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Help with husband's confounding cholesterol numbers?

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  • Help with husband's confounding cholesterol numbers?

    Hello all -- I'm hoping someone can help me figure out what's up with my husband's numbers. He was tested four months ago, and had abysmal ratios and numbers (by anyone's standards... I plugged them into the Iranian formula just in case, and they still sucked), so he tightened up his diet and started exercising more, and was just retested last week.

    He is 27, 140 lbs, thin and developing a little muscle. He has a family history of high cholesterol. We eat probably 90/10 primally, incorporating moderate amounts of starches (sweet potato maybe twice a week on average?), dark chocolate, and maybe a glass of wine or two every few weeks.

    His numbers came back like this:

    Total chol: 388

    LDL: 307

    VLDL: 22

    Trigs: 108

    HDL: 59

    All of his other numbers came back fine from the metabolic panel, TSH, and CBC with differential. The doctor wants him on statins immediately, which I think is bogus, especially at 27. He's been taking pantothenic acid and fish oil daily for four months, and is very worried about this LDL number.

    Any insights? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Is he eating any coconut oil?
    Crohn's, doing SCD

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
      Is he eating any coconut oil?
      Not on a regular basis. Maybe a total of a tablespoon a month, if that?

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      • #4
        Oh, IDK then. My numbers were similar when I was ingesting coconut oil. Is he eating any refined vegetable oil or other potentially rancid oils? Fake olive oil?
        Crohn's, doing SCD

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Knifegill View Post
          Oh, IDK then. My numbers were similar when I was ingesting coconut oil. Is he eating any refined vegetable oil or other potentially rancid oils? Fake olive oil?


          No refined veggie oils, although I'm not sure of the quality of our olive oil. Tastes peppery to me, and is a very light green yellow (Kroger extra virgin). We eat mostly grass fed beef and some pastured chicken, lots of sardines, some lamb.

          I mostly cook with kerrygold butter, though.

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          • #6
            It just seems so strange that all of his numbers improved except for the LDL, which increased by 80 points in the span of four months.

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            • #7
              Yeah, pretty odd. I hope others will chime in.
              Crohn's, doing SCD

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              • #8
                There's a bucket load of insight contained within the cholesterol series at the eating academy. The link below is for the last blog. It contains dot points explaining everything. Read through the whole series to obtain links to experiments and studies.

                Lipoprotein measure is not an exact science. Lipoprotein testing roughly calculates lipoprotein concentration. Where the real risks are associated with lipoprotein particle numbers. Statistics show that concentration testing is only accurate for roughly 40% of people on a western diet.

                Lipoprotein levels can generally be corrected on a paleo diet. The series below gives a full explaination of the biochemical model that represents the current scientific understanding - here's an oversimplified version (please complete the series below).

                A diet which decreases glycemic load and increases dietry fat encourages fat metobolism. Fat metabolism depleats triglyceride levels within lipoproteins making them cholesterol rich. Through the process or Reverse Cholesterol Transportation (RCT) lipoproteins are delivered to the liver and secreted through the bilary system. Cholesterol is endogenous (produced by the liver), in response to insulin levels (through de nova lipogenisis). Controlling glycemic load and increasing dietry fat not only increases lipoprotein secretion but also minimises lipoprotein production.

                100% of lipoproteins are produced within the body. 0% of lipoproteins are aquired through diet. A diet low in fat and cholesterol decreases fat metabolism, stops lipoproteins becoming cholesterol rich, restricts lipoprotein secretion. Diets with high glycemic load produce cholesterol in large chantities.

                The straight dope on cholesterol

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Chanteuse View Post
                  He has a family history of high cholesterol.
                  And what has been the result of this high cholesterol for his family members? Have they had CVD or heart attacks? Early death? Or is it just a high number? Are they living longer than average with little illness? Sometimes a number is just a number. I knew someone who walked around like a zombie waiting to die with very high numbers - the worry will probably kill him. Statins are pretty much bogus, except for the sketchy mechanism that reduces inflammation, which probably happens as well with a proper diet and lifestyle.

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                  • #10
                    Does he exercise?

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                    • #11
                      I wish the family cholesterol were simply high -- but there's a significant risk of early heart attack through both sides of his family. Of course, how much of that can be blamed on the native Chicagoan diet has yet to be assessed

                      Zoe, he's started exercising on a semi-regular basis a few months ago. We do SimpleFit, and walk often, although he's bad about staying on a schedule unless I not-so-gently remind him. We're looking to start sprints as soon as the weather warms up (which should be soon, in Texas). Exercise is definitely a work in progress.

                      Aussie Dave, thanks for the link, I really appreciate it. Husband is so worried, and is even talking about cutting out red meat (after we bought a freezer full of grass fed and finished beef...), but I think I can get him to calm down until we can have him consult with a Dr. who has half a clue what they're talking about. He's in no immediate danger, but we would both like to know what exactly is going on before we make any sweeping changes.

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