath my cardiovascular health values here on the WellnessFX panel. hsCRP is a general inflammatory marker. I did exercise pretty hard the day prior to this test and I actually expected it to be more elevated than it actually is. It's at 0.5. Technically, all things being perfect, I like it to be below or at 0.2. But even 0.5 is considered very low risk for hsCRP. This high-sensitivity C-reactive protein or hsCRP measures inflammation, the body's response to internal damage. And again, if you've exercised prior to your test, and this is something important to know, a doc might tell you, “Hey, your hsCRP is high. We need to look at whether or not you're about to have a heart attack or you've got too much inflammation going on.” But it tends to be mildly elevated if you had exercised in the 24 to 48 hours leading up to that test, especially eccentric exercise like a run or weight training versus say swimming or riding a bike and that's just a little tip for you. I didn't take my own advice, obviously, but if you're going to exercise the day prior to a blood panel, try and choose something lower intensity; yoga, sauna, biking, swimming, et cetera, or just that lovely full body elliptical trainer at the gym. I like to work out on that one and drink my Jamba Juice then go stand in a vibration platform for a little while. That's my idea of a perfect workout.
But we digress. Hey, by the way, I wanted to mention as you're listening in to all of this blood work and biomarker data and you just want somebody to interpret your own genetic data or blood work or saliva, stool, urine, anything like that, again I am not a doctor but I do go through this stuff for people and go through your results with you on the phone. Sometimes I'll do pre-recorded screenshots for you if you don't want to wait to schedule with me and you just want me to go over any PDFs or labs that you send me. Very simple. You just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/coaching. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/coaching. It usually takes me about an hour to go over someone's results with them. So, get an hour long consult over there. I'm happy to help you out.
This podcast is brought to you by Aaptiv, A-A-P-T-I-V. It rhymes with active with a P. Isn't that cute? Aaptiv. Now, what Aaptiv does is it's like having a personal trainer in your pocket. They have an app and it's jam-packed with running workouts, indoor treadmill workouts, cycling workouts, elliptical workouts, if you're one of those people, and also strength training, yoga; pretty much any type of fitness workout that you want. You can pick your poise in on the app. They're all led by a personal trainer; music driven, so they're cued with music that actually moves you, like inspiring music. You've got an inspiring trainer who helps you out through the entire workout. It's kind of like the last app you'd ever need for fitness because you just open it up, you choose what workout you want to do. A personal trainer leads you through it. It's slick and it just works. It takes all the guesswork out of training. So, you get 30% off, 30% off a membership to Aaptiv. It is very simple. The way that you do it is you go to their website, which is A-A-P-T-I-V.com, aaptiv.com. And you want to go to aaptiv.com/ben. That's aaptiv.com/ben. That is going to automatically bring you to a page where you get 30% off of the Aaptiv app. So, check it out. I think I've said the word app enough just now.
The other thing that I wanted to mention to you is icing your balls. Yes, icing your balls. You can get cold packs for your nutsocks now. Here's why you may be interested in that. Your body is adapted to deal with the cold, but modern comforts like heated buildings and layers of clothing and underwear that keep your balls from getting as cold as they actually need to get to produce adequate testosterone. So, what they found is that when you chill your balls, you can actually amp up your testosterone production. This is a very simple way to do it. They've actually designed a special nontoxic FDA registered gel pack, handmade in North America. It's important to put anything on your balls or to avoid putting anything on your balls that's not handmade. These are handmade and it's called the Jet Pack. You can ice your balls with this thing. I have one up in my freezer. I have used it. It's a little bit invigorating too. It's kind of like a cup of coffee for your crotch.
Anyways, I guess I would warn you. Don't do it right before sex because we all know what happens. There's shrinkage in blood flow. But you do it in the morning before like a hot date night or before you plan on having sex and it amps up your performance in the bedroom, as well as increasing your testosterone. Cool little biohack. So, if you want to use this little cold secret weapon, go to primalcold.com, just like it sounds; primalcold.com. Enter code Ben and check out. That will get you a 15% off. So primalcold.com; code, Ben.
So, homocysteine is another inflammatory marker that was tested. Unlike CRP, homocysteine is more associated with inflammatory changes to cells or to blood vessels. And so, a high homocysteine can be present even if CRP, a marker more of general inflammatory damage or muscle damage, is low. Homocysteine, in my case, is low. That marker of vascular inflammation is low and CRP is also low. I would want homocysteine to be at least below 11, and it actually is, and that's a picomole per liter, I believe is the value for homocysteine even though, honestly, its units are not that important. To me, at least, I just like to look at the numbers because units just make you sound smart. Maybe it's a form of mental masturbation to feel as though you know every single unit out there. But I don't pay attention to units as much because like Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle's books, I like to keep my head clear of any data that's going to clutter it up that might not be beneficial. I'm more interested again in numbers and values than I am in actual units, in most cases, unless someone asks me how far away my hometown is from the, say, airport, in which case, 20 miles would be a better way to say things than say 20 inches or 20 milliliters or just 20. Okay, another pretty intense digression there.
The last inflammatory marker is fibrinogen. Fibrinogen is a protein that's important in clot formation. An elevated fibrinogen has been associated with inflammation. Elevated levels are risk factor for cardiovascular disease. My fibrinogen is very low, despite the fact that I worked out the day prior. Well, shameless plug, I consume a pretty large amount of what are called proteolytic enzymes to keep inflammation at bay. And I consume those along with things like turmeric and glucosamine/chondroitin and cetyl myristoleate, and a whole host of different nutrients that have been shown to really control inflammation levels extremely significantly. My company actually produces a supplement for this, like a shotgun supplement for inflammation called Kion Flex. I take eight of those per day. I take 12 if I'm injured. And it's obviously doing something to keep my inflammation low. Obviously, my lifestyle is helping out with that as well. But fibrinogen, which I would have expected to be elevated the day after I worked out is pretty rock bottom. And so, I'm happy with my inflammatory markers as well.
After the cardiovascular health section of the blood panel, you'll then see that we get into fatty acids, which are the oily substances that primarily help to build cell membranes, but an excess can increase deposition of fatty acids in blood vessels, particularly, certain forms of fatty acids.
The first number there you see is just the amount of free fatty acids. Free fatty acids or fatty acids that get released in the bloodstream and fat tissue breaks down. But they don't circulate independently, which is ironic because they're called free fatty acids. They tend to be bound to a protein called albumin. A high amount of free fatty acids has been associated with diabetes and heart disease. My free fatty acids are rock bottom, but it's certainly something to pay attention to as part of that cardiovascular index, in my opinion. I didn't mention it earlier, but again, if cholesterol is high and free fatty acids are very high, I get concerned. You would tend to see that in someone who is simply overeating, for example, or under-moving.
The next thing you see is the omega index. The omega-3 index is an indicator of the amount of two different fatty acids in your red blood cells, EPA and DHA. So, a lower index means you have a less EPA and DHA in your red blood cells compared to other fatty acids. And lower omega-3 index values based on studies can be linked to a higher risk of sudden cardiac death. My omega index is through the roof. I'm very happy about my omega index. It means that I have a large amount of DHA and EPA. And, underneath that value, you can actually see the amount of EPA and DHA that I have, and the ratio between those.
So, EPA, that first one, that's an essential omega-3 fatty acid. And high EPA is associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease. This is one reason why fish and fish oil are something that can be protective from a cardiovascular standpoint. The same goes for DHA. That's an essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid. And high levels of DHA in research had been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases. Both my DHA and my EPA are high. As a matter of fact, my EPA is so high that it flags as high risk. I'm not concerned that I have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. I need those for my joints. I need those for my cell membranes. I would expect for my fatty acids to be high based on what my cholesterol count is and just based on the fact overall that I eat a relatively high intake of Mediterranean style fats. I go through bottles of extra virgin olive oil, like most rednecks around my section of the woods go through beer.
