How To Read Your Lab Results Episode 2 – Protein, Sugar and Liver Values

How much protein should you be taking in? How does your body handle sugar? What values tell you how healthy your liver is? All of this and more in Part 2 of the 3 Part Series; How to Read Lab Results with Chris Neal.


[00:00:00.510] – Sam Ridgeway

Hello, YouTube, Sam Ridgway here with live now today’s part two of the three part series on how to properly read your lab results. Again, I did a Web conference with our clinical supervisor, Chris Neal, and ask him to break down the important values of a blood test and explain the significance of each one. Today, we’re going to look at the metabolic panel so we learn about sugar in our body.


[00:00:24.810] – Sam Ridgeway

If you’re taking in too much protein, how to know if your liver’s functioning properly and more so let’s get to it


[00:00:33.810] – Chris Neal

Your glucose to start out with.


[00:00:35.730] – Chris Neal

Now, this is your your blood sugar, right? So my first question is always, Sam, did you fast for this.


[00:00:42.510] – Sam Ridgeway

I, I, I did fast. I think I usually do. I don’t eat it from seven o’clock at night to till the morning.


[00:00:51.630] – Chris Neal

So I’m usually a good standard is about is about six hours as long as you’re getting six, seven hours of fast and that’s perfectly fine to show a you don’t have to go overboard, you not to torture yourself with 12 hours of fasting or anything like that, but six hours is good enough to to see that because what we’re looking for, we want to see what your blood sugar falls down to when you are in a fasted state. And that’s a good standard to look at.


[00:01:17.730] – Chris Neal

So you’re at eighty four, which is awesome. Actually, that’s great. That means your body, like this machine that we’re looking at is part of your engine is running smoothly, very, very well. It is churning along – it wants to burn sugar. It wants to burn it off. So when I see anything in the 70s, 80s, low 80s, you know that looks good when I start to see it up into the 90s. And now I’m I’m stepping over into performance medicine here.


[00:01:44.170] – Chris Neal

OK, this is what I see anything in the upper 90s, 101, 102. . Like, do you have diabetes? No, not necessarily. Are you kind of looking in that direction if you also have some other factors of weight gain and stuff like that? Yeah, yeah.


[00:02:01.920] – Chris Neal

You’re probably looking in that direction, but it’s important to pay attention to that, knowing that part of my engine when it comes to burning sugar is my body doesn’t do that very well. So there are ways to supplement with that. No, Sam did a video on metformin. Metformin is a great supplement to add on to help with your blood sugar to kick that number down so your extra sugar isn’t floating around in your bloodstream and turning into fat and wreaking havoc in other places.


[00:02:27.450] – Chris Neal

So metformin is a great safe medication that has a lot of extra uses, which is pretty cool. So and I know, Sam, you’re a big fan of metformin, so I am usually twice a day, at least once a year.


[00:02:42.150] – Chris Neal

Yep. We have ten minutes before meal. So now the next set here is going into your kidney function. So there are three numbers here that are really, really, really important. Your BUN and creatinine and your GFR.  OK. So the first number we’re going to start with is your creatinine, Sam, at 1.46. What the heck is going on in. So yeah. Your your creatinine basically basically your creatinine is a number that tells you how happy your kidneys are, OK?


[00:03:10.110] – Chris Neal

And when it starts to go above that, that reference range, that means your kidneys are getting unhappy because a lot of reasons why your kidneys could be unhappy. And in most cases, when it’s when it’s like this, it’s it could be related to a little bit of dehydration is sometimes part of the part of the issue. So the kidneys are a mechanical filter. They are a filter just like any other filter. When they’re in that, happy filters flow quickly.


[00:03:39.060] – Chris Neal

So your kidney flow, your GFR glomerular filtration rate is a calculation as to how fast your kidneys are flowing. So you should be greater than fifty nine. That’s speed. You should be flowing faster than fifty nine and you’re at a fifty five. So you’re a little your filter is a little bit on the sluggish side. Does that mean you have kidney disease or you need to be on dialysis. No, it means that, it just means that that’s something to keep an eye on.


[00:04:08.760] – Chris Neal

And staying hydrated would would be the first thing that I would offer your kidneys that they that they typically like very much is to stay hydrated.


