Better lifestyle choices
How it works
What we analyse
Globulin is an umbrella term for a set of different proteins that the immune system and the liver produce. Certain globulins bind with haemoglobin while others transport metals, such as iron, in the blood. Additionally, there is a certain type of globulin known as an immunoglobulin, (another name for an antibody) which helps to fight infection in the body.
Albumin is a protein which is made mainly in the liver. It helps to exert the osmotic pressure which holds water within the blood. It also helps carry nutrients and medications and other substances through the blood and is important for tissue growth and healing. Albumin also carries hormones around the body, therefore measuring the amount of albumin in the blood can help us calculate how much hormone is available to your tissues.
Total Protein represents the sum of the proteins albumin and globulin in your blood. Albumin and globulin have a range of functions including keeping blood within vessels, transporting nutrients and fighting infection. Abnormal levels can indicate malnutrition as well as a liver or kidney disorder.
Bilirubin is a product of the breakdown of haemoglobin from red blood cells. It is removed from the body via the liver, stored and concentrated in the gallbladder and secreted into the bowel. It is removed from your body through urine and faeces. Bilirubin causes the yellowish colour you sometimes see in bruises, due to red blood cells breaking down underneath the skin.
Alanine transferase (ALT) is an enzyme which is produced by the liver and can indicate liver damage caused by alcohol, drugs or viruses (hepatitis).
Gamma GT, also known as Gamma Glutamyltransferase, is a liver enzyme which is raised in liver and bile duct diseases. It is used in conjunction with ALP to distinguish between bone or liver disease. Gamma GT is also used to diagnose alcohol abuse as it is raised in 75% of long term drinkers.
Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) is an enzyme found mainly in the liver and bones. Measuring it can indicate whether people have any ongoing liver, gallbladder or bone diseases.
LDL cholesterol (low density lipoprotein) is a molecule made of lipids and proteins which transports cholesterol, triglycerides and other fats to various tissues throughout the body. Too much LDL cholesterol, commonly called 'bad cholesterol', can cause fatty deposits to accumulate inside artery walls, potentially leading to atherosclerosis and heart disease. You can make dramatic changes to your cholesterol levels through diet and training. And just like with the diabetes checks, if you can improve your levels you can hopefully prevent getting serious, possibly even fatal conditions down the line. You can use HDL and LDL (and non-HDL) results as markers and targets for improvement. Regular exercise will help get the LDL down and the HDL up, in particular cardio and resistance training exercises. A Mediterranean diet which is high in vegetables and oily fish, and low in meat and dairy, will also help to optimise cholesterol levels.
The cholesterol/HDL ratio is calculated by dividing your total cholesterol value by your HDL cholesterol level. It is used as a measure of cardiovascular risk because it gives a good insight into the proportion of your total cholesterol which is "good" (i.e. high-density lipoprotein, HDL). Heart disease risk tools (such as QRisk) use the cholesterol/HDL ratio to calculate your risk of having a heart attack.
Non-HDL cholesterol includes all the cholesterol molecules which are not HDL (or ‘good’ cholesterol). It therefore includes all the non-protective and potentially harmful cholesterol in your blood. As such, it is considered to be a better marker for cardiovascular risk than total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. The recommended level of non-HDL cholesterol is below 4 mmol/L. You can make dramatic changes to your cholesterol levels through diet and training. And just like with the diabetes checks, if you can improve your levels you can hopefully prevent getting serious, possibly even fatal conditions down the line. You can use HDL and LDL (and non-HDL) results as markers and targets for improvement. Regular exercise will help get the LDL down and the HDL up, in particular cardio and resistance training exercises. A Mediterranean diet which is high in vegetables and oily fish, and low in meat and dairy, will also help to optimise cholesterol levels.
HDL cholesterol, or High Density Lipoprotein is a molecule in the body which removes cholesterol from the bloodstream and transports it to the liver where it is broken down and removed from the body in bile. HDL cholesterol is commonly known as 'good cholesterol'. You can make dramatic changes to your cholesterol levels through diet and training. And just like with the diabetes checks, if you can improve your levels you can hopefully prevent getting serious, possibly even fatal conditions down the line. You can use HDL and LDL (and non-HDL) results as markers and targets for improvement. Regular exercise will help get the LDL down and the HDL up, in particular cardio and resistance training exercises. A Mediterranean diet which is high in vegetables and oily fish, and low in meat and dairy, will also help to optimise cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is an essential fat (lipid) in the body. Although it has a bad reputation it has some important functions, including building cell membranes and producing a number of essential hormones. Cholesterol is manufactured in the liver and also comes from the food we eat. Total cholesterol is a measure of all the cholesterol in your blood, both good (HDL) and bad (LDL, VLDL and non HDL). Fats are the primary energy source for endurance events or when carbohydrate energy sources are low. In particular medium-chain fatty acids are heavily utilised. Cholesterol transports fatty acids around the body and by looking at the levels of the different types of cholesterol we can get an insight into your health and cardiovascular risk (i.e. the buildup of cholesterol in blood vessels leading to blood vessel narrowing, heart attack and stroke). The liver regulates cholesterol levels in the body; it both synthesizes it and removes it, it also synthesises various lipoproteins that transport cholesterol throughout the body – and it is these that we measure in the cholesterol test.
Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) that circulate in the blood. They are carried in the bloodstream by lipoproteins called chylomicrons and VLDLs (very low density lipoproteins). After you eat, your body converts excess calories into triglycerides which are then transported to cells to be stored as fat. Your body then releases triglycerides when required for energy.
Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is generated from normal muscle break down. Sportspeople can therefore have higher levels than the average person. Creatinine is cleared from the kidneys and so is also an accurate marker of kidney function, and may help in diagnosing kidney disease.
Urea is a waste product produced by the body when it breaks down proteins in the liver. Once the urea is made, it is transported to the kidneys, which filter it out of the blood and remove it from the body in the form of urine. Measuring the levels of urea in the blood can therefore reflect how well both the liver and the kidneys, are functioning. It is important to note that even if one kidney is severely damaged but the other is functioning perfectly, results may still return as normal.
The estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) assesses how well the kidneys are working by estimating the amount of blood filtered through the kidneys. The glomeruli are tiny filters in the kidneys responsible for removing waste products. If these filters do not do their job properly, kidney function can be impaired. The eGFR calculation is an estimate of actual glomerular filtration rate, calculated using your age, gender, ethnicity, and serum creatinine levels.
Haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), also known as glycated haemoglobin, is a longer term measure of glucose levels in your blood than a simple blood glucose test. Glucose attaches itself to the haemoglobin in your red blood cells, and as your cells live for around 12-16 weeks, it gives us a good indication of the average level of sugar in your blood over a 3 month period.
Iron is a vital component of oxygen transport, DNA synthesis and oxidative phosphorylation, which are fundamental processes for life, let alone sporting performance. About half of your body’s iron (about 2.1g) is found in red blood cells in the oxygen-transporting haemoglobin. About another gram is found in macrophages (white blood cells) and in the oxygen-transporting myoglobin of muscles. Excess iron is stored in the liver. If you are low on iron you will struggle to respire at the cellular level as well as you could and so you will feel more fatigued and get tired quicker. For athletes this will result in a reduced performance, impaired VO2 Max, reduced energy efficiency, inability to train maximally each day, greater maximum lactate and quicker exhaustion. You get your iron from two main sources: from your diet (about 5%) and from the breakdown and turnover of your red blood cells (about 95%). In your diet there are two main types of iron: Fe2+, which is found in meat and dairy products, and Fe3+, which is harder to absorb and found in plant based foods. Iron status tests look at several measures of iron, which together can paint a picture about your iron metabolism and what it means for you.
Total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) is a measure of the ability of your body to efficiently carry iron through the blood.
Transferrin is made in the liver and is the major protein in the blood which binds to iron and transports it round the body. This test measures how much this protein is 'saturated' by iron.
Ferritin is a complex globular protein which stores iron in an inactive form. As your iron stores deplete, the ferritin releases its iron for use. If your ferritin depletes then you will run out of iron and if your iron runs out your ability to produce red blood cells in your bone marrow decreases. Ferritin therefore gives a good measure of your iron stores. Ferritin is also an acute phase protein, so can increase during periods of infection, inflammation or trauma.
Unsaturated iron binding capacity (UIBC) represents the portion of iron binding sites on transferrin that are not occupied by iron. UIBC is often measured along with iron and total iron-binding capacity (TIBC) as a diagnostic tool to determine various iron disorders.
Uric acid is a waste product produced from the breakdown of chemical compounds called purines. Purine occurs naturally in the body, but it is also found in the food we eat - and in some foods more than others. In healthy individuals, uric acid is excreted by the kidneys in urine, however, if levels are too high to excrete, or if you have a problem metabolising purine, then uric acid can begin to accumulate and can be deposited as crystals in the bodily tissues. When this occurs in joints it causes the painful condition known as gout.
Vitamin D is vital for bone maintenance in conjunction with calcium. It also plays important roles in muscle function and protein synthesis. More recent research has highlighted other non-musculoskeletal benefits too, including immune modulation, protection against chronic diseases and increased athletic performance. It is essential for athletes to keep vitamin D levels healthy. Your skin can make vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. However, in the UK this is difficult, especially in winter. It is very common for people living in the UK to be low in vitamin D, even if they exercise outside.
Vitamin B12 is important for production of red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. B12 is also involved in metabolism and the nervous system and prolonged lack of vitamin B12 may cause nerve damage. Although Vitamin B12 is almost entirely found in animal-based foods, many vegetarian and vegan products, especially plant milks are now fortified with Vitamin B12.
