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Blood test results


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On my 29th day, I went to the doctor to get blood work, mostly bc I was curious if my clean month improved my already good levels. I got the results today. Disappointing. And have me slightly freaked out. Doctor is recommending I go on a low cholesterol diet for a year and then re-test.

Mar 2011 / Aug 2012 (day 29)

LDL 122 / 137

HDL 76 / 51

A few things I'm trying to keep in mind.

1. At the time of my March 2011 test, I had been going to the gym for the previous six weeks 4-5x/week, doing high intensity stuff (Body Pump and Spin Class). I can't remember what I was eating like, but probably not a lot of fast food and ice cream, and my wine intake was definitely less (since I was at the gym most evenings). Shortly after that blood test, I stopped working out bc of a back problem, and haven't worked out since.

2. My doc says that it takes more than a month to see results of a significant change in diet in your blood work. So maybe these numbers are more a result of what I was doing prior to the W30? I was way far down the slippery slope, eating fast food as often as 2-3 times a week, and drinking wine every single night.

3. My GP is not a nutritionist on leading edge or fringe of nutrition. The way I am eating is much better than the way I was eating. No one can dispute eliminating excess sugars, excess alcohol, excess processed crap.

4. My sister, who is a nurse, is about 12 days into her W30, has this to say: “Cholesterol levels are now being questioned as to their value in predicting heart disease etc. Now many MDs are looking at inflammation as more damaging to coronary arteries and they are doing other testing.â€

5. I believe there is a lot to be said for believing your body. I feel good, even energy, great sleep, better focus, mood improved. I don't think these results are is placebo, or even just eliminating wine and caffeine. I believe this is good for me.

But I am still having a hard time with the lab results. :( I'm going to stay with paleo for six months and re-test and see if it gets better. Maybe I should cut eggs back to a few times a week instead of every day, and switch out some of my red meat for poultry and fish?

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Agree. I have done dozens of autopsies and (in my experience) what your vessels look like usually has minimal correlation with heart disease. I have seen people die of heart attacks with "optimal" cholesterol levels and I have seen people with "awful" cholesterol levels have crystal clean arteries and die of other causes.

The drop in your exercise could account for the drop in HDL. That should improve once you are able to exercise a bit more.

I would say stay the course with the whole30 style of eating and have another panel in 3-6 months and see where things are going. The thing about (most) bloodwork is that it is just a snapshot in time and you need more than one snapshot to get the full picture.

How are your thyroid levels, they can impact cholesterol as well.

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If those are the only values you have at hand, then you need to stop worrying about them because they mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING without the context of other data/values.

Other things to keep in mind without giving you medical advice (which I'm not qualified to do):

  • If you've lost fat during your whole30, it releases a lot of junk from your liver and it throws off your lipid numbers. It takes a month or so for things to normalize.
  • your sister is right
  • eggs are good for you
  • your body produces 100s of times more cholesterol on its own than you could eat in an egg.
  • Females have higher cholesterol levels than men do. Traditional hunter gatherer women have total cholesterol levels in the 220-240 range, so the standard "panic" value of >200 is generally stupid and misguided for women.

I think your plan to keep going and get another test in 3-6 months is a good idea. I'd just make sure that you get GOOD values tested to give you a full picture of what's going on.

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Thanks guys for your responses. All of the test results are in the mail, so I will post more when that arrives -- these are just the two numbers she told me on the phone. Maybe in context of everything else it will seem better. I've lost about 10# since I began on 7/9, but I also wonder if my liver is in high gear releasing junk because it's not having to process my daily intake of wine anymore?

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Test results arrived in the mail, and here are more of the numbers (there's a ton of other stuff on the lab report, but I don't know what any of the other stuff is):

Aug 2012 // March 2011

Glu 89 // 82

Trig 56 // 44

HDL 51 // 76

Non-HDL 148 // 131

LDL 137 // 122

VLDL 11 // 9

Risk 4 // 3 (on 0-5 scale)

I plan to stick with Paleo for at least another six months or so, and will re-test again. I really hope the higher fasting blood cholesterol and glucose is a result of (1) my awful eating habits PRIOR to beginning this, and/or (2) a result of my liver kicking out the bad stuff as it adjusts to not having to deal with a daily assault of red wine and other "baddies". Also, my very low results in March 2011 might have been an anomaly since I had been at the tail end of a rare but intense six-week phase of working out.

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