Jump to content
Michael R

Blood Testing: LEF Super Sale — Ends June 13th

Recommended Posts

All:
 

(Crossposted from General Health; will take advice on eliminating one redundant posting, or both, at day's end).

Life Extension has a very good sale on, which I just noticed this morning — and unfortunately, today is the LAST DAY of the sale. The prices on everything I wanted were significantly lower than WalkInLab , RequestATest, and a couple of other sites that came up via Google.
 
A requisition is good for 6 months, so if you are due for a test in that time period (or up to the end this year, if you don't have some strong reason to delay until the very end), it's worth making the purchase now.
 
If you're about to start CR, you really need to get some good baseline bloodwork,* and if you're on CR haven't had a good CR panel in significantly more than a year, you're really due. Jumping on this sale will save you a significant amount of money.

 

Although it isn't practical to do this today to pick and choose your self-financed tests, you can also save a signifcant amount of money by talking to your doctor first if you have health insurance: nearly anyone will be able to get the Tier 2 tests on our website plus either fasting glucose or HbA1c or both. These are fairly inexpensive tests, but they do add up.

 

* That list is suboptimal. If you're getting IGF-1, do also be sure to get IGFBP3; if you're already on CR and are male, testosterone is a good idea, but you really want testosterone by LC/MS-MS: Life Extension offers LabCorp's test #070038 for $48, but you can't order it online: have to call in and ask the blood lab for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Michael,

 

Thanks for the heads up about the LEF blood test sale. I went ahead and place an order, finally joining LEF after all these years (membership was basically free with the order). Here is what I ordered, for anyone interested:

 

8QN2qK3.png

 

The IGFBP-3 was per Michael's suggestion. The Zinc and Copper were to check my balance, since I supplement with zinc to compensate for my high copper intake (from mushroom and veggies). The "Male Elite Panel" is similar, but a bit more expensive than my usual test - the Male Anti-Aging Ultimate w/Free (Direct) Testosterone panel of tests from PrivateMDLabs.com, but the LEF panel had a couple extra tests, and I figured I might as well give LEF a try this year. Yes, it's expensive and coming out of my pocket (I get my yearly checkup with a much smaller set of blood work covered by insurance every December), but I figure my health is worth it, and it's good for myself and for the "N-of-1 science" to keep track of a wide range of health markers. If I'm going to go out on a limb with my diet and lifestyle, I and other people might as well learn something from it!

 

In that spirit, I'll of course post my results when available.

 

--Dean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It drives me nuts that this isn't something I can do in Canada.  One day I can only hope it becomes available.  What a great sale for those living in the US though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do hear your pain: I found that after having interviews with a few GPs I was generally able to get most of the tests I wanted, but not nearly as frequently as I'd like, and many were one-offs.

 

On the other hand, lots of people with access to direct-to-consumer testing are paying for stupid tests that don't tell them anything or aren't actionable. Like a Certain Alleged Nonprofit that sells a lot of supplements and blood tests that works hard to convince healthy people with not a ghost of a symptom or sign of acute coronary syndromes that they need a troponin T test to make sure they aren't about to drop dead of a heart attack. (In fact, by sheer coincidence, the same day I started this thread the NYT did a good piece on needless blood testing). And then there are the shysters who try to convince everyone that they really need a full-body CT scan which will find harmless abnormalities that scare the shit out of them while upping their risk of cancer from all the unnecessary radiation ...

 

And count your blessings. You have universal healthcare that comes out of your paycheque, costs a third less on average (and half or less, if you're an average middle-class schmoe), and stays with you for life, without the insane paperwork, shopping around over stupid shit when no one will tell you what anything is going to cost you, and with accountable public control. Things are better down south than they used to be with Obamacare — no more "you have diabetes and can never get insured again," "you didn't tell us about your thyroid condition so we're dropping you now that you have breast cancer," etc, and some attempt to rationalize and harmonize the incentive structures for insurers, clinics, physicians, and patient health — but it's all just stovepipes designed to keep a banged-up oil-leaking Ford Pinto from exploding with everyone on board, when what's really needed is a new car.

