2

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Hack a newbie's first lab results: what am I doing wrong?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 14, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Hello,

First post from a longstanding lurker. Would love some input. I went primal about three months ago and got some blood work done this week, the results of which are bothering me. I had the lab work done because I was feeling extremely fatigued, I developed a big "beer belly" very quickly (have put on about 11 lbs of weight), and my hair is falling out like crazy. I have also been feeling stressed and very anxious. To sum up: I really feel like crap at the moment.

I do have Hashimoto's and take T3/T4 daily. Oddly enough, the endocrinologist did not test my TSH in this round of lab work (wtf), nor did he check cortisol. I will have to follow up with that.

What disturbs me right now so much is how the levels below have skyrocketed, since changing my dietary habits. I don't believe this is a coincidence. I got the results faxed over so I haven't spoken to the doc yet, but look at this:

  • Cholesterol 253, up from 170
  • LDL 125, up from 76
  • HDL 113, up from 83
  • Triglycerides 73, up from 55
  • My blood pressure was always 100/70 or 100/80, now it was 130/100.

I realise these values are all still on the "safe side." I just don't think it's normal to skyrocket like that within half a year.

I also realise some people with Hashimoto's have higher cholesterol levels, but I never did.

I have been on VLC diets before and never experienced high cholesterol, which some Hashi patients do. I have experienced phases where I had excessive hair loss; these were phases in which my thyroid meds needed to be adjusted. Once they were, my hair was essentially ok again.

I am female, 6'1" and slender despite my hypothyroidism. Well, now I look six months pregnant because of the amount of belly fat that has developed.

I suppose these negative changes can be attributed to going paleo/primal, perhaps in conjunction with Hashimoto's. But I don't really know what I should change (or if I should give it up entirely). So here's how I have been eating, hack away if you wish:

  • I skip breakfast everyday and instead have two mugs of bulletproof coffee. I use about 25g of Kerrygold butter here for both mugs combined.
  • I eat 10 slices of bacon per week, one beef steak a week, a chicken or turkey leg w/skin once a week, and a sausage 1-2 a week. I have wild salmon 3-4 times a week and eat on average 6 eggs per week.
  • I always make vegetables or a salad with these main meals
  • For my lunches at work I usually just have some cheese and meets like parma ham or roast beef, sometimes with some vegetable
  • I consume about 350ml of high fat coconut milk a week
  • I consume 500ml cow's milk a week
  • I consume 500ml goat's milk a week
  • I eat yoghurt everyday and like adding coconut flakes and a little bit of stevia to it
  • I eat a few squares of dark chocolate on some days
  • I eat a lot coconut flakes, add them to fish stir-fries or yoghurt
  • I usually don't snack but if I do it's homemade beef jerky or the coconut flakes
  • I make my own bone broth and use the tallow for cooking
  • Other fats used are coconut oil, ghee, and occasionally leftover bacon grease, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, olive oil and butter.
  • I eat berries a couple of times a week, usually in my yoghurt
  • I stopped drinking beer when I made the primal switch and typically drink red wine now.
  • All foods are organic, all meat products are from pastured regional animals, all dairy is full fat organic
  • My "cheats" would be for example if I go out to eat I might have some potato or a dessert I normally wouldn't have, or a cocktail instead of wine. These cheats have been seldom though, not even once weekly.

I have no issues with dairy. I know this because I have gone without for two months during an elimination process and it had no effect on me. I will continue to consume it.

I haven't been exercising since March, but I still take long walks on the weekends. I work 50-70 hours a week. It's often high stress but I really enjoy what I do.

On the positive side, I hardly ever have gas or stomach issues anymore since going primal. When I was eating grains I always had digestive and bloating problems even thought the docs said I was not gluten intolerant. I'm still often constipated (typical Hashi) but I have the impression that the coconut products are helping to keep me more "regular" now. Also positive is that I have been sleeping like a baby. I don't wake up anymore at night, sleep 6-8 hours, and wake up naturally w/o an alarm clock. (Unfortunately, I am so fatigued upon waking though it's as if I hadn't slept at all.)

