I have really high cholesterol that seems to just keep climbing. More deets at this question posted a couple of days ago, but basically, in September my cholesteral was in the mid 200's, a few weeks later in the low 300s, and then on Nov 2 it's at about 400 (per a VAP).
My LDL is primarily large and bouyant. My trigs are low (69, down from 87) and have been on a downward curve. My HDL is going up (currently 89).
Have been Paleo since late summer after coming off of lots of whole grain goodness (ha!). Have lost almost 30 pounds since August, and I know from Dr. Davis's blog that recent weight loss can muck with your lipids.
My HS-CRP was .2 in September.
I had a CT Heart Scan and just got the results back. Zero plaque.
So that's all good.
Except for that cholesterol number: 407. Wow.
I went over to Chris Kresser's I Have High Cholesterol And I Don't Care post, and in response to a comment, he points out:
Chris Kresser September 20, 2011 at 7:25 am High cholesterol levels can be a marker for an underlying problem that should be investigated, and there are genetic conditions (like familial hypercholesterolemia) that cause very high cholesterol levels regardless of diet/lifestyle. Each person/case needs to be approached individually.
Similarly, Jaminet talks about how even puffy LDL is a sign that something's up, as it's sent out almost like little soldier's to fix stuff.
I don???t want to exaggerate the state of the literature here: this is a surprisingly poorly investigated area. But I believe these things:
Cholesterol and LDL particles are part of the vascular wound repair process.
Very high LDL levels are a marker of widespread vascular injury.
Now this is not the ???lipid hypothesis.??? Compare the two views:
The lipid hypothesis: LDL cholesterol causes vascular injury. My view: LDL cholesterol is the ambulance crew that arrives at the scene of the crime to help the victims. The lipid hypothesis is the view that ambulance drivers should be arrested for homicide because they are commonly found at murder scenes.
Makes sense to me, and I'm sure my total cholesterol number is being driven up by my very high LDL number. (Also, I think I'm one of those people whose serum cholesterol is affected by their dietary cholesterol, as when I was low-fat, my cholesterol was in the low-normals. Thank goodness we got our life insurance policies before I want paleo!!).
My CRP is .2, though, so that seems to contraindicate inflammation.
So what's inflammatory in me...and how do I fix it?
Also, somewhere else on that same post, Kresser responds to someone by saying that an inflammatory condition could raise cholesterol, and that an autoimmune issue could be an inflammatory condition.
I have an autoimmune condition: idiopathic thrombocytopaenia purpora (basically, my body makes antibodies against my platelets). I had my spleen removed in 1987 to treat after steroid therapy failed. My platelet count is now and has been (even through pregnancy) on the high side of normal.
I'm wondering what the take-away from all of this is.
a) Do I need to worry about the high cholesterol? (considering no plaque and puffy, I'm inclined to think no, especially since I'm female and according to Kresser's blog/podcast, high cholesterol in women doesn't seem to correlate to heart disease. But does it show that I have something else going on inside...., the inflammation???).
b) if I do need to worry about it, how do I address it?
Do I (1) use supplements to try to lower the LDL (like Jaminet suggests, i.e., copper)? Seems to me that if it is inflammation, I don't want to arbitrarily lower the "paramedics" in my blood. So does that mean I need to do Robb Wolf's autoimmune protocol (no eggs, dairy, nightshades?). I could, but I really don't want to, and I'm not sure what the benefit would be unless there is a "problem" with the high cholesterol number, which takes us back to the first question. (And, yeah, I love eggs. The others I could give up pretty easily, but eggs would be very, very hard.)
Bottom line questions:
In light of the rising HDL, falling trigs and Puffy LDL, and zero Heart Scan score, how concerned should I be about that total cholesterol number?
How do I isolate the source of the inflammation, if that is what's causing the total number to be so high? Could it even be inflammation with a .2 CRP score?
What are folks thoughts on the impact of an autoimmune condition that is non-symptomatic b/c of the spleenectomy?
In light of the weight loss, should I just wait another 6 months and test again to see if things settle? I'm pretty much at goal weight, so there won't be a continuing drop in weight.
