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Are the Changes in My Blood Labs AFter 2 Years Paleo Significant??

Commented on March 03, 2015
Created August 03, 2013 at 5:49 PM

Hi, Everyone.

I just got my lab results from my doctor. I'm 2 months shy of the 2 year mark for eating fairly strict Paleo. I would say I'm 98% autoimmune Paleo except that I am fine with eggs and eat between 1-2 dozen per week. I eat a wide variety of protein sources, veggies, fruit (too much in the summer time, I'm sure!). I use ghee, coconut oil, and sometimes extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil for my fat sources. The only nuts I eat are whole, raw macadamia nuts (unsalted). I eat strictly organic, grass-fed, pastured if I can find it, which is 98% of the time due to fairly close proximity to Whole Paycheck and a decent job. I go out to eat about 4 times/year. No, seriously, it's true. I love to cook! :)

I'm caffeine/coffee free. I am also nightshade and dairy free. Therefore, I'd say I'm pretty strict Paleo for the most part. I wouldn't say I'm low carb (fruit intake) but I don't eat much in the way of glucose/starches. I will have an occasional sweet potato (once a month, maybe), and a banana here and there, but that's it for starches for me.

The only non-Paleo food item I allow is one single square of Lindt 90% dark chocolate almost every day. I also use MediClear Plus protein powder from Thorne Laboratories for my MCS, which seems to help significantly (glutathione and glutathione precursors, I'm thinking)... I might have a slice of Paleo banana bread once or twice a month, but that's it (husband scarfs it down so that's all I can steal!) :) I have been eating a bit more fruit lately due to the MediClear smoothies (made with a little almond milk, 1/2 banana and 2 chunks of pineapple), so I'm wondering if that could explain the slight difference in my glucose and A1C numbers. I'm actually consuming LESS chocolate now than I was last year, so I'm not certain...

I have also been exercising with less intensity over this past year due to a knee injury and finishing up a certification course that consumed a lot of my time (last assignment is due today!!!!). I would assume the lack of consistent exercise also has something to do with the lab numbers. I still walk a lot and ride my bike 2-3 hours per week (at 13-20 mph, depending on route), but I can't really manage any HIIT activities due to the knee issue that is resolving, but I don't want to slide backwards with pain as I am prone to do. I'm not fond of lifting heavy things, though I know I really need to start doing so. When my knee improves a bit more, I will start doing body weight exercises.

Paleo has cured so many of my health issues, it's mind-blowing. I've gotten rid of almost all my seasonal allergies, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, metabolic syndrome, blood sugar dysregulation, fibromyalgia/chronic muscle pain, just to name a few. The only remaining issue is multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), but those have improved dramatically since going Paleo. Not sure what to do about the MCS, unfortunately. But I digress...

I would like the intelligent beings here at Paleohacks to hack my bloodwork from pre-Paleo, to last year, to this year, if you would be so kind. The tests were all performed at different labs so I'm sure that might account for slight differences in values.

Pre-Paleo: Basically on a Weigh Watchers style eating plan here - high carb, low fat, but no processed foods

Cholesterol (Total) 188
Cholesterol (HDL) 61
Triglyceride 91 Cholesterol (LDL) 109
Non-HDL Cholesterol 127
Cholesterol/HDL Ratio 3.1 Glucose 92 No AIC test given at this time Thyroid Stimulating Hormone 3.149

2012 Almost 1 year Paleo, exercising 5-7 days per week with HIIT training (but no weights)

Cholesterol Fasting 201 mg/dL

Triglyceride Fasting 45 mg/dL

High Density Lipoprotein Fast 73 mg/dL

Cholesterol/HDL Ratio Fasting 2.75

Cholesterol Low Density Lipoprotein Dir 109 mg/dL

Glucose Fasting 87 mg/dL

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) 5.1 %

Glucose Random 79 mg/dL

Estimated Average Glucose 100 mg/dL

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone 2.26 milli intl-unit(s)/L

2013

CHOLESTEROL 245
TRIGLYCERIDE 52
HDL CHOLESTEROL 87
LDL CHOLESTEROL 147
CHOL/HDL RATIO 2.8
TRIG/HDL (CALC) 0.6
NON-HDL (CALC) 158
GLUCOSE 91
HEMOGLOBIN A1C 5.4
EST AVG GLUCOSE 108 TSH 3.29

I'm not overly concerned by the increase in my cholesterol numbers because I know that Chris Kresser and others in the Paleosphere have discussed the protective benefits of higher cholesterol numbers as being protective for women. Obviously the dogma surrounding cholesterol levels still leaves a bit of a negative niggle in my mind that my cholesterol has jumped 57 points. My LDL increased significantly, but so did my HDL. I'm just curious as to what others have to say about it.

