When I speak about â€œfolic acidâ€, I mean that we used to implement it with runners living and training at sea level, when they had to go altitude for periods of training of 2-5 weeks. Folic Acid can be important for the synthesis of Hb, when we go in a situation of hypoxia.
This is not what happens to the athletes always living and training in altitude, since they donâ€™t have any reaction to a new situation, but have adaptation.
In this case, we go to control (when there is the possibility with a good lab directly in altitude) some parameter :
1) Ferritin (for Kenyan runners training at an altitude of 2000 â€“ 2500m, the normal values must be around 40 â€“ 70. They never reach the level of 150, normally indicated for people living at sea level. When runners have a value lower than 40, the solution is to cancel every training of intensity, maintaining easy aerobic run for allowing the body to rebuild the reserve needed for tough physical activity).
2) Transferrin (normal values between 2.0 and 3.5. When the values are lower or higher we need to reduce training for about two weeks).
3) Haptoglobin (this is a very important marker of the level of hemolysis, that means the quantity of broken RBC with loss of blood). The level of hemolysis depends many times on the type of surface used by the athletes : when they run on rough roads, full of holes and stones, the impact of feet with the ground is more strong, and the hemolysis becomes bigger. In this case, we try to change surface, running for some time on grass, or on asphalt, that Kenyans donâ€™t like, but is better than running on bad surfaces)
4) Vit. B 12 (good level for athletes in altitude between 150 and 500)
5) Vit. B 11 (good level between 15 and 40). The Vit. B 12 and 11 are important for helping to build the skeleton RBC
6) Cortisol (good values in the athletes between 200 and 400. When the levels are higher, it means the body is under stress, and we need to reduce the intensity)
7) Testosteron (normal values between 10 and 20. Rarely we have runners with higher values, when they are in full training. The same athletes, when are in a period of easy aerobic training, can reach values higher than 25)
8) The T/C (testosterone / cortisol) ratio can give infos about the anabolic status of the athlete. There is no shape when the values are under 60, while athletes at the peak of their efficiency can reach values of about 100.
9) CRP (protein reaching on every infection stimulus)
10) Magnesium (very important for the muscle-nerve function and basic metabolism), with values between 0.70 â€“ 1.10. With lower values, the velocity of the contraction decreases. With higher values, athletes are out of their hydrosalin balance, and muscles become tired in short time, with possibility of cramps.
11) We can also control Potassium and Sodium, but itâ€™s easy to maintain the right level using a correct diet. I always suggest Kenyans to use more salt in their food, especially when they go sea level for competitions, because at sea level they sweat more, and lose great part of the mineral salt (more than in altitude). With â€œgranum salisâ€, to use some more normal salt is a good thing for athletes maintaining high level of blood circulation for long time every day, without fearing the negative effects that can happen with sedentary people.