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Cholesterol & low testosterone confusion


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Primarily I stick to the whole 30 eating plan with the exception of four days a month where I am at work (It's complicated... but I do my best)  Anyhow...recently I went to go get some blood test done.

 

I last had my cholesterol tested in 2008 and it all came back "fine".

 

But as of this month...

 

My "good" cholesterol is high. 80

my "bad" cholesterol is high. 254

my total cholesterol is high. 254

 

and my testosterone level was 0.13 (normally should range 4-50 mg).

 

I run ultra marathons, work out at the gym, and i backpack for a living.  I'm a single healthy childless 30 year old woman, I don't get it!  I should be in my prime, right?

 

What. The. Heck.

 

I had a feeling my testosterone was off.

 

ie. no sex drive unless I was asleep the week before my period (it peaks then between the hours of 4-8am) 

 

That was a big clue.  the doctor knows I am on birth control (which I will be switching to another soon)  

 

They are suggesting I try a what they have described as "controversial" testosterone cream (5mg testosterone per 1ml  per day)

 

ff.  Should I have told the endocrinologist about my diet?  Does anyone else have this issue? I've done a little internet sleuthing and looked for foods that naturally help boost testosterone.  I have added them to my diet (the whole 30 friendly ones anyways).  

 

Any suggestions or ideas?

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I have low sex hormones and have been on testosterone cram in the past, a low dose similar to yours. It certainly had its... eh hem... benefits, but I felt a bit more aggressive and my legs grew hair like I had never seen!

A few things I discovered... my thyroid was not functioning well due to pituitary insufficiency and my zinc levels were low.

Thyroid function is important because it's what converts cholesterol into your hormones. My cholesterol is high - meaning my body recognizes my hormones are low and thus needs more cholesterol - those building blocks for hormones - so it produces more cholesterol. Though my cholesterol is still high-ish, it dropped about 80 points in 6 months after getting my thyroid treated properly. There were no other changes in my lifestyle to account for that really.

Second, zinc is needed for testosterone production. Foods that are considered aphrodisiacs are due to high zinc content. Pork shoulder, pumpkin seeds, oysters, etc. are high in zinc. You can also supplement, but it's best to monitor levels as zinc and copper work together and you can have levels of zinc that are too high, causing copper levels to drop.

Both thyroid levels (be sure to ask for tsh, free t3, free t4, and reverse t3 if possible!) and zinc can be checked out via a blood test.

Side note - I stopped supplementing zinc for a while because my levels were too high but recently noticed my sex drive tanked. I took one supplement and felt an almost immediate reaction! Not sure if it was the placebo effect, but I'll take it!

One last thing - are you low carb? Many women find they need more carbs to support healthy hormone levels. Might be something worth playing around with. I know I need some with every meal to keep my cycles somewhat regular.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have been doing low carb!  I will add some more starches in there and see if it boosts anything.  

 

As far as supplements go, I take 1,000mg fish oil, a multi, and a zinc (i noticed the women's formula had half of what the mens had, so i added a safe amount to complement what the multi already offers)  I also take reservatrol, turmeric, dandelion root, ALA, and 5,000 vitamin D, and a vitamin B blend.  I will probably just stick with the multi, fish oil, D and zinc once these run out.  

 

I would really rather supplement with real foods, and i know that nothing quite does the job like them.  Unfortunately my job just doesn't offer me good opportunity to eat whatever i want.  So  I have added a lot of pumpkin seeds to my diet for the same reason with the zinc.  

 

I will adjust my intake for carbs and see how I do.  I love the suggestion Karen!  Thank you so much :) 

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  • 3 weeks later...

As I mentioned I went in for further blood tests.  My tests revealed my testosterone is back in the normal range, but my issue has not been resolved.  He was very pleased with my cholesterol levels.  I will discuss wether to increase the testosterone dose or not bother with it.

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80 is fine for HDL. It's not really a concern unless it's very high, over 150.

 

Also the important stats are the ration of HDL to total cholesterol, yours is 3.1 which is a good ratio.

 

the other important stat is your triglicerides to HDL ratio. That should be about 1 or lower. Did they tell you what your triglycerides were?

 

Not sure about testosterone, but you should get your thyroid checked as Karen suggested.

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  • 1 year later...

I'm on 2mg of prescribed testosterone... Using sublingual troche, so does this affect the whole30 process?

 

No, always take your medication from the doctor, it trumps Whole30 rules.

 

I don't believe yours is non-compliant anyway, unless it has some added ingredients :)

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