My Health Test Results from March 2015

Huffpo Blood Test

After a little over three months since I stopped working as a shift worker and fixed a lot of my sleep issues and settled into a fairly regular routine, I thought it would be a good idea to check some of my labs to see where I stood.  I checked my NMR Lipoprofile, Apo B100, Lp-PLA2, Ferritin, fasting Insulin, CRP, Vitamin D, Thyroid Panel, and Testosterone.  Before going into the health test results, here is a brief bit of background.

My last series of tests was in October 2014 when I was trying another round of strictly following the Carb Nite protocol. Here is what I wrote about the various tests I had:

In December 2014 I also did an isolated thyroid panel because I was experimenting with Keifer’s T3 Fuel supplement and wanted to see if it had any effect on my own numbers.  After 6 weeks of taking T3 Fuel I wrote about my results here:

From December 2014 to March 2015 the main changes I made in my life were:

  • New job with regular schedule and sleeping 6.5 to 8 hrs regularly.  No more shift work.
  • Regular BJJ training, 3-5 times per week
  • Weight training 1-2 times per week
  • Increased my carb intake to around 100 gm on average.  I did this because of my increased physical activity.
  • Decreased saturated fat intake to around 60 gm on average.  When doing Carb Nite, my saturated fat intake averaged 80-90 gm.  This was one of Dr. Daysprings recommendations to someone else in a similar situation.
  • The only supplements I took were Creatine Monohydrate, Magnesium Glycinate, and Upgraded Collagen to help with muscle recovery.  I hadn’t trained this much, this regularly in a long time and was constantly plagued with delayed onset muscle soreness.
  • I also regularly took the Athletic Greens Vitamin D supplement because the winter was terrible and I didn’t get any sun.

If you want to see exactly what I ate during this time period you can check out my diary on MyFitnessPal here.

I exported the data as a tabulated excel spread sheet for easier viewing here.

These are my averaged daily macros from January 1, 2015 to March 15, 2015.

  • Calories: 2085.7
  • Carbs: 99.73 gm
  • Fat: 119.77 gm
  • Protein: 134.74 gm
  • Saturated Fat: 57.14 gm

On March 16, 2015 I went to the lab and got my blood test.  Here are the results:

BJJ Caveman Health Results March 2015 1

 

BJJ Caveman Health Results March 2015 2

 

BJJ Caveman Health Results March 2015 3

 

Cholesterol

Here is my cholesterol data in a tabulated format including all of my historic values.  You can click on it to make it bigger:

BJJ Caveman Cholesterol March 2015

 

It really appears as if all the changes I made a difference.  There were improvements in my total cholesterol, LDL-C, Apo-B, and LDL-P.  This is in line with all the research out there showing how detrimental shift work can be to cardiovascular health (here are two studies for example from 2006 and 2011).

My triglycerides went up a bit, likely reflecting my increased carb intake during this period.

My Small LDL-P went up to it’s highest level yet which seems like a bad thing, and I can’t say that I really know what to make of this.

My HDL-C again was stubbornly immovable (the drop from 55 to 48 was likely due to simple variation).

Fasting Insulin

It looks like the increase in carbs caused a bump in my insulin from 1.1 to 4.8, which is similar to the 4.6 value in April 2014 when I was doing Carb Back-Loading.

Inflammatory Markers – CRP and Ferritin

My CRP has been pretty stable whenever I’ve checked it, almost always measuring less than 1.0, and this time was no different.

This was the first time checking Ferritin which is something that Igor Cummins likes.  It looks like mine is a little high at 442 ng/ml with the normal range from 30 – 400 ng/ml.  I have my doubts of this reference range because everything I’ve read seems to indicate that 300 ng/ml should be considered the upper limits of normal.

In any case, a high Ferritin can mean that there’s an underlying inflammatory process going on or I might have hemochromatosis or it could just be related to my increased level of exercise.

At this point all that is warranted is some additional testing.  I’ll probably need a complete iron panel including a transferrin saturation test, to get a better understanding of what’s going on.  According to MedScape:

Serum ferritin levels elevated higher than 200 mcg/L in premenopausal women and 300 mcg/L in men and postmenopausal women indicate primary iron overload due to hemochromatosis, especially when associated with high transferrin saturation and evidence of liver disease…

Transferrin saturation corresponds to the ratio of serum iron and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC). The screening threshold for hemochromatosis is a fasting transferrin saturation of 45-50%. If transferrin saturation is greater than 45%, the presence of the C282Y or H63D mutation may be evaluated to confirm the diagnosis of hemochromatosis…

High transferrin saturation is the earliest evidence of hemochromatosis; a value greater than 60% in men and 50% in women is highly specific.

