Tests and Biomarkers
In the world of modern medicine and health science, there are literally thousands of tests that clinical laboratories may perform. With respect to the CR Study, however, there are only a few parameters that matter. Here's a simple "tier-system" for organizing tests, in accordance with the ease with which they can be done. Of relevance to the CR Study , Tiers 1 and 2 are considered essential. The tests in Tier 3, while helpful, aren't essential.
Tier 1: Things that can be done at home.
* Body weight (taken under same conditions each day).
* Body temperature (and save the thermometer you use -- calibrations vary slightly from thermometer to thermometer; we will at some point need to check the calibration of your thermometer).
* Resting pulse (taken the same time each day, under the same conditions, preferably upon waking).
Tier 2: Simple, cheap tests your doctor can easily do.
(Do in morning, after having fasted for 10 - 12 hours.)
* Basic Metabolic Panel (includes Sodium; Potassium; Calcium; Chloride; Carbon dioxide; Glucose; Blood urea nitrogen (BUN); Creatinine). See this WebMD link for details.
* Hepatic (liver) Function Panel (includes ALT, AST, Albumin, AP, Bilirubin, and Total Protein). See this WebMD link for details.
* Lipids Panel (includes cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL),low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and triglycerides).
* Blood pressure (ask for this during every doctor's appointment; also, ask for weight and temperature just for comparison with your own measurements).
* Complete Blood Cell count (CBC) including White blood cell with differential and Red blood cell. See this WebMD link for details.
Tier 3: Slightly more expensive.
(Listed roughly in order of importance, taken in morning, as per above.)
* glycated hemoglobin
* free testosterone
Other Useful Tests:
* Body Fat (via calipers, electronic scale/body-fat unit, buoyancy or DEXA scan method)
* VO2 Max
* Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGGT)
* Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
* DEXA scan (test for osteoporosis and general bone/skeletal health)
How Often Should The Tests Be Done?
Tier 1 tests: These are easy to do frequently. Thus, for your own records, you might find it useful to check them once a week (some people do it daily) for a few months. After that, once a month is probably fine if you don't see much variation. For the study, we'd want whatever data you have, but would probably only need averages and/or data taken every three or six months. (Of course, if you're gaging the degree of CR by your body weight -- as opposed to by counting Calories -- you probably want to weigh yourself daily.)
Tier 2 & 3 (and other more obscure blood tests): For purposes of our study, the more the better. Once or twice a year is what most people find manageable. People just starting out on CR sometimes get tested every six or even three months, since their biomarkers change so frequently in the early stages of the diet.
Examples:Here are two CR practitioners who have posted their Tests and Biomarkers on the Internet: Dean Pomerleau, Khurram Hashmi.