 

Canada's single-payer system is far from perfect, but we're light years ahead of the benighted souls south of the 49th ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As Michael and Drew pointed out, it sucks to live in Canada in one respect - you can't get direct-to-consumer blood tests done, like those of us in the US can via LEF, DirectLabs, PrivateMDLabs, WellnessFX, etc.

 

But there are troubling signs it may not be so easy in the US for much longer. According to this NY Times article from a couple days ago:

 

In December, the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, accused two companies, DirectLabs and LabCorp, of violating a state law that requires laboratory tests to be carried out at the request of licensed medical practitioners.
 
DirectLabs had sold hundreds of health tests to consumers, ranging from checks for heavy metals and vitamins to screening for parasites and disease. But Mr. Schneiderman said the person fulfilling the medical practitioner role was actually a chiropractor who had never met, spoken to or followed up with any patients.
 
DirectLabs did not respond to a request for comment. DirectLabs and LabCorp agreed to pay fines, and DirectLabs ceased operating in New York. In a statement, Mr. Schneiderman said that allowing consumers to be tested for serious medical conditions without consulting a physician put “their health in jeopardy.”
 
Hopefully this NY case won't set a precedent. Otherwise, it looks like another case (like 23andMe) where the Nanny State may once again start dictating what we can and can't know about our own health - "for our own good". Grrr....
 
--Dean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All:
 

As Michael and Drew pointed out, it sucks to live in Canada in one respect - you can't get direct-to-consumer blood tests done, like those of us in the US can via LEF, DirectLabs, PrivateMDLabs, WellnessFX, etc.
 
But there are troubling signs it may not be so easy in the US for much longer. According to this NY Times article from a couple days ago:
 

In December, the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, accused two companies, DirectLabs and LabCorp, of violating a state law that requires laboratory tests to be carried out at the request of licensed medical practitioners.


Hopefully this NY case won't set a precedent. Otherwise, it looks like another case (like 23andMe) where the Nanny State may once again start dictating what we can and can't know about our own health - "for our own good". Grrr....

I wouldn't get too exercised about this just yet. As the story says, the main issue here was an existing NY state law which says that you need a licensed medical provider’s involvement to order a lab test, but when NY customers ordered up tests via DirectLabs

 

 

these requisitions were automatically generated with a licensed chiropractor’s namewho had never seen or spoken with the patients – in exchange for a $24 “access fee” payment.  Consumers could then take those requisitions to a LabCorp patient service center to have the testing performed at reduced prices negotiated between LabCorp and DirectLabs.  The chiropractor whose name appeared on the requisitions not only never met or spoke with any of the approximately 1,100 consumers whose laboratory tests he authorized, he did not follow up with any of the consumers about the test results.   

LabCorp enabled DirectLabs to offer this service by providing DirectLabs with the tools needed to generate requisitions and receive test results, and LabCorp would honor the requisitions presented by DirectLabs’ customers.   LabCorp examined specimens based on the automatically generated requisitions, without ever checking to see whether the health care provider named on the requisition was acting within the scope of his license.  As a result, it performed over 100 clinical laboratory tests based on DirectLabs’ requisitions that were outside the ordering chiropractor’s scope of practice. 

 

Now, the worry is of course that even if an actual doctor is involved elsewhere, the rest of those problems may well exist, and certainly the physician examination must be pretty superficial, there being no contact between the client and the doctor. But there is already a long-standing state law in NY against DTC lab testing, period: see our previous discussion of this with Zeta, which cites two (and I'm aware of a third) vendors that contract with LabCorp and just won't process transactions from people listing their residences in or requesting testing in NY and several other states. It looks like DirectLabs was ignoring this outright, in addition to employing a robo-signing chiropractor (instead of a robo-signing MD ...) to "authorize" the tests, and LabCorp was apparently not doing their own regulatory compliance piece.

