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  • Rising Cholesterol

    New to the forum and looking for some insight. I've been Paleo/Primal for the past 10 years and have seen a steady increase in my cholesterol numbers. I never really worried about it until recently when my last total cholesterol came in over 300. My LDL was super high as well. I have also done further testing and it showed my Apo-B has high and my total particle LDL was extremely high. I consider myself fairly fit and healthy. I do crossfit 3-4 times weekly, run, mountain and road bike, use the rower and airdyne weekly and eat very healthy. My parents both have high cholesterol and are being treated with statins

  • #2
    Physical fitness has nothing to do with lipid panels.

    What are your trigs? When they are very low, common in Primal, the usual way of calculating some of the cholesterol is wrong, giving high total cholesterol. Use the "Iranian" equation. It's out there, and has been discussed here a long time ago.

    Paleo doesn't work for everyone, if there's one thing to be learned from this forum. Are you getting any "clean" carbs? Starchy, non-grain types? Although rice is OK.

    The only population that statins work for are males, under 70, who have had a heart attack. Any doctor prescribing them for women should have his license yanked. The price tag that comes with them is often high, as you may know. Brain fog, muscle and joint pain and deterioration.

    I know this wasn't very helpful, but maybe something to chew on.

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    • #3
      Are you eating a lot of saturated fat? Some people respond to a high fat diet more than others. Try cutting back on your sat fats, substitute olive oil, fish, avocado, and healthy carb choices, especially high soluble fiber sources. My husband's LDL dropped 20 mg/dL when he added a daily bowl of oatmeal. Lipids will improve with weight loss too, so if you have some excess to lose, that's a goid place to start.

      If you have a familial hyperlipidemia and elevated lipids despite a low sat fat diet, then you may want to consider the statins. Fortunately, they are one of the most widely used classes of drugs worldwide and all of the available data shows they are reasonably safe and tolerable.

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      • #4
        6th thread this year of another high cholesterol victim. And there are many more on the forum going back years. Saturated fat will raise cholesterol in some people. Cut back and it should go down. Mine went from 288 on primal/paleo to 180. LDL went down nearly 100 points after reducing oils, fats, meats, butters and eggs.
        *Starting Wt - 151 lbs (January 2015) * Current Wt - 113 lbs (November 2016)
        *95% Plant-Based (from June 2015) ~ *75%Carbs *10-15%Protein *10-15%Fat
        *Exercise ~7-10 hrs/week

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        • #5
          Yeah, I started reading through a lot of other forums that talk about this same thing. I do eat a lot of saturated fats, lots of meat, coconut oil, butter, pork lard, eggs everyday. I also have an addiction to nut butters mostly Almond Butter. For carbs I do very little grains, no wheat, rice on occasion, but stick to starchy veggies and I only eat purple sweet potatoes. I'm not a big oatmeal guy but could try adding it in once a week. As for weight loss there is not much there as I stay around 8-9% body fat. My trigs are 73 and my HDL

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          • #6
            The nut butters are okay and the eggs are okay for most people, but cut way down on the coconut oil, lard, fatty meats, and butter. If you need the fat calories (I eat food, not "macros" myself), then substitute olive oil, avocados, nuts. Some people will also have elevated cholesterol from eating cholesterol rich food like eggs, but that kind of enhanced absorption is not thought to be too common.You should see a big drop in LDL pretty quickly. Give it twelve weeks and test again. If it's still not in range then, you can cut out the eggs and other cholesterol sources and reduce the other fatty foods.

            I doubt that weekly oatmeal would help much. The key is adding a big dose of daily soluble fiber. There are other fruits and veggies that also offer a decent amount of soluble fiber instead and you could try incorporating more of those in your diet. Again, if your numbers are not in range with your first corrections, then think about adding a daily soluble fiber source like oats, Metamucil, soluble fiber veggies.

            Labs are trending away from computed LDLs and toward directly measured LDLs, so you may not even need to worry about how the Tg affects calculation of LDL. Given that you've had more advanced testing, I would doubt you are looking at a calculated LDL. 73 is a nice, normal, not particularly low and certainly not high Tg. If you have other hints of insulin resistance -- do the parents have diabetes? -- then you might want to think about adding more healthy carbs to lower any low-carb induced insulin resistance.

