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This is Part 4 of a multi-part series. Part 1 discussed Testosterone Creams & Gels: Victor Conte Revisited.
In all the years I’ve coached, it’s amazing to see how many people are willing to put stuff INTO their bodies to improve performance, but never take stuff OUT for proper analysis.
Moreover, people are conditioned to take supplements to raise or decrease their serum levels for optimum performance, instead of looking for natural, holistic methods. The answer isn’t always pills. (see articles on natural remedies and smarter food choices).
I am a firm believer that injuries and illness are the primary reasons why athletes retire from a lack of motivation. Thus knowing what’s going on inside your body is equally important as what you are doing outside at the track.
As I am approaching 50 years old, it’s normal that I go for routine medical tests to detect anything that is less than optimal. As an athlete, I like to track Testosterone, Zinc and Magnesium levels, for example. Other biomarkers include Vitamin D, Iron, and Creatine Kinase.
I started using a service called InsideTracker and I highly recommend it for athletes and everyday people. If you live in the USA, you are probably familiar with LabCorp for blood and urine testing. There are over 1500 labs nationwide.
Here are some of the things I look for:
- track key vitamins, minerals and other blood serum levels that may affect or identify performance issues.
- repeat visits to show progress or decline
- solutions with natural foods, as well as supplements (sometimes you may have to take supplements or you will overeat just to get sufficient levels, and that’s bad)
- reputable testing lab
Getting a single blood test is one thing, but making dietary and lifestyle changes based on the results, and then re-testing is where the magic comes in. Why go through the trouble of improving yourself if you can’t test to see if it works?
I visit USA at least twice a year so visiting a LabCorp is not an issue. But if you have your blood results from another service or country, you can input them and get historical data. Canadian results are a bit trickier because we use the SI units of measure.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure.
InsideTracker, My Case Study
I know there’s a lot of concern over the privacy act, and particularly medical results, but I feel this service is worth sharing. Let’s take a closer look. Your mileage may vary, because InsideTracker customizes your recommended zones based on your age and other factors on your user profile.
Since the title of this article is How to Track and Improve your Testosterone levels, naturally we’ll start here.
Note my results are in conventional units (ng/dL), and not SI Units (nmol/L)
Normal total testosterone levels range from 300 – 1000 ng/dL, with 500 – 700 ng/dL considered normal for young, healthy men from 20 to 40 years of age. Men should monitor this carefully by the age of 50.
Also note Insidetracker’s recommended levels of 496 – 1197 mg/dL based on my user profile. So my results don’t qualify for external testosterone!
But they do give great suggestions on increasing my testosterone levels naturally, and not through pills, creams and injections.
Here is a screen shot or “dashboard” of their recommendations. As you can see, there is a biology snippet to show the importance of testosterone, as well as tips & suggestions to improve it.
You can’t see this on the screenshot, but you can click on the text (which are hyperlinked) for more information.
And finally, you have food choices to increase or decrease depending on your results. In your profile, you can choose food recommendations, or both food AND supplement recommendations.
One of the mistakes I did on my month long road trip was forgetting my multi-vitamins, and that includes Omega3-6-9. Also, I currently do NOT take Vitamin D supplements.
Here are my results (conventional units, not SI units)
According to MedlinePlus, the normal range of calcidiol is 30.0 to 74.0 ng/mL. The normal range varies widely depending on several factors, including age and geographic location. Insidetracker’s recommended levels of 40 – 60 ng/mL based on my user profile.
My results are a shocking low 10.6 ng/mL
Gee, you think I should start taking Vitamin D? We know the correlation between Vitamin D and testosterone (see the importance of Vitamin D in section 2 of the article). As explained in the dashboard, it’s hard to increase Vitamin D levels with natural food, cod liver oil excluded, so I think I’ll be making a trip to the Farmacia.
Zinc and Magnesium
Now, just to show you I am NOT in desperate ill health and soliciting donations (even though Mark Hancock thinks otherwise), here are screen shots of my Zinc and Magnesium levels. According to the charts, I am in the optimized zone for these two important minerals. You think this has to do with me being a regular advocate of ZMA?
Like a graph with a single data point, this is just a baseline. But this is something that can be measured and improved upon. I will take these recommendations this summer and retest again in the fall. Then we’ll see how I improve based on InsideTracker’s recommendations.
For more information, visit http://www.insidetracker.com/