 

This is one of those cases where the harm to consumer is small, thet effort to craft new legislation in other states large, the customers fiercely desirous of maintaining their abiliity to buy and the non-customers unlikely to get agitated about it. Cf. the toxic mix that led to our current mess of a supplement non-regulatory regime (which is even crazier, involving instead active enactment of legislation to prevent FDA from requiring any evidence of efficacy or more-than-laughable/self-asserted safety, and without the resources to enforce what little oversight it is allowed or charged with). So I don't see anything happening outside of possibly more crackdowns of skirters of the law in the few states with existing laws against DTC, LabCorp itself making sure to stay clear of filling DTC contractors in states where it's banned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

also be sure to get IGFBP3

 

IGFBP3 isn't on the same scale as IGF1. Is there a reasonable way to convert an IGFBP3 value to an estimate of IGF1 (for comparison to IGF1 values taken on different dates without IGFBP3 readings, or for comparison to population averages or the like from papers that don't also supply stats on IGFBP3)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

also be sure to get IGFBP3

 

IGFBP3 isn't on the same scale as IGF1. Is there a reasonable way to convert an IGFBP3 value to an estimate of IGF1 (for comparison to IGF1 values taken on different dates without IGFBP3 readings, or for comparison to population averages or the like from papers that don't also supply stats on IGFBP3)?

 

It certainly makes some sense to use one's IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 data from different days if that's all you've got, provided your diet, weight, and exercise were similar in the last couple of days before each test and provided that your weight was stable. However, it would defeat the purpose to assume some level of IGFBP-3 corresponds to some level of IGF-1, since the whole point of getting both is to assess the biological activity of your IGF-1: a higher level of IGFBP-3 at a given IGF-1 level (hence, a lower IGF-1:IGFBP-3) means less free IGF-1 and lower biological activity. (Note that this is not the case for IGFBP-1, which has a more complex role in the pathway).

 

IAC, there is an additional and important underlying question, which is the way these tests are reported in American labs. The sensible way to report both IGF-1 and IGFBP3 is in (nano)moles per unit volume, which then tells you about biological relationships between the functions of the proteins.This is why every country in the world except the United States uses molar units. Unfortunately, the US reports them as mass per unit volume, which skews everything because of the different molar masses of the different analates.

 

You can convert your reported values to molar values and ratio as follows:

IGF-1 (molar concentration) = [iGF-1 [ng/mL] x 0.130

 

IGFBP-3 (molar concentration) = IGFBP-3 [ng/mL] x 0.036

 

IGF-1:IGFBP-3 = [iGF-1 [ng/mL] x 0.130]/[iGFBP-3 [ng/mL] x 0.036].

 

(Incidentally: altho' IGFBP-3 isn't on it, the AMA has a good calculator to convert American lab test units to SI units).

 

Importantly, the key Aging Cell paper (1) on protein intake and IGF-1 in human CR practitioners, which is probably our best guide on CR-specific reference ranges, uses molar units:

 

nihms95561f2.jpg

 

The "low protein" group in these graphs is a vegan group not intentionally CRed; the "low Calorie" group is the original data from the full CR cohort, including the majority who were getting protein intakes were well in excess of the RDA. We presumably want an IGF-1 level in line with the CR group after reducing their protein intake to RDAish levels (0.95 mg/kg), which was 152 ± 41 ng/mL; or possibly low-normal IGF-1 either for a young person or for our age group.

 

Whatever range of IGF-1 one targets. we presumably want an IGF-1:IGFBP-3 in line with the "low protein" group above.

 

Reference

1: Fontana L, Weiss EP, Villareal DT, Klein S, Holloszy JO. Long-term effects of calorie or protein restriction on serum IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 concentration in humans. Aging Cell. 2008 Oct;7(5):681-7. PubMed PMID: 18843793; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2673798.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From now thru' Monday (the 28th), WalkIn Lab has a 20%off Black Friday sale on all lab tests, using the code SAVEMORE20%. (Don't be distracted by the November sale specific to diabetes, or other discounts: they can't be combined with the Black Friday sale, so plugging in those codes will lose you the across-the-board 20% off). Requisitions are good for several months, so pick them up now if you want to get labs anytime this winter (including eg. your 25(OH)-vitamin D3).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×