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My Stats and Blood Test Results - Science Warning!

For any of you who are regular readers of this blog, you will know by now that MotherNaturesDiet is not just another weight-loss fad diet, and it’s not just another ‘get-6-pack-abs’ exercise program.

MotherNaturesDiet is a lifestyle, a way to live for supreme good health, abundant energy and healthy longevity. MND is about eating a healthy natural diet, using and moving your body in a variety of healthy ways, it’s about getting back in tune with nature and respecting our planet and the other creatures we share it with.

How do we measure ‘Good Health’?

MND is about natural good health, and I feel very healthy, but how can I be sure that I AM healthy? There are many ways to measure our health, so I am trying to build a good overall picture of how healthy I really am at the end of 20912 and the start of 2013, after living the MND way for the last year.

Habits - well I know that my habits have vastly improved. I’ve now been a non-smoker for 7 years. I have now been tee-total for over 1 year. I have largely removed 95% of the refined sugar from my diet. I have now removed 95% of the chemicals, additives, E-numbers, preservatives and processed foods from my life. I exercise almost every day, minimum 5 days per week, I stay well hydrated and I avoid caffeine, prescription drugs and other poisons.

Wellness - I know I am healthy, I have now gone over an entire year without a day of sickness, and I haven’t missed a day off work in years now. I rarely feel worn out and despite a very busy and pretty demanding life, I usually have loads of energy and enthusiasm.

Fitness - Over the last 4 years, I’ve run 11 marathons and 2 ultra-marathons, cycled the length of the country, and I work out and play sports all the time. I’ve run a 10k in 42 minutes and I can do 1000 push-ups in one hour, so I know I am fit and healthy by that measure.

Diet and nutrition - I know I eat a great diet, I follow the MND prescribed Core Principles and eat good clean natural food, grass-fed meat, organic vegetables, local produce, seasonal as best as I can.

Looks - I look in the mirror and I look healthy and fit, and compared to the chubby smoker who looked back at me for 20 years, I still feel very pleased with the new me, I’m in decent shape for a busy family man in his 40s.

Major stats - some things you can measure, with scales and a tape and a few other tools. In mid 2012, I measured as much as I could, and you can find those measurements here -

But beyond these measures, how can I be sure I am healthy on the INSIDE?

So I went to my doctor late in 2012 just to ask for some standard blood tests. The NHS won’t do all the detailed tests I would like, such as live blood analysis, but they will do a good range of standard tests. I talked to my GP (MD for my American readers) about MND, and she said that the only concern with high-protein diets is liver and kidney function, so she is very happy to test my blood to ensure MND is healthy as a long-term way to live.

I have been eating my high-protein, high-fat, ultra-low-carb diet for over a year now, and I wanted to get my blood tested, to ensure I am genuinely healthy on the inside and not doing any damage to myself. I just wanted to ensure that inside I wasn’t hiding anything.

The most famous (or in-famous??) high-protein/fat and low carb diet of recent years was the Atkins diet (not healthy, in my personal opinion) and a lot of people suffered undesirable side effects on that diet – such as the stinky breath and headaches. This was because Atkins pushed people into ketosis, over-working their liver, because there was NO carb at all in the diet. I eat some carbs (veggies), I just avoid the unhealthy starchy carbs like pasta and potatoes. I don’t get stinky breath and I am not damaging my liver!

The Atkins Diet book even advised people with liver problems not to follow the diet…that tells you there is something wrong right away. I had no doubts that MotherNaturesDiet is good for me, but I wanted to look inside to be sure, and so I could post this for your benefit, so you would see that my diet is no ‘dodgy fad’ like Atkins, but is in fact very healthy and natural.

Blood tests

At the end of 2012 my stats were as follows:

Weight: 12 stone 9 pounds (177 pounds, 80.3 kilos)
Waist 32″
Chest 45″
Right Biceps 13.25 to 13.5″
Left Biceps 13″
Body fat still measuring 6mm at supra-iliac crest, which equates to the same 11% to 11.5% as I have been for months.

Warning - load of science stuff coming up, just skip to the bottom if the detail doesn’t interest you!)

