For my second consult, I decided to speak with Ben Greenfield. My decision to have Ben as my consultant came mainly from my goal of wanting to set myself up to complete a full Ironman in the next 1.5-2 years. What better consultant than a guy who's competed in several Ironman competition including the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HawaIn addition to my goal to maintain healthy biomarkers in anticipation of completing an Ironman, I was also interested in the observations I've made about the typical build members of my family have around my age; ectomorphic. To delve deeper into this goal genetic testing will have to come into play in the near future, so I've been looking into 23andMe.
Ben thoroughly reviewed my panels with extensive advise on how to make the appropriate changes need to stabilize the markers that were out of range.
Here are some changes that occurred since my first test last October:
Elevated cholesterol is slightly over 200 but due to my HDL to Triglycerides ratio being in range (0.8), I'm not to worry. In regards to the ratio, while LDL ("bad" cholesterol) increased, my HDL ("good" cholesterol) increased much more drastically.
As mentioned above my total LDL ("bad" cholesterol) went up but Apo B, which is a protein in LDL cholesterol that is more specifically linked to heart disease went down into optimal range. In addition, as mentioned during my consult, my current LP(a) level is not a cause for concern in relation to my total cholesterol levels due to reduced risk factors.
Ben moved on to discuss how hs(crp), a biomarker related to inflammation, could go even lower through more extensive use of turmeric, ginger, and avoiding omega-6s. Activating curcuminoids by mixing curcumin and fats (think bulletproof coffee) could essentially bring my hs(crp) down to below 0.2. So while Ben mentioned my hs(crp) was good, he believes it could be better.
We discussed using box breathing and kundalini yoga if I wanted to lower my interleukin even lower. Interleukin-6 Serum is the biomarker related to infection and injury as noted above.
All fantastic here. My insulin was described as low but insulin-like growth factor is not clinically low. Once my Ironman starts, i'll most likely will have to do weekend refeeds from a carbohydrate stand point and make sure IGF doesn't tank.
Thyriod shows no signs of risk factors although Ben did suggest a full thyroid panel to ensure that T4 cells are adequately converting in to T3 cells efficiently. This is something I plan to delve deeper into and I'll most likely be calling Anthony (future D.O.) often to explain further..
In terms of my reproductive hormones, the recommendations were to go out of my way to eat more cruciferous vegetables. The increase in Tertosterone (both Free and Total) which caused the increase in Estradiol as well. Some other factors Ben shed light on what can cause increases in Estradiol are xenoestrogens from chemicals in the environment, excessive marijuana use, and lack of aromatase inhibitors from cruciferous vegetables.
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin - Ben informed me that sometimes high SHBG can comes from hyper-cortisolism. It's usually a natural response for body to decrease fertility. Some of Ben's top picks to bring SHBG back into range are Magnesium and Zinc, and Aggressive Strength Formula. In addition, herbal adaptogens like ashwaganda and ginko biloba; green juice powders and tian chi.
Ben touched upon my Albumin increase mentioning it can come from an increase in eggs or whey protein. Recommendation was to cycle eggs during the week. Protein seemed to go up based on my Pea protein intake.
All good with the Electrolytes!
Vitamin D made a huge jump! Ben recommended I back off the Vitamin supplementation and just go with the Life Extension Multi that has a stable 2,000 IU dosage.
All good levels above. The only thing highlighted here was to keep an eye on my Iron levels once I get deeper into my Ironman training. If iron starts to drop I could throw in 1-2 capsules of Bisglycenate a day..
Once it was all said and done, the overall recommendations that Ben offered from regarding my blood panels were to increase anti-inflammatory foods to take certain markers to more optimal levels, consider zinc and magnesium supplementation, back off high Vitamin D supplementation, complete a full thyroid panel to make sure my T4 is adequately converting into T3 efficiently (basic thyroid panel showed no risk factors) and to consider looking at particle count with an advanced lipid panel.
While this may all sound like what happens at a doctor's visit, it is truly more than that. I have direct access to all my work if I want to dig deeper into the research, revisit recommendations, and build a deeper connection with yourself through the data.