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CBC blood test resuslts Hemoglobin levels

ImmersionFD

Well-Known Member
So I had some blood test done, and there were three results I was interested in.

Red blood cell count 4.52 normal range was 4.2 - 5.8
Hemoglobin 14.1 normal range was 13.2 - 17.1
Hematocrit 39.9 normal range was 38.5 - 50


I was really surprised by my hermatocrit level. I had this test done years ago and my doctor said my hermatocrit level was low so its not a fluke test.

Have any other freedivers had these sort of test done?

I asked doctor if I wanted to raise these what would d I do, and his suggestion was red meat as opposed to iron supplements.

Any thoughts on this?
 

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
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BC, Canada
www.fluidgoggles.com
Your hemoglobin and hematocrit are too low. As a high level diver you should be around 16-18g/dl.

You should have a ferritin test done to check your iron levels.

Freediving in the ocean crushes and destroys red blood cells. This means freedivers need more iron than other people. Plus if you want to increase your hemoglobin you need more iron still, and myoglobin requires iron as well.

I recommend for high levels divers to have hemoglobin and ferritin tests at least once every 60 days during training.

For iron, take IronSorb or Ferrochel. All other iron supplements are far less effective. For maintenance take 54mg per day. If overcoming a deficiency take 108mg per day in 2 doses.

You need more than iron though. To build blood and myoglobin you need:
- Iron
- B12 (sublingual methylcobalamin 5000mcg once per day)
- Folic acid (5000mcg per day)
- B6 (50mg+ per day)
- Vitamin C (500mg+ per day)
[another excellent supplement is to take dessicated liver tablets at the same time as your iron tablets, it increases absorption]

In 2001 after setting the constant weight record I did blood test and I was anemic, 13.2g/dl. After an aggressive supplementation program (as described above) I got up to 15.2g/dl. Later during intensive FRC training I reached 17.1g/dl, and that required even way more iron & liver than I describe above!
 

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
481
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BC, Canada
www.fluidgoggles.com
Hey Eric ive started to take this. What do you think.SWISSE ULTIBOOST LIQUID IRON | Swisse Vitamins
I don't have any experience with ferric pyrophosphate. Keeping in mind that you need 50-100mg of iron per day, you would need to take 5-10 servings, and that assumes that this type of iron is absorbed as well as IronSorb or Ferrochel.

The best iron products such as IronSorb and Ferrochel have absorption rates in the 10-30% range. The less effective iron products can have absorption rates as low as 1%.
 

mattbigblue

Limitless - Mateusz 'Matt' Malina
Nov 7, 2008
218
43
68
Poland, Cracow
mattmalina.com
hmmm.. Before I went to Kalamata I made some research here on DB:
I bought as Eric advised and was using daily:

Iron 40mg (ferrochel)
B12 5mg (sublingual methylcobalamin 5000mcg once per day)
B6 50mg
Vit C 1000mg ( ester C)
Folic Acid 2mg

I got amazing dive times, however I don't know if that was due to suplementation (I will explaing it later in the post). My longest dive was 4:32 to 103m FIM, there were big waves so some of the pulls were not effective, that's why it took me so long to go up. Few days later when sea was calm I did 106m in 3:54 and it was very easy dive in term of oxygen. Generally dive times around 4 minutes in FIM were not challenging at all. In CNF I had my lognest dive time 4:22 (with big samba) and 3:56, totally clean.

Now comparision,

year before without supplements:
- longest/deepest FIM was 4:09, 1 FRC warmup 30 minutes before diving and with no breath up.
- longest/deepest CNF - 80m in 3:48, no warmup no breathup.

Kalamata with supplements:
- longest FIM was 4:32, but I was diving without warmup and without breath up.
- longest/deepest CNF - 79m with 3:56, no warmup no breathup. I don't count deeper and longer dive with 4:22 cause it was not clean and I don't think I would make it in term of rules. (yes I know I have too long dive times, but that's because I don't do any other training than dynamics and my technique in a sea is not really good)

When I look into it I see some progress in breathhold capacity, but I'm relativly young in a sport and I'm progressing year after year, so it could be only that....or the blood building vitamins.