Lp-PLA2

I first heard of this test from a reader who e-mailed me about his own markers.  The Lp-PLA2 test is used for assessing cardiovascular risk.  It’s an inflammatory marker that is thought to be specific to inflammation within the blood vessels.  According to labtestsonline.org:

An Lp-PLA2 test may sometimes be used along with an hs-CRP test to evaluate a person’s level of underlying inflammation associated with CVD risk. However, unlike hs-CRP, the Lp-PLA2 test is not affected by conditions other than CVD that can cause general inflammation, so it may be used when someone has an inflammatory condition, such as arthritis.

According to the company that offers the test, which they call the Plactest:

High PLAC activity is found in plaque deposits that are unstable. Because they are unstable, they are more prone to rupturing. Studies show that a PLAC Test for Lp-PLA2 Activity result ≥225 nmol/min/mL points to an increased risk of CHD events. These coronary heart disease, or CHD, events can include heart attack, revascularization (such as stent placement or coronary artery bypass grafting), or death from a cardiac event, even in patients with normal cholesterol levels.

If you want to learn more about the mechanism of this test there’s a nice video here and a good handout here.

So it looks like my Lp-PLA2 of 244 ng/ml is high and puts me in the high risk category.

I’m not sure what this means in the face of all of my other data and have to admit that this is way out of my element.  I’ll definitely need to talk to someone with more expertise.

Vitamin D

It looks like the use of the Athletic Greens Vitamin D supplement did a good job of keeping my levels up.  Now that the sun is out I won’t be using the supplement as much because I’ll be making a more conscious effort to expose my skin and get Vitamin D the old fashioned way.

Thyroid Hormone

BJJ Caveman Thyroid March 2015

 

It looks like all of the changes I made did the trick because everything here is tip top!  This was the first time I was able to get my Reverse T3 levels down and my Free T3: rT3 Ratio up into the normal range.

Testosterone

I last checked my testosterone levels in March 2013 when it measured 776.2 ng/dL and December 2013 when it measured 860.2 ng/dl.

My testosterone seems to have taken a hit in this last round of testing at 673.2 ng/dl.  I’m not sure if this is simple variation or if something else is going on.  I would have expected this to improve now that I’m sleeping better, but who knows.  I’ll keep an eye on this and retest later on in the year.

Final Thoughts

At this point I’m not sure what to make of my cardiovascular risk.

Am I inflamed?  My CRP seems to say no… but my Lp-PLA2 and Ferritin seem to say yes.

Is my cholesterol getting better?  My total cholesterol, LDL-C, Apo-B, and LDL-P say yes… but my Small LDL-P says no.

Clear as mud.

*Image found here.

18 Responses to My Health Test Results from March 2015

  1. Charles Grashow says:

    The areas of concern would be small LDL-P, ApoB, total LDL-P and Lp-PLA2.

    The fact you cut back on saturated fat and your small LDL-P went up is interesting.

    My Lp-PLA2 is even higher, it’s 301 BUT I have very limited knowledge with regard to this – I will be seeing my cardiologist next month and will have many questions about this.

    Why do you think your ferritin is high?

    Did you run a CBC?

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      I did not run a CBC. I ran one in October which was fine. I’ve never really had any problems with too many or too few red blood cells/hematocrit/hemoglobin.

      I’m not sure why ferritin is high. It can be a marker of inflammation, so I may have some inflammation hiding out somewhere that just isn’t showing up on CRP. Maybe it’s related to my increased exercise activity… which can induce inflammation without adequate recovery. OR it can indicate hemochromatosis.

      Not sure. But I plan on getting an iron panel checked, and it seems like knowing what my transferrin saturation is would be the next step.

  2. raphaels7 says:

    Thanks for presenting you data – it’s always interesting.

    TL;DR ==> Carbs up = triglycerides & fasting insulin went up quite a bit + HDL-c went down…to me, it’s a no brainer…

    Look at Ivor’s analysis – ApoB only an issue when insulin resistant (the direction your labs took after carbing up). I’d advise against trading all good improvements in an array of markers for the ApoB marker (gradient hypothesis) which is the last ditch attempt at reviving the dead lipid hypothesis.

    Best of luck!

    • Hemming says:

      I don’t think its such a no brainer. Look at 5/9/2013, his HDL went, LDL and trigs down after eating more carbs for 30 days.
      Personally, my HDL. LDL and trigs have all went up after being high fat. Even my ratios were better when I was pretty high carb. I’m not saying either is better or worse just that these things aren’t simple.

