Lower Hematocrit number affecting performance?

Hi all, I had my bloodwork done about a month ago and my hematocrit level was 42 which is on the low end of normal.

I’m a vegetarian and have been for about 4 years, and have managed to see stable or increasing power output over that time. I do monitor closely to ensure I get at least 1.4 grams of protein per kilo body weight.

I’m wondering how much my vegetarian diet may be holding me back as meat consumption has been linked to increased hematocrit levels.

I’m wondering if anyone has had success increasing their hematocrit(without EPO) and if they saw associated performance gains.

I welcome any science or ‘bro science’ the community can offer.

It could be low iron. You could check your iron and ferritin levels and discuss with your doc.

Or, you were just born with average abilities like most of us. :slight_smile:

As far as bro science goes, there is all the studies on breath holding which stimulates EPO production. The elite runner, Zatopek, was famous for this kind of stuff. You could read the Oxygen Advantage. I read it and have looked into this kind of training and it seems like it would be great for very short events but maybe not so great for long endurance events. Even then you are talking about a small single digit improvement.

The levels vary, In the last 4 tests mine have been 45, 47, 42, 44. it may depend on what training you have been doing prior. If you have done intense training then your levels will be lower. If your fresh they can be higher.

You are probably right that I’m pretty average, :grinning: and ya iron was on the bloodwork as well which I also thought would have been lower but it came in at 112ug/l, which fit in the normal category range of 24 to 444.

I suppose as well holding your breath that living at sea level is a bit of a disadvantage to higher elevation. I hadn’t thought of that until now. :+1:

Good point Rob, I hadn’t thought about that, training fatigue could be an issue. I read another comment on the forum noting hematocrit levels can vary a lot based on how long the sample takes to go to the centrifuge, and this was a plain medical lab, no sports scientists looking at these results.