New Year’s Resolution: Know Your Athletic Performance & Training Baseline

It’s that time of year – we are all thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you have a sporting event in mind that you are training for, you’d like to beat your personal best, you want to lose weight, bulk up, or even just exercise more effectively.

Now is the perfect time to prepare for success in the New Year by determining what your current blood levels are for a number of important biomarkers – ranging from hormones, inflammation markers, lipids, and organ function.  All of these blood chemistry components are a reflection of your current health, and can help you determine things like whether your holiday fatigue is from too many cookies  or if it’s something else like low vitamin D.  Knowing your numbers before you start any new training or exercise programs allows you to better track changes that might signal training too much or not enough. And it can help motivate you to keep going when you see positive changes, such as lower cholesterol and glucose levels.

At Kinetic Diagnostics, we offer a variety of biomarker tests to help better inform your New Year’s sports performance and training resolutions. When you’re ready to establish your sports performance and training baseline, we have two tests to choose from: Baseline Biomarkers and Baseline Biomarkers Lite.

Baseline Biomarkers: This panel analyzes 38 blood chemistry components to give you insight into your blood cell count, cholesterol, sugar, liver and kidney function, vitamins, and hormones.  

Baseline Biomarkers Lite: This test analyzes 15 basic blood chemistry components to give you insight into your blood cell count, cholesterol, sugar, liver and kidney function, vitamins, and hormones.  

We’ve summarized biomarkers available in each of the baseline tests we provide at Kinetic Diagnostics. Details about each of these tests is based on information from LabTestsOnline. The first 15 are included in the Baseline Biomarkers Lite panel and all 38 are included in the Baseline Biomarkers panel. If you don’t see the combination or test in our catalog that you and/or your doctor are considering, contact us, it’s likely we have what you need.

1. BUN: The blood urea nitrogen or BUN test is primarily used to evaluate kidney function. Elevated blood urea nitrogen levels could indicate that the kidneys are not filtering waste as expected.

2. BUN+Creatinine: Creatinine is the waste product that comes from the muscles breaking down creatine. The creatinine blood test is ordered along with the blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test to assess kidney function.

3. Calcium, Serum: A total calcium level is often measured as part of a routine health screening. A blood calcium test may help screen for a range of conditions relating to the bones, heart, nerves, kidneys, and teeth.

4. Carbon Dioxide, Total: Carbon Dioxide is in the blood in the form of Bicarbonate. It is a negatively charged ion that is excreted and reabsorbed by the kidneys. The body uses it to maintain an acid-base balance. Imbalances of bicarbonate can be a sign of kidney disease, acidosis, or metabolic alkalosis.

5. CBC/Diff: The complete blood count (CBC) with differential test for illnesses in the blood and can be an indicator of overall body health. The test provides information and measurements on the number and types of white blood cells, the number of red blood cells, the size of your red blood cells, hematocrit, hemoglobin, average red blood cell size, platelet count, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin.

6. Chloride, Serum: Chloride, a negatively charged ion, is an electrolyte that works with other electrolytes, like potassium and sodium, to regulate the amount of fluid in the body. It  is usually consumed into the body through food and table salt. Increased levels in the blood is linked with dehydration, weakness, or kidney disease.

7. Cholesterol, Total: Cholesterol is a waxy fat-like substance found in the blood. It is important to make hormones, vitamin D, and to process some foods. Too much can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease. In athletes, elevated cholesterol has been associated with conditions such as inflammation and female athlete triad syndrome.

8. Creatine Kinase,Total, Serum: Creatine Kinase is an enzyme found in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle. When muscle is damaged increased amounts of  CK is released into the blood. The test is used to detect inflammation of muscles or muscle damage.

9. Glomerular Filtration Rate, Estimated: Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) testing measures kidney function by measuring the level of creatinine, a waste product that the kidneys filter, in the blood. In the kidney's glomeruli are tiny filters that remove waste from the blood, but allow important compounds like proteins and blood cells though. Measuring the waste in the blood through a GFR test indicates kidney health.

10. Glucose, Serum: This is a fasting glucose (sugar) test (fasting blood glucose, FBG) which measures the level of glucose in the blood after fasting for at least 8 hours. This is often part of routine health screening, and can help identify when the body may not be processing glucose as expected.

11. HDL Cholesterol: High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) Cholesterol is the  "good" cholesterol, as it consists primarily of protein and a small amount of cholesterol. It carries excess cholesterol from tissues to the liver for disposal.  Low Levels of HDL Cholesterol shows a correlation with an increased risk of heart disease.

12. LDL Cholesterol (Direct): Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) is also known as “bad cholesterol,” This testing is used to predict a person’s risk for the development of heart disease. Maintaining healthy levels of lipids in the body is important, but excess cholesterol like LDL-C can lead to deposits on the walls of blood vessels that can lead to further complications as more builds up.

13. Potassium, Serum: Potassium is an electrolyte that is essential is cell metabolism and muscle function. Potassium works to regulate the amount of fluid in the body and stimulates muscle contraction. These tests are ordered when evaluating high blood pressure and kidney disease.

14. Sodium, Serum: Sodium is an electrolyte that is important for nerve and muscle function. These tests are ordered in routine lab tests to determine electrolyte imbalance. An electrolyte imbalance can be associated with weakness, hyponatremia, and hypernatremia.

15. Triglycerides: Triglycerides are a form of fat and a major source of energy for the body. However, levels that are too high are associated with a risk of developing heart disease. Elevated levels can be caused by smoking, inactivity, and high calorie diets.

16. Albumin, Serum: Albumin is a form of protein produced in the liver that circulates in the blood to help maintain fluid balance in the body. It contains the nutrients and proteins required to clot blood properly in the case of bleeding. An Albumin test helps determine if you body’s liver is functioning properly.

