Post Boston Bloods

This blood was taken at the end of April. I wanted to see what Boston did to me. It seemed to do little apart from reduce my ferritin a little.


Haematocrit May 2019.jpeg

My haematocrit went up slightly, it’s still nice and high. I changed nothing with my diet, drugs or supplements over the last 6 months so it’s not surprising that it’s the same. I thought it would be down a little after Boston but it seems to have done nothing.


Ferritin May 2019.jpeg

My Ferritin has gone down a good bit since Boston, not surprising really. I’m still taking an active iron and a galfer every day. I suppose it’s not unexpected when you run a marathon. I’d prefer if it was back up towards 60 but it’s still not too bad.


TSH May 2019.jpeg
T4 May 2019.jpeg

My TSH levels are now above one, I’m still taking 150mcg of Thyroxine per day. It’s probably just the effect of the marathon. I think it’s still the right dose as my T4 levels are still ok and I feel perfect.


Total Cholesterol May 2019.jpeg
HDL Cholesterol May 2019.jpeg

My total cholesterol is now borderline high. My diet is pretty decent and I run 80 to 100 miles a week. Bad genes. On the plus side Cholesterol is the backbone of all steroids so it probably means I have plenty of fuel for making testosterone etc. My HDL is high so the exercise is working.

I don’t think I’ll change anything after these results. I seem to be fine.

Good Wine, Good Blood

I like to get a blood test every 3 to 4 months to make sure that everything is ok. It’s primarily to monitor my thyroid medication and iron levels.

I went for this blood test on the 11th of January 2019. I was just back front Seville where I had run 120 miles the previous week and drank the most of a bottle of local good tasty wine every night. The main reason I went to the doctor was to get the flu vaccine, I just had the bloods done as I was there.

I am terrified of needles so getting both an injection and having blood drawn was my worst nightmare. I had the flu vaccine in my left arm and the blood drawn from my right arm. I always get the blood taken from my right arm because the left one goes dead afterwards. The flu vaccine was very unpainful, almost unnoticeable. The bloods were fine too, I can never look but I think there were three vials. The blood left very slowly and I was sweating profusely afterwards.

I’ve modified my iron supplements recently as the Feosol Complete that I used to take is no longer available. I know take one Active Iron and one Galfer every evening after running with a Yakult. As you can see from the Ferritin graph this appears to be working really well. My ferritin is up to 66, as high as I’ve ever seen.

My thryoxine dosage is 150mcg every day. I take this in the morning with another yakult and some probiotics (Sona Acidophilus and Biokult). The Thyroxine dose looks like it’s just right. The TSH is below 1 and my T4 is just about right. You know the Thyroxine dose anyway just by how you feel.

The other thing that’s changed is my Vitamin B12 which has dropped a lot. This is probably due to a combination of less meat and dropping the Berocca supplementation. I think that too much B12 might actually be a bad thing as it’s drop correlates with my red blood cell and iron count improving although correlation is not causation.

The local Spanish wine seemed to have no effect on my liver enzymes which were lower if anything. Local wine is best.

Anyway my blood is good.

Ferritin Donal Jan 19.jpeg
Red Blood Cell Count Donal Jan 19.jpeg
Haematocrit Donal Jan 19.jpeg
Haemolglobin Donal Jan 19.jpeg
T4 Donal Jan 19.jpeg
TSH Donal Jan 19.jpeg
Vitamin B12 Donal Jan 19.jpeg
White Blood Cell Count Donal Jan 19.jpeg

Pre Cork Marathon Bloods


I made a visit to the vampire on the Wednesday before the Cork Marathon. I picked the Wednesday as I didn’t want to know the results before the race. 

Bad Blood

My dose of Thyroxine (T4) had been reduced from 175mcg to 150mcg from the last time I had the blood test because I was verging on hyperthyroid. The reduction in dose appears to have had an effect on my red blood cell count. My haematocrit has dropped from 47% to 43% and my haemoglobin from 16g/dL to 15g/dL. My Ferritin is pretty much unchanged at 36 ng/ml which kind of rules out an iron issue.  

