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Thread: Longtime PB-er needs help with interpreting some crazy lab values! page

  1. #1
    Lady Grok's Avatar
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    Longtime PB-er needs help with interpreting some crazy lab values!

    So. I have been around here for a couple of years, and while I haven't lost a lot of weight, my life has definitely changed for the better. So I am still fat, but a lot healthier. And when I decided to go to a naturopath, he suggested I get some labs done.

    In the meantime, due to the fact that my weight loss has not happened- 10 lbs at the beginning, 5 more after a year or so, and then maintaining. (And I am over 200 and 5'7", people, I have some weight to lose!) I decided to really clean up my eating. Particularly after the holidays, when a lot of random stuff snuck in. So in Mid-December, I started toying with the Leptin Reset, and then after the holidays, I got right back on the wagon January first. 50 g protein for breakfast every morning, Bulletproof coffee for lunch, meat and veg for dinner, staying under 30 carbs if possible.

    January 4th was when I got my labs done.

    First major concern: I was thinking I was going to have some amazing numbers, but not in the way I expected. My cholesterol is now over 300. Before you ask, I have looked at Griff's Primer and done the calculations. My ratios, believe it or not, are all good, but still...309!! Here are the numbers:

    Total-309, HDL- 83, LDL- 202(!) Trigs- 121.

    I have a familial history of high cholesterol, but my last test, two years ago, was nearly 100 points lower. I have to admit, that 309 is horrifying to me. Should I ask to do the VAP test? Of course, my naturopath pooh-poohed it, but if I ever need to switch up insurance, that number will screw me over bigtime.

    I should also add: after 4 days with no sugar, my fasting glucose was high at 96 (99 is the top of the range). Uric Acid and GGT are also flagged. The range for uric acid is between 2.5 and 7, and I got a 7.9. GGT should be between 3-50. Mine was 80.

    Could this be caused because my body is having a hard time with cutting out sugar? I have had awful headaches which finally cleared when I bumped up the fat, but the naturopath asked that I do a 5 day cleanse- it's relatively Primal Friendly, but not particularly low carb (fresh squeezed fruit juice and tons of vegs, and he let me sub coconut oil for olive oil.) I felt really awful yesterday- today has been easier, and I have three days to go after that.

    So my primary question: Could my abrupt exclusion of any sugar and most carbs have contributed somehow to these crazy lab values? As someone who is obviously heavily leptin resistant, I am planning on getting right back on track as soon as my cleanse is over, and maybe make a more concentrated effort to include more veggies and cutting out coffee, since it messes with blood sugar. Or is this just going to make me sicker?

    I really want to be able to keep doing what I am doing, and any helpful input is appreciated. Thanks!
    With Mark's help, I've conquered depression, acne, rosacea, scale obsession, migraines, and lethargy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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  2. #2
    brachiate's Avatar
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    Good luck with all you're doing. No harm increasing veggies and reducing coffee, and potential benefit, so why not? You didn't mention exercise, brief intense exercise will raise your metabolic rate. I'd much prefer eating whole fruit to drinking juices, cleanses are really pseudoscience.
    The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
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  3. #3
    RitaRose's Avatar
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    Not a lot of advice, but your Trigs really surprised me. Maybe they just haven't had a chance to come down after the holidays treats, but I would think they would be lower. Possibly just too soon after getting back on the wagon?

    I'm seconding whole fruit over juice, even if it is freshly squeezed. It's way too easy to get a whole lot of sugar and you can miss out on the good stuff that gets left behind.
    My sorely neglected blog - http://ThatWriterBroad.com

  4. #4
    Issabeau's Avatar
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    Sugar is a killer.
    I've been eating primally for roughly 2 years and my numbers are in the perfect range. I think it all comes down to what you put in your mouth on a daily basis.
    I have my 'diet' posted on another thread if you'd like to look at what I eat.
    Here is a quick link: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread46362-5.html

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    Lady Grok's Avatar
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    Thank you! I should probably clarify a little (that post is long as it is). When I say "off the wagon", most people would consider it an 80/20, but I can't even eat that way and maintain. Dark chocolate (in moderation), sweet potatoes twice a month, and the very occasional baked potato were my indulgences over the past two years. Over Christmas I had some gluten-free treats: I would estimate 4 slices of a gluten free pumpkin pie, maybe a baked potato, dark chocolate (probably overboard, but not crazy), and two servings of gluten free pasta over the course of two weeks. I probably wouldn't even have done that, but my parents stocked it all as a "surprise" for me. So I was undone by my own guilt.

    My exercise consists of walking. I've been forbidden to do anything else due to other issues I have been having: my hormones are out of whack too, which doesn't help. Another thing that came up is that my free T-3 is on the very low side of normal (so thyroid is just marginally wonky.)

    The whole cleanse thing: I am thinking it's as much of a mental as a physical thing. It did do something initially, because day one was awful. I was initially freaked out about the fruit juice, but have been blending pulp in as well so at least I am not getting sugar water by itself. I figure I can at least give it a try, 5 days won't kill me, it probably won't hurt and might help, and I can go back to my usual routine ASAP.

    I am hoping that if I am really strict, my body will eventually start figuring out how to burn fat as fuel. I suspect that even eating 80/20 for me is too much sugar. I have been reading "Primal Body, Primal Mind", and it discusses that someone who has blood sugar issues and is leptin resistant can actually convert excess protein, including muscle and body tissue, into sugar to burn. With all these weird hormonal and lab issues, I am worried that that is what I am doing.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when I retest in a month of two.
    With Mark's help, I've conquered depression, acne, rosacea, scale obsession, migraines, and lethargy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    http://www.theladygrok.blogspot.com/

    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread8215.html

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    Lady Grok's Avatar
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    I just read another thread (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread46503.html) and thought that maybe this could have something to do with my elevated cholesterol and blood glucose- the fact that the Leptin Reset was working, so I was burning fat and losing weight? I've lost six pounds in the last two weeks, (some of which was gained over Christmas and "relost"- realistically, some of it had to be water weight) so it may be possible. Things to ponder.
    With Mark's help, I've conquered depression, acne, rosacea, scale obsession, migraines, and lethargy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    http://www.theladygrok.blogspot.com/

    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread8215.html

  7. #7
    brachiate's Avatar
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    Sounds like you're a hard case! Good luck with the leptin reset, like you say your lean body mass is in danger if you're not using fat. If even after that you're having no joy, Dr Rosedale's plan would be one idea. He maintains that some people on VLC with high protein are still not keto-adapted because the protein's enough to be converted to glucose and their body's able to cling to its old ways, then they have success switching to his moderate protein version (which has a paper you can find on pubmed showing its use in diabetics).
    The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
    (Lily Tomlin)

    I take life easier than almost anyone I know, but when I exercise I do it as though my life depends on it (which it does).
    (Arthur De Vany)

  8. #8
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    Hi, I read your post, and can empathize with you, as I think many people can. Now, I must admit to plead ignorance to this idea of leptin resets, and leptin resistance, but I sort of fall into the Gary Taubes/Robert Lustig school of thought that your problems are not in your head, but in the body, anyways. Or as someone above, so eloquently put it, "sugar is a killer," and you sound insulin resistant.

    I have to initially question a couple things:
    1. you claim to have not eaten any sugar, yet have done a 'cleanse' that contains fruit juice? Fruit juice is as bad (worse, probably) for your condition than anything.
    I would say that you should read "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It" by Gary Taubes.
    Based on the evidence in that book, and some other papers that have recently come out, ANY carb intake may be problematic, Primal friendly or not. SPECIFICALLY fruit and starchy tubers. ESPECIALLY FRUCTOSE.
    If I were you (and this is not advice, simply what I WOULD DO), I would completely cut carbohydrates out except for green veggies (and maybe even those), obviously eat protein/fat as normal, try for a month, and then get tested again.
    If the situation does not improve, then I would reevaluate.
    Also, are you doing everything else right, especially sleeping 8 hours a night?

    Anyways, that's my two cents, but what do I know, Im just a noob
    Good Luck
    AK

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    Lady Grok's Avatar
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    I am indeed insulin resistant. If I learned nothing else, my blood glucose and my elevated Uric Acid numbers prove that!! I am trying to address that with the Leptin reset, (50g. protein, low or zero-carb breakfast within 30 minutes of waking, and then no snacking, low carb lunch and dinner) and until I got these lab values, was thrilled to see that something was finally working!

    1. I cut out sugar Jan 1st. Jan. 4th I went to the naturopath, and Jan. 5th, I got my labs done. So my blood glucose was at 96 after four days of no sugar, around 25 carbs, and a 12 hour fast before the test. How that is possible, I don't know. I went in to discuss the lab results January 12th, and started the (naturopath prescribed, including herbal medication)cleanse yesterday.

    2. I have read it. Trust me!! I really have. I get it. This is why I completely freaked out when I was told I had to drink juice. To be honest, I cried. But, perspective- it's 5 days, I'll do my best to be as smart about it as possible, and made sure there was fat and fiber in the equation to slow the fructose/bloodstream effect- and am also doing my best to avoid tubers and additional fruit. After that, I can move on.

    3. I am sleeping- I get 8+ hours a night, and have f.lux on my computer just in case.

    4. I have had to accept that weight loss is a symptom, and not necessarily the disease. I have other priorities that I need to address- like I have a bunch of weird hormonal stuff going on, and evidently, a wonky thyroid (which I suspected, and was the reason I got into this in the first place!) I have assurances that after my 5 days of penance, I can add eggs and protein back in, and keep doing what I was doing. (Although it was recommended that I poach my eggs instead of frying them from now on, due to concerns about yolk oxidation- fair enough.) So glad I am not dealing with some militant vegan nutbar (Don't laugh, I live right outside SF, and it's always a distinct possibility.) This is the first medical professional who has actually listened to me and not immediately dismissed me as some kind of psycho or a liar. Sad, but true.
    With Mark's help, I've conquered depression, acne, rosacea, scale obsession, migraines, and lethargy. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

    http://www.theladygrok.blogspot.com/

    My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread8215.html

  10. #10
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    Lady Grok, a couple of things came to my mind when reading your post:

    1. I read recently on someone's blog (I think it was the Wheat Belly blog but I can't find the link; in any case, the post was written by a doctor) that lab tests done shortly after the commencement of a low-carb or Paleo-style diet are going to be very misleading and in some cases may make you look sicker than you were. This is because your body is attempting to get rid of all that excess and is dumping it into your bloodstream. This person advocated waiting several months before checking blood levels to get a true picture.

    2. You mention that you have a thyroid problem. One of the symptoms of an untreated or undertreated thyroid condition is sky-high cholesterol levels.

    3. I am hypothyroid. After years of being skinny, I suddenly went to being 30+ pounds overweight in a very short time. Unfortunately, it took my five or six years to get it diagnosed, because my primary doc maintained that it was my fault for eating too much and not exercising enough, and I think my metabolism is forever damaged because of it. I have to keep my daily carb intake pretty low--anything over 75 g and I start to pack on pounds. But if you don't get that thyroid addressed (low free T3 is a huge red flag!), nothing else you do will make any difference. I have a naturopath now and he writes me a script for compounded T3 and T4 that is made in the ratio I need.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.

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