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  1. #1
    Nikita Johnson's Avatar
    Nikita Johnson is offline Junior Member
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    Question Blood Test Anomaly?

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    Hello Boys and Girls,

    I've lurking and reading about Gary Taubes and Mark's Daily Apple for about 3 months now. Almost 3 months ago, I've gone cold turkey and went straight to primal blueprint lifestyle.

    Since then, I've been pretty happy, and easily adjusted to the lifestyle of eliminating the carbs found in places other than fruits and veggies.

    Here's the deal, after three months of living this lifestyle, I decided to get a blood test to see how my stats are and how this lifestyle is affecting me. The results I've gotten are not what I've expected to get. The HDL is way low. Would anyone be able to assist or provide some advice on these results?
    Griff, I know you're a buff with blood tests, your help would be appreciated.

    Here's my lifestyle, and diet:
    ************************************************** *****
    Stats prior to primal blueprint:
    Height: 6'3
    Weight: 175
    Body Fat: Approximately 12 percent.

    Prior to primal blueprint, I was active (weightlifting) and healthy. Mostly eating home cooked meals actually. I just wanted to try this lifestyle to stay healthy.

    My breakfast everyday is 3 eggs with 2 slices of uncured bacon. I also juice (carrot, apples, beet, celery) every morning and take 2 glasses with me to work. The juice is my between breakfast and lunch snack so to speak. In addition, I eat a mix of walnuts, almonds, and some dried fruits throughout the day. The remaining part of my diet is a daily salad (tomatoes, onions) with generous amounts of olive oil. I also love to grill lamb.

    I drink water, and sometimes green tea, that's it. No candies, no nothing. I stay pretty strictly by the primal blueprint rules.

    In addition, I do calisthenics work out 3 days a week. I also nap at least once a day at work and sleep about 7-8 hours a night. I stay relatively stress free / calm.
    ************************************************** *****

    Blood Test Results:
    Lipids

    Cholesterol: 150 mg/dL
    Triglyceride: 45 mg/dL
    HDL: 41 mg/dL
    Cholesterol, non-HDL : 109 mg/dL
    LDL: 100

    Glucose post fast : 92 mg/dL


    WBC's, automated count 4.8 3.5-10.5 thous/mm3
    RBC, auto 5.59 4.25-6.00 mill/mm3
    Hgb 17.2 12.9-18.3 gm/dL
    Hct, auto 49.7 37.0-53.0 %
    MCV 88.9 80.0-100.0 fl
    MCH 30.8 26.0-35.0 pg
    MCHC 34.6 31.0-37.0 gm/dL
    RDW, ratio, RBC, Qn, auto 12.5 0.0-17.0 %
    Platelets, automated count 202 150-450 thous/mm3

    Being healthy and staying on the diet for almost 3 months, any ideas why the HDL is WAYYY low? Its one point away from the acceptable lower limit. I definitely did not expect that. Shoot, I eat butter, olive oil, eggs everyday.

    Thanks a lot for your help!

  2. #2
    emmie's Avatar
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    With Atkins, the recommendation is not to expect any blood value changes for at least 6 months, and I suspect that would be true of any dietary change.

    To raise HDL, I'd suggest you also supplement with fish oil. I eat a lot of fish, but I also supplement.

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    Nikita,

    I'm not an expert, but two things which kind of jump out at me, are a lot of fruits = sugar; and nuts = lots of o6.
    One thing you could try, is to log your food for a couple of days on Fitday or something similar, and look at your macronutrients.
    Also +1 on the fish oil supplementation for o3.

  4. #4
    Nikita Johnson's Avatar
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    Emmie, thanks for your response. I did not know that I need at least half a year to actually see differences in blood. Thank you for referring me to fish oils as well.

    kuno1chi, you have a sharp eye. Even though I ate that many nuts, I've never noticed the o6-o3 imbalance. I will also try supplementing with fish oils to counteract this.

    Thank you both!

  5. #5
    Mirrorball's Avatar
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    I read a study (meta-study) yesterday that says that nothing raises HDL like lauric acid (a saturated fat) and coconut oil is 50% lauric acid.
    Height: 5'4" (1.62 m)
    Starting weight (09/2009): 200 lb (90.6 kg)
    No longer overweight (08/2010): 145 lb (65.6 kg)
    Current weight (01/2012): 127 lb (57.5 kg)

  6. #6
    Paleo Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikita Johnson View Post
    The remaining part of my diet is a daily salad (tomatoes, onions) with generous amounts of olive oil.

