2

votes

okay seriously, what are optimal cholesterol/triglyceride levels?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 24, 2012 at 3:47 PM

I just finished the very fine The Perfect Health Diet (PHD) but was left confused wrt what the Jaminets wrote wrt cholesterol levels ... especially as it relates to my situation. My latest cholesterol values: HDL=34, LDL=72, Total Cholesterol=120, Triglycerides=69. Based on PHD my LDL, Total Cholesterol and HDL should all be doubled, and my triglycerides reduced by 20%. However Dr. Joel Fuhrman ("Eat to Live") would probably say my values are near optimal. Both cannot be right. Yet since all cite references to justify their position I don't know what to believe. Can someone help?? I was thinking the only thing wrong with my blood lipids is my HDL, which should be bumped up by 50% ... but overall it's not something to set my hair on fire.

It seems low-ish cholesterol values has been with me for a very long time. I found old blood test reports from the early 1990s which had all values only about 15% higher than my current values. This held true also when I was tested five years ago. But then I went both gluten free and dairy free about 3 years ago, and near 100% Paleo a few months before my latest blood lipid test. So going Paleo reduced my blood lipids by 15%. [I should add that I have never been a big eater of fats/oil/butter. I now cook with coconut oil and use oil olive once in a while.]

So I am either in good shape or I really need to start eating butter by spoonful.

_Lazza

PS - I am a 56 y.o. male, 5'7" and 157#. In good shape, no significant health worries, and not much in the way of a family history of heart disease.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:51 AM

It's funny how you say "no significant health worries"but there is IBS - in our culture this doesn't seem to indicate a significant health worry! I too am successfully dealing with digestion/IBS symptoms and I hope resolving them will bring up my cholesterol.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:53 AM

Another, slightly more techical book along the same lines is "Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You!" by Uffe Ravnskov, MD. Ravnskov wrote a similar book (The Cholesterol Myths) covering an earlier time period, but it's out of print.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Justin, thanks. So it seems high inflammation and gut dysbosis might be causes of low cholesterol. I had IBS for years and only recently had H. Pylori eradicted from my gut. This might explain why my cholesterol levels went 15% lower from already low levels in recent years. I look forward to get retested in a few months.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 24, 2012
at 10:00 PM

I'm enjoying it though I haven't finished it yet, but I find it clear and concise. It's meant for the general public, not the "paleo geek" community (I mean that in the nicest way), so some people may feel spoken down to, but their opinions are backed up with solid citations. It's the kind of book I want to give to my husband and sister-in-law because they are not deep into the science but they desparately need this information.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:45 PM

this............

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:30 PM

Thanks so much! Do you recommend the book?

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:20 PM

There must be a lower limit to optimal total cholesterol.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:18 PM

This is a fruselteratingly rarely discussed topic in the paleosphere. Try googling hypocholesterolemia (don't let autocorrect change it though). Here's another similar question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/37956/my-freakishly-low-cholestrol#axzz2G0Jiw4gN This article (don't know the reputation of source) talks about - low CHO could be sign of inflammation in liver? - hypothyroid problem correlated to inflammation and heart disease? http://syontix.com/part-five-cholesterol-leaky-gut-endotoxemia-and-heart-disease/ Also have seen a few say Iodine for thyroid may also help digestion.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 08:31 PM

Yes, I think this is what the Jaminets wrote in their book. But this doesn't mean they live long because of high cholesterol. It's the old correlation doesn't mean causation rule. George Burns died at 100 smoking cigars all his life. Cigars are probably didn't aid in his longevity.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 08:25 PM

Thanks. Unfortunately, I don't. My family members like are most people in that they don't inquire about cholesterol levels unless a doctor highlights a problem. None of my family members have been on statin drugs.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Oh yeah, I've had the usual gamut of tests done. Liver, kidneys, blood counts are all normal. However I do have an elevated TSH. It was checked twice this year, both times the values were in the 5.x range (free T4 looks good). So I guess I have subclinical hypothyroidism. I really don't have any overt hypothyroid symptoms. If the values remain elevated into 2013 I will get a full thyroid panel done. In response to these TSH levels I've been taking an increasing amount of iodine, up to about 1 mg right now. But thyroid hormone levels are not an indicator of cardiac health, or are they?

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 24, 2012
at 04:35 PM

It's interesting to note that women with the highest cholesterol live the longest. (I assume the same holds true for men.)

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5 Answers

best answer

1
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:25 PM

I'm reading "The Great Cholesterol Myth" by Johnny Bowden and Stephen Sinatra at the moment. They cite multiple studies about the dangers of cholesterol (primarily LDL) that is too low, including increased risk of cancers, increased infection rate, and low LDL makes NO difference as far as cardiovascular risk (in other words, you are not any less likely or more likely to have a cardiovascular event with low LDL).

