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Blood Testing For Athletes

As an athlete it is important to pay close attention to your body to maintain optimal health to help you achieve your performance goals. Your body's system can be monitored by blood testing to help you achieve optimal results whether you're training for a race, a fight, or personal satisfaction.

Important Concepts For An Athlete

Baseline Values: Establishing a baseline set of values for a variety of blood tests can be invaluable when recovering from an injury or training for peak performance.
Normal:  A normal range is determined by the laboratory based on results of the general population.  Each result includes a reference range based on your age and sex that establishes what is "normal."  Results that fall slightly outside this range may not indicate a problem. 
Normal for Athletes: Athletes' results can be very different from the general population so it is important as an athlete to establishing personal metrics for optimal health. For example, a blood test for the hormone testosterone may have a normal range of  300 -1,000 ng/dL for a male but many experts believe that the optimal level is at the top of the range.  When training for peak performance there are many values that can be viewed against optimal target values.

There is an excellent overview of blood testing for athletes in Going Long by Joe Friel and Gordon Byrn, a comprehensive guide to racing triathlons, describing the important concepts of using lab tests for a competitive advantage.

Should I Be In The Normal Range?

The Australian Institute of Sport recently published the following optimal standards for male endurance athletes:
  • Hemoglobin (16.1 +/- 1.4 g/dl)
  • Hematocrit (0.47+/-0.04)
  • Iron (18.1+/- 7.1 µmol/L)
  • Ferritin (66.2+/-31.2 ng/ml))
(Important note:  these measurements, most included in a Complete Blood Count / Basic Health Screening, reflect values may differ from normal ranges so please consult a physician when considering personal metrics.)

Certain blood tests can be used to measure injury recovery, regeneration from training, and as reliable indicators of preparedness including a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (Glucose, Creatinine, and Electrolytes among other measurements), Iron,  Amino Acids, Phosphorous, and Ferritin (all of which are included in the Health Testing Centers Athlete's Performance Panel).

Hormone testing can also provide valuable information for an athlete in training.  Cortisol (known as the stress hormone) is released by the adrenal gland during exercise providing your body additional energy.  Over training can lead to prolonged high cortisol levels and negative health effects.  Testosterone is also an important factor for a male athlete.  A low level of testosterone could even be the reason that you are not progressing as rapidly as you expected with your training.
Basic Health Screening (CMP 12+CBC+UA)
Lab Price $119.00
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Basic Health Screening (CMP 12+CBC+UA)
The Basic Health Screening (also referred to as a Chemistry Panel) is a combination test measuring and evaluating the body's major organ functions such as the heart, liver, kidney, gland, nerve, bone and muscle functions.
Athlete's Performance Panel
Our Price $599.00
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Athlete's Performance Panel
This unique panel reflects the expertise of of sports medicine professionals, providing a wealth of information about factors that can impact your performance and ability to recover after training.
HIV
Lab Price $159.00
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HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. It is estimated that the number of people with HIV/AIDS in the United States is about 1.2M with approximately 20% unaware of their infection.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Antibody
Lab Price $107.00
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Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Antibody
Hepatitis C is a contagious disease that affects the liver, typically spread through semen, blood, or other body fluids.
Hepatitis B Immunity Status
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Hepatitis B Immunity Status
Evaluates a persons hepatitis B immune status.
Testosterone, Total - Male Hormone
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Testosterone, Total - Male Hormone
The testosterone blood test measures the amount of the male hormone, testosterone, in the blood. Testosterone levels in men affect sex drive, strength, and overall mood. In women, testosterone promotes sex drive.
Cortisol
Lab Price $98.00
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Cortisol
Cortisol levels can indicate problems with the adrenal glands or pituitary gland. Cortisol has numerous functions including playing an important role in metabolism and helping the body manage stress.
Ferritin, Serum
Lab Price $79.00
Our Price $39.00
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Ferritin, Serum
The ferritin test measures the amount of ferritin in the blood. Ferritin is a protein that stores iron so your body can use it later. The ferritin test is the best test to measure the amount of iron in your body.
Iron, Serum
Lab Price $55.00
Our Price $39.00
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Iron, Serum
The iron blood test measures the amount of iron in the blood. Iron is a mineral that is needed by your body for the production of hemoglobin, for energy, and in maintaining proper muscle and organ function.