Today, I'd like to work on my blood tests and what they actually mean. It's certainly been interesting learning about all these little markers we use for health, and it's even more amazing the way our bodies use this organic information to keep ourselves in tip-top shape!
Before I begin I'd just like to mention an email I received this morning. I was asked by the company that did my blood tests how in the hell I have kept my Cholesterol, Vitamin D and B12 at healthy levels. According to the email this morning they suggested only 17% of their customers have those 3 in healthy ranges. Which, to think in this modern day of health is somewhat shocking! I replied back just basically telling them what I had been doing which was bacon and eggs for breakfast, fried in lard, then pretty much whatever through the day. I'd started that over 5 years ago and an unexpected outcome of that was a reduction in my anterior uveitis. This is where the uveal tract, which is a layer of tissue between the outer white layer (sclera) and the inner layer (retina), get's inflamed. Before that diet change, I use to get an outbreak about once or twice a year. It's awful, and my heart goes out to anyone suffering from it. It's like a pin being jabbed in your eye! I've no idea at the moment if the two were related, at the time anyway I was more than happy to not have that discomfort in my life. An observation that's worth noting is when I've had a reoccurrence of the inflammation recently, it's been at a time when I haven't been having a very good diet, so processed foods and high sugar intake.
Anyways, On to the results!
B12 Is one of the 8 B vitamins. It's linked to brain function and the formation of blood. It's also known as cobalamin and is a water-soluble vitamin. It's involved in the metabolism of every cell in the body, affecting DNA synthesis, fatty acid and amino acid metabolism. So pretty important stuff then!
Most people have 1 or at least a few of the following symptoms below during a B12 deficiency:
- Weakness, Fatigue or low energy
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
- Loss of Appetite
- Digestive issues such as diarrhoea or constipation
- Frequent bruising or bleeding
- Depression or mood issues
- Numbness and tingling in hands or feet
- Brain fog, Memory loss, confusion or dementia
I generally don't get any of those, unless my paranoia could be considered a mood issue. Which I don't think it is. I do find it funny, a deficiency can cause either diarrhoea or constipation though. Basically, a dodgy stomach! Anemia could be something I have, due to how tired I get at times, that could also be very much linked to my folate deficiency.
Another B group vitamin, B9. This vitamin is vital for the formation of red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body. Helped along by B12 and iron, it also plays an essential role in cell replication all over the body. Similar to B12, these two go hand in hand as there are some similar deficiency symptoms. Which are:
- Lack of energy
- A sore red tongue
- Mouth Ulcers
- Pins and needles
- Muscle Weakness
- Disturbed Vision
- Mood changes
- Memory problem
Check, Check, Check! I have a fair few of these and have always gotten mouth ulcers, and pins and needles. Along with the tiredness I mentioned before, I guess this important vitamin is something I will have to look into improving. The month before my test I wasn't eating as much bacon as I usually do and I wonder if this had any effect as pork is quite a folate-rich food and I don't eat many green vegetables. From my searches, leafy green vegetables are better, but I'm interested to see the effect on this after a month of just meat. Brocolli will be the first vegetable I reintroduce if these levels don't budge. Seems like this might be the key to at least some of my issues!
The abbreviated term for 'glycated haemoglobin'. It refers to the levels of glucose (sugar) is attached to the haemoglobin protein found in red blood cells. This is generally used as a way of measuring the average blood sugar levels from over the past 12 weeks. This blood test is used as a way to test for diabetes, so it refers to how well my body is producing and using insulin.
I still consider this result quite high! even though I'm 10 nmol/mol away from 42. Pre-diabetes is usually regarded around 42-47 nmol/mol and diabetes is above 48 nmol/mol. I guess I still have some blood sugar hanging around, so my insulin to me isn't perfect, I can't really tell without having previous test results. Maybe this range has been getting higher, or maybe it's actually starting to fall. With my high sugar and carbs diet though I sincerely doubt that being the case.
I've read some reports this "higher" level of blood glucose could be linked to tinnitus, as between 84 and 92% of tinnitus patients were shown to have a metabolic disorder called hyperinsulinemia. Where there is an elevated level of insulin in the bloodstream. It's a direct consequence of a metabolic disorder known as insulin resistance.
Souce - Hyperinsulinemia and tinnitus: a historical cohort.
Ahh, cholesterol something from my cursory searches that I've found to be most contradictory in today's modern, fat makes you fat ethos. LDL or Low-density lipoprotein is produced by the liver and forms a part of your total cholesterol, it's generally referred to as 'bad cholesterol' as it apparently is the stuff that clogs your arteries and causes arterial plaque. LDL is actually our friend, and whilst my level borderlines on the 'higher' end I consider this a good result. Lower levels of LDL might well be associated with comprised brain tissue, and it's generally coming to light it plays an important role in brain health and function! So I'll happily keep my borderline 'high' levels.