But, anyways, the EPA and the DHA is high, and that's a good thing. The arachidonic acid below that is a measurement of the omega-6 fatty acids, which are also essential fatty acids. I mean, your body needs them but it can't make them. Anytime you see that word essential turnaround, that's what that means. So, omega-6 fatty acids come from the diet. And when eating in moderation, they can actually control LDL particle count and you need a certain amount for, example, the cardiolipin in mitochondrial membranes. There are a lot of really good functions of omega-6 fatty acids. There was actually a really good new book out; mild segue here, mild rabbit hole. I don't know why I get those two phrases mixed. Ann Louise Gittleman just wrote a book called, “Radical Metabolism.” I'm going to have her on the show, but I'll link to the book over on the shownotes for today's show in which she outlines how we may be doing ourselves a disservice by throwing omega-6 fatty acids like arachidonic acid under the bus too much, getting to the point where a lot of these oils, which are also called parent essential oils are too low in the body. Meaning that you do need a certain amount of seeds and nuts and some of these seed and nut-based oils and some of these non-omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, which sometimes we are told to completely avoid in order to have normal cellular metabolism.
So, my arachidonic acid levels are just fine. You can see if you're looking at the panel, I'm in a very low risk category. I have enough of them to go around but I'm definitely not into the high-risk category or anywhere near it when it comes to my arachidonic acid levels. If anything, one could argue that I could probably step up my seed and nut consumption because there's a little bit borderline low, my omega-6, my essential omega-6 six fatty acid levels leading me to have an extremely low omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio.
One of the things that I would like to do in addition to getting larger, fluffy LDL particles is I want to get a better omega-6 through omega-3 fatty acid ratio, not by lowering my omega-3s because I'm very happy with my omega-3 values, but by possibly increasing my omega-6s. For example, one of the very simple ways to do that that Dr. Gittleman talks about in her book is the consumption of borage oil, flax oil or flaxseeds, and hemp seeds or hemp oil. I actually have all three of those in the pantry upstairs and I've been beginning to sprinkle more hemp seeds, in particular, on my salads. So, I'm getting a little bit more of this omega-6, these healthy omega-6 fatty acids.
Okay. Then we get down, after the omega fatty acids and after the cardiovascular health parameters, to metabolic health. And this refers to anything that's involved with chemically processing sugar and fat for use throughout the body as energy. You'll see there that we begin with risk factors for diabetes and insulin resistance. The first being insulin, which is the blood sugar hormone that pushes blood sugar or glucose from your blood into your cells. We know that the most common form of diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, as to the insulin resistance, which forces the body to make higher insulin levels, then insulin levels decline as insulin-producing cells begin to burn out. These changes are seen as the development of diabetes. And high insulin levels can be a warning sign for the eventual development of diabetes.
In most cases, you want your insulin levels relatively low. You could argue that if they're too low, you could be suppressing anabolism. So, if you're, say a football player trying to put on 30 pounds or you're a bodybuilder, you may want your insulin to be a little bit more elevated than mine is. My insulin is rock bottom. It has for the past several years, as you can see, Ben at two and a half or lower. I'm quite happy with the levels of insulin, but I'm more interested in what's called the HOMA-IR score, which I'll get to in a moment.
But before I do, the other factors you'll see there are hemoglobin A1c, which is often abbreviated HbA1c. That measures the average blood sugar level over the last few months, and it examines the part of your red blood cells where excess sugar can attach. And, a higher average blood sugar of course indicates, in many cases, that you're forcing your body to make more insulin, which increases your risk factor for insulin resistance and diabetes. It's very interesting because sometimes people will do a test and their blood glucose will be high. Maybe they've had a cup of coffee, which would mobilize liver glycogen stores and cause blood glucose to be elevated before they went into their blood lab. Maybe they got stuck in traffic so their cortisol went up. So, again, they engage in some glycogenolysis before that test and their blood glucose is high, but their hemoglobin A1c is low. Well, in that case, I'm not too worried because for the past three months, their blood glucose has been pretty low, and the only issue is that glucose as a one-time snapshot measurement happens to be high. Same reason that even though I like to do blood test for hormones, a urinary evaluation of what's happening in the hormones all day long can be a little bit more eye-opening than a single snapshot.
Now, anytime that you're on a WellnessFX panel, this is something that you're not able to see if you're listening, and something that you can't even see from the PDF because if you click on any of these values, what WellnessFX does is they give you a whole bunch of suggestions on how to lower that or raise it. They also have videos that show you how to learn more about that particular value. And they even have genes that are related to that particular value. Meaning, for example, there's a gene related to blood glucose that it tells me about that I could go test if I wanted to take a deeper dive, so to speak. And then, there are also a bunch of lab notes on there that if I were working with my own practitioner on my WellnessFX results would be left by that practitioner's notes for me. So, it's pretty dang robust, this whole ability to be able to use an online dashboard like this to look at your labs. And if you were to go through all your labs and just click at all the videos and watch all the videos and read all the materials, you would be a freaking blood working ninja by the time you get through your own results.
So, anyways, as you will be after listening to this podcast as well, you'll see that blood glucose. Mine was slightly higher than it tends to be. I'm wearing a continuous blood glucose monitor now, and my blood glucose tends to be between about 70 and 85. You'll see on the morning of this test, it was at about 90, which isn't concerningly high. I like to, in an ideal scenario, see it below 90. It's at 90. My hemoglobin A1c at 5.2 is pretty low. Hemoglobin A1c would ideally be below at least 5.7. I'm not that concerned about my blood glucose values. I see them throughout the day. I know that they're low. That morning, they were mildly elevated but not anywhere near what I would consider to be a risk factor or even an issue.
Now, this HOMA-IR score, this is very interesting. HOMA stands for homeostatic model assessment. That's a mathematical model that's used to quantify your levels of insulin resistance, which we'd call IR, hence, the term HOMA-IR. And this calculation takes both your glucose and your insulin levels into account. So, what it looks at is essentially almost like a ratio of the glucose to the insulin. It's a mathematical equation that–I forget what the actual calculation is. It's like a ratio that you multiply by a certain number. It's something like your insulin multiplied by your blood glucose. And then, there are calculators online that can help you out a little bit with this.
But essentially, your HOMA-IR score is a version of your insulin multiplied by your blood glucose, and it gives you a pretty good value of the ratio between insulin and glucose. You would ideally like for that ratio to be very low, below two. Mine is at 0.6. So, I'm quite happy when it comes to my diabetic and insulin resistance risk, especially when you consider that I carry the gene that puts me at a much higher risk for type 2 diabetes. So, what I'm doing is working, chewing my meals thoroughly and limiting the amount of carbohydrate and starch consumption and taking bitters and digestifs before meals and frequently moving, just everything, intermittent fasting. Everything I'm doing is working.
One of the first things that led me to begin testing my blood and biomarkers was back when I was an Ironman Triathlete and I was healthy on the outside and I was an aerobic monster but my blood sugar levels were through the roof, my inflammation levels were through the roof, my insulin was through the roof. I was literally dying on the inside. And that's honestly when I really started to take a deeper dive into health and longevity and biohacking. That would have been about eight years ago or so that I really began to pay attention to a lot of these variables more closely and learn about them more.
Okay. So next, we get to thyroid. For thyroid, you will see that, as I mentioned in the beginning of this show, there are a lot of things measured. On a typical blood panel, you would just see TSH. Now, on my panel, you'll see TSH; total T3, free T3, T-uptake, total T4, free T4, thyroid peroxidase, free thyroxine index, reverse T3, and antibodies to thyroid protein. Well, the first thing you'll see is that my antibodies to thyroid protein are pretty low. I don't seem to have any type of autoimmune disease. My antibodies are very low. Thyroid antibodies are something that you tend to see sometimes in people who have hypothyroidism because their body has mounted an inflammatory attack against thyroid tissue and they have essentially a full-blown autoimmune disease. That is not the case with me.
