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Series - Genetics and Blood Testing IV part
« poslato: Novembar 16, 2009, 12:32:44 pre podne »
Genetics and Blood Testing - by: DrJMW

Genetics is a very important aspect of health and fitness. It determines how one will look, how one will perform, and how one will respond to psycho-social, environmental, dietary and pharmaceutical stimuli. One simple way to identify genetically-differing body types is by observation. The endomorph, the mesomorph, and the ectomorph have distinct genetic and physical differences. The endomorph is characterized by “softer” bodies and a “round” shape. He stores fat easily and has difficulty losing his fat stores. The mesomorph is known for his muscular and athletic build. He stores fat evenly and he could easily gain or lose fat. The ectomorph typically has a thin, delicate build. He has a young appearance with low fat storage capacity and usually has trouble gaining weight.

Another way to identify genetic variation is to do blood testing. There is a reason for such large variations of “normal ranges.” It is to accommodate the various body types. All healthy endo’s, meso’s and ecto’s will fall within the “normal ranges” of blood testing. Blood testing will help acknowledge the body type as well as show us if there are any abnormalities present. One of the most important goals of health and fitness is to ensure “normal” blood test results. Blood testing gives us a close look into one’s genetic make-up and will allow us to identify problem areas and areas to be enhanced.

Science is currently working on gene therapy. Gene therapy is actual manipulation/alteration of the gene to improve or eliminate its expression. If scientists can shut off cancer cell proliferation at the DNA level, then that is effective gene therapy. A great deal of work is being done to “rejuvenate” pancreatic cells to produce insulin, thereby eliminating the patient’s need to inject insulin to survive. It will be years before these scientists manipulate the obesity gene or the gene that triggers high metabolic rates. Currently, genetic enhancement revolves around enhancement procedures (hormone replacement therapy [HRT], anti obesity drugs, plastic surgery, etc.).

Blood testing will allow us to see baseline levels, levels influenced by changes in psycho-social, environmental, dietary, and pharmaceutical stimuli, and levels upon completion of the enhancements or detriments. Baseline testing is important, for it gives us a starting point to addressing abnormalities. It is imperative to correct any abnormalities (cholesterol problems, liver problems, kidney problems, hormonal problems, blood problems, etc.) before embarking on an elective, enhancement program. If one does not correct these baseline problems first, then it is probable that any enhancement program will make the problems worse. For an enhancement program to work, one needs every system operating normally. Responsible people that begin an enhancement program get blood testing performed. Otherwise, the enhancement program becomes a high-risk activity.

Blood testing during an enhancement program is a chance to see how one’s body responds to the changes. It gives one a chance to make adjustments to the program. We can adjust the diet, change the work-out, and alter the pharmaceutical plan to try to achieve optimal blood test results as well as ensure safety and efficacy of the program.

Blood testing at the end of the recovery cycle or during a maintenance cycle (for those with nothing to recover) is also very telling. It will show how one has responded to recovery, how effective one’s adjustments during the enhancement were, and it will show any residual problems or new problems that arise.

NOTE: If baseline blood testing is done, one will know if he has anything to recover--this is important and I can’t emphasize this enough.

Part II

Part II--Problems associated with the body types and how training, diet, and pharmaceuticals affect each type and their blood test results.

Of all of the body types (endo, meso, ecto), the mesomorphs tend to have the optimal genetic make-up. Their appearance and blood test results tend to be ideal. They are the easiest to enhance. They also tend to recover quickly from negative influences (psycho-social, environmental, dietary, pharmaceutical stimuli). As they age, their appearance and blood chemistries seems to stay in the normal level. Unfortunately, the mesomorph makes up such a small percentage of the population.

Think about the times early in our evolution. There were times when food was scarce. There were times when humans had to be able to outrun their enemies and endure great hardships. The endomorph is genetically equipped to withstand long periods of famine and food scarcity. His body's metabolism slows down and he is able to preserve fat. The endomorph has the most efficient fat burning mechanism when it is required. As a matter of fact, the endomorph will always burn muscle ahead of fat--given a calorie deficiency and a moderate to high carbohydrate diet. Surprising, many endomorphs show healthy results from certain blood testing (cardiovascular/cholesterol levels, blood counts, liver panels, and blood chemistry). Typically, their testosterone levels are low and their HGH levels are low as well. Unfortunately, as they age and put on more fat, their systems begin to show signs of ill-health.