I was in Kalamata for 2 months, training a lot. My last dive was on the 24th of September. After I came back, I went to make blood test on the 28th of September and I got this results:

Hemoglobine - 14,2 g/dL
Hematocrit - 44,5%
Red blood cell count - 4,7

it's nothing special as You can see...now the question is, could it drop so much in just 4 days?? Well this 4 days were really intensive...like a typical eastern europe citizen I was drinking A LOT on the party, a lot on the after party..then there was a long way home, so I was really exhausted, dehydrated, and not eating proper food...maybe this got my results back to normal...or they were there all the time and blood is not so important after all? or maybe blood is important as I think about it, but just blood building vitamins doesn't have much effect.. maybe due to intensive training there are some changes in a blood that can't be measured in a simple blood test?

that are just my 2 cents,
Matt ;)
 
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efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
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BC, Canada
www.fluidgoggles.com
Trying to build hemoglobin is frustrating. It takes weeks of hard training to make it go up, and it only takes a few days (without training) for it to go down again.

The same happens for people climbing high mountains. On Everest they spend 2-3 weeks at middle camp waiting for their hemoglobin to adjust. Once back at sea level it is said their hemoglobin returns to normal within 2-4 days.

This reminds me of an old chinese saying:
"Practice for a day, you gain a day.
Miss a day, and you lose ten days."
 

AJB8

New Member
Feb 17, 2011
56
3
0
Perth, WA
About 6 months ago I had a blood test ( I was feeling a bit lethargic and unmotivated). I can only remember my hemoglobin reading: 9.0. I was told this was markedly low, though after several other tests, the doctor couldn't work it out and told me to get an iron supplement + vitamin C (for better absorption or iron).


Inside a week the vitamin c brought up an exema spot ( i guess an excess). After a couple of months on the supplements i felt the same, but with an added sick feeling (I attributed it to the Ferrograd tablets). I completed another month and gave up.


I had been shore-diving frequently for months before the first test (a few times a week), but no deeper than 15 metres (the bottom). i didn't think this was any sort of an issue.


Diving season is just about here again so I'm about ready to go and find another doctor to try and get some improvement. Any ideas, similar experiences?
 

Goran Colak

Well-Known Member
May 8, 2007
386
46
68
37
Zagreb, Croatia.
Actually I am quite surprised with this blood pictures of yours, I was expecting way better then this, maybe is good thing that Mateusz is not a pool diver :) For example my results look roughly like this

Red blood cell count - 5,8
Hemoglobin - 17,0
Hematocrit - 50%
 

Erki

Well-Known Member
Jul 19, 2010
55
6
48
Estonia
I'm little bit sceptical about long lasting high-doses iron supplementation, because human do not have active iron removal system. So the dying red cells do not cause excretion of iron. Also iron with vitamin C can trigger Fenton reaction and other oxidative damages.
Iron supplementation has its optimum and exceeding of it is useless or even unhealthy.
 

efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
481
173
BC, Canada
www.fluidgoggles.com
I'm little bit sceptical about long lasting high-doses iron supplementation, because human do not have active iron removal system. So the dying red cells do not cause excretion of iron. Also iron with vitamin C can trigger Fenton reaction and other oxidative damages.
Iron supplementation has its optimum and exceeding of it is useless or even unhealthy.
Not true-- runners and freedivers both destroy red blood cells, and in runners it has been clearly established that the pulverized hemoglobin is excreted in the urine. See for example Michael Colgan's books on nutrition for sports.

Top level freedivers get anemia with alarming frequency, such that I would say iron measurements and iron supplementation are extremely critical. However I do not advocate blind supplementation. Any high level diver should have a ferritin test done twice per year. Only if ferritin is low should supplementation occur.
 

mattbigblue

Limitless - Mateusz 'Matt' Malina
Nov 7, 2008
218
43
68
Poland, Cracow
mattmalina.com
Eric:

Well I'm not saying that building blood is frustrating to me. It's new topic to me and I was rather sharing some personal informations. You wrote that after 4 days the hemoglobine level can go down...hmm that just prooves that is not that important. When I look into September and final preparation, I had problems with recovering my muscles and I was taking more days off. For instansce 15th was my last training day, then I had 4 days off, 1 no warmup dive in CNF, 77m..4 days off...24th FIM dive...4 days off and blood test with results listed above...
So I assume that already in CNF dive my blood picture was averge, not mentioning the FIM dive...Now what is interesting, that few days before when I was in training cicle I had 78m CNF PBOMM dive and I was really tired, however I think my blood picture was much better. Taking 4 days off before CNF and then another 4 days off before FIM for sure drop my hemoglobin levels but thoose two dives were the easiest dives I had done in this 2 months. I'm sure there is something more than just numbers in blood test. I know that I was limited by muscles fatigue, and by additional recovery, I was gaining more than I would gain from a little better blood.

