Vegan for 5 years paleo for two month and my i am worried about the climb in my cholesterol
Male Age: 26 Weight: 147 Height: 6'2"
Total CHO: 316
LDL = 204 HDL = 104
I eat a strict paleo high fat diet and am very active, should i be worried about high cholesterol numbers?
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That is really high HDL, are you sure you were completely fasted? And didn't have coffee with cream or coconut oil the morning of the test? The test is meaningless if you've eaten recently.
If going by the standard that it is the ratio that matters, you are golden. 3.5:1 ldl:hdl or less is supposed to be good, and your ratio is 2:1.
There are schools of thought that question whether HDL is really as protective as we've been led to believe though, so if total cholesterol is really high, it could be that something is not quite right. There are certain illnesses associated with super high HDL.
There can also be transient hypercholesterolemia when your body is repairing itself, and/or shifting to a decrease in body fat, which I would guess is what you are experiencing, since you are only 2 months in. If you can afford more testing, keep doing what you are doing, and ask for another test in 6 months to a year. Chances are the cholesterol will have stabilized on its own, and if not, you can then make the changes needed.
If it makes you nervous though, Akman is right on about the resistant starch/fiber, and you can add that right now. (Green bananas and raw potatoes sound kind of nasty to me. Why? Blarg. Lots of onion, cold rice and potato salad are good enough for me.)
If you test again and are still high you might have familial hypercholesterolemia, which is kind of wrapped in controversy about the appropriate treatment. Do some people need more cholesterol to synthesize vitamin D better if their ancestors lived in lower light conditions? Or is it just a crappy roll of the dice, leaving some people with fewer receptors for the circulating cholesterol, and drastic measures (i.e. statins) must be taken to keep levels lower and protect health?
Sadly, you might find that bacon is not your friend. My family, while doing awesome on paleo, the three of us who have taken it up have found that we have to be careful with pork fat for some reason, but do great on tallow, butter, eggs, shellfish, etc. Why? I have no idea, but it does seem to make a big difference come testing time.
Your cholesterol is high but it's not as alarming as someone with 300+ cholesterol largely due to high LDL. You're high because of your HDL and high enough (but not that high) LDL. The simplest explanation is your genes; you probably have ApoE4 and your LDL goes up by reacting to high fat.
First, I would look at past records:
(1) was your HDL always this high? If so, it's you genes and your total cholesterol will always be somewhat elevated because high HDL converts 1 to 1 to total cholesterol.
(2) How was your LDL on a vegan or standard American diet? If it's your ApoE4, they were probably significantly lower. In that case, I would cut down on eggs, red meat, up the starches and introduce vegies.
(3) If your LDL was at similar levels before, then it could be FH. But still, your LDL isn't really that high; I mean, not like Jimmy Moore. And the distinction between Friedenwald and the Iranian derivation is meaningless here: your reported LDL of 204 is right in the middle of the two. Whether it's 180 or 240, they're high enough but I would do a retest and confirm that it's 200+ once more.
If I had to bet my money, it would be (2). Increase your yams, sweet potatoes, white rice, etc. Introduce fibrous and green vegetables; right now you're not consuming any. Cut down on high SaFA foods. This happens in 1 out of 4 and it's probably extreme reactions like these that convinced doctors to conclude that high fat = high cholesterol = heart disease. Thankfully, the opposite is true for the majority, i.e., 3 out of 4. But it's always the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
I'd try to get a full thyroid panel and also hormonal panel, you might find some clues there. Despite your cholesterol numbers... how are you feeling? Have you been very stressed at any level? Physical or psychical?
If you're at least a little bit like me, you might probably have ditched Veganism because you suspected it was not doing good on you (why change if working fine?) so that's why I ask.
If you carry some form of hormonal imbalance, stress, fatigue, leaky gut, or a combination of many... that could have an impact on your cholesterol numbers.
My understanding as a layperson is that when cholesterol is high is either because is fighting some serious inflammation or it cannot be used to generate the hormone cascade that is expected to be done by using LDL. You might find poor thyroid status (maybe normal TSH, T4 and T3 levels but poor conversion to final free T3) also you could find low testosterone and probably low Vitamin D.
Cortisol can be a key role player in this blockade, so that's why I ask about stress. But many other things could be. Going too low carb is reported to many to impair cholesterol uptake to make T3 according to the Jaminets and many others. This has been discussed here on PH many times if you want to give it a look.
Maybe just eating too much fat and no use for it so cutting back a little could help, and no real need to worry.
Are you feeling all right in the end?
Yes you should, and here's why. The only thing you probably had right while vegan was a healthy gut flora from all the plant fiber. Healthy gut flora is paramount to healthy levels of cholesterol. When going paleo, many people ditch the fibrous plants and gut flora starves, leading to leaky gut and high cholesterol.
Ensure you eat plenty of inulin and resistant starch. Eat onions, garlic, leeks, legumes (prepared carefully) as well as green bananas, cold or raw potatoes, and cold rice. These foods will give you the 20-40g/day of prebiotics you need for a healthy gut and low cholesterol. Don't be fooled by the paleo meme that high cholesterol is normal and good--it's normal, all right--but not good. Eat the right fiber and watch your ldl plummet!
"The test is meaningless if you've eaten recently."
Incorrect. Fasting or not fasting only impacts your triglycerides, not your LDL/HDL numbers.
The Harvard Medical School says: "Incidentally, although eating before the test doesn't affect total cholesterol or HDL levels to any great extent, levels can be lowered by stress (physical or psychological) or infection." Here's the link: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Which_cholesterol_test_should_you_get.htm
I guess some of us just manufacture more cholesterol from all the saturated fat we eat. I guess you could try mufa fat or little less fat and retest.
Your levels seem to be a little higher that they should but here are my thoughts..
You say you are an active person and you still have bad test results?
- I would double check the food you eat. Just because it sounds healthy it does not need to be like that
Also it could be just your genes man. It would be good if you could research on that just so you know. And maybe to get more vitamin rich fluids ...
Keep running and I keep looking on how to lower cholesterol
I really wish the Vegan community was more open and honest about the pitfalls of their diet. It may be possible that you've acquired a copper imbalance. Copper is a very important modifier of our lipid metabolism.
So if your levels don't end up normalizing and you'd like to keep eating that way, it may be something you can look into further. Here's a couple of articles that may interest you: