Athlete Blood Test - Q1 2018 Blood Biomarkers For Professional Triathlete Thomas Gerlach

My body / my blood on January 11, 2018
This post discusses my Q1 2018 Athlete Blood Test. I have links to all my previous posts/tests below. You can save 10% on your own Athlete Blood Test with coupon code: bloodtest10.

Athlete Blood Test (ABT) specializes in blood work for endurance athletes. They have worked exclusively with endurance athletes to understand the specific blood biomarkers that affect performance. They then apply that learning to help athletes proactively manage levels before it can negatively affect training.

Their process is simple:
(1) Order a test online (mine was the Gold panel + add-ons)
(2) Go to a LabCorp facility (at your convenience).
(3) Get the results and analysis via email.

With that I present my Q1 2018 blood report: Thomas Gerlach Q1 2018 ABT Report.pdf

Analysis - My take on MY blood work

As endurance athletes, we push our bodies beyond what they are designed to do and it is important to be proactive and identify deficiencies. Too often as athletes, we are reactionary and dig ourselves into holes before we finally capitulate and seek answers. The reality is that it can take weeks, months, or even years to fix those issues. The goal of my blood testing is to stay proactive and identify minor cracks before they become holes. Hopefully, by reading this, you are also taking the first step in being more proactive. With that here is my analysis:

By and large, everything looks good. It should be noted that I took this test after a solid afternoon swim. Hydration is supercritical and anyone that knows anything about kidneys will see the BUN is a little high. I will keep an eye on this for sure, but it is a reminder that although I usually don't drink during swims, maybe it isn't a bad idea. 

I want to briefly touch on a chronic health issue. Many people don't know this but I was diagnosed with ETD (Eustachian Tube Dysfunction) this past summer via a Type C Tympanogram. This means I have negative ear pressure in my right ear. It is a modern miracle that I was even able to compete last year but that is a story for another post. However, I mention this because I started a few different OTC allergy meds to reduce symptoms of the ETD. This may play a role in some biomarkers.

- Testosterone - this number is going to be affected by the midday test as T is highest in the morning. Total Testosterone was slightly lower than the last test. Free T is quite low and is the important T number as it represents the bioavailable T that can be used by the body. Unfortunately, Sex Hormone Binding Globulin is there in excess which literally binds to Free T and inactivates it. 

Last test I indicated I reduced both a calcium supplement and Benadryl (at night) which can have a negative effect on this area. Unfortunately, I went back on both of these due to the ETD. 

I also continued three supplements recommended by another triathlete who has chronicled his story with low-T. They are supposed to help with natural testosterone production in the body and include:
  • Pregnenolone, a naturally occurring building block needed by the body to create testosterone. It is legal today. Here is the current USADA status.
  • Gaia HPA Axis - various natural herbs & plants that are known to help support adrenal health and natural testosterone production, including Ashwagandha Root
  • Zinc - I switched from MgSport's Magnesium to their new product ZMG which has a very bioavailable form of zinc included in it. 
I will continue to supplement with these along with working to increase my Vitamin D levels and Magnesium levels. Both of these can help reduce the amount of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin which binds all that Free T. If I can reduce it then I should have more Free T circulating.

- B12 back down - I was low in Q1 2017 so I started supplementing with a specific B12 pill. Then I was high on my next report (Q2/Q3 2017) and I went to a standard B pill with a lower total B12. I am lower in B12 again and I will go back to a normal B12 pill in a reduced quantity.

- Iron levels back up but Ferritin high. On the previous test this was low, but with Iron supplementation, reduced workload, and an increased meat intake, I was able to significantly raise it. However, my Ferritin is a little high. This can be dangerous, hence why you have to be careful with Iron supplements and should only take them if you are deficient. This is a great example of how being proactive allows me to adjust my Iron levels to better levels. Although my numbers are still in the optimal range, long-term high levels could lead to liver damage.  

MgSport's new ZMG
Magnesium + Zinc
- White Blood Count back to normal. For the prior test, I was on the tail end of Amoxcillian for 10-days for a middle ear infection. I assume that was the reason for the low WBC and it is nice to see my WBC is back in my normal range as a chronically low number could be an ominous sign.