    Shoot, I eat butter, olive oil, eggs everyday.

    Thanks a lot for your help!
    Several years ago, I came across an article in a cardiology journal where vascular function was measured after the subjects consumed ordinary olive oil. The results surprised everyone. Vascular endothelial function declined sharply and blood flow volume was restricted something like 30% for a period of time following the ingestion of the olive oil. This result was very puzzling until another study came out that provided a rationale.

    The next study I saw pretty much duplicated the results of the first study, but added an additional element. Olive oil was tested depending on its polyphenol content. Basically, olive oil that was low in polyphenol content caused vascular dysfunction and olive oil that was high in polyphenol content improved vascular function and increased blood flow. There was a huge difference in the health impact of olive oil, depending on its polyphenol content.

    Essentially olive oil polyphenol content begins to decline from the time the olives are pressed. If the oil is stored in a clear glass bottle in a grocery store, its polyphenol content will drop to nil in short order, maybe a couple of weeks, due to light degradation. Heat and age are also factors that degrade polyphenol content, and any olive oil that has not been protected from light or heat, or that is more than a year or so old, will have very little or no polyphenol content.

    Olive oil should always be purchased in dark bottles or opaque containers, it should be dated as to harvest and expiration and only used when fresh, and it should be stored away from light and heat and not kept open longer than necessary. One should think of it as being like hamburger, something that can spoil easily and quickly and is not good if it is not as fresh as possible.

    Most grocery store olive oil will be old, exposed to light, and have no usable polyphenol content.

    There is a study that shows that the higher the polyphenol content of olive oil, the higher the HDL. With improvement in other lipid factors as well.

    http://www.annals.org/content/145/5/333.abstract

    "Results: A linear increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels was observed for low-, medium-, and high-polyphenol olive oil: mean change, 0.025 mmol/L (95% CI, 0.003 to 0.05 mmol/L), 0.032 mmol/L (CI, 0.005 to 0.05 mmol/L), and 0.045 mmol/L (CI, 0.02 to 0.06 mmol/L), respectively. Total cholesterol–HDL cholesterol ratio decreased linearly with the phenolic content of the olive oil. Triglyceride levels decreased by an average of 0.05 mmol/L for all olive oils. Oxidative stress markers decreased linearly with increasing phenolic content. Mean changes for oxidized low-density lipoprotein levels were 1.21 U/L (CI, −0.8 to 3.6 U/L), −1.48 U/L (−3.6 to 0.6 U/L), and −3.21 U/L (−5.1 to −0.8 U/L) for the low-, medium-, and high-polyphenol olive oil, respectively.


    Conclusions: Olive oil is more than a monounsaturated fat. Its phenolic content can also provide benefits for plasma lipid levels and oxidative damage."

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    Barb's Avatar
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    I second the thought that you need to vastly increase your omega 3's to improve HDL. I would recommend 1 TBSP high quality cod liver oil daily or equivalent fish oil capsules (that equates to quite a lot of capsules). Also, you could eat omega 3 enhanced eggs and pastured/grass fed meats (which are higher in omega 3's). Walnuts have O-3's, but the other nuts are full of O-6. Otherwise, your numbers look good. TG's are nice and low - way to go!

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    http://www.healthcentral.com/heart-d.../hdl-naturally

    another fantastic article by William Davis (heartscan) discussing the options for naturally raising HDL.

    How are your D levels?



    iherb referral code CIL457- $5 off first order


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    Nikita Johnson's Avatar
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    MirrorBall : I did not know that coconuts work so well for raising HDL. I appreciate that advice.

    PaleoMan: Thanks for the detailed write up on olive oil. I wasn't aware about the effects light could have upon it. I'll try to buy olive oil in dark bottles and keep it in dark areas. This is helpful.