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            • #7
              Have your thyroid checked as well as the other good advice here. Not just a BS TSH! A thyroid panel that includes a free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and antibodies. One of the first signs of hypothyroidism is an elevated total cholesterol. Even if you do have familial hypercholesterolemia, a sluggish thyroid will just make it far worse. Good luck!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Lhotse View Post
                Yeah, I started reading through a lot of other forums that talk about this same thing. I do eat a lot of saturated fats, lots of meat, coconut oil, butter, pork lard, eggs everyday. I also have an addiction to nut butters mostly Almond Butter. For carbs I do very little grains, no wheat, rice on occasion, but stick to starchy veggies and I only eat purple sweet potatoes. I'm not a big oatmeal guy but could try adding it in once a week. As for weight loss there is not much there as I stay around 8-9% body fat. My trigs are 73 and my HDL
                Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper is also a crossfitter and one of the fittest, most health conscious people anywhere and yet last month he got a massive heart attack and was unconscious for 2 days. He does have the genetics, his mum died at 70 of a heart attack. Around 2010, he said his cholesterol dropped 100 points after switching to vegan which he did for a year or so and then went paleo. Why would such a fit and health conscious person have had such a high cholesterol in the first place? It's the diet. Maybe that's why this week he said his doctors are recommending a mediterranean diet.

                On one Rachel Ray clip, he said he drinks coffee blended with coconut oil and butter/ghee and said it's "the best thing" and he drinks it daily. He also eats 3 egg/day. That, combined with a meat-centered paleo diet is a lot of saturated fat for someone with iffy genetics.

                Bob Harper's morning coffee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nvxt7VtW_c

                For those of us susceptible to high cholesterol in response to high saturated fat diets, I think a strict paleo/primal diet is not smart. I still eat meat and eggs on occasion, but in addition to dropping saturated fats, I also started eating non-paleo foods like lots of beans and lentils and starchy veggies like potatoes etc, plus other whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat, corn etc. I eat 2 large mugs of oats porridge every day with sugar. And not only have all my labs normalized, I've lost the stubborn 30+ lbs and I've been maintaining my weight loss for 2 yrs. And for those who fear carbs/starches on account of diabetes risk, my fasting blood sugar and A1c are perfectly normal (80mg/dl and 5.2%)
                Last edited by KimLean125byMar15; 03-12-2017, 11:15 AM.
                *Starting Wt - 151 lbs (January 2015) * Current Wt - 113 lbs (November 2016)
                *95% Plant-Based (from June 2015) ~ *75%Carbs *10-15%Protein *10-15%Fat
                *Exercise ~7-10 hrs/week

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                • #9
                  That coffee mentioned by KimLean is basically the much hyped "Bulletproof Coffee." I think the original uses butter. Main idea is that fats, without sugar, keeps the pancreas and carb response system deactivated, yet will give you a bit of energy through the fats. Best as I recall, anyway.

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                  • #10
                    My dominant fat is saturated, has been for a long time. I've been recording my food intakes again and for every gram of sat fat, I'll consume about 2/3 of a gram of monounsaturated, and 1/3 of a gram of polyunsaturated.

                    My blood panels always come back boring. Every marker from good to excellent. Once in a rare while, one item could be of minor concern, but whether it was just a momentary snapshot difference or something else going on, by the next panel, it's just fine. Except for the A1c, all these tests are snapshots. One time I went to give blood and my hemoglobin was too low, waited the week, still low. Doc did a new blood panel, mostly looking at folate, iron, and B12, and he knew I ate paleo/primal. Everything good, went to the blood bank, no problem. Go figger.

                    My TC is 174 with HDL and LDL almost exactly the same, 72 and 76 respectively. My A1c is trending downward, now 5.5. Perhaps due to a year of Metformin. I know that my blood sugar doesn't spike near as high or for as long now as a year ago. Metformin increases insulin sensitivity at the cellular level.

                    I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I wouldn't want to wear a lab coat all day, either. But if coconut oil and satfats are raising TC, it's because they are the only way (that I know of) to raise the good HDL. If you cut the satfats, and lower the TC, you will be changing the LDL/HDL ratio to your detriment. Statins work by lowering the LDL, thus giving one a better HDL/LDL ratio, too. I'd rather eat saturated fats. No brain fog, no muscle and joint pain.

                    I found the formulas for calculating LDL.

                    Friedewald (1972) Formula: LDL = TC - HDL - TG/5.0 (mg/dL) Reference.

                    "Iranian" (2008) Formula: LDL = TC/1.19 + TG/1.9 – HDL/1.1 – 38 (mg/dL) Reference.