One of the studies cited was the "Cohort Study of Serum Total Cholesterol" by Iribarren et al, a 15 year study which found that in a group of 100,000 healthy individuals in San Francisco, those who had low cholesterol in the beginning of the study were more likely to be admitted to the hospital for infectuous diseases. The authors believe there is a protective effect to LDL, explaining that you want sufficient LDL to mount a response to infectious agents.

Another study cited was "Effect of the Magnitude of Lipid Lowering on Risk of Elevated Liver Enzymes, Rhabdomyolysis, and Cancer" which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in 2007 by A. Alawi et al. That study found "the risk of cancer is significantly associated with lower acheived LDL cholesterol levels."

HOWEVER, what's healthy in a study of large numbers may not be the same for you as an individual, if low cholesterol is part of your genetic makeup and you have been healthy despite these low numbers. It seems to be a natural state for you, and that may be very different from people who load up on statins to try to get numbers like that. I wouldn't want to see anyone working hard to try to acheive numbers like that, but perhaps they are fine for YOU.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on December 25, 2012
at 02:53 AM

Another, slightly more techical book along the same lines is "Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You!" by Uffe Ravnskov, MD. Ravnskov wrote a similar book (The Cholesterol Myths) covering an earlier time period, but it's out of print.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:30 PM

Thanks so much! Do you recommend the book?

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on December 24, 2012
at 10:00 PM

I'm enjoying it though I haven't finished it yet, but I find it clear and concise. It's meant for the general public, not the "paleo geek" community (I mean that in the nicest way), so some people may feel spoken down to, but their opinions are backed up with solid citations. It's the kind of book I want to give to my husband and sister-in-law because they are not deep into the science but they desparately need this information.

2
705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

on December 24, 2012
at 07:00 PM

Mine has been 110-120 for the past 3 years. Western doctors love it. Homeopathy, acupuncturists, and others interested in optimal health tell me it's much too low - a terrible problem.

So far the best recommendations I've gotten range from elimination diets, liver cleansing, and digestive support (betaine HCL and enzymes). Of course a diet rich in animal fats as well. But eating butter alone may not help if you're not digesting it completely.

Have you had any other blood tests done? Liver health and hormones come to mind. Also there are other non-lipid markers you may want to test for cardiac health.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 11:41 PM

Justin, thanks. So it seems high inflammation and gut dysbosis might be causes of low cholesterol. I had IBS for years and only recently had H. Pylori eradicted from my gut. This might explain why my cholesterol levels went 15% lower from already low levels in recent years. I look forward to get retested in a few months.

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on December 25, 2012
at 05:51 AM

It's funny how you say "no significant health worries"but there is IBS - in our culture this doesn't seem to indicate a significant health worry! I too am successfully dealing with digestion/IBS symptoms and I hope resolving them will bring up my cholesterol.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Oh yeah, I've had the usual gamut of tests done. Liver, kidneys, blood counts are all normal. However I do have an elevated TSH. It was checked twice this year, both times the values were in the 5.x range (free T4 looks good). So I guess I have subclinical hypothyroidism. I really don't have any overt hypothyroid symptoms. If the values remain elevated into 2013 I will get a full thyroid panel done. In response to these TSH levels I've been taking an increasing amount of iodine, up to about 1 mg right now. But thyroid hormone levels are not an indicator of cardiac health, or are they?

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:18 PM

This is a fruselteratingly rarely discussed topic in the paleosphere. Try googling hypocholesterolemia (don't let autocorrect change it though). Here's another similar question: http://paleohacks.com/questions/37956/my-freakishly-low-cholestrol#axzz2G0Jiw4gN This article (don't know the reputation of source) talks about - low CHO could be sign of inflammation in liver? - hypothyroid problem correlated to inflammation and heart disease? http://syontix.com/part-five-cholesterol-leaky-gut-endotoxemia-and-heart-disease/ Also have seen a few say Iodine for thyroid may also help digestion.

1
Cbda678b2a6bf0537d8c4ea0ce8aa9ad

(4319)

on December 24, 2012
at 07:40 PM

Apart from all of the literature, some of it conflicting, there are some basic, general trends and guidelines (not exactly what the government is telling us.)

However, that being said, almost all the serious investigators will place an asterisk somewhere leading to a footnote about genetic anomalies.

When certain people eat a "Paleo" diet, there cholesterol seems to soar. The experts just say "genetic anomaly".

Do you know of any family history in relation to cholesterol levels? It might give a clue and throw some light on this subject for you.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on December 24, 2012
at 08:25 PM

Thanks. Unfortunately, I don't. My family members like are most people in that they don't inquire about cholesterol levels unless a doctor highlights a problem. None of my family members have been on statin drugs.

1
B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on December 24, 2012
at 07:31 PM

Easy. There are no optimum levels. Next question.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:45 PM

this............

-1
A048b66e08306d405986b6c04bf5e8e4

on December 24, 2012
at 09:17 PM

Total cholesterol <200 LDL <100 HDL >50 TGY <150

705e66484ed64fe8e188123de398413e

(1013)

on December 24, 2012
at 09:20 PM

There must be a lower limit to optimal total cholesterol.

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