Why Would Thyroxine Impact Red Blood Cells?

Thyroid hormones play a role in red blood cell production. They increase secretion of EPO and increase the repletion of HIF-1a. EPO is the hormone that directly increases red blood cell production. HIF-1a (Hypoxia Inducible Factor) is a transcription factor that is increased in response to reduced oxygen levels. More HIF-1 means more red blood cells essentially. 


Could thyroxine be being used for doping? Well based on my inadvertent dosing trial it probably could improve haematological parameters, although it’s probably not exactly a good idea. I did not feel any better on the 175mcg, in fact I felt a little worse. I didn’t run any better.  

What am I on


Levothyroxine 150mcg daily (On Prescription)

Ventolin 200mcg before running   (On Prescription)

Galfer 1 per day

Actice Iron 1 per day

Feosol Complete 1 per day

Sona Acidophilus 3-4 per day

Vitamin D 1500IU per day


Blood Test Results

It's in Fashion

It's fashionable for elite athletes to publish their blood passports so here's mine over the last year or so.

Not Paula Radcliffe

I know it looks like the profile of someone with an EPO addiction but it’s actually just sorting an iron deficiency issue and treating a thyroid condition optimally.

Anaemia is not just for Girls

Over the years I’ve struggled with anaemia and iron deficiency. My ferritin was 9 at one stage. That was not fun, I wasn't taking any iron supplements and had just started running. My Haemoglobin would rarely be above 13 and my Haematocrit would be 39-40. I've tried all sorts of mad things over the years. I once tried eating 200-400g of fillet steak every day for two months to see if it would increase my ferritin, it went down. I don't think it's diet related, it seems to be absorption from the stomach. I eat little or no red meat at the moment now and its never been better. 


I can't identify the one factor that has improved my blood parameters but finding a good iron supplement definitely helped. I don't seem to absorb Galfer (305mg ferrous fumarate, 100mg Fe) that well, it on its own only keeps my ferritin at about 20. I added another iron supplement called Feosol Complete (28mg Fe) last year which has haem iron polypeptide (HIP) which is more bioavailable. I've also recently started taking Active Iron which was developed by a Cork company to improve iron absorption. 

Nike Oregon Project

Taking thyroxine has pretty much changed my life. I know what you're thinking that's the stuff that Mo Farah and Galen Rupp get off that evil doper Alberto Salazaar. Well actually some people need it. I had been on it before back in 2013 as my GP thought that my TSH was high enough to warrant it, I started on 25mcg and noticed no difference so I stopped. Then last year I was feeling particularly awful, no go, a bit down and always sleepy so I went to the doctor to get it checked again. This time I had a Thyroid antibody test which showed that I had elevated Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies 39.3 IU/mL when the reference range is 0 - 5.61 IU/mL. This combined with a high TSH confirms an autoimmune thyroid condition which warrants treatment with thyroxine.  I initially started on 50mcg which increased to 150mcg per day. In a couple of months  I started to feel way better, better mood, more general energy, less daytime sleepiness and in general happier. My running also improved. Do I think it could be used as doping? I'm not sure, all it does in my case is put my levels back to normal. General life is not fun without it, I would take it if I wasn't running.

Any way here's my list of stuff and the blood test graphs. 

I take the following supplements everyday:

Vitamin D (5,000 IU) I use PharmaNord

Iron: Galfer, Feosol Complete and Active Iron

Sona Acidophilus (Probiotic, I find it helps my stomach stay happy) 

I take the following supplements occassionally:

Magnesium (I use Pharmanord or Swisse)

Selenium and Zinc (I use Pharmanord)

I take the following drugs: (On prescription)

Levothyroxine (I have an autoimmune thyroid condition, I started taking this in February 2017)

Ventolin (I have exercise induced asthma)