Another remaining issue is low libido, which is not normal for me, but has persisted since a uterine ablation in November 2009. That's why I had the doctor run TSH. My naturopath ran testosterone levels and it was Testosterone Total: 16; Testosterone Free 3.6. I can't find much about this on the internet. Anyone have any ideas? Also, what do my TSH levels really mean? I can only find information about THS levels from women wanting to become pregnant and that is NOT me. :)

Other information: I am a 44 year old female (obviously). I am also about 8 pounds overweight (mostly due to the inactivity from the knee injury as mentioned above) - but down overall from my highest weight of 254 (110 lb. weight loss, but not all through Paleo - Weight Watchers/Atkins for the first 95 pounds, the last 15 have been Paleo and the easiest weight loss EVER!). My entire family on my mother's side are Type 2 Diabetics - all of them, including my mother. This is one of the main reasons why the low carb thing seems to work so well for me, I believe. I have a glucometer and right after I started Paleo I monitored my pre and post meal blood sugar levels and found that glucose is not my friend. Fuctose doesn't seem to have any detrimental effect.

I would be very grateful for your input. I have been hesitant to post this because so many people do, but I think I need some fresh eyes on this one. Thank you in advance.

Cheryl

F878b086631acc0e2667dfc7f1e547b0

on March 03, 2015
at 06:33 AM

What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious experience concerning unpredicted feelings.

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on August 05, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Thank you so much for your input, Keerthy. I very much appreciate the time and effort it took to respond. Truly... Thank you.

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on August 04, 2013
at 07:23 PM

I agree that any woman that is tired of struggling with weight should have their thyroid levels checked. Mine went from 4.45 to 2.1 post Paleo.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on August 04, 2013
at 12:07 PM

Because by checking TSH alone does not tell you if you have a thyroid problem. You might in fact have a pituitary gland problem. Testing for free T4 can help determine if the problem is pituitary or thyroid. Then assuming you have a thyroid problem you need to also check for free T3 because it is T3 that drives the body's metabolism. You want to see if you have a free T4 -> free T3 conversion problem. Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyroid-stimulating_hormone Having said all this, the endocrine system is REALLY complex. I know only a teeny bit about it.

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5 Answers

1
Cb893ff469fdc4aa38e031dcf9d5a8a5

on August 04, 2013
at 09:53 PM

Hi Cheryl,

AFAIK, your cholesterol results are near perfect. It was great to begin with when you were in your non-processed high-carb, low-fat days and has become better and better with the paleo lifestyle.

As a thumb rule, the only 2 numbers that you really need to care about in the lipid profile is HDL and Triglycerides. More HDL and low Triglycerides is always preferrable.

Your Triglycerides to HDL ratio - * before paleo - 91/61 - 1.49 (already at nice and healthy range) * 1 year into paleo - 45/73 - 0.61 * now - 52/87 - 0.59

You had very good ratio to begin with (probably you were eating whole natural foods even when you were high-carb) and the ratio has become better with time. Please note that the lower this ratio, the more bigger sized LDL than smaller (harmful) LDL particles in your blood. So your LDL should be of no concern.

If the above ratio is 3.5 or above then it indicates insulin resistance but you are obviously are very far away from that :)

I honestly can only wish to practice such discipline, as you, in adhering to the paleo lifestyle. Good luck and all the best.

  • Keerthy

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on August 05, 2013
at 01:35 AM

Thank you so much for your input, Keerthy. I very much appreciate the time and effort it took to respond. Truly... Thank you.

1
75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on August 03, 2013
at 07:36 PM

TSH is indeed a Thyroid Stimulating Hormone, generated by the pituitary gland. It stimulates the thyroid as needed, as determined by a complex feedback loop (quite simply, when the body is in need of cranking up the "RPM" the pituitary detects this and gooses the thyroid, via TSH, to generate more thyroid hormones).

But TSH alone is woefully insufficient in determining thyroid performance/health. At minimum you should request getting TSH, free T4 and free T3 hormone levels checked. With these three values your doctor can get a good sense if your thyroid is not performing adequately. Further tests (thyroid antibodies, reverse T3) can then provide finely tuned info (, probably best analyzed by a endocrinologist).

Depending on your age and if you are going through sexual hormonal changes (giving birth, going through menopause) I should think any woman struggling with weight loss and feeling fatigued should get thyroid blood work done on a regular basis. In addition, women seem to complain of hypothyroid symptoms even if the blood work values are not out of range. Conversely men seem to hum along just fine even if their values are a bit out of range. Little wonder then women are far more likely to suffer from thyroid issues.

