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Does anyone else have horrifically low HDL?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 23, 2012 at 1:44 AM

For the last ten years, I've had HDL ranging between 15 and 40 mg/dl, but usually averaging around 30-32 mg/dl. The Paleo diet has done nothing to increase it including low carb and regular carb options. Doctors have told me it's likely genetic. All I"ve been able to do is take cholesterol lowering supplements which have brought my LDL down from the 100s to the 70-80s which generally improves my cholesterol ratios. My triglycerides are typically around 95-110 mg/dl...but they used to around 400 mg/dl before I went Paleo.

I take a really great supplement from Swanson that really helps keep my total cholesterol down to 130-140 mg/dl instead of 250+ mg/dl. I've tried stopping the supplement while eating paleo to let my total cholesterol go up, but my HDL stays stuck around 32 mg/dl. So basically, I must rely on this supplement to keep my ratios in check. http://www.swansonvitamins.com/lee-swanson-signature-line-healthy-cholesterol-support-formula-120-sgels

I also take 2 grams of omega 3, choline and inisitol, vitamin k2, and over a dozen anti-oxidants (yes, I take a fist full of pills) to do what I can to protect my heart and arteries. I also control my oils very carefully using only macadamia oil and coconut oil. I also exercise like a machine.

Is there anyone else out there like me? Does anyone have other suggestions I can try to boost my HDL?

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on December 28, 2012
at 06:24 AM

^^ exactly an example of the nuances I was referring to.

028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

(812)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:11 AM

Keep in mind that there is only one kind of cholesterol: C27H46O. LDL is just a carrier that carries cholesterol from liver to blood. Also, trans-fats are usually listed in ingredients as partially hydrogenated xxx oil.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:08 AM

In response to the last comment, I've only found that exercise can shift the cholesterol's density. For me anyway the total cholesterol stays constant with exercise.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on November 29, 2012
at 02:52 AM

Even for someone who believes in traditional, conventional wisdom, what's she's saying is NOT what conventional wisdom says. Saturated fats do increase BOTH HDL and LDL. Trans-fats DECREASE HDL and INCREASE LDL. Mono-unsaturated fats INCREASE HDL and LOWER LDL. Poly-unsaturated fats DECREASE both HDL and LDL. If you were following conventional wisdom, that's where the information would end. But even then, it's not that simple. Most on this board understand the nuances beyond this enough to apply common sense to real data instead of parroting a train wreck of glossed-over misinformation.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:10 AM

Interesting graph. I use the Framingham model, which shows a similar flat response in the middle range of total cholesterol, but nasty effects above that, heading towards 300. This graph does not show the separate correlation between increasing HDL and reduced CV risk.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 28, 2012
at 10:08 PM

Your body makes "sticky" cholesterol from saturated fats and trans fats?!?!?!?!?! WRONG. Go back to Paleo101. Do not pass go. Do not collect £200.

723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2

(306)

on November 23, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I lost about 20 pounds (165 to 145). I'm unaware of any studies on the relationship between HDL and Saturated Fat.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on November 23, 2012
at 02:13 PM

And how does butter raise HDL specifically? Is there any proof or studies done on this?

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on November 23, 2012
at 02:13 PM

Did you lose a lot of weight with these changes?

  • 531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

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4 Answers

1
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 28, 2012
at 10:15 PM

I'm a T2 diabetic. For the last 9 months, I've been religiously eating less than 20g of carbohydrate a day (2C:18P:80F), which has delivered me an awesome HbA1c of 4.9% (down from 10.6% at diagnosis), and 60lbs of weight loss (over 15 months).

Obviously I'm delighted with all of that, and with most of my blood lipid profile, however my HDL cholesterol seems very low, especially considering how little carbohydrate I eat:

Trigs: 87.7 mg/dl
LDL: 85.0 mg/dl
HDL: 34.8 mg/dl
Total: 139.2 mg/dl
Total/HDL = 3.6

I think that it's genetic, but it still scares me kinda shitless. Both my parents died of cancer in their early 60s. Look what low cholesterol does to the mortality curve (nicked from Guyenet's site)

does-anyone-else-have-horrifically-low-hdl?