In addition, my reverse T3 is very low. Reverse T3 is–it works like this. Your body converts T4 to reverse T3 as a way to get rid of any unneeded T4 that it doesn't want to become bioactive T3. So, when your body needs to conserve energy like if you're sick or you're physically stressed, it will decrease the amount of T3 that you produce, and it will increase the amount of reverse T3 that you produce. So, we'll often see reverse T3 elevated in someone who is sick or is very stressed out or who essentially is undergoing some type of stress or cortisol that's decreasing their active thyroid production.
My reverse T3 is very low. So, I'm not concerned about stress being an issue in terms of causing my thyroid to be low. My free thyroxine index, that are obtained by multiplying your T4s; what's called your T-uptake. It's a pretty reliable indicator of thyroid status and energy metabolism. In a nutshell, my free thyroxine index is normal. There doesn't appear to be any issues with the actual metabolism when it comes to thyroid hormones. The thyroid peroxidase is another value you can see there. That's an enzyme that's expressed primarily in the thyroid that releases iodine for addition onto something called thyroglobulin, which allows you to produce your thyroxine or your T4 and your triiodothyronine, your T3. That's what T4 and T3 actually are.
So, thyroid peroxidase is often a target of antibodies. So, if your thyroglobulin antibodies are high, then in many cases, thyroid peroxidase is elevated. And you'll see it a lot in someone who has, for example, you may have heard of this, Hashimoto's thyroiditis or some type of hypothyroidism chronic disease. If thyroid peroxidase is low and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies are low, that's often an indicator that there's really an issue going on from an antibody standpoint when it comes to thyroid activity.
Now, what you will note on my values is that I have a low free T3, I have a low total T3, and I have a low free T4, and not extremely low but kind of low T4. So, I've got low T4, low T3, total and free. Now, this is kind of important for me to know because total T3–you know, you have your T3 and T4. Those are two main hormones produced by your thyroid gland. T4, even though there's about 20 times more of it in the body, T3 is much stronger. It's about three to four times stronger. So, low T3 is a pretty big issue. Low T4 is also, of course, an indicator of low thyroid function. Even though T3 I think is a bigger issue, T4 is an issue as well.
Now, if you have elevated free T3 and elevated free T4 but low total T3 and low total T4, it's less of an issue because at least means you're getting enough of that free bioactive hormone to go around, even though some of the totals might still be bound up, so to speak. But I've got almost across the board, low T3 and low T4, both free and total. And not surprisingly, as a result of that, even though it doesn't flag as a risk marker, my thyroid stimulating hormone is higher than what I would like to see. I like to see thyroid stimulating hormone between 0.5 and 2. Mine is at 3.7.
Now, thyroid stimulating hormone is what triggers your thyroid gland to produce T3 and T4. The higher TSH is, the more likely it is that your brain is working very hard to try and get your thyroid gland to release more damn hormones, more T3 and more T4. And if it's not doing that, you'll suffer from some loss of energy and you get cold more easily and your metabolic rate decreases. And, you'll see that I have that pattern of high TSH, low T4 and low T3. It's not due to an autoimmune issue. We know that. It's not due to a stress issue. We know that. This is where it's good to see the full value of thyroid hormones. You can begin to piece things apart and do a little bit of detective work.
Well, the idea here is that this issue with my thyroid hormone activity is most likely due to the fact that even though I have a raging appetite, I walk around with a called Hara hachi rule when push yourself away from the table in your 80% full. My weight is 175 pounds. My natural weight if I eat ad libitum, is about 190-195 pounds. I walk around 15-20 pounds lighter than what my body actually wants to be at and I primarily achieve that through intermittent fasting and calorie restriction. Now, that's great for me in terms of me being able to strike a sweet spot between having enough energy to compete but not so much energy that I get fat or decrease my strength to power ratios. But, looking at things from a pure health and longevity standpoint, and looking at things from just an overall fertility standpoint in an ideal scenario, were I not a charging athlete attempting to stay lean, were I not someone who is posing on magazine covers and trying to maintain low body fat because it's honestly part of my shtick to be good looking with my shirt off, at least good looking according to current pop culture standards, I would actually gain weight. I would eat more. It's very seldom that I actually push myself away from a table full. I just don't do it I might eat to full appetite, maybe, once a month and I think because of that my thyroid is downregulated a little bit. I think it's a very simple scenario, I don't have a bunch of thyroid antibodies, I don't have an autoimmune disease. I'm a very low stressed guy, which we'll get to in a minute, but I think that if I were to eat more damn food and this would be a fun experiment, as a matter of fact, if there's a sponsor out there, like, say, US Wellness Meats or Thrive Market or some other company that produces amazing mouthwatering food, that wants to sponsor an experiment in which I eat normally for a month and then, see what happens with the thyroid, I'm all in, just let me know. Anyways though, so that's what's going on with thyroid. We should keep going so that this doesn't turn into a three-hour solo-sode.
So, next is metabolic hormones. Now, metabolic hormones primarily involved insulin, insulin growth factor what's called [1:02:30 unin], we’ll get to it in a second, in cortisol. We've already discussed insulin which, of course, influences how you metabolize fat sugar and protein and store energy. Then, there is insulin-like growth factor which is stimulated by growth hormone. It's also called IGF-1 and it's an easier way to measure growth hormone activity than to measure growth hormone directly. It's more accurate. This would be the hormone responsible for anabolic pathways. Well, probably related to the same reason my thyroid is a little low. Probably related to the same reason that my insulin is relatively low. You can see my IGF-1 is pretty low. Meaning that I'm not in a very anabolic state. That's wonderful for longevity but for overall fertility, libido, metabolic rate, muscle building, et cetera, I like to see a sweet spot of insulin-like growth factor where there's not so much that your aging excessively but enough to be pretty anabolic and that would be above about 120, mine is at 97. So, again, I'm considering not only, maybe having a few more re-feeds of calories spread throughout the month but I might step up my intake of one thing that can really boost IGF and get you pretty anabolic without necessarily vastly increase the number of calories they need to consume that's colostrum.
So, there's this stuff called a colostrum, it's the first part of the milk that mammals consume when they're young. I have a really good source for it from an organic grass-fed goat farm in Western Washington. We sell it at Kion. I've got a couple bottles in my fridge. I just need to start remembering to take it in the mornings because my IGF is low. This is why I test so I can get educated decisions about what kind of supplements I would want to take it, et cetera. But this is the one way for me to raise my IGF without eating too many calories.
So, IGF is a little lower than what I'd like to see for me to be anabolic. It's almost like I got this anti-aging thing dialed into the point where I risk being cold or having low libido which I don't. You know, my libido is fine and you'll know in the second what my testosterone is at which I'm very happy with. I wake up with morning wood every day. There's your TMI for the day and I feel great about libido.
However, I would just say, you know, if I wanted to put on some muscle and maybe see how it would feel like to have even more robust energy levels from a thyroid and an IGF-1 standpoint, I should have a few more re-feeds and I should start using something like say, colostrum.
