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Thread: Cholesterol: the need to *raise* it page

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    PHaselow's Avatar
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    Cholesterol: the need to *raise* it

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    Hi everyone,

    I spent some time looking through the archives about cholesterol, but saw mostly posts from people worried about their numbers being too high.

    Me? I've had low cholesterol (total) for my entire adult life. HDL numbers high end of reference range and LDL out of reference range low. Thus, the ratio was 0.8 the last time I checked. Triglycerides always low. I know total cholesterol isn't too meaningful at times, but mine has ranged from 112 to 150 (last time checked)over the past 20 years (I am 47). It has probably been tested 5 times over those years. Doctors raved about my low numbers; I was the star!

    I have a long history of mild to moderate depression. I am an eating disorder kid from the 1980s, so my nutrition history is suspect. I spent 17 years messing with antidepressants, and finally ditched them in 2004 with the help of high dose Omega 3s (EPA especially).

    My question is about raising cholesterol. Have any of you researched low cholesterol and the association with depression or other mood disorders? From cholesterol comes hormones, so it makes sense to me.

    My youngest is on the Autism Spectrum. There is growing research regarding low cholesterol and Autism. His total cholesterol was 101 back when he was a toddler. At that time, he had horrible diarrhea the doctors lovingly referred to as "toddler diarrhea". Once we got his numbers up with diet and supplements, his diarrhea coincidentally (or not) disappeared. His panel mirrors mine. Our last alternative medicine MD wanted his total cholesterol around 180. Since those with SLOS can have symptoms of Autism, they are now even prescribing cholesterol supplements (Sonic; New Beginnings Nutritionals) for any child with total under 150. We've never done it; and I won't.

    Bottom line question after too much information sharing: how far into PB should I go before I run a panel again. I do see an article about what to ask for when getting blood drawn, so I will take that info to my MD or naturopath if I can find a good one here in the Milwaukee area.

    Thanks! I am just curious about what to expect with jumps in numbers. I feel pretty good, mood-wise, these days. Anxiety is lower since starting Paleo a month ago.

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    Knifegill's Avatar
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    Actually, it can go any direction. Some people see it go up, and some see it go down. I think a lot of it depends on what fats you are eating.

    I, for one, advocate regular consumption of tallow and coconut oil - and my HDL went from 50-something up to 94 once I started this. That naturally means my total is higher, but my tested LDL was only 134, up from something like 120, and my trigs were ridiculously lower. I DO NOT take fish oil, because I do not seek systemic inflammation, but I do eat fish. Polyunsaturated fats are heavily overrated, IMO.

    I would eat this way for at least six months and retest. Get the direct LDL, not calculated. And do a VAP if you can, to get info on your particle size. CRP is also good, to see if you have any inflammation to worry about.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Knifegill View Post
    I DO NOT take fish oil, because I do not seek systemic inflammation, but I do eat fish.
    I go back and forth on this one. There is good research for high dose fish oil aiding depression/bipolar disorder (don't have that) out of Harvard. I hesitate to eat tons of fish because of the mercury. I've started eating more wild caught Alaskan/West Coast salmon. I will probably eat that twice/week for 6 months instead of the capsules. I'm actually going to start chelating again (metal detox) with my son so hopefully I won't accumulate the Hg. My son was mercury/lead exposed.

    Your bicycle quote is great. I was just on my bike this morning and skidded my tires like a 10 yr old in the garage when I got home!

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    They put me on all kinds of pills, too. Thankfully, my mood is stable on high-fat low-carb and I no longer need them, but everybody is different.

    The only case in history of mercury in fish being any problem is when a factory dumped mercury in a bay and locals ate the fish. Even if you are worried about mercury, the amount of selenium in any good paleo diet is more than enough to remove the faint traces found in fish. Especially if you stick to smaller, short-lived fish like mackerel (the most nutritious fish on the planet IMO) and pink salmon, sardines, etc. Then the selenium IN THE FISH already outweighs the mercury found therein.

    I do not know anything about chelation.

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    I had really low cholesterol levels last time I was checked---but I wasnt WELL. The doc seemed super impressed with my numbers, but my body was telling me otherwise. I have since added much more sat. fats to my diet---actually hoping to up my numbers! Haven't been rechecked but might put that on my radar for this fall.

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    From what I understand, the sweet spot for men as far as total cholesterol is around 200 (or around 5.5 depending on which scale you're using). But I also thought triglycerides were a better predictor of cardiovascular risk anyway. Definitely NOT my area of expertise, though.

    Women don't have a sweet spot. Lower cholesterol is tied to higher mortality for them.

    Is the use of cholesterol in mortality risk algorithms in clinical guidelines valid? Ten years prospective data from the Norwegian HUNT 2 study

    Quote Originally Posted by Knifegill View Post
    Even if you are worried about mercury, the amount of selenium in any good paleo diet is more than enough to remove the faint traces found in fish. Especially if you stick to smaller, short-lived fish like mackerel (the most nutritious fish on the planet IMO) and pink salmon, sardines, etc. Then the selenium IN THE FISH already outweighs the mercury found therein.
    This ^

    The selenium in the fish bonds with any mercury any it's not an issue anymore.
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    Nora Gedaudas discuses the dangers of low cholesterol in her book Primal Body Primal Mind. She also talks a lot about mood disorders.

    Primal Body-Primal Mind | Beyond The Paleo Diet

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    I bet drinking bulletproof coffee would do wonders to jack up your hdl if you are not super concerned with rapid weight loss.

    And it is yummy... but also 400ishi cal

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    I have the same problem!
    I've been primal for several years (not perfect of course) but my HDL is always super high, LDL low and total cholesterol is low. I struggle with depression, and other signs of low cholesterol.
    I do eat coconut oil (i love all coconut products) and fish. My fats are always the good stuff.

    So what can I do about my cholesterol? I'm certain that I can't kick the lingering depression without increasing it.
    Any other food suggestions??

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndreaC View Post
    I have the same problem!
    What is your total cholesterol number?

    Since our bodies produce cholesterol, I'm wondering how I can boost my own production? If I eat high cholesterol foods, my body perhaps won't feel the need to produce its own, but then if my body isn't producing enough cholesterol I need to supplement with diet. We produce 75% of our own cholesterol, and I really wonder if ingested cholesterol performs the same function as synthesized cholesterol (or does it as well) or maybe even that dietary cholesterol is the stuff that sticks to your artery walls? I think the majority is produced in the liver. Intestines help, too somehow.

    So, I'm going to do things to improve liver function and eat healthy for my intestines. I have no clue if that will help. The studies I've read all point to needing total cholesterol over 150mg/dL. I hover on that line. My hdl/ldl/triglycerides are optimal, so I don't worry a bit about raising my totals. Just thinking out loud; not offering advice.

    Gonna also dive into the whole inflammatory response. I'm sure that plays a role somehow.

    Thanks again! Off to eat some grass fed sirloin.

    Age 48
    Start date: 7-5-12
    5'3"
    121lbs
    GOAL: to live to be a healthy and active 100


    "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
    Henri Frederic Amiel

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