October 2016 Health Update


Sitting at 73.0kg, an increase in energy has resulted in weight loss slowing, which was to be expected. I’ve adjusted my goals to be at 70kg by the end of December this year. It will likely happen in late October or November and then it will just be a matter of finding my sweet spot for energy intake to maintain that weight indefinitely.

Carbs, Protein and Fats
Well, well, well… it looks like I was calculating my energy intake pie chart based on percentage of grams eaten – not percentage of energy provided.

Nearly 50% of my energy is coming from fats. Magnificent! I can probably adjust the ratio of carbs:protein down a little bit too. Protein intake has been a bit higher than what I’ve needed for a while. Mainly due to the fact that there’s no sugar or saturated fats in protein.

Sugars make up around 13% of that 20% figure for sure (66%) and that’s mostly due to the milk I have of a morning. Really I need to bump the non-sugars to make that ratio split in half to around 30%. That would be ideal fo rme.

Blood Pressure
Nothing exciting to report here. It’s well within the ideal range. Typically around 100/65!

Iron Deficiency
This one was interesting, not unexpected but interesting. My blood work for the soon to be started Roaccutane revealed my MCV, MCH, and MCHC to be either low or borderline low. Yet my haemoglobin is firing along at 149g/L (ref range 130-180). So what are MCV, MCH and MCHC? Good question, I had to do a bit of digging into that myself!

MCV is the average size of red blood cells. This means that my red blood cells are smaller than they should be.

MCH is a calculation on how much haemoglobin (on average) is in each red blood cell. As the cells are smaller (as the MCV) tells us, they can’t hold as much haemoglobin.

MCHC is all about the concentration of haemoglobin (again, an average) in each red blood cell.

Another one that is borderline, but in the upper range this time, is my RDW which is all about the width. Apparently with iron deficiency this will be higher as the red blood cells are all over the shop!

Naturally I went along and got a full workup on my iron studies, what I found shocked me! Okay, maybe it wasn’t that shocking. For starters they’ve moved the reference ranges. Previously (about a year ago) I was low on iron and my transferrin saturation. Now, even though my values are lower than last year I am within the reference ranges.

The most concerning one on the list though was actually ferritin at a record low of 12ug/L down from 31ug/L last year. That’s a pretty big drop given the reference range is 30-300. Now I did introduce some haem and non-haem iron into my diet but clearly it was not enough.

The body needs around 1mg of iron to be happy. Non-haem (plants and vitamins) provide around 2-15%. So if you take a 5mg iron pill, you are getting 0.1mg-0.75mg of iron depending on how well your body absorbs it. Haem iron (from meat) has a much better conversion rate, somewhere around 30%.

What else could I do now? Well the doctor said to get some iron pills so down to the pharmacy I went and picked up a 105mg iron pill laced with 500mg of vitamin C. It should take around 2-3 months for all my red blood cells to be regenerated and replaced, so late November I get to have some more blood tests.

All that aside, my other tests were all pretty damn good. Triglycerides are down from 1.6mmol/L (March 2014) to 0.5mmol/L and my Cholesterol is also down from 4.6mmol/L (March 2014) to 3.4mmol/L – which is technically low. I wouldn’t mind a full workup on my cholesterol levels to see if my good cholesterol has increased, it was low previously.

And my ALP has dropped inside the reference range for the first time since 2010. It’s either something to do with losing ~40kg of weight or vitamin D3 supplementation (2500IU a day). I suspect it’s probably a little of column A and column B on this one because my tests in May 2016 showed my ALP as being elevated higher than ever. Now it’s dropped off 50% so I am not going to complain. Although I am dropping my vitamin D3 intake to 1500IU per day to lessen the work my liver has to do while on Roaccutane.

Blood Donation
On the subject of blood, my last blood donation for a while is coming up in the next week – prior to starting Roaccutane. You can’t donate blood while on Roaccutane, it’s just that bad being teratogenic and all. In my mind it is worth delaying my treatment two weeks to squeeze one more donation in. Go team blood donation! 🙂

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