      • BJJ Caveman says:

        Yeah… unfortunately it’s not a no brainer. I have followup labs from April and June that I still need to write about 🙂

        Clear as mud.

        • Hemming says:

          I can’t wait to see them together with how you have been working/eating/sleeping/training 🙂

  3. billharis says:

    LP-IR score says it all.

    Increased insulin (carb loading) = bad numbers.

    The doctor you are following has been well documented that his approach is flawed by the LCHF community. I am not sure why you follow him since you read all of the LCHF material out there.

    If you follow LCHF for 90 days your numbers will be golden across all scores. I will bet a egg and bacon breakfast.

    Great CRP.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      It’s not as clear as it seems…. all I can say is stay tuned! I have followup labs from May and June after trying some other stuff..

      I should also add that going LCHF is what got this whole process started:

      http://bjjcaveman.com/2013/03/14/the-effect-of-a-ketogenic-diet-on-cholesterol-part-2/

      LCHF isn’t the end all and be all that some people make it out to be…

      • billharis says:

        Agreed and thank you for putting everything out there for review.

        I have been following you for about 6 months and read your backlog of material.

        As an x diabetic now (A1C =4.7), the key take home point is how insulin is foundational in so many ways and at the end of the day, carbs are bad (>50 per day).

        look forward to follow up. I am happy to share my numbers if you give me your email.

  4. Norm says:

    Hi BJJ,

    Assuming you have quite a bit of body fat, I would say your fat intake is quite high and saturated fat intake is very high with 100g carbs. If your carbs are high glycemic then that’s worse. Dietary fat does promote insulin resistence and impair glucose tolerence ESPECIALLY in the presense of carbs and when there is quite a bit of body fat present

    http://itsthewooo.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/dietary-fat-is-insulinogenic-sorry-guys.html.

    Perhaps you are one of those who dont process fat very well and migh do well on moderate good quality carbs (vegetables, legumes) and MUFAs.

  5. Norm says:

    26% is quite a bit. As you know body fat is saturated and if it is being mobilised and on top of it it is being ingested too it is conceiveable that fat overload can happen for cells in the body. Dr Attia put one of his patients on 25g saturated fat and the rest MuFAs and it dramatically dropped LDL-P:

    http://eatingacademy.com/cholesterol-2/random-finding-plus-pi

    Refinned carbs could be the culprit for increase in small LDL-P.

  6. Charles Grashow says:

    Just for comparison – I had blood drawn on 5/11/15 – I take 20 mgs Atorvastatin QED, injectable testosterone 2x/week, WP thyroid ED and a boat load of supplements

    Some of the results

    Fasting Glucose – 96

    Free T4 – 1.1
    TSH – 1.02
    Total T3 – 78

    Vitamin B12 – 905
    hsCRP – 0.5

    HA1C – 5.6

    Vitamin D – 46
    Magnesium – 4.5

    Homocysteine – 10.3

    TC – 129
    HDL – 54
    TG – 36
    Direct LDL – 67

    LDL-P 873
    Small LDL-P 160
    Medium LDL-P 144

    LP(a) <10
    Insulin 6.8

    NT-ProNB <13

    ApoB 62

    LP-PLA2 301 (Area of concern that I will discuss with my cardiologist)

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Thanks for being so open and sharing! Also great that you’re telling us what meds you’re on!

  7. Jim says:

    Great post Caveman.

    I am saddened to read that you have had to increase your carbs.

    Have you tried other hacks to improve your fat adaptation? Maybe cold thermogenesis will do the trick.
    https://www.jackkruse.com/cold-thermogenesis-easy-start-guide/

    Have you built up your aerobic base to its full capacity? There is so much fat burning going on when one is at max aerobic pace. As a side note you have tons of muscle fibers that rely on a strong aerobic base. I noticed that you were doing BJJ several days a week and on top of that resistance training some. That sounds like alot of glycolytic effort.

    Sorry for not reading all of your posts in advance – Have you measured your leptin?

    Take Care,

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Why does it sadden you to see that my carbs have increased?

      I’ve experimented with cold thermogenesis before… and have even picked up the cool fat burner (http://coolfatburner.com/) but haven’t done much hardcore use of it yet.

      I haven’t built up my aerobic base to full capacity yet, although it is something I want to improve. I’ve been doing marathon sessions and getting as much BJJ mat time as possible as a way to improve it. After the first 30 minutes or so, it’s all technique and aerobics… all of my anaerobic muscling has completely gone!

      I have not measured my leptin yet, and am not familiar with it enough to know where to measure it, and what to do with the measurements once I have them. Do you have any resources you could point me to?

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