Okay. Next, we get to, one of the elephants in the room. Whenever I test cortisol, you can see if you're looking at my values right now, they're always high they're not like, you know, 30-40 highs, I’ve seen some folks but they're high. My cortisol is at 24. You would like to see cortisol below 20, between about 20 and 20 is pretty good for your cortisol levels. You know, cortisol is that stress hormone that can increase blood sugar for energy and could potentially, in high amounts, suppress the immune system. I personally never get sick but I do want to be wary when my cortisol level is this high and surely, like I mention, a cup of coffee driving through traffic, even just being nervous about going into a lab and giving a bunch of tubes full of blood, all of these things can increase your stress hormone which is why a one-time snapshot of cortisol in my opinion, only tells you so much. So, if you’re like me, test your cortisol. And you find it to be elevated on this one-time snapshot, you may need to take a deeper dive to make sure it's not an issue. Now, I meditate, I do a lot of breath work, I'm not a very stressed out guy. Anybody who hangs around with me knows that even though I'm a hard-charging, high achiever, I'm not a stressed-out guy. I live life at kind of a pretty slow pace. I’m really not angry or ill-tempered. I've got low amounts of stress. I can tell you that right now.
Now, here's the deal, cortisol metabolites are important to understand. Cortisol is made from cholesterol in a certain layer of your adrenal cortexes, right above your kidneys. 80-90% of cortisol is bound to something called cortisol binding globulin, very similar to like thyroid is bound to thyroid binding globulin and testosterone is bound to sex hormone binding globulin. So, a very small percentage of cortisol winds up being free and unbound. The rest of cortisol is kind of in transition.
So, cortisol gets metabolized. It's metabolized into something called 5a-THF and it gets metabolize into 5b-THF and then, there's another variant of cortisol that cortisol can get metabolized into called cortisone and that also gets metabolize and something called 5b-THE. So, all of these would be considered to be cortisol metabolites. So, the amount of cortisol that's produced and the amount of free cortisol available can be very different at different points throughout the day and if all you are testing is blood cortisol versus metabolized cortisol, sometimes you don't get a clear picture of everything that's going on when it comes to cortisol.
So, for example, what I mean by that, is you could have issues with cortisol clearance. In elevated cortisol clearance, you would see in something, like hyperthyroidism. You'll see that in obesity sometimes too. When someone test, they'll have very low levels of free cortisol because they have elevated cortisol clearance. It's not because they have adrenal fatigue. It's typically because they have something like hypothyroidism or I'm sorry, hyperthyroidism or they're obese. You know, a lot of times a doc will look at low blood cortisol and be like “Oh, you got an adrenal fatigue. Take some time off. Your adrenals are pooped out.” When in many cases, if they're not looking at metabolized cortisol, it’s a non-issue at all.
You often see the opposite in someone with let's say, low thyroid, when the thyroid slows down or if there's peripheral hypothyroidism or free T3 can't get into cells, the clearance of cortisol slows and as a result, free cortisol starts to increase and can show up elevated on a blood test. And this, I think, is one of the reasons that my cortisol is high. I think that some of the thyroid dysregulation that you can see there is causing the clearance of cortisol from my blood to be slowed.
Now, how can I test that? And how can I test whether or not I would have a low amount of metabolized cortisol? Well, there's another test called the Dutch test. That's a 24-hour urine sex steroid test. It's one that I run on a lot of my clients. It's one I've run on myself before and I have indeed found this to be the issue. My cortisol metabolites are low so cortisol isn't getting metabolized as well as it could. That’s to the thyroid. It's not due to the fact that I'm a super-duper hard-charging stressed out guy. So, this is a perfect example of when you need to take a deeper dive. I am, of course, in the position where I've already taken that dive so I’m just able to tell you right now why it is that my cortisol would be this elevated but ultimately the Dutch test for hormones, so again, it would be an interesting experiment to see if I were to eat a whole bunch of food on a more regular basis, take a bunch of colostrum a regular basis in the mornings and continue leading the lifestyle that I'm leading without changing anything else, I will wager a bet that my cortisol will decrease. I'm thinking now that during the holidays would be a very good time, as the holidays are a good time to overeat, for me to take a break from any of my hard-charging racing and just eat more damn food and gain some weight and see what happens particularly to cortisol and thyroid. I would expect thyroid to go up and cortisol to go down. I will link to that Dutch test by the way which would be prudent for anyone to do over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdiveblood.
The other parameters that you'll see there are, of course, my hormones, my estrogen, my progesterone, my follicle stimulating hormone, my luteinizing hormone which are the signals sent by the brain that would, for example, signal my testicles to make testes or my testes to make testosterone. And you can see my free testosterone there which is the actual active form of testosterone, not bound to sex hormone binding globulin. You can see the total testosterone, as well as, what's called DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate is what DHEA is or DHEAS. That's an anabolic hormone.
So, when you look at all of these parameters, you'll see, first of all, my LH is something that has gone up. It has actually increased significantly since I began, of all things, shining light on my balls. I've been using this thing called the Joovv Light, what's called photobiomodulation and one of the things that it’s supposed to do is, it's supposed to increase mitochondrial activity in the testicles and also increase the ability of Leydig hormone to be able to operate properly or I'm sorry luteinizing hormone to be able to operate properly in the Leydig cells in the testes. Well, my luteinizing hormone has increased pretty well since I started using this Joovv light so I'm happy about that especially because it was not associated with an increase in estrogens.
My estrogens are low and sometimes, in men who experience an increase in LH or an increase in testosterone, which I'll get to in a second, you'll see what's called over aromatization, presence of man boobs or you get weepier when you just watch more chick flicks or whatever. That means estrogen is building up. There are other reasons estrogen can build up for example, exposure to much plastics.
Ultimately, my estrogen is a low, my luteinizing hormone is going up, my free testosterone is going up, my total testosterone, which used to be, back when I would race Ironman, you can see some of the early values there my lab tests, I used to be right around the 300 for my total testosterone when I was doing a lot of chronic cardio. Well, as I have shifted towards more explosive activities, things like Spartan racing and also course racing, more weightlifting, I have actually gained about 5 pounds of a little bit of weight. I've started using things like the light on the balls or I like the photobiomodulation. I have started to incorporate a lot of the testosterone hacks that I talk about in an article that I will link to over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/deepdive. You know, my article on top testosterone hack not only includes things like photobiomodulation but the incorporation of more minerals in the diet, more zinc in the diet and some of these testosterone precursors, more frequent sex which just goes without saying you would expect that to increase libido.
It's like a positive cycle and increase testosterone around, as well. I’ve been doing a lot of things to increase testosterone, even stem cell injections and PRP injections into the penis. All of these things can help out a little bit. My testosterone has been slowly climbing over the past few years. It’s now at almost 900. So, my total testosterone is at 881 which I'm very happy with. My DHEA similarly has climbed quite a bit. My DHEA is at 319. My total testosterone is not quite as high as I would like for it to be. Some of it is still bound to sex hormone binding globulin, it’s at 78.5. Now, how can I get more of that free testosterone to be active? Or how can I free up more of that total testosterone more specifically to be active as free testosterone?
Well, ideally, I would want to lower sex hormone binding globulin or SHBG which can inactivate hormones like testosterone when bound to SHBG. Well, it turns out that one of the things that can elevate SHBG, in addition to increased cortisol, is lower thyroid activity. So now, I’ve got this cluster of symptoms that seems to arise primarily from my body getting this message that there's not enough food on board, thus, it must downregulate thyroid a little bit. This affects my cortisol clearance and it must also, down-regulate fertility a little bit which would decrease my sex hormone binding globulin. So, even though I'm making a lot of testosterone, my body is saying, “Okay, keep some of it bound up. We don't want this guy to become too fertile because he might be living in a time of stress or a time of starvation or both.” While that sounds like a woo-woo way to describe it but a lot of times many of these physiological mechanisms are indeed just built in ancestral mechanisms.