Thanks mucho much!
(other potentially relevant info: I eat pretty low carb - maybe 10/15%. Fats primarily from coconut oil, eggs and grassfed beef or fish (usually wild caught) or lard. For the first month of paleo I supp'd with Fish Oil. Now, I take cod liver oil if we eat restaurant steak, but we eat mostly at home and grassfed beef. I generally avoid nuts. I don't use much olive oil and no vegetable oils at all. I cook with tumeric. I drink a lot of coffee, but also a lot of green tea. I supplement D3 and K2 and magnesium regularly. Sometimes Selenium and Copper. I use butter sometimes, but not often, usually in sauteed veggies b/c the kids don't like them w/o. Some heavy cream, but not much.)
asked byPaleo_ish (305)
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on November 18, 2011
at 04:01 PM
I would have guessed that you eat lots of butter and heavy cream, but you say at the end that you don't.
Yes 407 is high, but remember that it is still not completely understood what is optimal, if there even is such a thing.
You have some seriously strong positives working in your favor:
- Rockstar HDL (which, of course, is a big chunk of your total)
- Large "Type A" particles, which is still generally believed to be better than small dense.
- Low Trigs. In fact, your HDL is higher than your trigs. That's very good.
- Zero plaque shown on scan
- .2 CRP, which is on the floor
If you feel excellent, and have a healthy body weight and are happy, you could:
A. Do nothing... Rock on.
B. Try to reduce your LDL by reducing LDL raising foods like dairy and eggs and possibly coconut oil.
If you try to reduce your LDL, and notice and increase in trigs, decrease in HDL, and other markers going the "wrong" direction, it is then that I would step back and seriously consider that maybe your body is happy in a higher cholesterol range than others.
on November 18, 2011
at 04:09 PM
I second Jack's response. Cholesterol has for a very long time been a "devil term." We continue to hear about the importance of "reducing cholesterol," regardless of other factors, hence the quick-flinch response is pretty well ingrained in most of us. Just for a sense of proportion, suggest you Google something like "benefits of cholesterol," if only to remind oneself about the role played by cholesterol in health.
on November 19, 2011
at 08:04 PM
Your cholesterol is way too high. There are a lot of cholesterol skeptics these days, but low cholesterol is better. That is how we evolved: http://hanswuhealth.blogspot.com/2011/11/cholesterol-targets.html
on November 19, 2011
at 03:03 PM
I would consider the possibility of inflammation. If Dr. K wasn't on vacation he probably would agree.
Have you been tested for gut issues? In my case we've been working on getting h. Pylori and unidentified (non-candida) yeast/fungus overgrowth and leaky gut under control. I have no obvious gut symptoms, just high LDL, high FBG and weight loss plateau and osteoarthritis.
Metametrix GI Effects is a good test.
on April 24, 2013
at 06:53 AM
Hello, Yes, cholesterol which increase Obesity is associated chronic inflammation contributes to metabolic dysfunction and propagates atherosclerosis. There is bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. So you have to eat food which has good cholesterol like nuts, flax seeds and fishes. If you are habitual of snacking so always try to take healthy snacks like salad, vegan bars etc. my friend suggested me about sheffafoods. Then I tried it. It is good site for healthy snacks and as well as they are very tasty. They also provide salad sprinkle which make your simple salad tasty. For this you can try sheffafoods site.
on April 10, 2013
at 04:53 AM
Although in your case (with low heart scan score), it may not be indicative of heart risk, but a high 400 cholestrol is indicative of something out-of-balance in the body and needs to be investigated.
Since you have autoimmune condition, you should get tested for gluten sensitivity and sensitivity to gluten-cross reactive foods (which includes eggs). Continuing to consume foods in which you are sensitive to results in inflammation. As others have mentioned, the inflammation can be the cause of high cholesterol.
Another point is going too low carb can raise cholesterol due to low carb decreasing thyroid function and reducing LDL receptor activity. More about that written here: http://blissfulwriter.hubpages.com/hub/The-Case-for-Safe-Starch