Magnesium Low!!! - this was my first year training in a southern climate in summer. I have warned people about losing Magnesium stores training in tough conditions and there is no tougher place than Central Florida in the dead of summer. While my Magnesium is still in the normal range, this number fell outside of the optimal range. It takes a long time to build stores so it pays to stay on top of your Magnesium levels before they are a problem.

Vitamin D Low - Within the normal range but not optimal for an endurance athlete. I spent an inordinate amount of time this off-season working on home-improvement projects and staying indoors. This could explain the Vitamin D level being a little low despite living in sunny Florida.

Folate Low - Within the normal range but not optimal for an endurance athlete. Again home-improvement projects may have played a role as I would assess my quality of diet as being sub-par given the lack of availability of a kitchen for proper food prep. This should get fixed naturally with more vegetables in the diet.

Action Plan / Changes:

  • Athlete Blood Testing - Continue quarterly tests.
  • Iron - Switch to every other day iron supplementation.
  • B12 - Switch back to straight B12 pill and consider every other day usage.
  • Vitamin D - Add a 2000IU capsule to midday supplements for a total of 6000IU a day. Consume with fat.
  • Magnesium - Ensure I am taking two capsules every night.
  • Folate - Should be an easy fix without the need for supplementation. I simply need to eat more vegetables.
That is it for Q1 2018. I look forward to seeing progress on my biomarkers and revisiting the BUN in my next test.

Athlete Blood Test Report History:
- January 2018 - Blog Post - Test Results
- June 2017 - Blog Post - Test Results 
- January 2017 - Blog Post - Test Results 

Athlete Blood Test - use code bloodtest10 to save 10%.
Why MgSport Magnesium by Thomas Gerlach

Supplement Links:
MgSport Magnesium on Amazon - use code  TGMS2017 to save 20%
MgSport ZMG on Amazon - use code THOMAS77 to save 20%
Heme Iron on Amazon
B12 on Amazon
- Life Extension Pregnenolone on Amazon
Gaia HPA Axis

Amazon Zero Gravity Recovery Chairs for Air Relax and Normatec Recovery Compression Boots

With the popularity of recovery compression boots I occasionally get asked about those chairs you sit in at Ironman triathlon and marathon expos while relaxing. Those chairs are called Zero Gravity Chairs and can be seasonally purchased at your local Wal-mart, Target, and Costco but they are also readily available year round from Amazon with free shipping for Prime members. The price is usually $30-$40 for one or two for $50-$60.

Zero gravity chairs are actually really nice comfortable chairs that you can set up in your home gym and patio, but are also very portable and can be brought along for camping or sporting events. They do work great for lounging in your recovery compression boots, and while lifting your legs up certainly does not hurt, they don't make recovery boots any more or less effective in my experience. Personally, at home, I prefer to lay in bed or on the couch with my boots.


Amazon Basics Zero Gravity Chairs - $39.99
FDW Zero Gravity Chairs 2-pack - $53.99
- Normatec vs Air Relax Review
- Air Relax Carry Case Review 

Athlete Blood Test Coupon Code - Save 10%

I am working with Athlete Blood Test again in 2018 to increase awareness of wellness blood testing. This isn't blood testing for sickness and because it is wellness testing it usually falls outside of insurance reimbursement. However it is the perfect solution for those that are: time-crunched, may have high-deductible insurance, or just have a desire to be more proactive and less reactive in an otherwise complex health care system.

With ABT you get the tests you want and the process is simple. Just order your test at - save 10% with Athlete Blood Test coupon code: bloodtest10.

Dr. Rock and ABT will submit your blood draw request after you order. You head to a Labcorp at your convenience - either walk-in or schedule an appointment - and get your full ABT report sent to your email in just a few days. You can also add on a phone consult if you would like for an additional cost.

I wrote two blog posts in 2017 that included my test results.  Each post also explains a little more about the process. Those posts can be read here:

Q1 2017 Thomas Gerlach Blood Test
Q3 2017 Thomas Gerlach Blood Test