So, to lower sex hormone binding globulin, my strategy will be to eat more, possibly move and work out a little bit less, pay attention to thyroid, pay attention to that cortisol value and I hazard a guess that sex hormone binding globulin will decrease. Of course, there are an enormous number of supplements that supposedly decrease sex hormone binding globulin and you'll see like tongkat ali and stinging nettle and vitamin D and minerals, frankly, I take a lot of little Chinese herbs or my own supplement regimen, I can get into another time but I don't think my sex hormone binding globulin levels are elevated because I'm not taking enough Chinese herbs. If anything, you could argue that if you look at my vitamin D, which is a little low, I actually carry the genetic marker that makes it so I'm unable to absorb vitamin D from sunlight and therefore, must supplement with vitamin D. My vitamin D is at 52. Low vitamin D can cause increased sex hormone binding globulin so it's possible that I could also experiment with adding a little bit more vitamin D from a supplementation standpoint and also, see if that kind of makes a dent in the SHBG, the sex hormone binding globulin.
But that about covers all of the reproductive hormones. So, ultimately, I'm pretty happy with where I'm at from a libido and hormonal standpoint but I would like to lower my sex hormone binding globulin a little bit and some of the strategies that I used to do that will be similar to the strategies that I'll use for thyroid and for sex hormone binding globulin, or for cortisol.
Okay, next up was be the liver and the kidneys. Now, first of all, one of the big things that leap out is you see high levels of creatinine in the kidneys. Now, creatinine, your serum creatinine is a waste product that gets formed when cells break down. This is another one that a lot of athletes will see on their test and they get concerned. They think they're going into kidney failure; they think all that creatine they're taking is destroying their kidneys. Well, not only do I use creatine about 5 grams per day, but I also exercise, and if you exercise the day prior to a lab test, and I mention this a little bit earlier but I didn't mention creatinine, creatinine tends to be elevated. Now, if you're poorly hydrated, that's another reason creatinine can be elevated. If you have poorly functioning kidneys, that's another reason that creatinine can be elevated but if someone has exercised the day prior to this test and especially, if they've exercised the day prior to the test and they're also taking creatine, then, I don't get concerned about this marker at all indicating poor kidney function. It’s just a relic of what's going on with someone's lifestyle.
As you can see, my glomerular filtration rate, which is a measure of my kidneys’ ability to filter blood, that looks great. My albumin, the protein in the blood that would, in very high amounts, cause the kidneys to become overstressed is not excessively high. My uric acid which is appearing breakdown product that when elevated has to be excreted by the kidneys and thus, can be difficult on the kidneys, that number is just fine. So, most of my kidney function markers look just great except that creatinine.
The other one that's elevated is blood urea nitrogen or BUN. Our blood urea nitrogen is also a waste product that gets formed when proteins break down including your own muscle proteins when you exercise. So, that's one that I tend to see elevated when someone is either, A, dehydrated which I was not, I drink a lot of water and a lot of minerals more importantly, or if they've exercised the day prior to the test. So ultimately, in retrospect, especially since I'm doing this podcast for you, I should have like gone for a swim or an easy bike ride or something like that the day prior to the test to scratch my exercise itch or maybe done some yoga or gone a long walk in the sunshine, as it is, I lifted weights and I went running. So, I did a double whammy on the things that would elevate creatinine, the things that would elevate blood urea nitrogen and the things that would elevate that last marker that I talked about, the hsCRP inflammatory markers. So ultimately, I'm not that concerned about any of those values.
Now, one that does cause me to raise my eyebrow when I look at it, is my liver values. You'll see that my liver is–well, it's lit up like a Christmas tree. My alanine aminotransferase which is ALT, that's a liver enzyme. My alanine aminotransferase, when elevated mildly, is not of major concern. But, I've seen a pattern over the past three tests where it's gone from 26 to 55, and now, it's at 83. Meaning my liver seems to be somewhat stressed out. In addition, aspartate transaminase or AST, also an enzyme found in the liver, that tends to be elevated if you’ve exercised the day prior to the test is unfortunately much higher than it would be even if I've exercised prior to the test. It's at 172. Now, the last liver enzyme alkaline phosphatase, that is low but it's low to the point where it indicates some suppressed liver function.
Now, this is not due to excess calorie or excess protein intake because you can see my albumin is low, my bilirubin is low, my globulin is low, all these things that indicate you know my liver having a shell too much protein or my kidneys being stress, none of those seem to be an issue. Now, in addition, after seeing this test, I did some liver palpation, upper right quadrant. I felt around in there a little bit and it was tender. Gallbladder and liver area was pretty tender. And so, there is something going on when it comes to my liver function that I need to address. This was really one of the first markers I ran into where I really did have a big old, “uh-oh.” Now, I don't drink excessively. I don't take a lot of pharmaceuticals but it's possible that my liver function is declining due to some other variables that might be present. What are some of the things that you can do to influence liver function if it seems to be sluggish which can happen with age, for example, but it can also happen with air pollution and environmental toxins exposure, it can occur with chemically sprayed crops. I have been traveling a lot including international travel. It's possible that I might have been exposed to something that's causing my liver to really have to metabolize a lot of junk. So, eating a diet that has adequate fiber in it, that's good for the liver. Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods in that respect would be things like mustard greens and chicory and arugula, dandelion is extremely good. A lot of ferment and vegetables like kombucha and kiefer are also really good. As are things like Swiss chard or collards which raise your levels of glutathione which is really important for the liver. Dark leafy greens, in general, are fantastic for the liver. Cruciferous vegetables and grasses; chlorophyll from algae is also really good. Fresh herbs, you know, cilantro is a biggie, turmeric, coriander, parsley or others. High amounts of high antioxidants fruits, particularly small ones like dark berries. Raw honey is very good for the liver. Green tea is very good for the liver, as is apple cider vinegar.
Whenever I see something that responds well to dietary parameters I make it a point to begin to include more of those. I began, for example, cutting out that huge dark leafy green smoothie that I was doing every morning at least like 20 servings of plants in that thing because, frankly, I was getting tired of having to take a massive dump at about 2 PM in the afternoon. Well, it turns out that I may have rob Peter to pay Paul right, so maybe my liver isn't getting as many antioxidants as it needs from that standpoint.
There are supplements that you can take, some of the biggies would be milk thistle and holy basil is another one, dandelion root like a more concentrated form. Supplementation of dandelion is also important so there are a few different herbs that I should probably begin to include either in my diet or in my return to that morning smoothie or both in order to give my liver what it needs from that standpoint.
The consumption of bitters and digestive enzymes can help out quite a bit with gallbladder activity which is also important for supporting the liver. That book that I mentioned, “Radical Metabolism” by Ann Louise Gittleman gets into that quite a bit. There's also a new book based entirely around this issue of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease which is a growing epidemic. Apparently, as high as 40%of people are now struggling with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and frankly, my lab results show that even though I haven't got a liver biopsy, I may fall into that category.
There's a new book by Dr. Alan Christianson called, “The Metabolism Reset Diet” and not to be confused with the book, “Radical Metabolism” by Ann Louise Gittleman which also has some really good treatise of the liver and the gallbladder. I will be revisiting both of those books, which hold a place on my bookshelf, to dig through and see if there are some other things that I could do to address some of this liver function.
I really can't think of much else aside from, embarrassingly enough, I did do this panel couple of days after some pretty hefty international travel, well, hopefully TSA and the feds are not listening in too closely, but one of the things that I do to sleep on an international flight is I typically take an edible of marijuana and usually a pretty significant dosage of edible like we're talking about 50-60 milligrams of THC which is metabolized by the liver and part of me wonders if maybe you know eating an edible on a plane flight a few days prior to a panel like this, would have caused my liver to have to work pretty hard to metabolize that edible. Again, I really should do a repeat test here and see.