17. Alkaline Phosphatase, S:  Alkaline Phosphatase is an enzyme found in body tissues in the liver, bone, and kidneys. Elevated levels can be signs of liver or bone disorders.

18. ALT (SGPT): Alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme found in the liver and kidney. In healthy individuals, ALT levels are low, but when the liver is damaged more ALT flows into the bloodstream.

19. Apolipoprotein B: Apolipoprotein B is a protein that helps in the metabolism of lipids by combining with them to transport them through the bloodstream. Increased levels of Apolipoprotein B are associated with those who have high cholesterol and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

20. AST (SGOT): Aspartate aminotransferase is an enzyme most commonly found in the heart and liver. When liver or muscle cells are injured, AST is released into the blood. A damaged liver can increase AST levels so the test is used to help detect liver damage that may be due to diseases, drugs, or alcohol.

21. Bilirubin, Total: Bilirubin is a waste product of the breakdown of heme, a component of hemoglobin. Testing bilirubin levels helps diagnose conditions such as liver disease, hemolytic anemia, and bile duct blocks.

22. C-Reactive Protein, Quantitative: C- Reactive protein (CRP) is a protein made by the liver and released into the blood after tissue injury, an infection, or other inflammation. The test is used to detect inflammation as levels of CRP increase when there is inflammation in the body.

23. Cortisol: Cortisol is a hormone that plays a part in the breaking down of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates. It also works to help maintain blood pressure and regulate the body’s immune system. Cortisol testing is done to help diagnose Cushing syndrome, which can lead to weight gain and fatty deposits in the face and upper back area, and adrenal insufficiency.

24. Estradiol: Estradiol (E2) is produced in the ovaries in women and in the testicles in men. It is a primary component in reproductive organ development and function in women and bone growth in both sexes. Abnormal levels can be associated with tumors in the ovaries, testicles, or adrenal glands or the dysfunction of these glands.  

25. Ferritin, Serum: Ferritin is a protein found inside the cells that store iron. Measuring ferritin levels allows doctors to test measure the amount of iron in the blood. Iron is an essential component for red blood cell production.

26. Folate (Folic Acid), Serum: Folate helps form red blood cells and produces DNA. Low levels of Folate in the blood indicates malnutrition and poor diet.

27. Hemoglobin A1c: Hemoglobin is the protein containing iron that is found in all red blood cells. Hemoglobin allows the red blood cells to bind to oxygen in the lungs and transport it throughout the body. Testing for hemoglobin shows a correlation to red blood cell production in the body.

28. Insulin: Insulin is a hormone that is important to the transportation and storage of glucose in the body. It is made and stored in the pancreas. Low levels of insulin are seen in diabetes and pancreatic disease cases, high levels are associated with obesity and Cushing Syndrome.

29. Iron, Serum: Iron is an essential part of life. It helps form red blood cells and is a critical component of hemoglobin, helping bind oxygen in the lungs and circulate it to other areas of the body. Low levels of iron lead to chronic fatigue, weakness, and headaches.

30. Lipoprotein Lp(a): This test measures Lp(a) in the blood in order to evaluate an individual's risk for developing cardiovascular disease. Lp(a) levels remain relatively consistent over a lifespan, so changes in Lp(a) levels are an indication of risks.

31. Protein, Total, Serum: The total protein test measures the amount of albumin and globulin in the blood. Albumin proteins keep fluid from leaking out of blood vessels and Globulin proteins play an important role in your immune system. Elevated levels can be signs of viral infections or bone marrow disorders. Low protein levels can indicate liver or kidney disorder or malnutrition.

32. Testosterone, Free: Testosterone is a hormone produced by the testicles in males and the adrenal glands. Testosterone stimulates male puberty and maintaining muscle mass. Testing for free testosterone represents the fraction that circulates the blood and is a good indicator of the bioactivity of testosterone.

33. Thyroxine (T4): Thyroxine (T4) is a hormone produced by the thyroid and it plays an important role in growth and metabolism. Low T4 levels can indicate dietary issues like malnutrition, while high levels can indicate high protein levels in the blood.

34. Transferrin  Saturation: This test is used in combination with other iron tests to evaluate iron metabolism, and can be useful for endurance athletes. It can assist in determining between anemia that is caused by iron deficiency or that associated with inflammation or chronic illness. 

35. Triiodothyronine (T3): Triiodothyronine (T3) is a hormone produced by the thyroid. Low levels are associated with a slowed metabolism and can lead to weight gain, dry skin, and fatigue. High levels are associated with nervousness, weight loss, and shaky hands.

36. TSH: The thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is produced in the pituitary gland and it works with the thyroid gland to make and release thyroid hormones into the bloodstream.  Abnormal levels link to a problem with the pituitary gland or thyroid gland. Signs of this can be seen in weakness, difficulty sleeping, dry skin, and menstrual irregularity in women.

37. Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 is an essential component of bodily health and is necessary for red blood cell formation, repairing tissues, DNA synthesis. It is not produced in the body and is only supplied through diet. B12 deficiency can be a sign of poor nutrition or of other issues blocking the body from properly absorbing B12 in the intestines.

38. Vitamin D, 25-Hydroxy: Vitamin D is a family of compounds that are essential for the formation and growth of teeth and bones. Two forms are found in the blood, 25-hydoxyvitamin D and 1,25dihydoxyvitamin D. Vitamin D can be absorbed by the sun or ingested through food. Testing vitamin D can help determine if bone related abnormalities are related to abnormal vitamin D levels.

Ready To Uncover Your Athletic Performance & Training Baseline?

Photo Credit: Sam JR