Blood Pressure - Normal blood pressure is 120/80 based on current guidelines in both the UK and the US. While 120/80 is normal, many health experts say 115/75 is ideal, and many experts will say athletes tend to be lower than the standard 120/80, when at rest. My blood pressure when tested was 114/75, meaning I am spot-on super-healthy, so I am happy with that.

After my blood tests, my GP says ALL my results are “normal, just fine”, so my GP is happy that I am healthy inside and MND is a healthy way to live. I got a copy of my test results printed off anyway, and have written them up here for anyone who is interested.

(Here, I reference Robb Wolf a number of times – he is the author of ‘The Paleo Solution’, which is widely regarded as THE seminal text in the paleo nutrition world. Robb Wolf recommends certain blood tests, which I have referenced here, using the US numbering system that he references in his book.)

Lipid Profile

1: Serum Triglycerides – 0.52 mmol/L
Standard UK target is to be below 1.5, so I am well within the safe zone.
This is equivalent to 9 mg/dl (the US system) – Robb Wolf says the lower the better, 30-40 is good, I’m 9.
Wolf says low triglycerides is an indicator of good insulin sensitivity and a low carb diet (remember, high-carb, sugary diets, screw up your insulin resistance, leading to adult-onset diabetes).
Robb Wolff says (US measures) over 100 are dangerous, he gets people down to 30 or 40…mine is 9, so ‘through-the-floor’ low in a good way.

2: HDL cholesterol – 2.2 mmol/L
This is higher than it was back in Feb/March, when it read just 1.3
Standard UK range is 1.0-1.8 so I am ‘off the scale’ in the right direction compared to average UK population.
In US numbers, this equates to 40 mg/dl, Robb Wolff would like to see 50 – something for me to aim for maybe!

3: Calculated LDL cholesterol – 2.7 mmol/L
Range is 2.0 to 4.5, so I am well on the low side of the range.
Robb Wolf recommends US 40-70mg/dl – mine is 49, so absolutely spot on.

4: Total cholesterol/HDL ratio – 2.3
UK look for anything below 5, the lower the better, so 2.3 is excellent.

5: Total cholesterol – 5.1 mmol/L
UK guidelines say 5 and below is desirable. Six months ago, back in mid-March I was just 3.7!
Robb Wolf recommends US 120-140mg/dl – mine is 92, so I can only conclude there is great disparity between Robb Wolf’s paleo guidelines and UK standards (or maybe I got my mathematical conversions messed up!!).
Justin Smith’s book “$29 billion reasons to lie about cholesterol” suggests that there is absolutely no danger in high cholesterol levels, and he quotes some research that suggests high levels are actually beneficial.

My results are interesting: My total cholesterol is up since March 2012, when I had the only previous cholesterol test I have had in my life, and now I’m actually a tad over the magic 5 number, up from 3.7 previously. But as far as I can tell, a lot of that rise in total cholesterol is due to my big rise in HDL, which is way up from 1.3 to 2.2.

Robb Wolf says the higher the better for HDL, so while my total cholesterol is up from 3.7 to 5.1 in just 9 months, my RATIO of Total to HDL is down from 2.7 to 2.3. The lower the ratio below 5 the better, so that’s good.

What does this say to me, with my common sense hat on? Perhaps, just like the way BMI is a poor reading of body composition taken in isolation (no accounting for the difference between muscle and fat, so BMI would rate all highly-muscular athletic people as ‘too fat’ or ‘obese’), perhaps also ‘total cholesterol’ is an incomplete data point too. Ummm? Further thinking required!

My total cholesterol is up, but I’m actually healthier, because the HDL is way up from 1.3 to 2.2, and my ratio is down, so thumbs up for that.

Liver & Kidney Function: Electrolytes Profile

LFT = Liver Function Test

1: Potassium – 4.7 mmol/L
Potassium helps your nerves and muscles to communicate, and it also helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out.
Too high or too low is not healthy.
The normal range is 3.5 to 5.5, so my result sits where it should be.