_Lazza

4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

(752)

on August 04, 2013
at 07:23 PM

I agree that any woman that is tired of struggling with weight should have their thyroid levels checked. Mine went from 4.45 to 2.1 post Paleo.

0
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on August 04, 2013
at 08:44 PM

You will never see fructose consumption reflected directly on a glucose meter, but you can see the impact later from sustained high fasting blood sugar levels. It is metabolized differently, and goes straight to your liver to provide energy at a later date (like in the middle of winter when fruit wouldn't be available). I don't vilify fructose, and eat quite a bit of it myself, I just think it is important to be aware that the glucose meter only gives you a fraction of the picture in regards to overall blood sugar levels. I get quite annoyed with diabetic counselors who suggest drinking fruit juice to patients because it doesn't affect blood sugar directly. It still can have an impact disease progression because NAFLD is a big part of the disease.

Your levels throughout all 3 tests seem pretty normal to me, and just indicate different types of diets, probably sun exposure (simply being out in the sun can lower total LDL as it is utilized for vitamin D production, being prone to higher LDL can mean your ancestors came from somewhere without a lot of sunlight so you would need to be able to synthesize it quickly and efficiently), and activity levels. The whole keep it under 200 thing was introduced by statin manufacturers. When cholesterol testing first started the average collected was 240.

The newest numbers don't indicate a high enough level of cholesterol for me to give it a second thought other than to think your thyroid might be struggling a bit. Thyroid function and cholesterol levels go hand in hand. Your climb in TSH there matches your climb in cholesterol, which leads me to believe you might be one of those people who would benefit from more of the so called safe starches and iodine rich foods to stimulate your thyroid. Cholesterol levels can also vary greatly day to day, so unless your ratio shifts alot (which it hasn't) you seem pretty stable.

I know people often can't use TSH to get the optimal dosage for their meds, but I have used it as a rough guide with good results. Your TSH is right on the verge of true hypothyroidism (3.3 is the cutoff I've seen lately). Mid 40's is also peri-menopause time, so there is a whole lot of hormonal shifting going on, not just thyroid, so you will probably see a lot of variations in your lab work no matter what actions you take. A tanking TSH will have as much impact on libido as low testosterone too, so you can sometimes use that as an indicator for the correct dosage. One of the ways hyperthyroidism is diagnosed is excessive libido.

I can't let my TSH go over 2.5 without running out of steam. Over 3.0 I start spacing out at stop lights, have trouble filling out paperwork, and can't remember words. Have you considered going on thyroid meds ? I prefer the natural ones, and take Armour myself, there are other brands that some people have better luck with though.

Your blood sugars are also perfectly normal for someone who is lowish carb. Most people's livers will tend to keep blood glucose levels in the 90's LC or VLC, but it is a stable 90's-100's without the big fluctuations that can cause problems, so you don't have to worry about it. Your A1C reflects that and looks good too to me.

I would talk to my doctor about trying a low dose of natural dessicated thyroid with permission to increase it in small increments every few weeks until your TSH is closer to 1.0, maybe cut back on goitrogenic foods (like maybe don't make cabbage and broccoli your main veggie staples unless they are well boiled and the water is discarded), experiment with eating just a little more starchy food, sit in the sun, eat some seaweed, and call it a day.

0
4929a87e3f7438f18a0afbdde291ed5e

on August 04, 2013
at 07:22 PM

I'm not really interested in my TSH levels. My thyroid levels according to the more extensive tests my naturopath ran last year are good. The tests results listed above, to my understanding, basically state that I can't have children.

I appreciate the input, but honestly I'm more interested in people's comments on my cholesterol readings.

Thanks, Cheryl

0
229faa9f9cb551cbf9d1d766b84cf8f5

on August 04, 2013
at 05:20 AM

Not sure why _Lazza is claiming that TSH is "woefully insufficient" in determining thyroid performance/health. TSH is secreted in response to T4 levels, so if your thyroid is not producing enough hormones your TSH will raise in response. Therefore, if your thyroid is secreting a sub-optimal level that requires treatment, your TSH will reach an abnormal range. T3 out of range with a normal T4 will not be treated as will antibodies in the presence of a normal TSH, please save your money.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on August 04, 2013
at 12:07 PM

Because by checking TSH alone does not tell you if you have a thyroid problem. You might in fact have a pituitary gland problem. Testing for free T4 can help determine if the problem is pituitary or thyroid. Then assuming you have a thyroid problem you need to also check for free T3 because it is T3 that drives the body's metabolism. You want to see if you have a free T4 -> free T3 conversion problem. Check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thyroid-stimulating_hormone Having said all this, the endocrine system is REALLY complex. I know only a teeny bit about it.

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