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  • Photo: Sbrools/Wikimedia Commons

    Vitamin D

    New technology is making it easier than ever for athletes to fine-tune their nutrition through blood analysis. Prepare to send in the vials.

    For more on the science of blood analysis, read our story on blood testing.


    WHAT IT IS: A substance that helps boost bone mass and immunity. WHY IT MATTER: Low vitamin D, along with deficient calcium, can lead to stress fractures, breaks, and osteoporosis.

  • Photo: A2-33/Wikimedia Commons

    Creatine Kinase

    WHAT IT IS: An enzyme produced during exercise. WHY IT MATTERS: High levels can indicate overtraining, leading to fatigue, muscle damage, and risk of injury.

  • Photo: Public Domain

    Testosterone

    WHAT IT IS: A hormone that plays a key role in muscle mass, bone density, cholesterol levels, and VO2 max. WHY IT MATTERS: Low levels can lead to increased body fat and decreased skeletal and cardiovascular health.

  • Photo: Public Domain

    C-Reactive Protein

    WHAT IT IS: A protein that correlates with muscle inflammation. WHY IT MATTERS: High levels can indicate heart disease or overtraining, compromising the immune system and impeding recovery.

  • Photo: Public Domain

    Vitamin B12

    WHAT IT IS: A substance that helps synthesize new cells, repair damaged cells, and deliver oxygen to muscles. WHY IT MATTERS: Low B12 can decrease endurance and impede exercise intensity.

  • Photo: Public Domain

    Ferritin

    WHAT IT IS: A protein that indicated blood iron levels. WHY IT MATTERS: Low iron levels can lead to injury, elevated heart rate, and weakened immunity. High levels can increase inflammation and cholesterol and decrease cardiovascular health.

  • Photo: David Lidbetter/GalleryStock

    They Want Your Blood: New technology is making it easier than ever for athletes to fine-tune their nutrition through blood analysis. Prepare to send in the vials.

    The Best Places to Get Your Blood Analyzed: Three blood-analysis companies to help maximize performance.

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    Next Up: What Some Common Athletic Biomarkers Say About Your Health

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