[00:04:17.940] – Sam Ridgeway

And, you know, quite honestly, that could be because while I try to stay hydrated and I think it’s a great idea to have a huge thing water sitting next to my desk, I it’s like throughout the day I think about drinking, but I never really go get it. There you go. Nice job. I know, but I think about it, I just never do it. At the end of the day, I’m like, what did I drink today?


[00:04:42.070] – Sam Ridgeway

So if if dehydration is one of the things that can cause that value to rise, I mean, that could certainly be what it was. Because I forget I know I shouldn’t, but I forget to drink a lot.


[00:04:54.530] – Chris Neal

And then keep in mind, too, that if you’re if you like other types of liquids instead of water like caffeine, I’m certain I get coffee and coffee, sodas, alcohol, the dehydrating, dehydrating types of of drinks. It’s like drinking negative water.


[00:05:15.490] – Sam Ridgeway

I’ve got an entire refrigerator over my office full of these Gatorade zeroes that I try to go through. So I’ve been trying to fix that. And in a lot of things, it’s because of the last labs that I got. And I remember you mentioned dehydration, so I’m trying to get a little bit better with that.


[00:05:33.700] – Chris Neal

So your Buin is a 14. This is when it really I can geek out a little bit on us here, so. Your testosterone level is basically a measure as to how anabolic your body is, right? We all kind of know that. So anabolic is a fancy word that basically means your body is in the mood to burn calories and also utilize protein to recover and build muscle. That’s what anabolic means. So your body, if it’s in the mood to use protein, will use quite a bit of protein.


[00:06:13.560] – Chris Neal

OK, whatever protein is basically left over is converted into nitrogen and goes to the kidneys for excretion. OK, so that that’s where your view and no inside is the higher your BUN basically the more leftover protein you have that you’re not using. So it’s important to always keep your body in a positive protein balance. You always want to be taking it a little bit more protein in your body can use, but you don’t want to overdo it because there is a lot of people out there that you’ve heard of, I’m sure, that are over protonated they’re taking in and they think, well, I’m supposed to be eating 1.5 grams per pound of body weight or 2 grams per pound of body weight or.


[00:06:55.770] – Sam Ridgeway

That’s a great question. How much protein? And I guess that might differ amongst people. I mean, I can’t imagine you can have one value that works for everybody in anything. But if you had to set a rule or a starting point, what would that be for protein? And would you do it for body weight or would it be a different ratio?


[00:07:16.830] – Chris Neal

Well, the real science behind it comes with this number right here. And also how anabolic you are, because let’s let’s take it let’s take the guy.


[00:07:24.210] – Chris Neal

Let’s say if you had low testosterone, your testosterone was three hundred or two hundred low. So that means your body’s not anabolic. I see this all the time trying to work out their trainer, whoever tells them they need to be taken in. If you’re working out this hard, you will be taking a gram and a half for about a body weight. They weigh two hundred pounds at three hundred grams of protein. So which is which is a lot of protein for anybody.


[00:07:53.470] – Chris Neal

The it’s hard to get that much protein in. So but on the inside, their body is not in the mood to use protein at all. So if it’s not in the mood to use protein, it doesn’t matter what you do really, and all of that extra protein has to go to the kidneys because the body isn’t using it. So the first number that starts to see the effect of that is your BUN all that excess protein. That number gets sky high and that causes your kidneys to get pissed off.


[00:08:21.830] – Chris Neal

So your creatinine starts going up because it’s getting angry. And then when you have angry kidneys, they don’t flow well. So then your GFR, your flow rate starts to go down. OK, so you have pissed off kidneys, flow rate goes down and everything. And the whole problem is, is that you’re eating all this protein, but your body’s not even using it doesn’t isn’t in the mood to use it at all. So the fix for that is not necessarily so.


[00:08:47.420] – Chris Neal

In his case, if he has low testosterone, he only needs to be eating very minimal protein. So he doesn’t overload his kidneys because his body is using the protein. But when we adjust his testosterone level and the body becomes anabolic, all of a sudden then all of that extra protein, the body will start utilizing. So. So at that point, someone with a higher testosterone can handle more protein than someone with a lower testosterone. So that number does vary.


[00:09:14.990] – Chris Neal

So for women, you can’t use the same one gram or one point five grams per pound of body weight necessarily. You can really harm their kidneys that way. So we have to be more that’s important.


[00:09:26.740] – Sam Ridgeway

So women shouldn’t use that ratio. No, I can reality, like no one really should use the ratio without actually looking at looking at your labs carefully, but in general, in general, one gram isn’t too bad. I mean, for guys that are that are that are over, I’d say like one hundred and eighty pounds, you know, keeping keeping it one hundred and eighty grams of protein is a good thing, you know.


