I just got my annual suite of blood tests done via the Male Anti-Aging Ultimate w/Free (Direct) Testosterone offered by Private MD Labs. As you can see from the link, the test is pretty comprehensive and it doesn't require a doctor's referral. The cost was $300 (with 15% coupon code) and the blood/urine collection is done at your local LabCorp office. I highly recommend there service (although see my next post for an alternative service that looks promising).
Here is a link to the (big) table of results. The latest results are in the column all the way to the right. I'm overall pretty pleased with the results. I continue to show the hallmarks of human CR (e.g. see here and here for results from Luigi Fontana study of fellow CRONies), including:
- Low IGF-1
- Low Insulin
- Low Total/Free Testosterone
- Low White Blood Cell Count
- High MCV/MCH
- Low C Reactive Protein (inflammation)
- Borderline low Thyroid hormone (Free T4)
- Good fasting glucose / HBA1c
- Great cholesterol levels
If you look at the 3 columns immediately prior to the latest round, you'll notice troublingly high liver markers (Alkaline Phosphatase, AST and ALT) from earlier this year. In fact, three months ago (3/18/15) my AST and ALT were 8x the upper reference range!
As you might imagine, I was quite concerned, as was my GP and the gastroenterologist he referred me to. I had an abdominal ultrasound, and all my organs (liver, kidney, gallbladder, pancreas) looked good - which was a relief. Most relevant, there was no sign of fatty liver, liver cysts/tumors or other liver abnormalities. They were planning to do a liver biopsy, but before that, I decided to try cutting out (Saigon) cinnamon (a known liver toxin due to naturally occuring coumarin) along with a few other unusual foods that I had been consuming and thought might have an impact on the liver. I retested a couple weeks later before the biopsy, and thankfully my elevated liver markers had cleared up. I strongly suspect it was the cinnamon. Three months later, my liver markers look better than they have in years (all within the normal reference range).
The other thing that I find interesting in these results is that I continue to show the biomarkers of 'serious' CR despite vigorously exercising a lot (~4.5h/day) - and eating enough to maintain my weight. I haven't been tracking calories for a while, but I'm clearly eating many more than most CRONies to maintain my weight (120lbs, 18.0 BMI) with all that exercise. In fact, my current biomarkers compare favorably with my results from 2/21/13, when I was much more severely CRed (112lbs, 16.8 BMI) and exercising minimally (30-60min / day). My testosterone and IGF-1 were lower back then, but as many people thought (including me), they were too low.
I find this very interesting. It seems to suggest that either:
- These biomarkers aren't very good at discriminating "genuine" CR (i.e. relatively sedentary lifestyle with low calorie intake) from "exercise-induced" CR (like I'm doing now), or that
- Perhaps "exercise-induced" CR will have a similar effect on human health/longevity as "genuine" CR.
As another data point, I spoke with Paul McGlothin recently and learned that he too exercises quite a bit (~2.5h/day) these days, although not as much as I do.
Why do I exercise so much you ask? I enjoy it, I have lots of free time (I'm semi-retired) and I feel really good - better than I have in a long time. I consider myself to be in quite good shape for my age (almost 51). My resting heart rate is 40 BPM. A few weeks ago, I ran a 5K and won the 18+ age group (3rd overall), with a time of 20:40, which I thought was pretty respectable.
I'm curious if others (I'm thinking of you Michael Rae :) ) believe I'm likely to be undermining my prospects for health and longevity with this regime, relative to "genuine" CR.