Archive for February, 2014
My blood draw took a total of about 5 minutes. 5 long minutes in a downtown Seattle lab… looking out the window, focused on the “Go Seahawks” and “12th Man” signs on nearby buildings so I didn’t pass out. Something like 12 or 13 vials of blood were taken from my right arm and confirmed, one by one, that they were labeled correctly. I thought I would be lying down in a spinning haze after the 6th vial but I breathed through it like a ninja warrior would.
One could say that the lengths I go to learn more about my mind and body are a tad bit excessive. And expensive. But you can’t manage what you can’t measure, and in this case what I’m measuring include some of the most important indicators available today for overall health, well being, and spiritual, mental, and physical performance. If there’s something I could be doing to feel better, think better, or move better that I’m not already doing, I want to know immediately. Am I overtraining? Am I more stressed than I thought I was? Are my hormones getting in the way of my training progress or ability to solve problems at work? Is chronic inflammation an issue and if so, why? Do I need to scale back on my creatine or fish oil supplementation? Is lack of vitamin D holding me back during the winter months? What about the summer? Is my Primal/Paleo lifestyle actually improving my health as promised or making it worse? And so on.
Enter WellnessFX. WellnessFX is a relatively young service with a pretty straightforward outward mission: to improve the health and performance of its clients through data. And that data comes from the ultimate source: your blood. A quick trip to a lab and a couple weeks later you have a complete analysis of the primary blood markers you should care about.
Why does this matter?
“The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.” – John Connor
What we eat and what we do in our everyday lives have major impacts on our body and mind. The field of epigenetics explains how controllable environment factors like your diet, your training, your friends and family, your job and stress levels, and the sunlight or toxins you’re exposed to can trigger gene expression. So while we may be pre-coded for certain outcomes, we aren’t prisoners to those outcomes. We have a lot more control over how our body ages and adapts to external stimuli. So if we care enough about living better, there’s frankly a lot we can do.
I do believe that taking your health into your own hands is an important skill to hone. I’ve found that far too few doctors keep up on the latest research, so their recommendations are typically outdated (“eat a low-fat diet and lose weight”). And the lack of true personal connection with patients means their advice is almost always based on limited information about you. So it’s best to arm yourself with the same data they have – and then some – since only you know how you actually feel at any given time. In other words, a medical doctor has a role in your overall wellness, but so do you.