The ectomorph, on the other hand, was built to outrun its enemies and thrive in an environment with an abundance of food. They are extremely lean, sometimes with BF% close to one percent. Their blood testing appears to be normal, with variances in Testosterone levels and Thyroid hormone levels as well. They are the hardest to enhance, for they have to overcome a high metabolic rate and low testosterone levels. If they temporarily overeat and train to gain weight, their basal metabolism will burn off all of their gains once they stop. Ectomorphs tend to have long life spans, as long as there is food available

Weight Training is a temporary environmental stimulus for all body types. Each body type will experience some benefits, but once the training is ended for a period of time, all gains are lost. The body only makes adjustments when required, based on the training. Strength training generally promotes size and strength gains. "Stamina" training (more sets, reps and lighter weights) generally promotes stamina required for sports participation. Endurance training (even more sets, reps, and lighter weights than stamina training) promotes endurance for those that participate in track events (distance running), marathons, and ironman competitions. Many endomorphs, like offensive linemen, are more successful with strength training than with endurance training. Many ectomorphs, like marathoners, are more successful with endurance training than strength trainings.

Many mesomorphs can go either way. The reasoning is genetic in nature. Without getting too technical, bone and muscle structure are important determining factors. This is apparent in all three body types.

Diet is also a temporary stimulus. Endomorphs that have successfully lost weight, regain it "with interest" when they go off their weight loss diet. Ectomorphs that have successfully gained weight, lose that weight when they return to normal eating. Again, mesomorphs can go either way. They can get leaner, but lose the muscular definition when they go back to their baseline eating habits. They can gain weight and possibly keep it, depending on baseline testosterone levels.

Our ultimate goal is to get the ectomorph and the endomorph "looking" like the mesomorph. This can be done with pharmaceutical enhancement. The first step, though, is to perform baseline blood testing, BF% determination, and blood pressure measurement, as well as look at other vitals like age, weight, training experience, dieting experience, pharmaceutical enhancement experience. It is important to determine body type and to see if there are any pre-existing conditions that need to be corrected before beginning any performance enhancement program.

Part III

Part III--Required Blood Tests and their meaning; Pre-Existing Conditions requiring correction.

In this article, the author will be discussing essential blood testing to establish a baseline for all pertinent systems. He will also address any issues that arise as a result of the baseline blood testing.

Virtually every system of the body is affected by any pharmaceutical enhancement as well as any pre-existing conditions. It is important to establish baseline readings for all pertinent systems. We need to concentrate on our Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Testes Axis (HPTA), cardiovascular functions (our blood chemistry, liver and kidney values, CBC [complete blood count] and lipid profile), thyroid function, adrenal function (specifically cortisol), and pancreatic function (insulin and hemoglobin A1C).

To monitor our baseline HPTA, one tests for Testosterone levels (total testosterone, free, and weakly bound); estradiol (estrogen) levels, prolactin levels, luteinizing hormone [LH] levels, and follicle stimulating hormone [FSH]. Ideally, one wants to see high/normal total/free/weakly bound Testosterone levels and normal estradiol, prolactin, LH, and FSH. Any abnormal levels, at baseline, indicate a problem. Low Testosterone levels are a problem. They can be caused by failing testes, a lack of LH, or the testes' resistance to LH or a combination of any of these. A lack of LH (hormone required for stimulation of testosterone production by the testes) usually indicates either a chemical shutdown (like with exogenous testosterone) or a pituitary problem (failure, tumor, etc.). One can have low Testosterone levels with normal or high LH levels. This indicates a failure of the testes--either they are not functioning or they are resistant to the effects of LH. Lastly, one can have low LH and low Testosterone levels. If the testes are functioning normally, then trying to increase endogenous LH is one solution (like using clomid or nolvadex to stimulate LH release). The other is to try using HCG (an LH analogue) to stimulate the testes to respond. In any case, it is important to try to correct these problems prior to beginning any cycles. If low testosterone levels cannot be corrected, then the subject must consider HRT to maintain gains, for his baseline testosterone levels will never be able to retain any gains from enhancing, pharmaceutical cycles. FSH stimulates the testes to produce sperm. The same problems with LH are analogous to FSH.

High prolactin and estradiol levels are a problem. High estrogen levels can cause gynecomastia, fat accumulation, excessive water retention, and recovery problems. High prolactin levels can cause many of the same problems in addition to impotence and a gynecomastia of the residual lactation glands (in the male). It is important to keep these hormone levels in check. An aromatase inhibitor (aromasin, femara, arimidex) or a SERM (selective estrogen receptor modulator) [clomid, nolvadex] can be used for regulating high estrogen levels. Dopamine receptor agonists (Dostinex, Bromocriptine) or a progesterone-receptor modulator (Winstrol is one) adequately control prolactin levels. [For purposes of this article, I am not indicating drugs of choice, for they vary depending on a number of individual factors].

