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Another Cholesterol Thread

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Has anyone experienced higher total cholesterol on the paleo diet?

My cholesterol levels always used to be just under 150 and I just donated blood to find that my cholesterol is up to 197...

I know cholesterol is not inherently "bad" and we need it, but I think conventional wisdom tends to be off base when giving "acceptable" limits to markers such as cholesterol..

I'm trying not to freak out but that is a 50 point difference. I don't know the good/bad or tg breakdown but it seems a little crazy that it went up so much..

I know you're not doctors but can someone throw me a bone?


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You are correct that cholesterol isn't inherently "bad" and I agree with you that conventional wisdom's tendency to place acceptable ceilings on biomarkers is completely arbitrary and silly. Did you know that the "acceptable" ceiling for TC used to be something like 220 instead of 200? They recently lowered it (in the last 10 years) in the hopes they'd catch more borderline folks and prevent some CVD. That worked so well, huh?

Anyway, the big jump could be from a few things...most of them neutral in terms of your health.

  • Testing has an error margin of +/- 40 pts. You could give two samples, 2 days apart and not change anything in between, and you could have a difference of 80pts between them.
  • Eating saturated fats will increase cholesterol levels a bit, mainly HDL, I imagine you've increased your sat fat intake on the W30, so that's a cause...but like you said...that's not necessarily a _bad_ thing. Sat fat doesn't cause heart disease, and HDL is actually correlated with being protective against heart disease
  • You could have been majorly low carb during your W30 and you messed with thyroid function a little. I don't want to panic you, because this is probably NOT the case, and even if it were, it's not a HUGE deal...just eat more carbs, but the thyroid controls LDL receptor (the guys that pull LDL particles out of the blood) activity on your liver, so if your thyroid function's been downregulated at all, so have your LDL receptors. Your TC is nowhere near high enough to suggest this, but it's a mechanism to keep in mind

One other big thing to keep in mind in regards to TC levels, that NEVER gets addressed in the mainstream media/health channels, is that women have higher TC levels than men do. The ceiling of 200 is stupid in general, but it's even more ridiculous when you place it upon a woman. Traditional hunter gatherer women had/have TC levels of around 230-250, and have little to NO incidence of heart disease. Additionally, even mainstream medicine agree that women are low risk for heart disease as it is. Is it the extra cholesterol that makes them more protected? Who knows, but it's certainly interesting to consider when everybody's screaming that high cholesterol levels are evil.

Anyway, (disclaimer time) I'm not telling you that your jump means absolutely nothing and that you should ignore your doc's advice. I just want you to keep the above in mind when you get the rest of the number breakdowns back.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am looking for some help on my cholesterol. I have been told that my cholesterol is an issue by my doctors, but I'm not sure I believe them - so first off I am looking for someone who believes in the Paleo and/or gluten-free lifestyle to give me their take rather than a doctor who just wants to prescribe pills.

Second, I'm looking for some advice on what to do with my diet given the results of my test.

Any recommendations?

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Neal, you didn't post your test results, but even if you did, we cannot provide medical advice here. Secondly, if you're looking for a paleo doc, check in with the Paleo Physicians Network in your area: http://paleophysiciansnetwork.com/

Thirdly, I encourage you to do some research about cholesterol, what it is, what it does, and what's wrong with the standard of care these days and make your own conclusions. Both Peter Attia and Chris Masterjohn's blogs are both really good places to start.

Peter Attia: http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/the-straight-dope-on-cholesterol-part-i

Chris Masterjohn: http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/


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