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High cholesterol (age 23) related to hormonal imbalance? Or something else?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 25, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Hello!

I just had my cholesterol measured for the first time the other day, and as my situation is a little messy, I thought I'd post to see if anyone might have some thoughts.

I'm 23, 5'6", and currently 120 pounds. Dealt with a mild eating disorder for two years, where I dropped from 136 to 103~110 pounds. I've been experiencing amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) for going on 2 years, and was found to be slightly insulin resistant in February, so I went full paleo/primal and worked on gaining weight to where I am now.

I was diagnosed with hypothalamic hypogonadism / low estrogen, and have been on biodentical estradiol and progesterone for going on 2 months.

I've also been dealing with chronic stress and insomnia for the past two years, both of which are slowly getting better.

Otherwise, I've been pretty solid paleo/primal since February. Very little red meats/fatty cuts/bacon. I usually get my fat from ghee, coconut oil, or avocados, but had been drinking lots of fatty grass-fed lamb bone broth to heal a gut issue a couple of weeks before the test.

In terms of family history, a few family members on my grandmother's side have high cholesterol, but they tend to be inactive and/or don't eat very well. One member on that side had a quadruple bypass in his mid-30s, but that is the first instance of anything like that happening in our family that I know of.

That said, here are test results:

Total Cholesterol: 283
Triglycerides: 37
HDL Cholesterol: 101
VLDL Cholesterol: 7
LDL Cholesterol: 175

Everything I've read seems to suggest that this is pretty high for someone my age, but my trig/HDL levels look good? I'm just wondering why on earth my numbers are so high.

I have read that low estrogen can cause elevated cholesterol, as well as stress and all that fun. Anyone with any similar experiences/knowledge or thoughts/recommendations about all this?

Sorry for the length. Any sort of response would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 26, 2012
at 04:13 AM

Wow, alrighty, thank you. I'll try to relax and just give it some more time.

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 26, 2012
at 04:11 AM

Wow, interesting! Thanks for commenting! It's really nice to hear from someone who went through something similar. Did your cholesterol go back to normal after you sorted out your estrogen/insulin issues? And if you don't mind me asking, how did you manage to sort out your low estrogen/insulin resistance? Just by going paleo/gaining weight?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:26 AM

You're definitely going to need to give it more than a couple of months. I was discharged from my last stay at a hospital 7yrs ago (when I was 15), and my blood lipids were not consistently normal until I was 17 or 18.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:26 AM

You're definitely going to need to give it more than a couple of months. I was discharged from my last stay at a hospital 7yrs ago (when I was 15), and my blood lipids were not consistently normal until I was 17, and not consistently normal until I was 18. You'll be okay.

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:05 AM

I'd read about that happening in anorexics, but since I've been around 120 pounds for over two months now, I had thought my body may have had time to adjust. Maybe it just needs more time/weight... Thank you for your response. :]

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 25, 2012
at 08:50 PM

I had my thyroid checked back in February/pre-weight gain, and it looked like my FT3 was slightly on the low side, at 2.07pg/ml. TSH at 1.43 IU/ml and FT4 at 0.87ng/ml. Supposedly my TSH is normal now, according to my stateside doctor, though the FSH was low... I'll check with her again though. Upping the carbs is worth a try too. Thanks for your reply!

  • 3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

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3 Answers

2
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on August 25, 2012
at 09:46 PM

Elevated cholesterol is typical for blood lipid panels in anorexics. It is normal, and may be a protective mechanism. Do not worry about your cholesterol/blood lipids, focus on getting to a healthier body weight, and things will level out in time. If you have also been bulimic in the past (either over-exercising or purging), this can also result in elevate liver enzymes. Not to worry though, just get back to a healthy place and things will return to normal here as well.

All the best.

http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/3103518/reload=0;jsessionid=COjdqItRsBiDfEBwXvST.0

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:26 AM

You're definitely going to need to give it more than a couple of months. I was discharged from my last stay at a hospital 7yrs ago (when I was 15), and my blood lipids were not consistently normal until I was 17 or 18.

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 26, 2012
at 04:13 AM

Wow, alrighty, thank you. I'll try to relax and just give it some more time.

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:05 AM

I'd read about that happening in anorexics, but since I've been around 120 pounds for over two months now, I had thought my body may have had time to adjust. Maybe it just needs more time/weight... Thank you for your response. :]

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on August 26, 2012
at 02:26 AM

You're definitely going to need to give it more than a couple of months. I was discharged from my last stay at a hospital 7yrs ago (when I was 15), and my blood lipids were not consistently normal until I was 17, and not consistently normal until I was 18. You'll be okay.

0
286a4ff7c362241c5c4b020df4972212

on August 26, 2012
at 03:06 AM

Yes my estrogen was out and insulin resistance going on even on no grain diet my cholesterol was high . I was told it was because my body was trying to make extra estrogen and insulin as cholesterol is the basis for making hormones. Sort that out and then test again

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 26, 2012
at 04:11 AM

Wow, interesting! Thanks for commenting! It's really nice to hear from someone who went through something similar. Did your cholesterol go back to normal after you sorted out your estrogen/insulin issues? And if you don't mind me asking, how did you manage to sort out your low estrogen/insulin resistance? Just by going paleo/gaining weight?

0
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on August 25, 2012
at 08:27 PM

You might want to check your thyroid too. I've read that high chloestrol corresponds to a thyroid imbalance. Perhaps it was at Chris Kresser. And try a higher carb paleo.

3d172855899e68e1b653fa7cd01c2d1c

(35)

on August 25, 2012
at 08:50 PM

I had my thyroid checked back in February/pre-weight gain, and it looked like my FT3 was slightly on the low side, at 2.07pg/ml. TSH at 1.43 IU/ml and FT4 at 0.87ng/ml. Supposedly my TSH is normal now, according to my stateside doctor, though the FSH was low... I'll check with her again though. Upping the carbs is worth a try too. Thanks for your reply!

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