Cardiovascular function, blood chemistry, thyroid function, adrenal function and pancreatic function are the most important systems to be monitored. If any of these systems are failing or abnormal, it makes it very difficult or impossible for the athlete to benefit from any pharmaceutical enhancement. It is essential to normalize these systems before beginning any kind of enhancement cycle. If one's baseline lipid panel (cholesterol, triglycerides) is abnormal and he proceeds to enhance, he will probably worsen the condition (leading to vascular blockages, heart attacks). If one's baseline RBC (red blood cell count) is high, then using AAS will worsen the condition (high blood pressure, blood clots, strokes, heart attacks). If one's liver and kidneys aren't functioning properly, then proper breakdown and utilization of the pharmaceuticals will not occur, and they will worsen the situation (liver and kidney failure). If one's thyroid is malfunctioning, then that athlete's metabolism will be abnormal. If one's cortisol levels are high, he will experience catabolism of muscle and other tissues. Lastly, if one shows signs of diabetes (Type I is a lack of insulin; Type II is resistance to the existing, endogenous insulin), then alterations need to be made to any enhancement program. It is important to test and correct any abnormal, baseline readings before embarking on any type of cycle. The good news is that all of the conditions can be addressed and adequately treated or prevented in most cases (except liver and kidney failure).

15 Essential Blood Tests: Cortisol, Total; Estradiol, Extraction; Prolactin; LH; FSH; T3, Free; T4, Free; TSH; Testosterone, Total, Free and Weakly Bound; Hemoglobin A1C; Fasting Insulin; CBC; Comprehensive Metabolic Panel; Lipid Panel; GGT (Important Liver Value not included in Comp Metabolic Panel).

Part IV

Part IV--The Mechanics of Incorporating Blood Testing Into One's Enhancement Program and Correcting Pre-Existing Problems

Proper, well-timed blood testing is what separates the user from the abuser. How can anyone begin an enhancement program without knowing if one is going to be hurt by the program itself? Pre-existing conditions such as elevated cholesterol levels; polycythemia (elevated red blood cell count); liver, kidney, and thyroid diseases are exacerbated by improper choice and dosing of AAS and improper diet. The major purpose of baseline blood testing is to rule out any of these pre-existing conditions and other problems. If any problems are exposed during baseline testing, it is the responsibility of the athlete to take care of these problems BEFORE embarking on an enhancement program. In some cases, AAS is to be avoided; in others, AAS may actually be the treatment.

The other important information garnered from baseline testing is HPTA status. From testing testosterone levels, one can determine if a recovery cycle is warranted or if the athlete truly requires indefinite hormone replacement to maintain gains. From establishing estradiol (estrogen) levels, one can determine if the athlete is at risk for estrogenic sides (gyno, fat accumulation, water retention). From prolactin levels, we can determine if the athlete is at risk for prolactin-induced sides (glandular gyno/lactation, erectile dysfunction). In addition, high levels of these hormones inhibit recovery of testosterone levels. FSH and LH testing helps the athlete determine if there are any pituitary problems. Low, baseline levels of either of these may indicate HPTA suppression from exogenous substances or it may indicate a pituitary tumor. As the athlete can see, it is of the utmost importance to establish baseline levels before embarking on enhancement protocols.

Based on the baseline results, body type and previous experience, the athlete can then create a suitable regimen for enhancement. Is the goal- -cutting/fat loss? Is the goal--size/strength? Now the athlete has all of the information needed to create suitable enhancement programs. Once the athlete begins his cycle, it is imperative that he check his body's reaction to the program. If the athlete is doing an eight-week cycle, for example, I would suggest blood drawing during week six. Most athletes seem to peak anywhere between weeks four and six. One wants to rerun all the tests from the baseline series to see how the cycle has affected every bodily system. If problems are noted, the athlete needs to make adjustments with his meds, diet and/or training. The ultimate goal is to have a healthy blood profile during a cycle and to have no side effects. With proper planning, this goal is consistently obtainable.

Once the cycle is completed, the athlete moves right into recovery. The need for doing a recovery cycle is determined by baseline blood testing. Assuming the athlete needs to do a recovery cycle, we will want to blood test him during week seven or eight of recovery. One wants the results to virtually match up to the baseline testing, with no abnormalities present. Again, if abnormalities are present, the athlete will need to take steps to correct them. If the athlete decides to stay "on" and drop to maintenance levels, then blood testing should be performed around week six of maintenance to see the body's reaction. After these three initial batteries of tests are done, one needs to do follow-ups three to four times a year and basically check problem areas.