Source - https://www.drperlmutter.com/study/plasma-lipids-cerebral-small-vessel-disease/
Triglycerides are a form of fat found in certain foods, like meat and dairy. Higher levels of the hormone insulin can increase the absorption of fat uptake by cells, from the liver. This is why higher levels of triglycerides are associated with heart disease and stroke. However it's not fatty foods that stimulate the liver's production of triglycerides, it's sugars and starches. Having a high sugar and starch diet would cause the triglycerides level to rise, added to the high insulin levels this could be very bad for one's health. Although in reading this, I'm surprised my levels aren't much higher, although I wonder if that's the interplay with insulin somehow, as I don't put on weight at all. I once, one Christmas many moons ago ate a whopping 5000 calories, of Bacon, Sweets, Bread, and pretty much anything I could get my hands on, a day! The result... I lost weight! That was for the full month of December as well, so there is certainly something wrong with how my body handles and processes food.
Source - Triglycerides as vascular risk factors: new epidemiologic insights.
HDL Cholesterol or High-density lipoprotein is produced again by the liver making up the total cholesterol in your body with LDL and Triglycerides. It's often referred to as 'good cholesterol' as it helps protect the arteries from diseases. From my searches, a lower HDL level is associated with high risk of developing heart disease, so my results in this regard are very poor! Still in the 'good' range but I'm finding some mixed information currently about the generally accepted levels of what is actually good for us. It contradicts a lot of the 'good cholesterol' remarks I generally hear, so I will be doing a lot more studying on this beast called Cholesterol.
I consider my current ranges as nothing to worry about, I am certainly interested to see the effects this diet has on them though and how my levels alter within a month. Cholesterol for now though, for me... is something I need to return to the drawing board and research with.
Gamma GT is an enzyme found mainly in the liver, but also all over the body in other tissues. It's presence in the blood increases when there is liver damage, and raised levels have been shown to indicate a higher risk of ill-health. Its main function is to break down toxins in the body. With your liver been the main detoxing unit of your body, leaking this stuff into the bloodstream isn't very good for your health.
Alkaline Phosphatase is an enzyme again produced mainly in the liver, but it's also in bones, intestines and for pregnant women, the placenta. It can exist in different forms depending on the location in the body. It plays quite a complex role in the body, but it's an essential process for breaking down proteins. High levels of this can be caused by damage to the liver, gallbladder, or diseases affecting bones.
Albumin is a very common protein, produced by the liver but found everywhere in the body. It has various roles, like transporting nutrients and hormones, and providing your body with the proteins it requires for growth and repair of tissue. Mines in the higher safe range which would suggest my liver and kidneys are functioning correctly. If it was lower it could indicate inflammation, kidney disease or chronic pancreatitis, it's also a good indicator to see if your diet is too right in protein.
Globulins are a group of proteins produced by the liver and immune system. Along with Albumin, they make up the total protein in the blood. There are four main groups, Alpha 1, Alpha 2, beta and gamma. These all have varying roles in the body including protection against infection. Having a low albumin and high globulin could suggest liver disease or damage.
Alanine Transaminase or ALT is an enzyme which occurs naturally in the body but found mainly in the liver. ALT is one of two enzymes that help to transfer amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. It is essential for the production of glucose so I wonder what will happen to my levels whilst I remove all sugars and carbs from my diet.
Bilirubin is a waste product with apparently no vital function. It's left after the red pigment, haemoglobin in older blood cells degrades. It get's combined with bile and removed from the body in the stool and urine. Levels increasing could suggest a blockage in the bile duct or higher destruction of red blood cells.
Protein total is the sum of albumin and various globulins, it's just to get a total picture of the health of the liver. All of my results seem to be within the normal ranges for a healthy liver function. Which is grand because it means I'm processing toxins in my body and metabolizing fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
Manufactured by the body and stored in the liver it's the only vitamin converted into a hormone when activated into use. It's essential for bone health because of its use in the absorption of calcium, but the entire body uses it and low levels have been linked to heart disease, lung infections and a myriad of other diseases. I eat a lot of red meat so I actually expected my levels to be higher, especially with just coming from Brazil for a month. It is winter in the UK though, so my best source of Vitamin D hides behind clouds most of this time of year.
A protein found in most parts of the body, which stores iron for later use by your body. This can provide a good picture of iron status. If I wasn't getting enough iron in my diet then my ferritin levels would dip, due to my body resorting to using my stores instead of my current intake. This would pretty much suggest I don't have anaemia caused by iron deficiency which is the most common type. I could, however, as already suggest have an anaemic reaction due to lower B9 levels.
In conclusion, my blood levels were not that bad, apart from the low Folate levels. This is the main indicator I'm looking at considering my issues with fatigue. If my HbA1c levels have previously been rising to reach the level they are at now and were still on the rise to pre-diabetic levels it could explain the recent increase in tinnitus. It's certainly louder than I've ever had it before, and my body seems to be able to handle large increases in food fine so trying to take all available facts into consideration I must be missing something. What does actually cause tinnitus, is it as that research suggests, higher insulin levels. Why does nobody else seem to suffer from it as bad as others? Maybe some parts fail in some people before others, one thing I know for sure is we are all different and I will be returning to look into more of these factoring points coming up.