high hemoglobin? and high cholesterol?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 11, 2011 at 3:43 PM

I just had some bloodwork done, and my hemoglobin came back - high, around 15.6 (i'm a 28 year old female). Is this cause for concern? is this related to the paleo diet? is it related to high cholesterol? any idea as to the cause? I'm normal weight, and have been paleo since June. My cholesterol levels were also high:

TC: 294 LDL 222 HDL: 44 Tri: 138

Should I be concerned about these levels as well?

I'm 5'7 and between 135-140lbs. but i would say i'm probably 30% bodyfat if i had to guess - in other words i could use to lose ten or so pounds of fat. I try to fast most mornings, eat mainly high quality grass fed protein and some veg w/ butter, good fats, small amounts of fruits/nuts, eggs, bacon, the usual suspects. have been at this for 4 months - occasional non paleo meals (ie once every couple weeks), some wine. Prior to eating paleo i would call my self a sugar addict - wheat was part of every meal - and i was never interested in protein or fat...have always been a "normal" body weight - (yet never appropriately lean) due to competitive sports through college.


on October 11, 2011
at 04:49 PM

yes, there is no way for us to give advice unless we know what your diet and health background is. What are you macronutrient ratios? Were you overweight? What was your diet like before paleo?



on October 11, 2011
at 04:16 PM

What is your typical diet like? Are you overweight? Personally, I'd be more concerned about high trigs and low HDL.

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6 Answers



on October 13, 2011
at 01:39 AM

That's interesting. I'm male, 36yo, 212 lbs and 6' tall. My doctor ran the usual blood work and it came with hemoglobin at 15.8g/dL and unusually high TC 290, LDL 213, HDL 55, Trig 109. As I understand the wacky cholesterol numbers are can be explained by my (continuing) weight loss - I've lost about 40 pounds in last 7 months of Paleo diet.



on June 07, 2012
at 02:07 PM

The latest research paper I read suggested that 200 was a healthy level, especially given there are at least three different kinds of LDL, and only one leads to coronary risk -contrary to the rabbiting of doctors etc. There are also two kinds of HDL. One could always try and include more fish/nuts if one wanted to mitigate a coronary risk, that probably doesnt exist unless your cholesterol is ultra-high.

Going on the fact that there are two forms of HDL, and three or more of LDL, these numbers dont mean much in terms of health risk.

As I said, you can always up your mono-unsaturateds, and poly-unsaturateds versus your saturateds by intaking more nuts, fish, and replace some farm based beef with game meats (more evenly distributed than farm raised beef) and free range chicken. If indeed you buy that too much saturated fat is bad

(well, its not proven at all, but its a given that wild animals have a more even, 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 portion of saturated, versus mono, and poly fats, so true paleo should de-emphasise saturated fat high farm beef and re-emphasise some game meats, fowl/chicken and fish/seafood for true 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 balance of fats like wild animals have...)

They again, polynesians eat loads of coconut which is high in saturated fat (but then they also didnt have red meat, only fish during their "healthy" period). I still tend to think, that we should eat way more fat than the western recommendations - like 45-55 of our caloric intake, but that it should probably be more like wild game -1/3, 1/3, 1/3, unlike the modern farm raised beef..

(this is all stuff ive been researching recently, so may not be entirely coherent)

As for the hemaglobin I am not so familiar.

" find out what the particle size breakdown is"

Cant be done. Only one machine in the world can detect the different densities of LDL, and thus if you actually have an issue or not. Theres also apparently two forms of HDL, so these two doctors blood tests are next to useless except as very general vague guidelines....



on April 26, 2012
at 05:18 PM

Third story similar. Female, 27, 15.5 hemoglobin. But I was anemic 1 year ago and taking corvite. I think that was a mistake as from I have read iron can be inflammatory (treats a condition but not the cause-poor diet.) I quit taking corvite about 1.5 months through my course of pills. So I don't know if it is entirely attributable to that. any other females willing to report? It's crazy too bc I am Asian and have heard Asians run low in hemoglobin...


on November 10, 2011
at 10:17 PM

I have a really similar story--I'm 25, 5'6-5'7, 145-150 lbs, been paleo for about 5 months and have always been in a normal weight range. I just donated blood and my hemoglobin was 15.7. Mayo clinic says, for females, numbers above 15.5 denote high hemoglobin... and then list a bunch of causes which I'm pretty sure aren't applicable. Dehydration is my best guess, if anything--because I'm not the most diligent water drinker. But that's not much to go on. I'm not worried, just also curious.


on October 27, 2011
at 03:43 AM

I just had some bloodwork done, and my hemoglobin came back - high, around 15.6 (i'm a 28 year old female). Is this cause for concern?

Probably Not. Is your hematocrit listed? Typically it is @3 times hemoglobin; if it's under 50 you are fine--high normal is good for both...

TC: 294 LDL 222 HDL: 44 Tri: 138 Should I be concerned about these levels as well?

The tris are a bit high if this was taken fasted, if not, retake while fasted. Get a real, not estimated LDL, and find out what the particle size breakdown is...I'm sure William Davis' blog has info on specific test names to ask for...


on October 27, 2011
at 02:57 AM

It's probably due to not drinking enough fluid. I assume you don't smoke or do drugs. I would retest. If you're still high, I would take the VAP test and make sure your Lp(a) isn't high. Since your LDL and trigs are coming up high, you could use the test anyway.

Meantime, I would incorporate fish oil, just in case. Make sure you're not dehydrated when drawing blood.

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