Bloodwork is something many younger people neglect and even older people because they “don’t want to know” or they are worried that its “going to be painful”. Well it certainly can be stressful going to any doctors appointment but if you don’t “look under the hood” once in a while you will be left in the dark about changes in your health as you age.
Sometimes simple changes will really make a difference in the way you look and feel. Personally I have not been great about bloodwork but I vow to be more disciplined going forward. I went for bloodwork in 2015, 2018, and most recently two weeks ago. I wont get too personal with the numbers but lets just say my triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol numbers were trending up (bad) and my testosterone & vitamin d were trending down (also bad).
A quick lessen on cholesterol: Triglycerides are like the peanut butter on bread and your arteries are like bread itself. Triglycerides determine how sticky your your blood is. Then the LDL cholesterol molecules are like the raisins or jelly that you add to the peanut butter. As they flow by your arteries the more triglycerides, the stickier the walls of the arteries, the more bad cholesterol will stick. The size of your LDL particles matters and appears that smaller molecules can be more problematic. This can increase your risk of blood clots. Overtime this can create the effect of “clogged” arteries. Then when the cholesterol hardens if the molecules chip off the side they can storm through your body potentially causing a stroke or heart attack. HDL on the other hand is the good cholesterol which will essential aid in “Killing” the bad LDL cholesterol. An easy way to remember the difference is HDL; the H stands for Heart Healthy. Keep in mind that the cleaner your arteries the better pumps you will get in the gym, the better your mind will function and the better you will feel.
Testosterone at sub-optimal levels can contribute to lack of muscle gains, decrease in muscle strength, lack of sex drive, depression & increase in fat storage. Vitamin D at sub-optimal levels can contribute to brittle bones, weakened immune system, mood changes, hair loss & fatigue as well.
There are million “supplements” available which are designed to address these situations along with a host of medications, but there is no smart way to supplement unless you actually know what you need more of or less of in your diet through a routine blood work-up.
Supplement definition: A supplement is a product, pill or food, designed to supplement your diet to help increase the concentration of something which you are lacking in your body. Supplements should not be an automatic substitute for proper nutrition. They are there to “supplement” and help your body achieve optimal levels.
Knowing my situation and consulting with my medical team I have decided to increase my cardiovascular exercise further, decrease beer consumption, supplement with 5000 IU of D3 daily, increase my fish oil intake from 1200mg -2400 mg, and take red rice yeast to decrease the LDL in my blood. I will also see a doctor about if I need to make any changes to optimize my testosterone level as I grow older. At between 28 and 40 years of age men’s testosterone levels drop around 35% and continue to drop from there if adjustments are not made.
The point of this blog is to put your mind at ease; It is ok to go to the doctor and get blood work done. Secondarily it is to teach you the reason for supplements, what cholesterol, D3, testosterone & triglycerides really do in the body & why it is important to keep tabs on your health.
Believe me sometimes it will be frustrating when you think you are doing things correctly and your blood work is sub-optimal, other times it will be a wake up call when you know you are doing things wrong, but one thing I can promise you is YOUR FUTURE SELF WILL THANK YOU FOR IT!
Relentlessly committed to Perpetual Improvement,