Folate is a B vitamin which acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of amino acids. It is also vital for the synthesis of purines and pyrimidines which are essential for DNA synthesis and red cell formation. Folate is also especially important during the first trimester of pregnancy so if you are thinking of becoming pregnant it is important to make sure your folate levels are normal. For the athlete this vitamin (along with other B vitamins, such as vitamin B12) play an important role in performance by regulating energy metabolism by modulating the synthesis and breakdown of carbohydrate, fat, protein and other bioactive compounds.
Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral and second most abundant intracellular divalent cation in the body. Approximately 50% is in bone, 50% is in your tissues and less than 1% is in the blood. It is required for more than 300 metabolic reactions and is vital for nerve conduction, muscle contraction, parathyroid function, energy storage, normal heart rhythm and DNA synthesis. Deficiency in magnesium can cause muscle weakness, muscle spasms, altered creatine kinase and an altered lactate response to exercise. Athletes are prone to low magnesium levels and should look to monitor their magnesium at regular intervals. You should ensure you have a magnesium rich meal. The use of supplements as a performance aid and to address deficiency has been looked into a lot over the years. The current research is still inconclusive and actually some people who take magnesium supplements see their magnesium levels depleted quicker than normal. Therefore it appears, for now at least, that the best way to get the magnesium you need is through a magnesium rich diet.
Creatine kinase (CK) is an important enzyme in tissues that have a fast metabolism, including muscle tissue. Sport and competitive training imposes substantial mechanical stresses on your body and one of the most prominent by-products of this is CK, which leaks into the blood when your muscle fibres are damaged from repeated, intense contractions. Traditionally in medicine, CK has been a marker of serious muscle injury due to a variety of mechanisms. High levels can be dangerous and can accumulate to cause a nasty condition called ‘rhabdomyolysis’. This is when so much muscle breaks down that the CK by-product can make you sick and even cause kidney failure and heart attack. However, for the athlete muscle breakdown is key to the anabolic process and so instead of breaking your muscle down by accident, you're breaking it down on purpose and as a result an athlete’s body adapts to deal with far higher levels of CK than the average person. An understanding of healthy CK levels is important as it can give measures of capacity for increased training load or flags about over-training and need to reduce load. If you are a muscle building athlete and your CK level is on the low side of the normal range, then technically you can increase your workload for faster, larger gains in performance without overloading your system (from a CK point of view!). If you CK level is too high then it’s an important alarm bell to reduce your training load to prevent severe muscle injury, overtraining syndrome and possibly kidney damage. To make sure you get the right result always ensure you test your CK level at least 2 days post-heavy exercise to get your baseline.
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”, though it does a lot more than just being released during stress. Cortisol is produced in the adrenal gland and works on the majority of cells in your body. It can help to control blood sugar levels, blood pressure, regulate metabolism, reduce inflammation and assists with memory. High performance athletes are constantly facing mentally and physically stressful situations and so may produce more cortisol than the average person, however to confuse matters, athletes who overtrain or over-reach may produce less cortisol. A large review of all the evidence didn't find any obvious trends for optimisation, however we do know that if your cortisol levels are too high or too low then you will not perform to the peak of your ability and it will be important to find the underlying cause for the deranged levels. Our doctors will discuss the next steps with you.
Benefits of our formula
Get ready for the test
- A minimum of 6 hours is required before the test. Please ensure that the test is done on an empty stomach and before you take any other vitamins
- Do not take any supplements containing B12 for at least two weeks prior to your blood test (if B12 has been prescribed to you specifically by your doctor, please seek advice prior to the test).
- Do not take any supplements containing biotin for at least 2 days prior to your blood test (if biotin has been prescribed specifically by your doctor, please seek advice prior to the test).
- Fasting is required, especially if you are interested in the accuracy of your triglyceride levels or LDL cholesterol levels
- HRT and the contraceptive pill can affect your results, so doing the test while on a break from these can give you more accurate results
Our partnering clinics
Track your health on the go
- Results archiveAccess information about your tests at any time — use it for yourself or share with your healthcare provider
- Health progressTrack how your health metrics change using infographics and easy to understand charts
- Relevant notificationsSet formula-intake reminders and never forget when it’s time for your retest
What our users say
To collect your blood sample, you can choose
• at-home sampling by a qualified nurse
• visiting a Medichecks clinic
A nurse visit is free when you get a one-time check-up and costs an additional £50 when you subscribe to bioniq BALANCE. We suggest you choose an at-home blood test since it's quicker and more secure in terms of COVID-19 spread regulations.
Unfortunately, not at the moment. However, we aim to provide a better experience and are currently increasing booking transparency.
After successful payment, the order is placed. Our client service sends the data to a partner clinic which assigns a nurse in the area. Then the nurse contacts the client within 2 working days to arrange an appointment.
You will have received a prepaid envelope to post your blood sample back to the lab. After the visit, your nurse may offer to drop it at the post box. But you have to post it as soon as possible — the same day.