So my concern here right now are the cholesterol issues, fatigue, hair loss and belly fat. I simply do not feel good. Has going primal triggered adrenal stress? I imagine I am getting enough carbs what with the vegetables, berries, and occasional cheat. Am I just eating too much fat? I'm not exactly drowning everything in fat and butter, but it has def been a big change because I used to buy only low-fat dairy products. I also never used to eat bacon or fatty cuts of meat, or use animal fats when cooking. Perhaps I should revert to low-fat products, stop putting that tablespoon of oil on my salad, and knock it off with the fatty meats? Is this the reason my cholesterol has climbed so dramatically?

One last detail I should add: I had had a bulletproof coffee the morning I had my blood drawn. There were a few hours in between, but I had definitely consumed about 25g butter that morning. Would that have any effect on the lab results?

Thanks for reading.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 15, 2012
at 05:55 PM

Happy Now, do you have a link to those studies? I've definitely seen that sugar can cause a spike. It makes sense that fat could as well, but I have never seen a actual study.

D638284c3d0d512d503fbe70d45df1f5

on September 15, 2012
at 08:44 AM

My GP measured the same blood pressure recently when I had not had bulletproof coffee prior, so I do find it odd that it's up there now. Will def be discussing readjusting med dosage. Good point about weather sensitivity.

D638284c3d0d512d503fbe70d45df1f5

on September 15, 2012
at 08:39 AM

Agree. Work/life imbalance might be playing a bigger role here than I thought.

D638284c3d0d512d503fbe70d45df1f5

on September 15, 2012
at 08:37 AM

Agree. Will go in fully fasted for the next round.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 15, 2012
at 12:10 AM

It only takes about 6 months of not exercising, not enough sunlight, and a good dose of work stress for most people to put on a potbelly.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 14, 2012
at 11:56 PM

Oh yeah, that isn't a fasting blood test if you had butter. I've seen studies where they tracked blood lipid in the hours following high fat meal, and it does show in the blood.

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on September 14, 2012
at 11:05 PM

Second! Definitely do a genuine fast before re-testing.

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4 Answers

5
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on September 14, 2012
at 11:03 PM

I had had a bulletproof coffee the morning I had my blood drawn. There were a few hours in between, but I had definitely consumed about 25g butter that morning. Would that have any effect on the lab results?

I think that's a distinct possibility. Any chance you can have the labs redrawn while truly fasting before you start worrying about this???

Fb67dc30cead043d1d13ea503a3044dc

(3280)

on September 14, 2012
at 11:05 PM

Second! Definitely do a genuine fast before re-testing.

D638284c3d0d512d503fbe70d45df1f5

on September 15, 2012
at 08:37 AM

Agree. Will go in fully fasted for the next round.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 14, 2012
at 11:56 PM

Oh yeah, that isn't a fasting blood test if you had butter. I've seen studies where they tracked blood lipid in the hours following high fat meal, and it does show in the blood.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 15, 2012
at 05:55 PM

Happy Now, do you have a link to those studies? I've definitely seen that sugar can cause a spike. It makes sense that fat could as well, but I have never seen a actual study.

3
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on September 15, 2012
at 12:45 AM

Cholesterol panel must be taken FASTED

1
Ff1dbd6cecad1e69a8234fb2c2c5c5ed

(1409)

on September 15, 2012
at 05:10 AM

Apart from the problem of the butter before the test, you could try upping your thyroid meds. Your symptoms sound seriously hypothyroid and lab values may not always tell the truth. And like your doctor, I don't believe in TSH when taking thyroid meds.

I have Hashimoto's and my paleo-friendly doctor makes me take a crapload of natural thyroid: "Up your dose until you feel good." And don't forget that many people need a higher dose as outside temperatures go down.

And about the elevated blood pressure after bulletproof coffee: are your really surprised?

D638284c3d0d512d503fbe70d45df1f5

on September 15, 2012
at 08:44 AM

My GP measured the same blood pressure recently when I had not had bulletproof coffee prior, so I do find it odd that it's up there now. Will def be discussing readjusting med dosage. Good point about weather sensitivity.

1
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on September 14, 2012
at 10:58 PM

Get a sleep study and get tested for sleep apnea.

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