    Barb: Good advice, thank you. I'll try to find these omega 3 enriched eggs in the store. I love to grill, I think I'll also grill fish at least 2-3 times a week. I've heard about Cod-Liver Oil and maybe I'll try to purchase it this time. I'm drinking Fish Oils now, but I'm breaking the capsules and just drinking what's inside them...Capsules are a bit annoying. I know many people will say otherwise

    cillakat: Thank you for the useful article. I do not supplement additional vitamin D. I do sit out half naked in the sun while eating during my lunch breaks (15-20 minutes). I guess that's my only source so far. Is vitamin D very important to supplement with? I never was a vitamin type of a guy, I just figured eating liver, fish, meat and juicing would provide them.

  10. #10
    Paleo Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nikita Johnson View Post
    MirrorBall : I did not know that coconuts work so well for raising HDL. I appreciate that advice.

    PaleoMan: Thanks for the detailed write up on olive oil. I wasn't aware about the effects light could have upon it. I'll try to buy olive oil in dark bottles and keep it in dark areas. This is helpful.

    Barb: Good advice, thank you. I'll try to find these omega 3 enriched eggs in the store. I love to grill, I think I'll also grill fish at least 2-3 times a week. I've heard about Cod-Liver Oil and maybe I'll try to purchase it this time. I'm drinking Fish Oils now, but I'm breaking the capsules and just drinking what's inside them...Capsules are a bit annoying. I know many people will say otherwise

    cillakat: Thank you for the useful article. I do not supplement additional vitamin D. I do sit out half naked in the sun while eating during my lunch breaks (15-20 minutes). I guess that's my only source so far. Is vitamin D very important to supplement with? I never was a vitamin type of a guy, I just figured eating liver, fish, meat and juicing would provide them.
    Apparently whether sitting in the sun half naked is enough depends on where geographically you sit in the sun and what time of year it is, and what time of day it is, and how pigmented your skin is.

    Michael Holick PhD, MD, leading vitamin D researcher, has tables in his book, the Vitamin D solution, for example:

    At the latitude of Los Angeles/San Diego/Miami, a very fair skinned person needs 10-15 minutes of sun exposure between 11 am and 3 pm in the months of November through February. Several times a week.

    In June through August, only 1-5 minutes will be needed at the same time and latitude and skin type.

    Somewhat darker skinned persons need half again as much or double or more, as skin color is darker.

    In November through February at latitudes around San Francisco, New York and points north, nobody regardless of skin color or time of day can get adequate Vitamin D from the sun per Dr. Holick. But a few minutes of exposure are enough with lighter skin in summer in those regions.

    So apparently those who sun themselves at the latitude of San Francisco and points north can't get enough D in winter, and amounts in spring and fall are compromised, so supplementation would be helpful for those seasons.

    Since you don't use supplements much, I should mention magnesium. This is one nutrient that is very difficult to obtain from natural sources. Croplands have become magnesium depleted after decades of crop production and hence the plant crops tend to be much more Mg deficient than wild plants would have been. Dr. Loren Cordain estimates that modern diet provides about 45% of the needed level of Mg, while our hunter-gatherer ancestor would have had about 250%. Some knowledgeable docs that I know of say that if they could take only one supplement, it would be Mg. Others now say the same thing about D.

    Magnesium is important to HDL levels, per Mildred S. Seelig, MD, MPH, in her book "The Magnesium Factor." Dr. Seelig points out that magnesium is essential to the enzymatic conversion of LDL to HDL, and that low HDL levels may well be an indication of low magnesium. Ordinary blood testing for Mg is useless for diagnosing intracellular Mg deficiencies. It is cheaper and easier to supplement with well absorbed forms of magnesium such as magnesium taurate, or magnesium glycinate, or maybe magnesium citrate. It can take months and months to turn around a magnesium deficiency. Muscle spasms or cramps, especially in legs, can be a sign of significant magnesium deficiency. Sometimes anxiety is also a symptom.

    A very good explanation re magnesium in cartoon format is found on a commercial site for an advanced type of blood cell testing:

    http://www.exatest.com/minerals.htm

    Ultimately, Mg deficiency can cause a host of problems too long to mention here. It is essential to proper cellular energy production.

    Here is a great summary by a guy from MIT who has lots of information and references.

    http://web.mit.edu/london/www/magnesium.html
    Last edited by Paleo Man; 08-05-2010 at 08:59 PM.

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