2: Sodium – 139 mmol/L
Sodium is essential in our bodies for many functions.
The normal range for blood sodium levels is 133 to 145 mmol/L. If sodium levels are too high, often caused by excessive salt in our diet, it can elevate sodium levels and cause problems.
At 139 mmol/L, I’m fine.

3: Creatinine – 73 umol/L
Creatinine is a waste product, produced as creatine is used in the body to build muscle. The kidneys flush creatinine out through the urine.
The normal range of levels of creatinine in the blood are approximately 59 to 105 umol/L in adult males – muscular young males may be higher. It seems that anything over 116 is a heart disease risk factor, anything over 130 is a significant stroke risk factor.
My level of 73 seems low in the range, healthy, I’m happy with that.

4: Glomerular filtration rate - >90 ml/min/1.73m^2
GFR is a message of kidney function, used to detect CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease).
Above 90 is the “normal” range, so my result is fine and of no concern.

5: Serum urea level – 5.7 mmol/L
Also known as BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) this tests for the level of urea nitrogen in your blood. Urea is produced during the metabolism of proteins. If my high-protein diet was harming me, it would show up here. Elevated levels of serum urea can be a sign of kidney disease, liver disease or dehydration.
It is not desirable to be too low or too high, so in the middle is where a healthy person wants to be.
The normal range is 2.5 to 7.9 (or 2.5 to 6.6 according to some sources), so I seem fine in the middle of that range.

6: Alkaline phosphatase – 57 IU/L
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found in the liver, and unusually high levels of ALP are an indicator of liver problems. The normal range is 30 to 115, so I am healthily in the low end of the range.

7: ALT/SGPT serum level – IU/L
ALT is an enzyme, alanine aminotransferase, found almost exclusively in the liver. If levels are too high, it can indicate liver damage.
The normal seems to be 7 to 55 (or 5 to 60 according to some sources), so my result of 17 seems healthy to me.

8: Total protein – 68 g/L
This measures the total protein in the bloodstream. The normal range is 60 to 80 (or 65 to 82 according to other sources), and the danger is in being too high, so despite my very high protein diet, my liver is handling things well and I am fine and healthy.

9: Globulin – 22 g/L
Globulin (and albumin - see next) are two proteins looked for in the above ‘Total Protein’ test.
The normal range should be 20 to 35, and the danger signs are if levels are too high, so my 22 is great.

10: Albumin – 46 g/L
Measures a type of protein made in the liver. Normal range seems to be 39 to 50 by some sources, or 34 to 54 by others, and too low is the danger sign to look for, not too high. Too low is a sign of liver disease or kidney disease.

11: Bilirubin level – 6 umol/L
Bilirubin is a fluid made in our liver, if levels are too high we can become jaundiced. The range is 1 to 17 (2 to 15 according to other sources) so my 6 seems low and healthy.

A good clean set of results. Verdict: I’m very healthy!

I am happy with these results, they show I am very healthy inside, there are NO signs of any problems at all, my liver and kidneys are functioning perfectly, my blood is healthy and I have every reason to remain confident that since I cut the grains and sugars and increased my intake of protein from clean animal sources, I have never been in better shape.

Of course, these are only blood tests, and I have not been screened and probed and scanned from every angle to test for every imaginable thing, but I figure that if -

  • I look healthy
  • I feel healthy
  • The Dr says I am very healthy
  • My blood is healthy
  • My functions (bowel movements, etc.,) are regular and healthy
  • I am sexually virile and healthy and functioning well
  • I am fit
  • I never get sick
  • I have loads of energy
  • I feel great
  • I have clear skin

…well, given all that, I think that it is pretty fair to say, I AM healthy, and MND IS a healthy way to live.

For the last year I have been eating meat and fish every day, while training quite hard…I have gained several pounds of muscle and added two inches to my chest measurement, and my blood is healthy on the inside, so I think I can safely say that the diet I am living on is very healthy and natural and I am thriving while living this way.

There are further, more detailed tests I would like, but I can’t persuade my GP to give me those on the NHS, so I need to find the time (and a few hundred pounds spare) to go and source those tests privately, which I will do when my hectic work schedule and bank balance allows.

Until then, all is well, MND rocks!

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