Manmeet, the daughter of an 84-year old gentleman named Darshan contacted me with some worrying information about her dad’s energy level.
One Sunday afternoon, following a family meal, the family was about to walk back to their car when Darshan said, “I can’t get to the car – I’m sorry – I am too tired to get there.”
Obviously the family was concerned and, on questioning Darshan, they discovered he had been feeling tired for some time.
Darshan did a blood test with his doctor that showed he was anemic. In fact his iron level was very low indeed.
Before having their dad take the doctor’s iron tablets, Manmeet contacted me to see if I could add a second opinion.
Why was the iron level so low?
I asked whether the doctor was going to do any investigation as to why Darshan’s iron level was low.
Giving iron supplements would probably be helpful, but understanding the reasons for his anemia would be quite another.
I wanted to know the answers to questions such as:
- Was Darshan’s digestive system damaged by something like H. pylori?
- Was he struggling with undiagnosed gluten sensitivity or celiac disease?
- Was his diet too low in iron and possibly other important nutrients?
- Were other nutrient deficiencies – B12, magnesium, zinc, vitamin D for example – also deficient?
- To be honest, I felt this was vital – it was unlikely iron would be the only nutrient Darshan
- Was his thyroid functioning well, or was it struggling?
- Did Darshan have internal bleeding or bleeding in his GI tract?
Darshan’s diet did not look too bad. It could have been better and perhaps he was not eating insufficient protein and healthy fats.
I made some simple recommendations:
Try to consume more protein at breakfast time as breakfasts were usually cereal based.
Get an ‘oil change’ by eating more olive oil, coconut oil and organic butter and ghee instead of processed vegetable oils like sunflower
Eat earlier in the evening as he was eating well after 9pm, which is too late.
He did a good job of following his new eating regimen and some excellent health improvement results soon followed!
Additional Lab Testing
Although the doctor ran some blood tests, I felt the testing was incomplete, missing some key markers such as vitamin D, magnesium and a full thyroid panel.
I also wanted to assess his iron level in more detail, along with B vitamin levels, digestive function, liver and kidneys.
It was a great opportunity to conduct a more comprehensive health ‘work-up’. In my view his doctor had not assessed him in the level of detail that an 84 year old with severe anemia deserves.
Comprehensive Blood Test
Darshan attended our private facility (The Doctor’s Laboratory, with whom we affiliate) in Wimpole Street, London, to have his blood drawn.
It’s a fantastic clinic with appointments taking just 10-15 minutes and a very efficient and professional level of service.
I am able to customize the tests for my clients and we have an agreement with the laboratory to offer heavily discounted tests. We have similar arrangements with Direct Labs and Life Extension in the U.S.
I made sure we tested for as many relevant markers as possible to ensure Darshan received a very comprehensive test.
You can see the most important results, below, with red font showing major imbalances
In his hematology report, you can see that Darshan had very low hemoglobin, very low hematocrit (HCT), very low MCV, MCH, MCHC and very high RDW.
In a nutshell, without testing anything else, these markers indicate significant anemia.
Anemia isn’t just about iron
However, anemia is not just caused by iron deficiency. Other nutrient deficiencies leading to anemia include vitamin B12, folate, vitamin B6 and copper.
Next, we have the comprehensive iron panel, which measures several iron markers, all of which are important. In some cases, looking at just one marker without the others can be wildly inaccurate.
You can clearly see that Darshan’s iron was extremely low, as were his transferrin saturation and ferritin levels. These markers confirmed iron deficiency.
The total iron binding capacity (T.I.B.C) was high, which actually indicated iron deficiency as well.
Thyroid and vitamin D markers
I then examined the thyroid and vitamin D markers, shown below.
Darshan’s vitamin D level was very low indeed, something that his medical testing had missed.
The test also clearly revealed low thyroid function. In fact, his free thyroxine (T4) hormone was very low.
It’s important to note that both thyroid deficiency and low vitamin D can reduce energy levels, which was obviously Darshan’s primary complaint.
Liver and kidney markers
Darshan’s blood glucose and cholesterol levels were pretty good, so I focused on his liver and kidney markers.
You can see that the urea is a little high, which is indicative of potentially sluggish kidney function, or the beginning of kidney disease.
Interestingly his creatinine and uric acid levels were also higher than I like to see and these are also indicative of below-par kidney function.
Darshan’s liver enzymes were not elevated. If anything, the alkaline phosphatase, aspartate transferase and gamma GT were a little low.
When these liver enzymes are low I always consider vitamin B6 deficiency and supplement with some active B6 (called P-5-P). I also consider the possibility of glutathione deficiency.