But, what's more concerning to me is I see a pattern here, you can see if you're looking at the results ALT has been climbing over the past few tests, AST has been climbing over the past few tests. So, I think, that I need to, and if there are any good liver docs listening in, feel free to pipe in, but I need to pay some close attention to the liver and it's possible that I may need to–this would not go well hand in hand with eating more over the holidays, but some types of detoxification protocol that's a little bit more intensive.
I'm leading a whole group of podcast listeners as many of you may know on a Swiss Healing Retreat of biological medicine June through July of 2019 which is several months after this podcast comes out. I don't want to wait until then to do my big two-week detox which is one thing that will be doing during that retreat. But, I'm going to be paying some pretty close attention to some of these liver issues and probably starting right off the bat into just like a mild liver detoxification liver support because they're pretty dang elevated, like I mentioned, palpation of my liver and gallbladders a little tender too and I only have one of those damn things so I want to take care of it.
Okay, a few other parameters to look into here as we get closer towards the end of today's show. One is electrolytes like sodium, potassium, chloride and CO2. Now, one of the things that I pay close attention to when I'm looking at someone's electrolyte panel is the CO2 in the chloride levels. Chloride is a negatively charged electrolyte that balances positively charged electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Sometimes when chloride is extremely low, it can indicate some type of mineral depletion or electrolyte imbalance. When CO2 is low–so let me explain, CO2 bicarbonate or HCO3 that's the main form of carbon dioxide in the blood and it acts as a buffer against acids in the blood. If bicarbonate is very low it can suggest that your diet has shifted towards one that is too acidic or you can see my CO2 has dropped, it's very acidic, and part of me wonders as if it is whether or not because I've cut out all of those alkalinic vegetables I was consuming every morning, sure, I have a big ass salad at lunch every day. But, this process of me cutting out that huge morning smoothie and whatever placed it with, for the most part, has just been things like exogenous ketones and putting some superfoods in coffee or tea and blending that. This morning, I had half a can of organic sweet potato puree with some macadamia nuts, my breakfast has been widely varied of late. I'm wondering if simply the absence of this high, high intake of alkalinizing greens that I was having in the morning, up until recently, has affected not only the carbon dioxide in my blood but also my liver functions. Some of these laboratory tests can be frustrating because you realize you've got some digging to do but ultimately CO2 that's important to look at because as you can see in me it's indicating a shift in my acid-based balance towards acidity which is concerning from an overall health standpoint. So, that's something that I will keep an eye on as well, all those CO2 values.
Next, we get to bone health and you can see that I've tested 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Now, more vitamin D is not better once you get above 80 and especially about 100, you tend to see increased risk of mortality. The sweet spot for vitamin D is between about 40 and 80, mine is at 52. For the reasons I mentioned earlier, particularly related to sex hormone binding globulin, based on these lab values I'm going to try and get mine closer to about 70-80 via vitamin D supplementation and that's another important thing to pay attention to is 25-hydroxyvitamin D. The only other thing you'll see in that bone panel that’s of importance is calcium, the mineral that's, of course, found in bones and only about 1% of your body calcium is found in the blood but within the blood it circulates in both its free form and also bound to a protein called albumin. So, if calcium is abnormal sometimes that can be caused by abnormal albumin. And, my calcium is just fine, my albumin is just fine so I'm not concerned about either of those parameters as well.
You can see that I have fantastic values for total white blood cell count and you can see that this particular lab test you know we're getting into blood now, by the way. Let me back up for just a second. Your blood has two different components in it. The cellular components which would be red blood cells, white blood cells and these cell fragments that are known as platelets and then a liquid component which is called plasma and together these two parts of the blood are responsible for oxygen transport, temperature regulation, blood clotting, immune defense, but you're looking at cellular components and plasma.
Now, one of the first things it says is your platelet count. So, platelets help to form blood clots at the side of an injured blood vessel. Knowing your platelet count can help to reveal any potential blood clotting issues and if your platelet count is very low, you could be at risk for abnormal bleeding, if it's very high, you could be a risk for sclerosis or some type of clotting deposit in the arteries. My platelet count is perfect, sweet spot, normal. Sometimes, I'll see, by the way, of normal platelet counts and people who are low in vitamin K. Vitamin K is extremely important for blood clotting factors.
My mean platelet volume is also fine. Mean platelet volume is the average size of my platelets and newer more recently produced platelets tend to be a little bit larger and so if you're making more platelets than average will tend to play the volume slightly up. Mine tends to be borderline high, probably because I do so much in for infrared sauna and so much red blood cell turnover and so much blood building that my platelet volume, I just send out young large platelets so it's not necessarily a bad thing, it's actually a good thing. So, mean play the volume looks fine.
You'll see that my white blood cell count from neutrophils to lymphocytes to monocytes to eosinophils to basophils to granulocytes all of it looks absolutely fantastic which is great. A low white blood cell count would indicate a decrease in the disease-fighting cells of my body depends upon a very high white blood cell count could indicate potential for cancer like leukemia. My white blood cell count looks absolutely fine, sweet spot and you also want the sweet spot by the way from a longevity standpoint. Both a high white blood cell count and a low white blood cell count have both been associated with increased risk of mortality. So, you ideally, you may want too many of these immune system cells, you don't want too little of them and mine are just fine. By the way, if you have too many of them a lot of white blood cells can get stuck in the arteries and harden and cause plaque to build up and are capable of causing oxidative stress. That's why you don't want too much of a good thing.
Red blood cells, I do a lot, like I mentioned, a lot of things to increase my red blood cell count because I had a low red blood cell count for a long time. I had low hemoglobin, I had signs of anemia and I had low hematocrit which is the percentage of my blood made up of red blood cells. Well, four times a week now I use an infrared sauna, which is great for blood building. Twice a week now I work out on this thing called a LiveO2 which allows me to fluctuate between hyperoxia and hypoxia and that also causes a profound improvement in mitochondria and in red blood cell count. I just keep it next to an exercise bicycle in my office and I hit it for a half hour, twice a week alternating from hypoxia to hyperoxia. You'll also see that my iron levels are just fine, I'm either low risk nor high risk. Especially in men, you want to be careful of something called hemochromatosis which would be excessive iron content in the blood on my ferritin, which is the iron storage protein that stores my body's iron for later use, and it can also act as an inflammatory marker. When it's high, that can be elevated due to inflammation that also is good. It's a little lower than what I'd like to see in an athlete. But, in endurance athletes, who frequently break down red blood cells and iron, I still consider myself to be an endurance athlete. My ferritin is just fine much higher than what I tend to see in many endurance athletes, marathoners, cyclists, triathletes, Spartan racers, et cetera. So, my iron and ferritin, I'm pretty happy with.
Could my body do well with, perhaps, throwing in an extra steak once or twice a week. Probably, it's the iron ferritin I would like to see a slight bump or increase in. They're not concerning to me but when it comes to optimizing every variable, I'd like to raise iron and ferritin just a little bit. So, I may start to consume more chlorophyll from algae sources which will elevate iron and ferritin, increase my red meat intake just a little bit which goes hand in hand with some of my increased calorie intake that I plan on engaging in anyways. I probably won't start to take an iron supplement if I did. If I had low iron and low ferritin the one-two combo, that I typically recommend to people for that would be a non-constipating form of iron called Iron Bisglycenate which is made by Thorne. And then, there's also a very good way to get your ferritin up via, again, a non-constipating, pretty safe ferritin pyrophosphate form of supplementation called Floradix, F-L-O-R-A-D-I-X. That's like a shot that you take, a liquid shot, not like an injection needle shot, but a shot that you drink. I’ll link to both of those in the shownotes over Ben Greenfield Finance.com/deepdiveblood. If you are somebody who has ferritin or iron issues and needs to address those.
