1

votes

Why is my HDL not going up?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 04, 2012 at 6:44 PM

Up until last June, I was severely obese - 73 inches, 295 pounds, BMI of 39.

In May, I read Gary Taubes' books.

I gave myself a glucose-tolerance test, and peaked at 177 an hour after eating 70 grams of bread, easily high enough to indicate insulin resistance. Which shouldn't have been a surprise. I had been on blood pressure meds for a number of years, my fasting glucose levels over that time had ranged from the high 90's to the low 100's, and I had a pretty noticeable case of Acanthosis Nigricans - not just under my armpits, but showing as a dark discoloration around my eyes and on my forehead.

My physician didn't say a word. He did an A1C, back in 2008, and that came back as 5.6, which he didn't seem to think was a problem. But in 2008, my weight was 250, and I generally felt healthy. By 2011, my weight was up over 290, and I felt like I was dying.

So, in June, I started low carb. At the beginning of July I had blood work done. My A1C was up to 5.8 - which I thought mostly reflective of my eating patterns prior to beginning low carb. I had A1C done again, at the end of September, and it was 5.2. I had it done this morning, and it was 5.1. I'm happy with that, and am fairly confident I have my blood sugar and insulin levels under control.

My weight, since June, is down to 235, and I am continuing to lose at 10-12 pounds/month. And I'm thrilled with that.

But my lipids are another matter. My cholesterol had always been moderately high, my HDLs low, and my triglycerides problematic. My last numbers from before I started low-carb are from June 2011:

2011/06/17: TC: 197, HDL: 32, LDL: 138, TAG: 135

The numbers from July were an improvement:

2012/07/05: TC: 178, HDL: 33, LDL: 127, TAG: 92

I had my physician test them again in August, and he was concerned, but I was not:

2012/08/27: TC: 212, HDL: 36, LDL: 158, TAG: 92

He was looking at the increase in LDL, and the TC/HDL ratio, which went from 5.4 to 5.9. But I was looking at the ATG/HDL ratio, which went from 2.8 to 2.6, the lowest it had ever been. (n 2010, it was 7.4, where >6 is bad and <2 is good.)

But since then, things have gone screwy. A local pharmacy started offering lipid tests, and a month ago, and again this morning, I had the tests done. My HDL is declining:

2012/09/28: TC: 248, HDL: 31, LDL: 197, TAG: 102
2012/11/05: TC: 234, HDL: 28, LDL: 188, TAG: 92

Now this is is a different process, so it's possible that the numbers aren't directly comparable to those from my physician. And the increase in TC and LDL doesn't directly concern me. But I'm seeing a decline in HDL, and that does concern me. It was too low to begin with, and after six months of low-carb and exercise, I'd have expected to see it improve. And I did, for a while. But I'm not seeing it, now.

Any ideas as to what could be going on?

8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on August 29, 2013
at 02:36 AM

I see there have been some new responses to this old thread. My HDL did eventually come up some - latest was 57. More importantly, my OGTT has improved significantly - in January I peaked at 131, this July at 114.

D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3

(455)

on August 29, 2013
at 01:43 AM

I third this. My HDL was lower than I liked (around 50) until I started consuming about 2-4 tablespoons of coconut oil a day. I also consume about 3 tbsp of grass fed butter a day. Now my HDL is 69 - 71 and has stayed that high for several months.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on August 28, 2013
at 08:22 PM

Moi aussi. Just a couple of tablespoons a day will do it.

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on November 04, 2012
at 10:07 PM

Seems worth trying adding a daily tablespoon of coconut oil to your diet to see what happens. Make sure your meats (the beef & pork esp) are from healthy sources, and don't cut off all the fat and don't use the leanest cuts. And if it were me, I'd use less olive oil & more butter, preferably butter from grass fed cows. I am guessing I went from a diet that was about 30% fat to a diet that is closer to 60% fat, with an emphasis on saturated fat. My HDL went up slowly though -- took a bit over a year to go up 20 points.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 04, 2012
at 09:52 PM

My HDL started going up while I was still obese and diabetic, but had started walking to work. I guess it works differently for everyone.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on November 04, 2012
at 09:31 PM

I second this..

8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on November 04, 2012
at 09:24 PM

I am losing weight, and I've eliminated the unhealthy carbs and oils and I've significantly increased my level of exercise - and I'm not seeing my HDL improve. I'm wondering what else might be blocking it.

8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on November 04, 2012
at 08:11 PM

How much coconut oil?

8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on November 04, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Breakfast is bacon and an omelet cooked in bacon fat. Lunch is beef, pork, or salmon, sous-videded than lightly grilled w/out added oil, and steamed vegetables w/olive oil. Dinner is usually grilled chicken on a spinach salad, w/olive oil. At home, I'll use butter rather than olive oil on my vegs. I am not using vegetable oils, or any processed foods to which the manufacturer might add vegetable oils.