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:10 AM

Interesting graph. I use the Framingham model, which shows a similar flat response in the middle range of total cholesterol, but nasty effects above that, heading towards 300. This graph does not show the separate correlation between increasing HDL and reduced CV risk.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 29, 2012
at 12:16 AM

My HDL was in the 30's and is now mid 80's. I raised it by walking a lot. Dietary changes and weight loss did not have much of an effect, and my total cholesterol has stayed about the same for the last 5 years.

0
723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2

(306)

on November 23, 2012
at 02:25 AM

I raised my HDL from 33 to 66 on Paleo. I suspect the huge amounts of grass-fed butter I've consumed have played a big role in this.

Here are my full test results. The first number was from Oct 2012 and the second from July 2011 (pre-paleo for me)

Whole Cholesterol 198,150 Triglycerides 52, 98 HDL 66, 33 LDL 122, 98

723519573be05b5edeb0659025b2fcd2

(306)

on November 23, 2012
at 11:23 PM

I lost about 20 pounds (165 to 145). I'm unaware of any studies on the relationship between HDL and Saturated Fat.

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on November 23, 2012
at 02:13 PM

And how does butter raise HDL specifically? Is there any proof or studies done on this?

531b053b68e92ac509fc1544f88dc103

(1205)

on November 23, 2012
at 02:13 PM

Did you lose a lot of weight with these changes?

-2
7c9173082638da87e1f77fc9a390f6db

on November 28, 2012
at 08:06 PM

The first thing to understand is that doctors measure two totally different types of cholesterol in your blood. LDL is the bad or "sticky" cholesterol. Your body makes this from saturated and trans fats. It cannot make HDL cholesterol from that stuff. "Sticky" LDL cholesterol clumps up in your blood (at a microscopic level) and impedes the smooth flow of your blood and makes your heart work harder. HDL, or "good" cholesterol are like microscopic recycling trucks. They help scour your artery walls and break down the sticky stuff.

I'm going to assume you don't smoke. Foods to consume for raising HDL include salmon, sardines, flax seeds. walnuts, avocado, olive oil, cranberries, and even whole wheat. The oils in these are liquid at room temperature, unlike trans fats. Avoid all trans-fats. They are listed on ingredients as "trans-(xxxx), "mono-and-diglycerides", even in some foods for which one small portion has "no trans fat" like it says on the FRONT of the food box.

If you eat out a lot you can't control the types of fats used in stir-frying, sauces, and desserts.

Grass-fed butter, by the way, is not the cause of anyone's raised HDL. Your body can't make HDL from animal-based saturated fats. Doctors will often tell you a health condition is genetic, but is it genetic to not increase your heart rate up for 30 minutes 5 times a week through exercise? Do you chase your kid on her tricycle, mow the lawn, or run a mile after work? Exercise is crucial for keeping your cholesterol numbers in check! If you are already doing all the right things, or cannot for any reason, perhaps you should consult with your physician as well.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:08 AM

In response to the last comment, I've only found that exercise can shift the cholesterol's density. For me anyway the total cholesterol stays constant with exercise.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on November 28, 2012
at 10:08 PM

Your body makes "sticky" cholesterol from saturated fats and trans fats?!?!?!?!?! WRONG. Go back to Paleo101. Do not pass go. Do not collect £200.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on November 29, 2012
at 02:52 AM

Even for someone who believes in traditional, conventional wisdom, what's she's saying is NOT what conventional wisdom says. Saturated fats do increase BOTH HDL and LDL. Trans-fats DECREASE HDL and INCREASE LDL. Mono-unsaturated fats INCREASE HDL and LOWER LDL. Poly-unsaturated fats DECREASE both HDL and LDL. If you were following conventional wisdom, that's where the information would end. But even then, it's not that simple. Most on this board understand the nuances beyond this enough to apply common sense to real data instead of parroting a train wreck of glossed-over misinformation.

028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

(812)

on November 29, 2012
at 04:11 AM

Keep in mind that there is only one kind of cholesterol: C27H46O. LDL is just a carrier that carries cholesterol from liver to blood. Also, trans-fats are usually listed in ingredients as partially hydrogenated xxx oil.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56

(2029)

on December 28, 2012
at 06:24 AM

^^ exactly an example of the nuances I was referring to.

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