Now after, after all of these blood values, platelets, white blood cells, red blood cells and iron. We get to vitamins and minerals. Now, I've already mentioned vitamin D which appears there. Folic acid is an interesting one. Folic acid along with vitamin B12 is essential for DNA synthesis and required for normal red blood cell maturation. When folate is extremely high, sometimes it can indicate someone is using one of these crappy multivitamins, it has a high amount of folic acid in it which can get converted into the inflammatory marker homocysteine, can increase cardiovascular risk factors and that's typically seen in someone who has methylation issues or what you might have heard of before called the MTHFR gene, sometimes of someone's folate is through the roof and especially, if they're supplementing with a synthetic form folic acid that you find in many multivitamins quite commonly these days. I'll have them go and get a genetic test for the MTHFR genes which, again, you do with something like 23andMe test. Although, there are other tests that I'll talk about in the podcast here, in a separate podcast that will take any and even deeper dive like there's one called Youtrients, for example. That will look at even more methylation issues. But, ultimately, folic acid is something to pay attention to. Mine is just fine, I don't carry any of those methylation issues anyways but it would be concerning if it were through the roof and you had an MTHFR issue and you were taking a synthetic multivitamin of vitamin B12, that's important, because it's necessary to make DNA required for tissue repair and healing and for proper nerve function.
My vitamin B, B12 rather is through the roof of vitamin A. My vitamin A, very important fat-soluble vitamin for things like vision and teeth and immune system. That one is elevated or not elevated, it's in perfect, perfect present amounts. Thiamine which is important for a healthy nervous system and thiamine deficiency can manifest in things like memory difficulties and nerve disorders. Which is why thiamine is something you’ll see included–also seen as vitamin B1 in a lot of nootropic smart drug type of supplements. My thiamine is actually pretty high, it's gone up a little bit, I think part of that is because I use this, nootropic smart drug called Qualia and I use that about three times a week called Qualia Mind, it has a really large amount of the B vitamin complex in it because B vitamins are water soluble and they just get peed out in the urine. I'm not concerned at all about my high thiamine levels but I suspect they're all elevated with a lot of B1 from all the supplements that I take.
You'll see minerals, red blood cell magnesium, very important to pay attention to. Red blood cell, magnesium is the most precise way to assess magnesium in cells and my magnesium is just fine. I then take a little bit of magnesium before going to bed at night and I eat mineral-rich diet, so magnesium is good. Copper, that's a mineral, that's needed in trace amounts in order for the body to function normally. You don't want it too high because that can indicate heavy metal issues but low copper can cause things like wall anemia, is the most common, as well as bone problems and immune deficiencies and my copper is just fine, it's in the sweet spot. Selenium is also within the sweet spot. That's an essential mineral. It's necessary for, among other things, proper thyroid activity and one role of the selenoproteins is also to protect the body against free radicals which are the reactive molecules that form when oxygen breaks down in the mitochondria. So, whereas too much selenium can cause hair loss and nerve problems and muscle damage, too little can cause gut issues and compromised intestinal function and free radical accumulation and selenium for me is its sweet spot, it’s just fine. Zinc mineral, I mentioned earlier, very important for males for testosterone, good for protein production, good for DNA synthesis, good for a whole host of chronic disease management including intestinal disorders and diabetes. Too much zinc can cause some breath issues, excessive sweating, fever, et cetera. My zinc is pretty good but its borderline low. It is one of those things that I should consider, perhaps, even adding more of and one of my favorite ways to do that is via this Black Ant Extract, 10 times higher in zinc than oysters. This Black Ant Extract, I've got a whole bunch up in my pantry and I should probably just start taking a little bit more regularly because my zinc isn't quite as high as I would like to see.
And then, just a few other small things PSA, prostate-specific antigen, which is an indicator, of course, of your prostate cancer risk. That one is rock bottom low for me, which I'm very happy to see. Lead and mercury, my blood levels on both of these, obviously, very damaging heavy metals, rock-bottom low and mercury’s even gone down significantly since my last test so I’m very happy when it comes to heavy metals as well.
And then, you can see, if you're following me on the PDF, that's where we reach the end of the panel. Aside from just my weight, 175, my body mass index, all that, normal blood pressure, that type of thing, all those are just fine. But, ultimately what we just went through was, if you're keeping track, 25-hydroxyvitamin D, all the apoBs, lead, mercury, lipoprotein fractionations, ions, minerals, the complete metabolic panel, the complete blood count, ferritin, fibrinogen, folate, fatty acids, omega-3s, the lipid panel, all the thyroid values, all the hormone values, some other little things thrown in there like the vitamin A, the vitamin B12, vitamin D, zinc. So, this is an extremely comprehensive panel and I hope that, by me, just going through my own results and kind of elucidating to you some of the decisions that I would make and some of the things that I learned whenever I pour through my results when I get them, and again, I do this on a quarterly basis you could do it annually as well and still get tons of really good information. Hopefully, this is been helpful for you and hopefully, this whole, solo-sode thing hasn't been excessively boring for you. If it has been, perhaps I should just lay down some TS or maybe some Paul Oakenfold tracks below the talking so you get some driving techno beats in the background something like that to spice it up, I don't know.
Anyways, though, what I'm going to do over at Ben Greenfield Fitness.com/deepdiveblood is I will link everything that I talked about, I mean everything. Both the longevity blood panel for men and the one for women, so that both the men's and the women's version of everything that you just listen to, a little PDF and better where you can just download the PDF of all of my results, that article I mentioned that is the ultimate guide to self-quantification where I also get into poop testing, air testing, you know urine testing, all these other parameters, that Dutch Hormones that I mentioned, the article in Lean Mass Hyper-responders, Swiss Healing Detox Retreat I'll be leading next year or pretty much anything I mentioned, I’ll put over at Ben Greenfield Fitness.com/deepdiveblood.
I hope that this has been helpful for you. Leave comments either good or bad or critical or helpful, if you can save my liver or whatever else. Just don't, please, offer to send me any booze because apparently, that's not going to do my body any favors right now at this point in my blood. But, ultimately, leave any comments over there, and of course, I love discussion, I love helpful chatter around issues like this and topics like this. Ultimately, the big reason for me doing this was to be able to, as is the reason I do just about all my podcast, hopefully connect you with some good information and enable you to be able to live a higher quality life, to optimize your body, optimize your brain and I think that about covers everything that I want to talk about.
So, this podcast, as all of the podcasts are will be transcribed and laid out with robust shownotes at Ben Greenfield Fitness.com/deepdiveblood. Thank you so much for listening in. Leave a positive review in iTunes if you get a chance, that always helps the show out, except I think it's called Apple podcast now, not iTunes, if I remember properly. And, spread the word about the show and I hope this has been, as I've said, about a billion times now, helpful for you, so shut up. It's hard to end an episode when it's a solo-sode but I'm Ben Greenfield signing out, from Ben Greenfield Fitness.com. Have an amazing week.
“How can I optimize my health and longevity?”
“How can I live a long time and feel good doing it?”
“What supplements should I take for peak performance?”
“What should my ideal diet look like?”
Honestly, without any data about your blood and biomarkers, you have no idea.
This is because unless you know what your blood looks like under a microscope, there is no way for you to identify with 100% confidence what steps you should take to eat the right diet, to take the right supplements, to protect your health, to enhance your well-being, to perform at peak capacity, and perhaps most importantly, to live as long as possible with as high a quality of life as possible.
Enter blood testing.
Blood testing is the most important step you can take to identify and prevent life-threatening diseases before they happen to you. With your blood test results in hand, you can catch critical issues in your body before they manifest as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or worse. Knowledge of exactly what is going on inside your body empowers you to implement a science-based disease-prevention program that can literally add decades of healthy years to your life.
