Stubborn HDL Cholesterol
Hi all, I have been practicing a paleo/primal lifestyle for about 1 year now. It was an easy transition for me as it was pretty much how I already lived. I have had a stubborn HDL cholesterol all my life. 2 years ago before "primal" my HDL was about 30. At that time I was exercising regularly, eating mostly well, maybe drinking a little to much alcohol (college) No supplements at this time.
I just turned 27, male.
Currently (for the last 6 months of so) I live an active lifestyle, lots of walking, heavy lifting 2-3 times per week. 8-9 hours of sleep per night, zero grains, lots of proteins and fats. I eat about 4 tbs of coconut oil per day, and I take 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA fish oil per day. I eat fatty fish about 1x per week. My HDL today was 39.
I would think that with all this fish oil and coconut oil etc my numbers would be more desirable than this. Are there any suggestions out there? I work in a primary care office and go over blood work with patients every day, I am pretty well versed in good fats/bad fats, etc. But, I can't figure out to to increase my own HDL. I am frustrated seeing patients who are totally out of shape eating fruit loops and big macs with HDL's in the 60-90 range.
Any ideas out there from you folks?
Hard to say why your HDL isn't higher, but everone's adaptation of Primal differs, in what they eat and their activity level. But remember that your lipid panel numbers are a metric of probability, not certainty. In other words, if you are eating well and are in shape, I'd rather have low HDL than be out of shape and eat the Big Mac and Fruit Loop diet. Some people with admirable cholesterol readings will fall over dead, inexplicably. So while we may aim for higher HDL, it's not the be-all per se.
That said, if you are overweight, your HDL may improve as you lose. You don't mention whether you eat eggs, but that's one possible food source to raise HDL. I consume a good bit of extra virgin olive oil, and my HDL numbers are always solid. Make sure to eat magnesium-rich vegetables or to supplement magnesium - I'm not certain of the connection to HDL, but it does seem to be related somehow.
Beyond that, just stay the course and don't fret if your other markers of health are solid. If your BP, serum glucose, triglycerides, etc. all come into the target zone, HDL may not be such a big deal.
Thanks for the reply. I'm 68 inches 155lbs, 6.8% BF measured by underwater weighing. I would say that daily I consume about 1-2 tbs of EVOO per day. I take a zinc and magnesium supplement before bed.
I am not too concerned with my HDL levels, I feel great, and am very happy with my physical and mental condition. I just wonder why I am taking 10-20 fish oil pills and a lot of coconut oil per day, and where all these healthy Omega 3's are going?
Cholesterol #s are 90% genetics (some scientists would say 95%).
[QUOTE=thaedge;985310]I just wonder why I am taking 10-20 fish oil pills and a lot of coconut oil per day, and where all these healthy Omega 3's are going?[/QUOTE]
Sounds to me like they're going down the toilet, quite literally.
What is yoru full profile like?
I do notice that I feel a lot better when I take in extra Omega 3's. My full profile is Total 167, LDL 112, HDL 39, Tri 59. (non fasting) Glucose 83 (non fasting)
Eat more animal fat. It is saturated fats that drive HDL levels
Ridiculous amounts of fish oil are inflammatory!
[QUOTE=peril;985505]Eat more animal fat. It is saturated fats that drive HDL levels
Ridiculous amounts of fish oil are inflammatory![/QUOTE]
Should I be concerned of the inflammatory effects of fish oils / omega 3's if it seems that they are not presenting as increased HDL cholesterol in my blood? Am I absorbing them?
If you're not already you'll also want to supplement with vitamin D3 1000IUs/25 lbs of body weight after you get tested and see what your status is. My HDL didn't start moving up until my vitamin D levels rose to normal levels.