Goran: Well, I hope it will change cause my problems with pool diving was mostly inability to make a big dive with competition stress, however it's getting better and better. I will go to check my blood on Friday to see how does it look now, because it would be really interesting to see same results.However I do only 3 trainings per week with 1 maximum dive and nothing else, so it will be interesting to see how does it affect my blood. After Rybnik competition inspired on Mikko P. posts and conversations with many other athletes I will start working on my muscles to get some more speed and efficiency in my dives.

p.s. how we should prepare for blood test? like everyone else, in the morning without food and without drinking anything?

EDIT: I wonder Goran, the results You posted above, when they were done? after Your WR?
 
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O

octopus

Guest
Just to contribute to the thread, as one more sample:


HAEMOGLOBIN 16.3 13.0 - 17.0
HCT 0.502 0.37 - 0.50
RED CELL COUNT 5.46 4.40 - 5.80
 

aris ioannidis

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2010
208
11
73
51
athens, greece
Eric:
However I do only 3 trainings per week with 1 maximum dive and nothing else, so it will be interesting to see how does it affect my blood. QUOTE]

1 max dive and nothing else? interesting ... but would not that be more appropriate for the end of the season and before major competitions? Don't you want to build up on strength, technique and endurance in early season?

my count was: Red blood cell count - 5,3
Hemoglobin - 15.9
Hematocrit - 47.3%
is it safe to say that high levels are associated with good diving performance? should supplements be considered in case of low levels?
 
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mattbigblue

Limitless - Mateusz 'Matt' Malina
Nov 7, 2008
218
43
68
Poland, Cracow
mattmalina.com
1 max dive and nothing else? interesting ... but would not that be more appropriate for the end of the season and before major competitions? Don't you want to build up on strength, technique and endurance in early season?
Well I'm not that serious about freediving.
For me it is end season at the moment. I have one last competition in 2 weeks time and that's it. From mid December new season starts and I will work on my strength and endurance, cause I never really did. :) I did try cardio swimming this year, but I didn't really like it. I think we can do several other things to prepare better.

p.s. Goran, are You coming with friends to Rybnik this year? Would be nice to see You all there.
 
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aris ioannidis

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2010
208
11
73
51
athens, greece
Well I'm not that serious about freediving.
For me it is end season at the moment. I have one last competition in 2 weeks time and that's it. From mid December new season starts and I will work on my strength and endurance. :)
a not serious world champion rofl

the end of the season part i understand!
 

Goran Colak

Well-Known Member
May 8, 2007
386
46
68
37
Zagreb, Croatia.
Rybnik, I honestly do not know, I doubt it, its the end of the season for me and I already stopped with diving, so I don't think so, but if other Croatians decide to go I will probably go with them to do some recreational diving :)
 

mattbigblue

Limitless - Mateusz 'Matt' Malina
Nov 7, 2008
218
43
68
Poland, Cracow
mattmalina.com
I went to do blood test yesterday and collect result's today.

Red blood cell count - 5,37
Hemoglobin - 15.7
Hematocrit - 46.1%

it looks much better despite I've stopped taking blood building vitamins and with not so much training. As I said since October I train 3 times per week with 1 maximum attempt at the beginning and nothing else. Since November it's even less cause I start training DYN every 2nd session and I can't do more than in DNF :) so it's not even maximum attempt.

I believe it was much better in Kalamata, maybe similar to Goran results and it dropped drastically in last 4 days with all the alcohol intake, lack of sleep and bad food ;)

my conclusion is that once we build up blood, in order to maintain high levels we only need to do big swim every 2-3 days. Perfect would be something like 5-6 sessions per week with 1-2 days of maximum attempts and on other trainings 2-3 sub-maximum dives if we want to maintain really high levels of hemoglobine. (but who has time for it ?? ;) )
 
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Shark2307

New Member
Jun 29, 2011
45
2
0
Germany
I am also quite anemic(regarding freediver levels) after donating blood.

Where did you buy your supplements or what brands do you prefer/suggest?
 
OP
OP
ImmersionFD

ImmersionFD

Well-Known Member
I got blood work done again after coming back from deja blue.


Again low hematocrit levels, lower than last time. I got the iron tests done as well this time, which seems to suggest is is due to iron deficiencies.


Red blood cell count 4.05 normal 4.20 - 5.8
Hemoglobin 12.6 normal 13.2 - 17.1
Heamaocrit 36.5 normal 38.5 - 50.0


Iron total 63 normal 45- 170
Iron binding capacity 391 normal 250-425
%saturation 16 normal 20-50
ferritn 68 normal 20-345


So i'm guessing I would be a candidate for supplementation. I will start the taking the pills and post results in a month.
 
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