  • 8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

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7 Answers

best answer

0
Db402cd643962411a5adadc32f486d99

on August 28, 2013
at 06:23 PM

It does take a little time for the result of your efforts to be seen in your lipid levels. So hang in there and see what it looks like 5-6 months from the beginning of your efforts. Also, I went from having an HDL of 46 to an HDL of 68. Only thing I think I really did differently was that I started eating a flax seed muffin for breakfast that you can mix up in a coffee cup and microwave. Tastes great, low carb and it is loaded with Omega 3's. I also slather my muffin with lots of butter and the recipe calls for a teaspoon of coconut oil in it. Here is the recipe for the muffin:

http://www.drozfans.com/dr-oz-recipes/dr-oz-miracle-microwave-muffin-jorges-lemon-limeade-recipe/

2
76211ec5301087de2588cfe3d6bccba9

(1178)

on November 04, 2012
at 07:58 PM

I am pretty sure that loading up on coconut oil and butter is what sent my HDL up

8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on November 04, 2012
at 08:11 PM

How much coconut oil?

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on November 04, 2012
at 09:31 PM

I second this..

D396b126240f584bc358e6e4fd84e9e3

(455)

on August 29, 2013
at 01:43 AM

I third this. My HDL was lower than I liked (around 50) until I started consuming about 2-4 tablespoons of coconut oil a day. I also consume about 3 tbsp of grass fed butter a day. Now my HDL is 69 - 71 and has stayed that high for several months.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac

(2506)

on August 28, 2013
at 08:22 PM

Moi aussi. Just a couple of tablespoons a day will do it.

1
Cbda678b2a6bf0537d8c4ea0ce8aa9ad

(4319)

on November 04, 2012
at 08:41 PM

Me too, vis-a-vis the intake of good fats, my HDL went from 37 to 57. But it appears to be stuck there. this year is was at 55...

0
782d92f4127823bdfb2ddfcbcf961d0e

on August 28, 2013
at 10:14 PM

Check your vitamin D level.

0
A9590f19f2c150d5cbaeac2745443046

on August 28, 2013
at 08:01 PM

As you are losing weight I reckon your metabolism might still be adjusting and this can increase your lipid profile because the body is getting rid of fat. I suggest you do a new test once you have stabilise your weight to what you want it to be.

0
Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 04, 2012
at 08:40 PM

My HDL went from the mid 30's in 2006 to mid 80's by 2008 and I'm maintaining at that level. I attribute most of this to daily walking (5-10 miles) but contributing factors also included weight loss and reducing my high glycemic carb consumption.

8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on November 04, 2012
at 09:24 PM

I am losing weight, and I've eliminated the unhealthy carbs and oils and I've significantly increased my level of exercise - and I'm not seeing my HDL improve. I'm wondering what else might be blocking it.

Medium avatar

(10611)

on November 04, 2012
at 09:52 PM

My HDL started going up while I was still obese and diabetic, but had started walking to work. I guess it works differently for everyone.

0
366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on November 04, 2012
at 07:20 PM

What fats do you eat / cook with?

I can't say for certain what brought my HDL up 20 points, but I assume it is replacing industrial seed oils (canola, soybean oil, etc) with butter and ghee and coconut oil and bacon fat, and raising my fat intake in general. I do also still use olive oil for salad dressings.

I also take fermented cod liver oil, which presumably might help too, and another factor might be switching to grass fed beef & dairy products, which supposedly have a better omega 3 / omega 6 ratio.

366c23d69eadce094a2b22299c58a424

(2988)

on November 04, 2012
at 10:07 PM

Seems worth trying adding a daily tablespoon of coconut oil to your diet to see what happens. Make sure your meats (the beef & pork esp) are from healthy sources, and don't cut off all the fat and don't use the leanest cuts. And if it were me, I'd use less olive oil & more butter, preferably butter from grass fed cows. I am guessing I went from a diet that was about 30% fat to a diet that is closer to 60% fat, with an emphasis on saturated fat. My HDL went up slowly though -- took a bit over a year to go up 20 points.

8af1e83ec3ea5a39f050baf362708a78

(253)

on November 04, 2012
at 08:10 PM

Breakfast is bacon and an omelet cooked in bacon fat. Lunch is beef, pork, or salmon, sous-videded than lightly grilled w/out added oil, and steamed vegetables w/olive oil. Dinner is usually grilled chicken on a spinach salad, w/olive oil. At home, I'll use butter rather than olive oil on my vegs. I am not using vegetable oils, or any processed foods to which the manufacturer might add vegetable oils.

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