3

votes

Surprising cholesterol results after more paleo-ing: huge jump in LDL

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 14, 2010 at 3:18 PM

I started paleo about 3 years ago. I'm in my late 20's and am fairy active w/ 12% body fat.

I've been even more paleo in the last year (rendering my own pastured pork fat for lard, eating lots of coconut fat instead of olive oil), eating lots of fattier cuts of grassfed beef. I've also minimized my grain, alcohol and sugar intake in a big way. Dairy (mostly grassfed) is still in the picture.

My weight and body comp haven't changed at all. I just feel less congested from eliminating wheat and now have more stable blood sugar (minimal hunger swings).

Out of curiousity, I got some bloodwork done. Everything else was the same from a year ago (HDL=50, TG=80) but my TC jumped 80 points as did my LDL (I doubt they measure LDL directly but the Friedwald and Iranian calculations give similar LDL of ~150). I had expected HDL to jump and LDL to go down further!

Of course I have no idea what the particle size of this LDL is but I could spend $70 on that test. Folks like KGH would probably just say "who cares" since I'm not consuming wheat or fructose thus avoiding oxidized and small LDL. I could be all large and fluffy...

Also, I ate a pound of uncured Niman bacon before starting my 12 overnight hour fast. Could that have thrown anything off?

D251185e140e7f3d8df603a08fdbeabd

(95)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:19 PM

I've never seen these ratios referenced. Does anyone have more info? I'd be interested in learning more, because suddenly I'm pretty close to "ideal"!

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 15, 2010
at 06:39 PM

Not that HDL is a holy grail, but which lab markers are better predictors than TG/HDL-C? I'm not familiar this stuff, and am curious if there's things I should have measured down the road.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 15, 2010
at 03:44 PM

Kamal, there are hundreds of predictors of heart attack risk, many of them much more predictive than cholesterol levels. But big pharma only focuses on those that they can sell you medications for. LDL and HDL are vehicles for carrying cholesterol through the blood. The only diff is where they are carrying the cholesterol towards. Some docs have gotten it in their head that HDL can suck cholesterol out of plaque, but there is no evidence for this and seems biologically unlikely. Certain patterns of eating tend to result in certain cholesterol patterns. But IMO eating=more impt part!

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on October 15, 2010
at 10:43 AM

I would freak out at this point if I found my cholesterol levels to be in the low zone - my (step-) grandmother was always harping on about how my grandpa likes his butter and steak, whilst she loved margarine and tiny bits of chicken on occasion, and how her blood test results were 'so great' = low. And then she had a stroke. And another. And a really big one. And now she's bound to a wheelchair. Meanwhile, my 80+yr old grandpa is still completely healthy and mobile, and carries grandma around all the time. But in case it's just genes, I'm glad he's my blood relative, and she's not!

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on October 15, 2010
at 10:39 AM

Everything and nothing can affect those results - if it's free and convenient. I'd wait a week and go get your figures checked again. I've seen others do this and received wildly different results. I also read of one guy who had two samples drawn, and sent each one to a different lab. Result - wildly different results. After two tests, if you're still worried, then the $80 seems like a fair price for a bit of stress relief.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 15, 2010
at 02:51 AM

TG/HDL is one of the stronger predictors of heart attack risk, right?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 15, 2010
at 02:28 AM

HDL is probably also just a correlational aspect. Might be interesting to see how strong a predictor it really is. My guess is it is a weak predictor compared to many other things.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 15, 2010
at 02:26 AM

Scott, I think also you really will want to research LDL and the research (or lack thereof) that actually links it to increased liklihood of heart probs. There is no link between LDL and plaque build up yet found. Small correlation with high LDL and CHD, but also there is a correlation between LOW cholesterol and cancer.Having low cholesterol is more dangerous than having high cholesterol. You have neither super low nor super high. I would not worry if I were you. Instead, put your emphasis on avoiding the many causes of artery damage like high blood sugar, smoking, stress, etc.

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 09:39 PM

Yeah i'll probably do that. Do you think pounding all that bacon the day before could have skewed the test? I normally don't indulge that much!

93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on October 14, 2010
at 06:35 PM

Shooting from the hip, your TGs seem high. You should just cough up the $80 and do the Lipoprofile test. And then report back. :)

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 14, 2010
at 05:48 PM

Ah, I never considered predisposition to low HDL. It might be worth it to try a before and after trial with consistent fish oil. Just kidding about the cigarettes...I doubt anyone on here smokes (much).

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 04:14 PM

Thanks for the insight. So perhaps I increased the average LDL particle size over the past year (since indirect LDL jumped by 80) which means that my risk factors have gone down overall? I guess the only way to know is a deeper LDL profile.

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 04:13 PM

HDL staying the same surprised me too. Note that my HDL was in the 30's a few years ago before starting paleo. So maybe I'm just predisposed to a lower HDL? I've been inconsistent w/ fish oil so maybe I need to be better about that? Never touched a cigarette in my life.

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 04:12 PM

Also, the doc wants me to see a nutritionist due to my elevated cholesterol. I'm not sure I can handle that.

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 04:11 PM

HDL staying the same surprised me too. Note that my HDL was in the 30's a few years ago before starting paleo. So maybe I'm just predisposed to a lower HDL? Never touched a cigarette in my life...

