3

votes

Why do I have Very Low HDL on a VLC diet?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 12, 2012 at 6:22 PM

For the last 4 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

Does it matter? Does having low trigs and LDL mean that HDL doesn't count for much?

Is there anything I can do about it? I obviously can't cut out any more carbs, and I'm glugging MCT Oil to try and boost my ketosis. Maybe it's just genetics and I'm stuck with it.

5e92edc5a180787a60a252a8232006e9

(345)

on June 12, 2012
at 11:03 PM

I suspect you're not done decreasingyour Trigs yet at 88. If you're doing 20g carbs and stay ketogenic, your trigs will more than likely fall even further (did you fast before your draw) and decrease your TC by 1/5 per each decline.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Good answer. I'll get the cortisol checked. I do wake up at 5am every day feeling stressed, so that might be an issue. My Vit-C levels are probably poor too, I eat some brocolli, but almost no fruit.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Good answer, thanks. Probably not enough vit-c (I eat some brocolli but no fruit). I'll get a cortisol test, and then start supplementing to see if it makes a difference.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 12, 2012
at 07:47 PM

it is kind of unusual, Chris Masterjohn had low LDL too and thought perhaps his was due to a genetic mutation.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on June 12, 2012
at 07:26 PM

Here's a link to a better cholesterol/mortality curve: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-dietary-saturated-fat-increase.html

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on June 12, 2012
at 07:14 PM

Note that that chart includes both developed and undeveloped countries, which is misleading because undeveloped countries have low cholesterol but high mortality primarily due to infectious diseases, not because their cholesterol levels are too low.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:49 PM

Excellent A1c %!!!!! I'm impressed and a little jealous. I wish I could buy willpower in a box...

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:48 PM

Multiple sources state less than 200 is desirable.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:39 PM

MCT oil has been shown to potentially do some wonky things to blood lipids.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:39 PM

MCT oil has been shown to potentially do some wonky things to blood lipids. But I echo Mike T; whachu eating, fergalicious?

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:38 PM

I eat Paleo (lots of grass fed meat), plus lots of heavy cream to fuel my running and ketosis. Vegetables are mainly just salad and spinach (I probably don't eat enough), plenty of avocados and some berries now and again. I don't really know about my pre-Paleo levels, Doc just said that they were good.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:32 PM

My Doctor said: "well done your cholesterol is great". I tried to question him on the HDL, but he just shrugged. British NHS Doctors aren't experts in this stuff...

Ae8946707ddebf0f0bfbcfc63276d823

(9402)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:32 PM

What do you eat? What where your levels like before paleo?

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:24 PM

Same numbers but in SI units: Total = 3.6 mmol/l HDL = 0.9 mmol/l Trigs = 0.99 mmol/l LDL = 2.2 mmol/l

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3 Answers

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1
5e92edc5a180787a60a252a8232006e9

(345)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:54 PM

Your 35 HDL should be seen in the context of only 139 TC. That's about 50 in someone with 200 TC. 63 in someone with 250 TC.

Those in mainstream medicine will argue that with your TC so low, there ins't much that HDL needs to do. So when your TC is 150<, no MD will be concerned with your "low" HDL.

Another side of the coin, though, is that your TC might be a tad low and that perhaps increasigg TC by increasing HDL might be beneficial. For example, cancer tends to strike those with chronically low TC; in such people, the low TC level is seen 10-20 years prior to being diagnosed with cancer. So the key is to see whether you're chronically low in TC.

If you do want to increase your HDL, there is nothing better than HIIT or strenuous exercising. Next comes fish oil, avocadoes, and some claim dry red wine like Pinot Noir and Cabernet.

3
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:28 PM

Whoa. A 140 total cholesterol seems unnaturally low. (Then again, I'm no doctor.)

According to the Total Cholesterol v. Mortality Chart, you are more in danger of dying from everything at that level. From what I understand 220 total (with a good HDL:LDL ratio) is considered "perfect."

I would honestly love to know what a doctor or scientist has to say about levels this low.

61844af1187e745e09bb394cbd28cf23

(11058)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:48 PM

Multiple sources state less than 200 is desirable.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on June 12, 2012
at 07:14 PM

Note that that chart includes both developed and undeveloped countries, which is misleading because undeveloped countries have low cholesterol but high mortality primarily due to infectious diseases, not because their cholesterol levels are too low.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on June 12, 2012
at 07:47 PM

it is kind of unusual, Chris Masterjohn had low LDL too and thought perhaps his was due to a genetic mutation.

211d4075d68b24cd0aa7ebfa94262bb9

on June 12, 2012
at 07:26 PM

Here's a link to a better cholesterol/mortality curve: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/01/does-dietary-saturated-fat-increase.html

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 06:32 PM

My Doctor said: "well done your cholesterol is great". I tried to question him on the HDL, but he just shrugged. British NHS Doctors aren't experts in this stuff...

2
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:41 PM

I think there's evidence that stress related cortisol secretion is a big factor affecting low HDL. If you're able to get a salivary cortisol test done that might be worthwhile.

I've seen evidence that magnesium and vitamin C supplementation (perhaps via their effect on cortisol) may help increase HDL. So I'd be curious to know how much magnesium and vit-c you're getting from your diet now and weather that might help.

Your HDL is probably less of a concern in the context of low LDL and trigs as you say, but still worth watching in my opinion.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 07:58 PM

Good answer, thanks. Probably not enough vit-c (I eat some brocolli but no fruit). I'll get a cortisol test, and then start supplementing to see if it makes a difference.

B3173217a49b5b0116078775a17eb21d

(11488)

on June 12, 2012
at 08:05 PM

Good answer. I'll get the cortisol checked. I do wake up at 5am every day feeling stressed, so that might be an issue. My Vit-C levels are probably poor too, I eat some brocolli, but almost no fruit.

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