blood-cells
With Christmas just around the corner, I felt that it was time for a “feel good” story here at the old Health Habits blog.
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And not the typical “Yes, Virginia there is a  Santa Claus” , happy ending, Merry Christmas, Bing Crosby kind of story. I am talking about a body-fat melting, blood profile improving, getting super healthy kind of feel good story.
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And thanks to Daniel Basset, or Dr. Dan to his readers, we have just that type of story.
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So, here we go.
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In the past few months, Dr. Dan has made some drastic improvements to his health and appearance.
Dr. Dan - Sept. 29/08...Oct. 29/08...Nov. 29/08
Dr. Dan - Sept. 29/08...Oct. 29/08...Nov. 29/08
And while the physical transformation has been impressive, what I am most impressed with are the changes that Dr. Dan has made in his overall health.
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To be fair, Dr. Dan isn’t your typical Joe Six Pack trying to drop a few pounds because he can no longer look down and see his feet.
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Here’s his bio in his own words.
I am 34 and have dieted on and off for my whole life. I have done the usual large lists of low calorie diets with little success. Only with extreme measures did I manage to lose any weight, and this was not healthy.
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To add to this I have a genetic disorder known as Thalassemia. This is not a serious disorder but in short it results in a reduced rate of synthesis of one of the globin chains that make up hemoglobin. This reduced synthesis rate results in abnormal hemoglobin molecules been produced and this causes anemia. Basically, the hemoglobin can not hold on to or bind iron very well (iron falls off the molecule) and so you tend to have a very low iron count.
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For my whole life I have been unable to give blood because of the resulting anaemia and this has always been the case with every blood test I have ever had.
So Dr. Dan is perpetually anemic. Apart from not being able to give blood, what does this mean?
Here are some of the side effects of anemia:
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • shortness of breath
  • lightheadedness
  • palpitations (feeling of the heart racing or beating irregularly)
  • looking pale

I don’t want to put words into Dr. Dan’s mouth, but if I felt like that all the time, I don’t think that I would be very motivated to hit the gym.

But, like I said, this is a “feel good” story, so things are obviously going to get better for Dr. Dan. Let’s listen in:
At the age of 34 I discovered the Paleo Diet.
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The Paleo Diet is based on the premise that the human body has evolved to eat foods that were eaten by our paleolithic ancestors and not those introduced by the agricultural revolution.
This cuts out dairy, saturated fats, grains, legumes, beans. You are left with vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish and nuts. Essentially, it is a low carb diet but without any processed foods and packed full of nutrients.
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As a research scientist and a zoologist I am passionate about evolution, and its constraints and effects on our biology, thus this diet appealed to me greatly.
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Since I started this diet I have dropped from 115.8 kg (255 pounds) to my current weight of 103.8 kg (228 pounds). It has been simple and I have not felt hungry.
Here’s where it gets really interesting…to me at least. Not only had Dr. Dan lost a bunch of weight, he was feeling less anemic…or in his case, less Thalassemic.
On November 14, I decided to get my blood tests done to confirm the health benefits. All was good and my blood profile was amazing. But something happened in this blood profile that I did not suspect. For the first time in my entire life the negative effects of Thalassemia had disappeared.
What???
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According to my conversations with Dr. Dan, this wasn’t possible.
The Doctors told me that there was nothing I could do about the Thalassemia… that it was a genetic disorder and I would just have to live with a low iron count. So I had pretty much given up on that. That’s why I was so damn suprised when I saw the results.
Here is Dr. Dan’s blood test results:

Iron Profile                                   My Results             Desired Range

Ferritin:                                            323                         10-300

Iron:                                                  15                          10-30

IBC:                                                   53                          45-75

Sat:                                                  0.28                      0.15-0.50

Ferritin – The serum ferritin level correlates with total body iron stores; thus, the serum ferritin level is the most convenient laboratory test to estimate iron stores. This is similar to the way the body stores excess energy in the form of fat. If ferritin is high, as in my case, there is iron in excess, which would be excreted.

Iron – The amount of iron in the blood stream.

IBC – Iron binding capacity

Sat – Iron saturation. An indication of the total body iron

So, as you can see my iron count is normal and my ferritin count above the normal range.
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In essence all these factors in the blood test suggest that I am binding, storing and utilising iron just fine.
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Of course I still have Thalassemia as it is a genetic disorder and it will never be ‘cured’. But this paleo diet has given my body something that I have never had before, and something completely unexpected – a normal iron count.
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I can now say that I am no longer anaemic.
I told you it was a “feel good” story.
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Dr. Dan and his Paleo Diet Save Christmas!!!
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If anyone wants any info on the Paleo Diet, they can check out this post, or go straight to the horse’s mouth and pester Dr. Dan with all of your questions.

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