                    There are online calculators for that purpose.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OP has a question about cholesterol and gets dissertation on celebs out of US Weekly as an answer instead of anything of substance. Sigh.... (I retract. there actually where a few good answers. Guess I focused only on the silliest.)

                      Run a full work up. Independent of other factors being out of range (thyroid, glucose, inflammatory markers....etc.) higher cholesterol correlates with reduced risk of mortality. So check those other numbers before getting talked into something silly like veganism.

                      It's not Rachel Ray or People magazine....but you may find this of interest

                      http://www.ravnskov.nu/2015/12/27/myth-9/
                      Last edited by Neckhammer; 03-12-2017, 03:47 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by OnTheBayou View Post
                        ........I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I wouldn't want to wear a lab coat all day, either. But if coconut oil and satfats are raising TC, it's because they are the only way (that I know of) to raise the good HDL. If you cut the satfats, and lower the TC, you will be changing the LDL/HDL ratio to your detriment. Statins work by lowering the LDL, thus giving one a better HDL/LDL ratio, too. I'd rather eat saturated fats. No brain fog, no muscle and joint pain......
                        Not true. My recent HDL was 55 mg/dl which is great (normal is >39) and yet my saturated fat is quite low at <5% of my diet, while overall fat is ~15%. And you certainly don't need drugs until you've done the obvious things like healthy weight, exercise and reducing intake of the foods causing a high LDL.
                        *Starting Wt - 151 lbs (January 2015) * Current Wt - 113 lbs (November 2016)
                        *95% Plant-Based (from June 2015) ~ *75%Carbs *10-15%Protein *10-15%Fat
                        *Exercise ~7-10 hrs/week

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by OnTheBayou View Post
                          I'm not a doctor nor do I play one on TV. I wouldn't want to wear a lab coat all day, either. But if coconut oil and satfats are raising TC, it's because they are the only way (that I know of) to raise the good HDL. If you cut the satfats, and lower the TC, you will be changing the LDL/HDL ratio to your detriment. Statins work by lowering the LDL, thus giving one a better HDL/LDL ratio, too. I'd rather eat saturated fats. No brain fog, no muscle and joint pain.
                          Oh, not at all. Exercise, alcohol, and estrogen will also raise HDL. My husband had low HDL which he raised considerably by exercising -- from 30 to 50 mg/dL. You really can't even make the generalization that sat fat will improve the total/HDL ratio by raising HDL proportionally more; maybe for some, but definitely not for all. You've also overlooked the importance of monounsaturated fats. Substituting olive oil and nuts for the coconut oil in the OP's will maintain HDL while lowering LDL. The Mediterranean diet, for example, is not a low fat diet, just a low sat fat diet, deriving a large percentage of its calories from olive oil as well as including a lot of small oily fish, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains.

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                          • #14
                            Saturated fat and low thyroid hormones will both raise cholesterol. Lack of thyroid hormones causes heart disease. Saturated fat does not. Lowering cholesterol by eating less saturated fat is missing the point.
                            My opinions and some justification

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KimLean125byMar15 View Post

                              Not true. My recent HDL was 55 mg/dl which is great (normal is &gt;39) and yet my saturated fat is quite low at &lt;5% of my diet, while overall fat is ~15%. And you certainly don't need drugs until you've done the obvious things like healthy weight, exercise and reducing intake of the foods causing a high LDL.
                              Originally posted by KimLean125byMar15 View Post

                              Not true. My recent HDL was 55 mg/dl which is great (normal is &gt;39) and yet my saturated fat is quite low at &lt;5% of my diet, while overall fat is ~15%. And you certainly don't need drugs until you've done the obvious things like healthy weight, exercise and reducing intake of the foods causing a high LDL.
                              Kim, I've come around to respect you often and have come around to respect that your high carb diet works for you. But 55 HDL is only "good," but definitely not "great." Under 40 is to be concerned, over 60 is truly "great." Like mine. I don't recall your LDL's, nor the ratios.

                              To the best of my knowledge, exercise has no effect on blood lipids.

                              I did a lot of searching about diet and LDL's, and they all talked about reducing satfats to reduce LDL's! WTF? To the point of suggesting PUFA's will raise HDL's. To say nothing of ignoring ratios.This is crazy shit like the food pyramid. When I searched for "what causes high LDL?" all of the responses were lifestyle or condition; i.e., diabetes, pregnancy.

                              It's obvious that for me, my 3:2:1 fat ratio is unassailable.
                              Last edited by OnTheBayou; 03-12-2017, 06:28 PM.

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