And if your goal is to not only stop disease, but to also perform at your peak physical and cognitive capacity, blood testing is absolutely crucial for identifying which diet, which supplements and which lifestyle steps you should take to optimize your specific and unique health parameters.
But sadly, most annual medical check-ups that the average physician orders are simply routine, old-school blood tests that don't even test for the most important markers of disease risk, and that are simply designed to make sure you're “not dying”. They aren't designed to optimize longevity or to ensure your body is completely primed to perform at peak capacity.
What most people don't realize is that you can skip your physician and simply manage the entire process for getting your blood work done yourself. And if you want to test absolutely every little thing that affects your organs, your energy, your hormones, your health and your longevity, then you've found the ultimate answer. I worked closely with WellnessFX, America's top laboratory for concierge blood testing and online access to all your blood testing results, to develop the Longevity Blood Testing Panel, which is the most complete blood testing package for men that money can buy. This is by far the most comprehensive blood testing package I recommend and is designed for the high performer, biohacker or anti-aging enthusiast who wants access to the same type of executive health panel and screening that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity institute.
The panel I discuss in today's podcast dives deep into overall metabolic functioning for optimal long-term health and longevity, and includes thyroid function, stress response, blood glucose regulation, sex hormone balance, heavy metals, inflammation, organs of detoxification (liver, kidneys, gallbladder, and lungs), proteins, electrolytes, blood oxygen and nutrient delivery, immune system status, vitamin D status and much, much more, including:
- 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D
- Apolipoprotein A-1
- Apolipoprotein B
- Blood Lead
- Blood Mercury
- Cardio IQ Lipoprotein Fractionation
- Ion Mobility
- Complete Blood Count w/ differential
- Complete Metabolic Panel
- Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate
- Ferritin, serum
- Free Fatty Acids
- Hemoglobin A1c
- High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
- IGF-1 (Growth hormone surrogate)
- Iron, TIBC
- Lipid Panel
- Lipoprotein (a)
- Luteinizing Hormone
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- RBC Magnesium
- Reverse T-3
- SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin)
- T-3 Total
- T-3 Uptake
- T-4 (Thyroxine)
- T-3 Free
- T-4 Free
- Testosterone + Free Testosterone
- Thyroglobulin Antibodies
- Thyroid Peroxidase AB
- Uric Acid
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B12
As you can see, I've held nothing back and covered all bases with this customized blood panel. You will not find a test this comprehensive anywhere else, guaranteed. From identifying disease to optimizing longevity and anti-aging to maximizing performance, this test gives you absolutely everything you need.
During this podcast, in which I cover my own results from my recent longevity panel, you'll discover:
- My own process of testing my blood.
- I had 19 tubes of blood drawn; you typically have 3-5 tubes drawn in a blood test.
- My motivation: What if you want the same type of blood test that would be tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity center?
- I wanted to advise myself with more precision than typical blood tests such as TSH.
- I designed a package with Wellness FX, for men and women.
- I do this on a quarterly basis; although once a year (or once per life) is sufficient for most people.
- First thing you see on the report: cardiovascular health.
- Basic lipid panel.
- Risk factors: Red (high caution); orange (pay attention); green (good to go).
- A lot of red doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing; all green doesn't necessarily mean all good either.
- My total cholesterol is red: 267.
- High cholesterol isn't a risk factor; it's when it becomes oxidized.
- My HDL levels are through the roof: 151.
- High level of HDL could mean your body is carrying a lot of metabolites to the liver due to constant inflammation.
- I tested all my inflammations, all very low.
- Question to ask: are you a lean mass hyper responder?
- Could have a higher LDLP particle count.
- High HDL, inflammation is low, not of concern.
- High cholesterol and high inflammation, be concerned.
- Below lipid panel you'll see LDL particles.
- I use the Thorne multivitamin.
- The chlorogenic acid you find in artichoke extract is efficacious in lowering APOB
- My peak LDL size has been climbing; ideally I want it above 222 1/2.
- My LDL particle count is actually low.
- Small low density lipoprotein low compared to peak LDL size.
- Overall I'm happy with my results. Look for increase in the size of my LDL particles.
“How can I live a long time and feel good doing it?”
- Free fatty acids associated with diabetes and heart disease.
- Omega Index: two different fatty acids in your red blood cells.
- Arachidonic acid levels are normal; I feel like I could step up my Omega 6 fatty acid intake. (Sprinkle hemp seeds on your salad.)
- Metabolic health:
- Risk factors for diabetes and insulin resistance. You want your insulin levels relatively low.
- Wellness FX will give suggestions on how to lower insulin levels.
- My blood glucose level wasn't concerning, but a bit higher than normal.
- Homa IR score: Takes both glucose and insulin levels into account. A ratio of glucose vs. insulin.
- Thyroid health:
- You typically see only TSH. Mine has much more…
- My antibodies to thyroid are very low.
- Reverse T3 is very low; not concerned about stress.
- Free thyroxin index is normal.
- Thyroid peroxidase is a target of antibodies.
- I have low T3, T4, both total and free.
- My natural weight is 190-195; my actual weight is 175. I rarely eat until I'm full.
- Metabolic hormones:
- IGF is a bit low; I'll take colostrum for this.
- It's at 24; I want it between 2-20.
- If it's elevated on one snapshot, consider testing again.
- Cortisol metabolites.
- Dutch test for hormones. (link needed)
- Liver and Kidneys:
- High levels of creatinine; if you exercise prior to a lab test, the creatinine will be elevated.
- Blood urea nitrogen elevated. Forms when proteins break down. Elevates when people are a) dehydrated or b) exercised the day prior to the test.
- My liver values are of concern. ALT when elevated mildly not of concern; mine have raised each of the last 3 tests.
- Foods that are good for the liver.
- “What supplements should I take for peak performance?”
- Milk thistle
- Holy basil
- Dandelion root
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. I may fall into this category.
- Metabolism Reset Diet by Dr. Allen Christianson (link needed)
- Something I do to sleep on int'l flights: an edible of marijuana. Metabolized by the liver; could have contributed to my high levels.
- Looking at Co2 and chloride levels.
- My Co2 has dropped.
- Bone health:
- More Vitamin D is not better; Above 80 you have increased risk of mortality.
- If calcium is abnormal, can be caused by abnormal albumin.
- The blood:
- You have two components of your blood: cellular (red, white, platelets) and liquid (plasma).
- My mean platelet volume is okay.
- My white blood cell count looks great. Either too little or too much can lead to mortality.
- Red blood cells: Look great. I spend time in the sauna which is great for blood production.
- My iron levels are fine.
- An extra steak or two per week wouldn't kill me.
- Floradix (link)
- Vitamins and minerals:
- Folic acid is essential for DNA synthesis.
- When folate is high, it could mean using a lousy multivitamin.
- Vitamin B12 is required for proper nerve function; mine is through the roof.
- Vitamin A is in perfect amount.
- Red blood cell magnesium the most precise way to measure magnesium in cells.
- Copper needed in trace amounts.
- Zinc important for nails, DNA synthesis, chronic disease management; too much causes bad breath, excessive sweating. Black ant extract is great for zinc.
Resources from this episode:
-Almsbio Glutathione with Q10
–Onnit Supplements are the foundation of total human optimization. I highly recommend their toothpaste! Use my link and get 10% off your order.
–Kion Serum Give the middle finger to aging. Use Kion Serum anywhere you’d like more vibrant, youthful skin and hair.
–Aaptiv It’s like having a personal trainer in your pocket. Inspiring music, inspiring trainers guiding your through your workout. Use my link and get 30% off a new membership.
–Jet Pack Reclaim your inner-warrior. Have more energy. Boost your libido. Jet Pack is like a cup of coffee for your crotch. Enter code “ben” and get yourself 15% off your order at checkout.