Although we often know when something doesn’t feel quite right within ourselves, it can sometimes be difficult as an athlete to admit that things aren’t going to plan. Admitting that you do need that extra rest day, or that you haven’t been eating the right things or have been hitting the sessions a little too hard is easier said than done. That’s where Forth Edge blood tests come in
Forth Edge blood tests give you an easy way to determine your health and performance. So you can be sure the next time you are on a startline you are the best prepared you can be. The biomarkers we test from a simple finger prick blood sample are categorised into common areas such as immunity, injury risk, training load and recovery. So you can easily see where you need to improve once you get your results back.
Once you have sent your sample to us, our laboratory analyses your blood sample, a medical professional reviews your results and will provide comments on that are outside the normal range. Your results will then be released to your secure online dashboard. Once you’ve completed a few tests you will be able to compare how you are improving over time. Interpretation is easy with full descriptions of each biomarker, how they can be improved.
What do the results look like?
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The Forth Edge results dashboard gives you the scientific information you need to help you perform at your best whilst protecting your long-term health. It’s simple to understand and accessible whenever you need it.
Biomarkers are categorised into different performance areas with easy to understand information which will help you gain insight into how your body is performing, how to optimise training load, recovery and nutrition.
Risk of Injury
Testing hormone levels as well as key vitamins and minerals ensure you know if you are at an increased risk of stress fractures or not. If so, nutrition and ensuring enough rest can be looked at to improve your results. For example Testosterone has a major role in growth and maintenance of muscle and bone. Hence if you have unusually low levels you may be prone to injury .
Studies have shown that heavy training loads can compromise an athlete’s immune system. By measuring your white blood cell count you can gain insight into the strength of your immune system. Vitamin D also plays a role in boosting our immune system and since vitamin D is produced in the skin following exposure to sunlight, people living in the UK are more prone to be deficient and as such should supplement in the winter months .
Not Enough Recovery
Rest and recovery in a vital aspect of any training programme. Adaptation to the stress load is key and rest provides time for the body to repair. Biomarkers such as cortisol, hs-CRP and creatinine kinase give valuable insight into whether you are giving your body enough time to recover. High levels of cortisol can be a key sign of over-training .
Oxygen Carrying Capacity
Red blood cells are responsible for transporting oxygen to cells during exercise. Biomarkers such as haematocrit and haemoglobin give insight into the body’s oxygen carrying capacity. Trained athletes, particularly in endurance sports can have decreased haematocrit, sometimes known as ‘sports anaemia’ due to increased circulating volume. Ensuring you are eating a balanced diet with enough iron sources could be one way to improve your result here .
Low Energy Levels
Eating a balanced diet and fueling appropriately around training are critical to ensure you perform at your best. By gaining insight into key hormones and micronutrients such as ferritin and B12 you can be sure you are giving your body what it needs. For example Vitamin B12 can only be derived from animal sources such as meat, fish and dairy. Therefore if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet supplementation may be required, since Vitamin B12 plays a key role in several physiological functions .
Why should you repeat test?
The more information you have the better you know your body right? That’s why Forth Edge uses a subscription service where you set the interval at which to repeat test. You can update this at any time too. A single test gives you a snapshot of your health, but repeated testing over the course of a season, a year or more allows you to track how your health and fitness progresses over time.
Every athlete is different, and mapping your biomarkers over time can help you identify your own personal ‘normal’. Then you can track your progress, assessing how your body responds to changes in training and nutrition. We recommend testing every three months to build up the most accurate picture of your own biomarker profile.
For more on why you should be testing with us check out our blog – 6 Reasons Athletes Should Get Their Blood Tested
- Shores, M, M., Smith, N, L., Forsberg, C, W., Anawalt, B, D and Matsumoto, A, M. (2012). Testosterone Treatment and Mortality in Men with Low Testosterone Levels. J Clin Endocrinol Metab: 97(6), pp 2050-2058.
- National Health Service. (2016). The New Guidelines on Vitamin D – What You Need to Know.
- Hill, E, E., Zack, E., Battaglini, C., Viru, M., Viru, A and Hackney, A, C. (2008). Exercise and Circulating Cortisol Levels: The Intensity Threshold Effect. J Endocrinol Invest: 31(7), pp 587-91.
- British Dietetic Association. (2017). Food Fact Sheet: Iron.
- David Rogerson, D. (2017). Vegan diets: practical advice for athletes and exercisers. J Int Soc Sports Nutr.