Cyclic Ketogenic Diet and Cholesterol
Recently I completed a 10 week experiment doing a variation of a cyclic ketogenic diet called the Carb Nite Solution, which basically entails eating strict low carb (less than 30 gm per day) with one 6-8 hr window of massive carb loading per week. At the end of this experiment, before going on a trip to Italy, I had a series of fasting labs drawn.
So far we’ve looked at my:
- Vitamin D
- Markers of glucose control: HbA1c, Fructosamine, Fasting Insulin
- Thyroid Hormone
It’s time to go into my cholesterol numbers. For reference, here are links to my prior cholesterol labs:
- The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Cholesterol Part 1
- The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Cholesterol Part 2
- The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Cholesterol Part 3
- The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Cholesterol Part 4
- The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on Cholesterol Part 5
Since I’ve definitely become ketotic while doing the Carb Nite, it looks like my cholesterol numbers are pretty close to what they were after doing 3 months of nutritional ketosis.
I can confirm that I’m definitely one of those folks that has the LDL bump after going keto. It’s interesting to see that even with the addition of the Carb Nites to push me out of ketosis a few times a week it till wasn’t enough to keep my LDL-C and LDL-P from sky rocketing back to my strict ketosis levels… in fact the LDL-P went higher (3009 vs 2800). At least my small LDL-Ps didn’t go up as high (1072 vs 1226) although this is still way out of the normal range (< 527 fo small LDL-P and < 1000 for LDL-P).
My triglyceries took a bump up to 96, which probably has to do with the increased carb intake on Carb Nite vs strict nutritional ketosis.
I can’t explain why my HDL is still so low, despite all the fish oil that I’ve been taking. One of the purported benefits of eating a ketogenic diet is a higher HDL, but as you can see, this doesn’t quite happen in my case.
It seems that my body really does need a steady stream of carbs in order to maintain more normalized cholesterol numbers, with the whole thyroid thing playing a big role (hypothyroidism which is a side effect of ketosis is associated with higher LDLs). With my thyroid numbers, we can see that my TSH bumped up slightly indicating and my RT3 is still way high indicating some degree of thyroid dysfunction.
Despite all this I’m still not too worried because my overall cardiac risk factors are still good:
- My CRP is less than 1, telling me that there isn’y underlying inflammation going on… and I’m in the camp that believes that it’s inflammation causing oxidation of cholesterol that is truly the problem rather than cholesterol itself.
- My Triglyceride to HDL ratio is still optimal (2 or less is ideal)
- I’ve been losing body fat and losing weight
- My fasting insulin indicates that I’m not insulin resistant
One thing I am certain of is that whatever diet I’m on or experiment I’m running, I’ll definitely continue to check my NMR lipoprofile numbers to see where they go.
I suspect I may have to accept the fact that I’m just one of those people that needs a higher level of carbs and shouldn’t remain in ketosis for prolonged periods… but I’m not quite ready to give up experimenting yet.