As you can probably tell with my recent spate of cholesterol focused posts exploring the thoughts of Dr. Dayspring as well as the role of Apo-E and alcohol in high cholesterol… cholesterol has been on my mind of late.
It’s been about 6 months since my last blood test and a lot has happened since then like:
- Trying a Carb Nite / Carb Back-Loading experiment that sort of fell apart and ended up with me gaining weight.
- Doing a bit of traveling to Germany and Croatia where I ate a lot of good carby gluten filled foods causing me to gain weight.
- And then reattempting to do Carb Nite and tracking things regularly.
I drew these labs on October 23, 2014.
You can cross reference that date with the entry from the same date in my Carb Nite Redux: Week 1 post to see that on that same day, my AM Blood Ketones measured 0.6 mmol/L and my PM Blood Ketones measured 1.4 mmol/L.
On October 22, 2014, the evening before my blood draw, my PM Blood Ketones were 1.7 mmol/L.
So you can see, at the time my blood was drawn I was well into ketosis for at least a couple days.
Without further ado, here it is:
If you’d like to read about the history of my cholesterol you can feel free to peruse these posts:
- 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
- Carb Nite (Cyclic Ketogenic Diet) and Cholesterol
- Carb Back-Loading and Cholesterol – (This post is probably the most comprehensive summary of my history)
- Carb Back-Loading, Resistant Starch, and Cholesterol
Total Cholesterol, LDL-C, LDL-P, and Small LDL-P
My total cholesterol, LDL-C and LDL-P are essentially unchanged… meaning they’re still very very VERY high.
My Small LDL-P is also essentially unchanged, although a small part of me is holding on to the hope that it is slowly coming down, albeit at a glacial pace… though this is probably just wishful thinking since a decrease in 24 points is only a decrease in 2.7% and well within the margin of error.
A man can dream!
HDL and Triglycerides
The consistency of my HDL-C is definitely frustrating. I think I have to just accept the fact that it’s going to stay in the 50’s no matter what I do. High carb vs low carb, resistant starch vs no resistant starch, weight training vs cardio… none of it matters. It, like the famous honey badger, doesn’t give a shit. It’s gonna keep on doing what it’s doing.
The low triglycerides indicates that I’ve been doing a good job eating low carb (which is confirmed by level of ketosis prior to this blood draw).
It’s the low level of triglycerides that is the saving grace in the calculation of my Triglyceride to HDL ratio, which is 1.11 (the general consensus is that a ratio of less than 2 is ideal).
C Reactive Protein (CRP)
This is a nonspecific marker for general inflammation, and anything less than 1.0 is good. I’ve been consistently under 1.0 with the exception of one measurement, and this time it measured 0.8, so I’m confident that whatever I’m doing isn’t leading to underlying inflammation in my body.
I’m just going to plagiarize myself a bit from this post because I also need a quick refresher:
Fasting insulin is perhaps one of the most convenient and practical methods to detect insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is of course the thing we want to prevent when we avoid the carb heavy standard american diet, since it is associated with such badness as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc.
…[The normal range is 2.6 – 24.9]
The first question I had is what is the optimal range I should strive for? Not just the normal, which as you can see is pretty broad, but the ideal range for optimal health. Here are a few of the best resources that I came across:
According to Stephen Guyenet from the Whole Health Source:
So what’s the ideal fasting insulin level? My current feeling is that we can consider anything between 2 and 6 uIU/mL within our evolutionary template.
These folks think that:
When fasting insulin is over 5 µIU/mL, this indicates a metabolic problem such as pre-diabetes, which sharply increases risk for degenerative diseases.
In a fantastic post by Dr. Mercola he states that:
A normal fasting blood insulin level is below 5, but ideally you’ll want it below 3. If your insulin level is higher than 3 to 5, the most effective way to optimize it is to reduce or eliminate all forms of dietary sugar, particularly fructose.
This time my insulin went even lower to 1.1 uIU/mL which I’m interpreting as a good thing and to be expected since I was eating low carb and in ketosis prior to this test.
Unchanged at 5.7%. This is another one of those lab values that doesn’t give a crap about what I do. Usually when you see an HbA1c starting to approach 5.7%, you start getting concerned about insulin resistance… but I know that the fact that my Fasting Insulin, CRP, Triglycerides, and Fasting Blood Sugars are all low indicate that I’m NOT insulin resistant.
(The only things in my life that would lead you to suspect that I’m insulin resistant are my HbA1c and the overall pudginess around my belly).
None of this sways me from the conclusion that my HbA1c is only high because of an increased red blood cell lifespan.
If you’d like to read more about how I arrived at this conclusion you can read:
- The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on HbA1c Part 1
- The Effects of a Ketogenic Diet on HbA1c Part 2
- Cyclic Ketogenic Diet (Carb Nite) and Blood Glucose, HbA1c, Fructosamine, and Insulin
Given the stability of this number, I think I’ll just limit myself to checking this once a year.
What am I going to do about my LDL?
I’m not sure yet. At this point, I’m just going to continue to do more research and see… The more I read the more potential options I encounter. Once I have an overall sense of what those options are, I’ll probably try to systematically test them out and see what effects they have.
If by some sort of dumb luck I can figure this thing out, I think it’d benefit a lot of low carbbers since Dr. Dayspring said up to 30% of low carbbers present with an increased LDL.
Thyroid numbers… stay tuned!