Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional and I’m writing from the perspective of a fellow powerlifter. If you think you have a medical condition that requires attention, always consult directly with your healthcare provider. Also, seek immediate attention from your doctor.
Having your blood work done is one of the more overlooked aspects of checking in on your health, and can be seen as either unnecessary or requiring an elaborate amount of time & effort to set up. Nothing could be further from the truth! To put it simply, getting blood work done while on steroids allows for you & your doctor to see how your organs are functioning, along with the test evaluating if you are at risk for a disease (such as diabetes, anemia, HIV/AIDS, etc.).
A Full Panel May Include:
- Complete Metabolic Panel
- Lipid Panel with Total Cholesterol: HDL Ratio
- Thyroid Panel & TSH
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Kidney Panel
- Liver Panel
- Glucose, Fluid, and Electrolytes
For men I strongly recommend to Hormone Blood Test:
– Sex Hormone Binding Globulin + Testosterone, Free & Total
Both test use markers for evaluating testosterone levels in men and women. Often men with low testosterone suffer from low energy, erectile dysfunction, and hypothalamus disorders. Women with high testosterone can suffer problems such as infertility, Hirsutism (abnormal hair growth), and Virilization (masculine features)
Used to evaluate thyroid function to detect any possible signs of thyroid gland problems. Examples include hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, both of which can severely affect weight loss or gain, and irregular menstrual cycles.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone/ Luteinizing Hormone use to measure healthy adrenal gland function in men and reproductive health in women to help diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) or lack of menstruation (Amenorrhea).
Men produce estrogen through a process involving an enzyme called aromatase that transforms testosterone into estradiol. Aging men sometimes have too much-aromatized activity, which causes their testosterone to convert to excess estradiol.
With this as a start, you & your doctor can see what is the current condition of your body & make an action plan of next steps to take if there is anything requires attention. To give an idea of what the panel results look like. Here are some of my actual results from earlier this year:
From this portion of my results, we can see that testosterone considered as a normal “healthy” range, along with Creatinine levels and TSH. My Vitamin D levels were found to be significantly lower than the usual normal range. Therefore I was deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D (particularly Vitamin D3) helps the body move calcium to proper areas of the body, such as the bones and teeth.
Must Read: Vitamin D Benefits for Bodybuilders
Along with this, Vitamin D3 is thought to help with overall immune support & keeping your system resistant to bacteria & viruses. As such, I’ve been recommended by my doctor to take 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 in supplement form and my levels should hopefully be within the normal range when I have my next blood test done in a few months.
Blood work after running a cycle
Blood work is also extremely valuable as feedback on how your body is doing after running a cycle. Even if you follow a solid protocol for post cycle therapy, you won’t really have a good idea of where your hormone levels are without having an actual hormone test done.
If you decide to have your hormones tested by your usual health care provider, you MUST ask your doctor to have a hormone panel did that is separate from the standard panel usually given to patients. In the event that you feel uncomfortable with having your blood test results documented with your healthcare provider or you simply don’t have health insurance, you can also access MyLabFax and set up a hormone blood test at a local lab in your area.
Post Cycle Therapy
Don’t rely solely on how you feel or what symptoms you see/don’t see to assess your health! For example, let’s say you run a 16-week cycle of testosterone at 750 mg and run PCT for 4 weeks afterward. How are you sure that your estrogen levels are truly back to normal? How do you know whether you’ll need to run an anti-estrogen during your next cycle, or if your body doesn’t produce enough excessive amounts of estrogen while you run a test to warrant using Arimidex?
You won’t really know for sure without having a test done. Yes, it is not a bad idea to run A-Dex for a few weeks. If you think your estrogen levels elevate during/after a cycle. But there is certainly nothing wrong with having actual blood work done to better learn how YOUR body responds to exogenous hormones. Furthermore, you’ll get to assess whether you need to take an extended amount of time off / cruising on a low TRT dose. Whether everything is good to go and you can push your next cycle a little bit for your next meet.
If for some reason you are apprehensive about the notion of your healthcare provider having irregular blood work records of you. There is always the option of working with Private MD Labs. Your test results are completely confidential. And are not able to be shared with your employer or any other party whatsoever.
Read More: How Much Do Steroids Cost
Overall, having your blood work done once a year is a good start towards taking action with the state of your health, and knowing exactly where you stand with deficiencies & conditions that need to be addressed. Don’t assume that just because you look & feel healthy that everything is in check.
The last thing you want is for things to go haywire when you are running your next cycle. Because you went solely by “feel” on the status of your vitals. Take advantage of using your healthcare provider, and make sure you’re in good shape!