LetsGetChecked is a personal health testing company that provides dozens of blood tests to consumers. Originally headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, LetsGetChecked now has a headquarters in New York and has been available in the US since 2017. There are categories of tests, which are small kits that come in a box, including Sexual Health, Male Health, Female Health and Wellness. More specifically, there are dozens of types of tests can provide a detailed reading of blood for hormones, cancer, vitamins, minerals, cholesterol, thyroid, diabetes, female fertility, celiac, cortisol, HIV/AIDS, STDs, and more. I tried the Male Hormone Advanced kit ($179) and will get more into that below. There are basic Male Hormone kits starting from $139. UFC fighters TJ Dillashaw, Anthony Pettis, and Michelle Waterson have all tried LetsGetChecked and I believe more athletes will keep closer tabs on their personal health.
The obvious question is: Why not just go to the doctor and get these tests done?
Well, quite frankly, I don’t know the real answer. I’d postulate those UFC fighters have doctors, so why not just get your blood tested for various markers by a doctor? The only obvious answer is convenience. Hormones like testosterone, cortisol and estrogen can change day to day, so athletes may want more frequent checks of their hormones, vitamins, triglycerides, etc. For the average consumer, I can see people who are temporarily without health insurance using LetsGetChecked to make sure everything is in order. Last, I can see high school/college students using LetsGetChecked to do STD and HIV/AIDS tests without having to visit Planned Parenthood, a hospital, or their family doctor and thus their parents/guardians finding.
Ultimately, sometimes by the time you see a doctor, it’s too late to play catch up when certain things go wrong. Check out my experience with the Male Hormone Kit.
MALE HORMONE KIT
The kit comes with a few small pricking devices, alcohol wipes, a tube to collect blood, a biohazard envelope for the sample, directions on how to draw blood, a shipping label and a packaging sleeve. Prior to even doing the at-home test, I called UPS to schedule a pickup of the product so I didn’t have to go ship it myself. I pricked my index finger as directed and massaged the blood into the tube. I actually had to prick my middle finger too in order to fill the tube. Once the tube was filled, I shook it a couple of times as directed. Then, I placed it in the biohazard bag, which got placed in another envelope. A few minutes later, the UPS guy was at my door to pick it up. Check out the video of me drawing the blood.
This whole process was a lot quicker than scheduling a doctor’s appointment, driving there, waiting for the nurse to call me, and waiting for the doctor. Note: I did this at 12pm which is not the peak of testosterone for men. Males have peak testosterone in the morning, after they wake up.
I received the results in my e-mail inbox within a few days from the UPS guy picking the blood sample up.
Testosterone: 19.5 nmol/L
Normal range for a male is 7.6-31.4 nmol/L
Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG): 41.00 nmol/L
Normal range for a male is 16-55 nmol/L.
Free Androgen Index: 47.6
Normal range for a male is 24-104.
Prolactin: 196 mlU/L
Normal range for a male is 86-324 miU/L
Oestradiol: 93 pmol/L
Normal range for a male is 0-192pmol/L
What are these hormones and what do they mean?
I spoke with a nurse from LetsGetChecked after receiving the results, as would any client, and she gave me the breakdown of my results.
“Testosterone peaks at 25 and slowly declines. To increase testosterone naturally, make sure you manage stress well. It’s not appropriate for us to say live stress free because nobody lives stress free anymore. Make sure the sample is taken first thing in the morning at 7am or 8am. Also, optimize Vitamin D and folic acid. Eat healthy fats and do high intensity exercise,” nurse Emma says.
The units that LetsGetChecked provides are in SI units. But, my previous testosterone test from doctor showed the results ng/DL. What was I to do?
“If you want to send a copy of the results from the doctor, I can covert the units for you or you can covert yourself online. Because your testosterone was taken at 12pm, it’s probably not a true testosterone test.”
I used an online SI units converter and found my total testosterone is 562.4 nanograms per deciliter (ng/DL). This was actually over 70 units LOWER than my previous doctor-administered test in 2016 (more on that below).
About Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)
“SBHG is a protein produced in liver that binds three sex hormones in men and women: testosterone, dihydrotestosterone and estrogen. If it’s too high, it can indicate less free testosterone we thought there was. If it’s too low that means most testosterone is bioavailable and not bound. If you increase testosterone, that will decrease SHBG,” nurse Emma says.
Too much or too little SBHG is generally not ideal for athletes. Free testosterone (the type not bound to SBHG) is the type that our bodies can use to increase muscle mass and strength. You’d think that you wouldn’t want too much bound testosterone, but there may be negative effects of too little SBHG such as high triglycerides. Speak with your doctor about SHBG.
Free Androgen Index (FAI): ratio between testosterone and Sex Hormone Binding Globulin.
My free androgen index: 47.6
Normal range: 24-104
FAI is an equation.
FAI = total testosterone/SHGB x 100.
FAI has no units. The significance of this equation is if you only had the testosterone or SHGB measurement, you’d be able to estimate the number based on this equation.
“Prolactin is known as the hormone that’s used for female milk production but it also plays an important role for males. Prolactin is part of the buildup of hormones. It’s made in the pituitary gland which is a small gland in the brain. If it’s too high in a man, it would indicate that there is a problem with one of the adrenal glands. If we think there is a problem with pituitary gland, it would be one of the first hormones to be elevated,” nurse Emma explains.
“Oestradoil is the main estrogen hormone found in men. These are sex hormones so you need all of those to be at a certain level for reproduction. Just like women need a certain amount of testosterone, men need a certain amount of estrogen. Too high of a level could cause male breasts, acne, softer skin, and other issues,” says nurse Emma.
“Most people that buy the Male Hormone Test would be bodybuilders or people who are symptomatic. It would be peopled that are fatigued, have low sex drive, or can’t get an erection. They use this test to get a clearer picture of what’s going on with their life. We are here to point people in the right directions. A lot of people are very tired and no sex drive and can’t figure out why. Our test helps people find out their hormonal balances and what they can mean,” says nurse Emma.
So, back to my testosterone. It lowered in two years, but why? I’m not buying that testosterone starts to decrease after age 25. I’d go with something closer to age 35. And I’m not 35. Here are possible explanations why the LetsGetChecked test turned up a lower testosterone compared to the doctor in just two years.
1. Test taken in the afternoon, not the morning.
2. Test was taken eight weeks after major invasive surgery.
3. Due to surgery, I have been unable to lift weights.
4. In 2016, I was lifting heavy weights (445lb deadlift, 325lb squat, 315lb bench all for reps)
5. I had less mental stress when I was younger compared to now.
Overall, LetsGetChecked is a diagnostic tool for people to start thinking more deeply about their health. If someone couldn’t figure what was going on with their body and tried everyone of these tests, they would find out. I guess the question is: how much do you really want to know about yourself? And is it practical or even possible to get these tests at a primary care doctor?
For more information on LetsGetChecked, visit www.letsgetchecked.com.