Many believe blood testing is something reserved for when you have a medial problem. The reality is that this is simply not the case and new services and technological advances have made blood testing easily accessible to practical anyone. Now, athletes, coaches and fitness enthusiasts can use blood testing to ensure they have what they need for optimal performance. Blood testing can even be used to address small imbalances or even predict potentially larger problems before it’s too late. Among the benefits, the information from a blood test can help to make changes that will improve metabolism and cognition, optimize mood, build muscle, and reduce inflammation.
Blood tests are practically non-invasive and very easy. They require just a small amount of blood but can provide a significant amount of detailed information including what lifestyle changes you need to make with sleep, training and nutrition to optimize your performance. Everyone’s blood is different. And within your unique blood are what is known as biomarkers. Biomarkers are indications of your body’s status and provide insight on functions and biological changes. Examining biomarkers through blood analysis gives you a ‘look under the hood’ at your health and fitness and can be an important advantage for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
A good test will provide you with not just numbers on the biomarkers but meaningful insight in to where you stand against normative population data. This should be based on things like age, gender, activity level. The biomarkers or blood panel you choose to examine should also be selected carefully. The most useful blood tests for healthy individuals involve looking at biomarkers for nutrition status hormones and inflammation. Nutritional tests typically look at vitamin and mineral levels and are very easy and straight forward to understand. The information from these tests is also very actionable as you can address deficiencies or excess through making changes to your diet or supplement regime. Hormone panels can be more complicated but are perhaps more valuable. Hormones like testosterone, DHEA, and dihydrotestosterone can be very useful for men to know. Hormonal profiles inform an athlete whether they have the appropriate balance of hormones to manage and adapt to training. Additionally, hormonal panels can indicate whether someone is in a state of overtraining. Another valuable biomarkers are hemoglobin and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Optimizing hemoglobin levels can help improve strength, endurance, and overall aerobic capacity. SHBG has an important impact on other hormones like testosterone.
If you’re going to test, it’s also important that you retest. There’s no use gaining insight but then not making a change if necessary. And if you’re not retesting there’s no way to tell if there’s actually been a change. Some tests can be done through take-home testing. Many times, it’s more convenient to use a lab like Health Labs or Wellness FX. For those intimidated by price or looking for quick results, Health Labs is extremely affordable, private and fast. They even have an affording testing panel specifically for athletes. Also, with over 2000 locations around the country getting tested is very convenient. Plus, all the testing is performed by Quest Diagnostics. Quest Diagnostics is one of the most reputable and respected labs in the world so you know you can trust the results.
If you’re looking to ensure you’re in optimum health consider blood work. It can provide insights that standard fitness testing cannot and can be performed quickly and affordably.