All in all, I was really pleased with the blood test results because they showed that Darshan needed to address a lot more than just iron deficiency and that this could easily be done with some careful targeted supplementation.
Organic acids test
An organic acids test is a great way to dig deeper into what is going on. It’s a single morning urine sample – it couldn’t be simpler, actually.
You send it to the lab and receive information on 46 chemicals that tell us about your metabolism, ranging from energy production, fat metabolism, and detoxification, to brain chemistry and B-vitamin levels.
Darshan’s result had some interesting findings, especially around his liver and kidney function.
- He had signs of ammonia toxicity, which can cause fatigue and brain fog.
- It also indicates sluggish kidney function, which matched Darshan’s blood test result.
- We learned that Darshan’s glutathione levels are not optimal, especially as they relate to the kidney.
Glutathione one of the most important substances in the body, being a major antioxidant and cell protector, possibly the most important detoxifying molecule in the body, and an immune support molecule.
From Darshan’s blood test, I already knew his liver enzymes were a little low, so this urine marker confirmed that we needed to gently support his liver function.
Summary of Darshan’s Advanced Lab Testing
From his tests, we learned that Darshan needed support in the following areas:
- Anemia: definitely iron deficiency anemia, but possibly also B12, B6, folate.
- Liver function: boost liver enzyme levels using B6; boost.
- Kidney function: general kidney, bladder and urinary tract support.
- Vitamin D: urgent requirement for supplementation.
- Thyroid function: specific nutrients to boost thyroid function (including iron and vitamin D, both of which are important in optimizing the thyroid).
By following the protocol below (albeit cheating with his foods a little bit!) Darshan’s energy level increased (in his words) by about 30% in just one week!
His energy level and general feeling of vitality steadily increased over the next 60-days to a point where they were unrecognizable from the man who could not walk back to his car just over two months earlier.
Here is the specific protocol we used:
Iron and Cofactors – 3 capsules per day, one with each main meal.
The cofactors include vitamin C, which improves iron absorption – this is a specific type of iron supplement with much lower dosing than the type typically recommended by doctors.
Buffered Vitamin C – two capsules per day (1,000 mg per day).
Emulsified vitamin D drops – 4,000 iu per day to boost Darshan’s very low level.
Active B12 with folate lozenges – half lozenge per day to support B12 and folate levels, energy, neurological function.
Active B6 (P5P) – 100 mg per day to improve liver enzyme function and glutathione level (plus other benefits).
NAC – two capsules per day for general detoxification support and to increase glutathione level and improve kidney glutathione recycling.
Toxaprevent Plus – one sachet per day to absorb ammonia from the gut and reduce liver/kidney stress.
Rentone – a combination of herbs for kidney support.
Collagen powder – contains high levels of arginine and glycine, which are needed for ammonia detoxification and glutathione production respectively.
It’s all in the lab work
I would not have known how to design this 100% personalized protocol without adequate lab testing.
In a case like Darshan’s, guesswork simply would not have been safe and would have done him an injustice.
As stated above, I did not feel that Darshan had received adequate testing and the added information we gained from private blood testing and organic acids was invaluable.
From such testing we found that Darshan needed kidney and ammonia detoxification support, thyroid support, B6 and glutathione support, and urgently needed to restore vitamin D levels.
The proof was in the pudding when this delightful chap reported his impressive improvements in energy and vitality in such a short period of time.
Being ultra-serious, Darshan’s iron level being so low was a serious health concern.
Had I felt he had needed medical attention I would have referred him straight back to his doctor.
However his lab testing revealed nothing sinister, so I was grateful to be able to do my job unhindered.
Do you have unexplained symptoms yet normal blood test results?
You can see that by digging a little deeper into his blood and organic acid test data, Darshan was able to uncover half a dozen imbalances that needed to be addressed.
Yet only the iron deficiency anemia had been picked up in medical testing.
I wonder whether you may also have been a little let down by your last blood test results, especially if you’re feeling tired, low, or if you have digestive symptoms, chronic pain, sexual, menstrual sleep or skin problems?
Unfortunately, the majority of doctors don’t have time to closely examine blood test results the way we do.
This is nobody’s fault, but it can leave patients a little ‘short-changed’ because patterns that reveal treatable reasons for symptoms may be missed.
We like to go that extra mile and dig a little deeper into why you might not be feeling so great so we look at your results much more closely.
But as with all good programs, we need a solid starting point and foundation.
A detailed case review and initial 60 minute consultation is an excellent place to begin your journey back to wellness, no matter what symptoms you might be experiencing.
You can learn more about a case review and initial consultation by clicking here.
I hope this has been an interesting case review for you and that you are inspired to take action.
If an 84 year old can skyrocket his energy levels in less than two months, imagine what you can do with your health!
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