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3 Answers

5
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 14, 2010
at 03:29 PM

CHolesterol tests can vary as much as 50% from one lab to another. There is also a large variation from one day to another. I wouldn't judge much on one test. Also, since this was not a direct measure, you may actually have a smaller number of LDL particles but if they are lighter and fluffier, they will skew your test to make it look like you have more. Because they don't know particle size, so they just go by volume and then guess the number of particles. Also, if you look at the research, low cholesterol is bad for you. LDL is directly involved in actively killing germs in your bloodstream and low cholesterol is linked with increased levels of cancer. Some people who go paleo find their not direct measure LDL to go up and some find it to go down. But most (all I have heard) find that their HDL goes up. So I am not really surprised by your findings. I'd say you sound like you are healthy and in good shape. After all I've learned, if I went today to the doctor and he/she said my LDL has gone up on paleo, I would not care. I no longer think higher LDL is a problem in itself. In fact, I'd be more worried if my cholesterol got too low.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 15, 2010
at 02:26 AM

Scott, I think also you really will want to research LDL and the research (or lack thereof) that actually links it to increased liklihood of heart probs. There is no link between LDL and plaque build up yet found. Small correlation with high LDL and CHD, but also there is a correlation between LOW cholesterol and cancer.Having low cholesterol is more dangerous than having high cholesterol. You have neither super low nor super high. I would not worry if I were you. Instead, put your emphasis on avoiding the many causes of artery damage like high blood sugar, smoking, stress, etc.

1f70da0b737e9c6e7679a248f4228a01

on October 15, 2010
at 10:43 AM

I would freak out at this point if I found my cholesterol levels to be in the low zone - my (step-) grandmother was always harping on about how my grandpa likes his butter and steak, whilst she loved margarine and tiny bits of chicken on occasion, and how her blood test results were 'so great' = low. And then she had a stroke. And another. And a really big one. And now she's bound to a wheelchair. Meanwhile, my 80+yr old grandpa is still completely healthy and mobile, and carries grandma around all the time. But in case it's just genes, I'm glad he's my blood relative, and she's not!

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 04:14 PM

Thanks for the insight. So perhaps I increased the average LDL particle size over the past year (since indirect LDL jumped by 80) which means that my risk factors have gone down overall? I guess the only way to know is a deeper LDL profile.

3
37f1450fbce9bcbcf6736425936553d2

(415)

on October 14, 2010
at 07:57 PM

Particle size is important. So are the ratios of the cholesterol numbers. Here's what to use:

Total/HDL: (ideal = 5 or below)

Trig/HDL: (ideal = 2 or below)

LDL/HDL: (ideal = 4.3 or below)

And don't forget that if your trigs are below 100, then your LDL, (which is calculated, not actually measured) wil be off. US labs use the Friedewald equation. Since your trigs are below 100, they should use the Iranian method. Here's a link to a online calculator: http://homepages.slingshot.co.nz/~geoff36/LDL_mg.htm

Hope that helps!

D251185e140e7f3d8df603a08fdbeabd

(95)

on November 04, 2011
at 10:19 PM

I've never seen these ratios referenced. Does anyone have more info? I'd be interested in learning more, because suddenly I'm pretty close to "ideal"!

1
21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 14, 2010
at 03:36 PM

I'm surprised that your HDL didn't go up. Do you eat fish or take fish oil? How many packs of cigarettes do you smoke per day?

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 04:11 PM

HDL staying the same surprised me too. Note that my HDL was in the 30's a few years ago before starting paleo. So maybe I'm just predisposed to a lower HDL? Never touched a cigarette in my life...

0ff848383c9a87f3d0308cf5b28fa846

on October 14, 2010
at 04:13 PM

HDL staying the same surprised me too. Note that my HDL was in the 30's a few years ago before starting paleo. So maybe I'm just predisposed to a lower HDL? I've been inconsistent w/ fish oil so maybe I need to be better about that? Never touched a cigarette in my life.

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 14, 2010
at 05:48 PM

Ah, I never considered predisposition to low HDL. It might be worth it to try a before and after trial with consistent fish oil. Just kidding about the cigarettes...I doubt anyone on here smokes (much).

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 15, 2010
at 02:51 AM

TG/HDL is one of the stronger predictors of heart attack risk, right?

21fd060d0796fdb8a4a990441e08eae7

(24543)

on October 15, 2010
at 06:39 PM

Not that HDL is a holy grail, but which lab markers are better predictors than TG/HDL-C? I'm not familiar this stuff, and am curious if there's things I should have measured down the road.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 15, 2010
at 02:28 AM

HDL is probably also just a correlational aspect. Might be interesting to see how strong a predictor it really is. My guess is it is a weak predictor compared to many other things.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on October 15, 2010
at 03:44 PM

Kamal, there are hundreds of predictors of heart attack risk, many of them much more predictive than cholesterol levels. But big pharma only focuses on those that they can sell you medications for. LDL and HDL are vehicles for carrying cholesterol through the blood. The only diff is where they are carrying the cholesterol towards. Some docs have gotten it in their head that HDL can suck cholesterol out of plaque, but there is no evidence for this and seems biologically unlikely. Certain patterns of eating tend to result in certain cholesterol patterns. But IMO eating=more impt part!

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