04 February 2011

So that's why I'm always tired.

For some reason I missed my physical exam last year and it's been several years since I had any blood work so when I went to see the doctor last week I specifically requested not only the usual blood tests but also all the stuff an athlete might be curious about like iron, vitamin D, RBC, HCT, you name it.

Guess what... my numbers suck.

My nutritionist (oh yeah, I have one of those now... I'm learning it takes a team!) took one look at my values and said, "How do you even get out of bed in the morning?" To which I replied, getting out of bed had never been a problem, working out hard and recovering has... [Queue old school flash bulb going off above my head.]

Here is a sample of some of my numbers from my blood draw on 31 January.

HCT – 42.3
Normal is 39-51%
Remember the good old days (read: 1997) when the UCI set an upper limit of 50? That meant that normal people could legally dope right up to that number and not get penalized. What a retarded rule. Although not 'off the charts low', my level sure isn't helping me out any.

Ferritin (iron) – 18
Normal is 24-336 ng/ml
What does iron do? It let's your blood carry oxygen. Oh right... I was told this is extremely low even for a sedentary person. I'm trying not to be sedentary.

Vitamin D – 38
Normal is 32-100 ng/ml
Turns out vitamin D is essential for the utilization of calcium (which is why it is always associated with bones) but what else uses calcium? Your muscles. My nutritionist said this level was, "Normal, if you just want to sit on the couch and do nothing. Like most 'normal' people."

So I was ordered to run (don't walk) and buy some Floradix and double the normal dose. I will also be taking a multivitamin and supplementing that with additional vitamin D. Hoorah.

Now I am NOT a supplement guy... I could barely remember to take my anti-inflammatory pill once per day when I was treating my IT Band Syndrome this past fall. And now I will be on the juice big time. It feels like the Criminale kitchen is going to start to resemble this:

Supplements

I'm always curious how much of an effect this kind of knowledge has on a person. Prior to seeing these values I had no idea I was deficient in anything other than perhaps fitness or strength. Will I now quit when the going gets tough because I now know I'm perhaps not as physically gifted as the person I'm racing against or will I try even harder just to prove I am equally capable?

I'm dying to find out. I'm also dying to see if these supplements will amount to a hill of beans. I'm going to go back in three months for another blood test and see.

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2 comments:

Dessa said...

Eat more meat and spinach, your iron is really low. Luck of vitamin C can contribute to low iron. IMHO, Vitamin D is a must in Seattle and it's easiest thing to fix.

Martin Criminale said...

@Dessa - except I'm vegetarian, hence the Floradix.