[00:09:53.420] – Sam Ridgeway

Now when we calculate the protein that we’re supposed to use and we we calculate like one gram per pound of body weight, is it let’s say you’re overweight and let’s say I should weigh 250, but instead I weigh 300 pounds. Do you still calculate that one gram per pound on what you weigh? Or would it be on your target weight?


[00:10:11.870] – Chris Neal

No. Yeah. So any any any guy that is I’d say over one hundred and seventy five pounds needs to initially stick to about one hundred and seventy five grams of protein until has unless until he’s been evaluated by a professional with his bloodwork.


[00:10:36.140] – Sam Ridgeway

what you’re saying is it doesn’t necessarily mean that one hundred seventy five grams is what the person should be taking. They just need to be evaluated to see whether an anabolic state to be able to utilize more protein than that, because if they’re not, they’re just putting stress on their kidneys to get rid of the protein.


[00:10:53.270] – Chris Neal

Yes, that’s exactly right.


[00:10:54.980] – Chris Neal

The next set of numbers that go that go along here, sodium, potassium chloride, carbon dioxide, calcium, those are a lot of your electrolytes. So the kidneys are very hard to have a big responsibility over those. They help filter out the that’s the smallest aspect of the filter to the little fine tuning or how much sodium you hold in and how much sodium you dump out. Water always follows sodium. So very interesting when the when the kidneys really, really, really get upset, they can’t even filter the smallest little little electrolyte.


[00:11:28.910] – Chris Neal

So then you start getting electrolyte imbalances. But usually we all see that.


[00:11:34.160] – Sam Ridgeway

We’re just talking about that. And Jim, now if I get cramps, what I’ve heard before is your sodium and your potassium are you’re low on those and that’s why you cramp up. Is there any validity to that or is there is capacity and what do you do? Like a lot of people get bad cramps. Is there anything that you can watch in your labs that point out these things would be low and you might want to watch those keep cramping?


[00:12:00.920] – Chris Neal

Yes, that’s in your potassium that because your potassium is has a big aspect or big responsibility in the contraction of muscle. So very important to to make sure that your potassium is where it should be. A good safe supplement would be just eat a bannana as it has a lot of potassium in it. But also there are a lot of medications, too, that can cause the body to dump out extra potassium. A lot of the the the water pills will do that as well. So it’s very important to to make sure that, you know about the medication that you’re taking, you understand it and what it’s doing on the back.


[00:12:41.840] – Chris Neal

And because also, you know, there are a lot of things that can cause cramps to. And you don’t want to you don’t want to overload with potassium either, but eating a banana a day or taking a small potassium supplement, it’s usually usually fine for people even without blood work. It’s usually find. Protein, albumin, globulin, those are carriers, carrier proteins that float around the blood. This is not this protein number here. Of all three of those are are protein based.


[00:13:14.020] – Chris Neal

But like those three numbers, there are not associated necessarily with how much protein you’re eating. So don’t look at it that way. They are they’re molecules. They’re like little ups, trucks that can kind of drive around in your bloodstream. Your and then your albumen globulin ratio, that’s your ratio there, that’s just related to those two numbers, your bilirubin total, that is a number that has to do with your gallbladder. So if you’re having issues with your gallbladder, something, sometimes you can get bile that backs up and cause that issue.


[00:13:48.380] – Chris Neal

So usually that’s fine. The next three numbers here, alkaline phosphatase ast and alt, they are three numbers that are related to your liver. So your liver function tests or your LFT’s. So your liver numbers look great. I like it. Fifty seven. Forty fifty one. They’re good. I like that. And I like when it comes to your alt it’s a little above, it’s like what seven, seven points above where it should be. That is really nothing to write home about.


[00:14:20.390] – Sam Ridgeway

So there’s the metabolic panel broken down. Obviously we could go into great detail about each of these values, but that’s not the objective of this series. I simply want you to have a basic understanding of what to look for and when to be concerned or when not to be concerned. The third and final part of our series, we’re going to look at testosterone and estrogen. So I know you don’t want to miss that. I want to thank Chris again for doing this series.


[00:14:47.420] – Sam Ridgeway

And I want all of you to remember you are never too old to live like a Viking until next time. Peace out.


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