Surprised by my bloodwork…

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I recently went and got a check-up since it had been a while since I had last done so.  Part of the visit involved me getting bloodwork, which is admittedly the part I most dislike.  I do not like needles, man.  I’m not going to trip out and start crying and stuff, but I still don’t like needles.

Anyhow, upon getting my bloodwork results back, I noticed that they were largely good (thank God).  Cholesterol, blood sugar, blood cell counts and so on were good.

On the flip side, I noticed a couple of things I didn’t expect.  One, I had a Vitamin D deficiency, and two, I also had a Vitamin B12 deficiency.

More about My Vitamin D Deficiency

My serum Vitamin D levels were not only low, they were very low.  Let’s put it this way.  Optimal levels of Vitamin D in the blood are between 30 and 100 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter).  Mine was 15, man.  15.

Now, I did expect it to be lower since I work in an office during the day and I don’t get outside until the weekends, but I didn’t quite expect to be so deficient.  Looks like I need to take more of my own advice.

See, Vitamin D is very, very important.  It is extremely protective against autoimmune diseases (think lupus and multiple sclerosis) and cancers, as well as osteoporosis and a whole host of other ailments.  The doctor recommended that I take a Vitamin D supplement, which I will do for a short while, but we all know what I really need.  Sun.

A thousand years ago, folks didn’t take supplements to get more Vitamin D.  They probably just went outside, which is the natural thing to do.  Plus, who knows the potential countless number of other benefits we might receive from being out in the sun aside from just Vitamin D production, you know!

More about My Vitamin B12 Deficiency

Now this was probably more surprising to me than the D deficiency.  In the US, the reference range for B12 in the blood is between 200 and 1100 pg/mL (picograms per milliliter).  Mine was 388, which seems fine, except 1) in countries like Japan, the low number is about 500, and 2) it has been documented that some folks start to show symptoms of B12 deficiency below 400, and I had been experiencing symptoms that I now believe might have shown such deficiency (tingling and mild neuropathy to name a couple).

B12 is one of those nutrients that we’ve naturally gotten from animal products – meats, dairy, fish, etc.  These days, a lot of vegans/vegetarians get it from supplements, which works okay, but ultimately, it’s not how we’ve naturally gotten B12 in our bodies.  And B12 is one of those things that, as you consume less than you need, your levels gradually go down until you’re deficient.  And once you’re deficient, not only can it cause significant neurological symptoms, but it can take a long time to build your B12 reserves back up.

For the time being, I will take a supplement, and I will also consume a bit more animal products than I had grown accustomed to consuming.  I was eating meat about 2-3 times per week, but I will probably move more towards at least one serving of animal products per day, while still having occasional times of no animal products for cleansing and stuff like that.

Why I’m Blogging About It

I think it is important to be open to those who read my blog about stuff like this because it shows that even I, a personal trainer passionate about all things health, have things to work on.  Seeing my blood test results showed me that I need more sun than I think, and that I personally need more animal products in my diet – organic, well sourced animal products, of course.

I also want to tell you so that you will consider my personal findings for yourself.  Do you get outside?  I personally believe that if you make a practice of avoiding the sun, you’re most definitely deficient.  But don’t take such stuff casually, because being deficient in Vitamin D, or any other nutrient for that matter that your body requires for normal functioning, keeps you from living your healthiest life.

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