After my most recent cholesterol blood test in the earlier weeks of April 2017, I learned that despite taking both Berberine AND Bergamot, my LDL-P and my Small LDL-P both bumped up after enjoying a week of my mom’s home cooking while she stayed with us.
When I retested a week after my folks left and I was able to get my diet back on track, while continuing both Berberine and Bergamot, my LDL-P came back into the 1700 range while my Small LDL-P ticked higher to almost 800.
I reasoned that since I had been taking either Berberine or Bergamot or a combination of the two for the past few months, it was a good idea to give my body a break from all of the supplementation. While I haven’t come across any research or even anecdotes referring to side effects from taking these too long, but the idea of a ‘supplement holiday’ has always stuck in my mind after Tim Ferriss said he thought it was a good idea in The 4 Hour Body.
I wondered what else I could try to influence my cholesterol and came across three things.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This happened to be in the middle of allergy season which was absolutely wrecking me, so I was also scouring the web for ANYTHING that would help my symptoms.
In some of my internet searches I came across the benefits of apple cider vinegar. Apparently this is the latest health fad and is all over health magazines and fitness blogs… who knew?
Some websites of questions veracity even wrote that this was a great way to treat seasonal allergies (here, here, here), supposedly there are specific probiotics, vitamins, and minerals found in this sort of vinegar that are helpful. I couldn’t find any sources to verify these claims.
If you look through PubMed you’ll find that there are only 55 papers that have been published dating back to 1982! Not much research exists.
Hmmm, so here’s this thing that could help my allergies AND my cholesterol? And oh yeah, did I mention that it’s cheap? You can find it on Amazon for around $5.00 a bottle if you search around with some sellers going even lower.
The BJJ Cavewife managed to snag a bottle at our nearby Trader Joe’s for $3.00!
I decided to try this out for a few weeks, taking 1 tbsp diluted in a cup of water in the AM and another one in the PM.
I tried shooting it without the water and it tasted terrible. It was easier just to dilute it in a glass of water and chug it afterwards.
I’ve messed around with 14-16 hour fasts before and never really noticed a difference in terms of my cholesterol, but I came across this podcast with Rhonda Patrick and Dr. Satchin Panda on the benefits of fasting.
At the same time, Kevin Rose, released a free iOS app called Zero to help track fasting activity.
I decided to add in a couple of 24 hour fasts into my week to try out the app AND see if there were any noticeable changes in my cholesterol.
Cut Out Red Meat and Eggs
An area I’ve been trying to learn more about is ApoE genotypes. I’ve come across a few sources (again of questionable veracity) that say red meat is particularly bad for folks who carry an ApoE 4 allele.
Since I’m an ApoE 3/4, this applies to me, and may explain my cholesterol since dietary meat is my main source of protein.
So for these few weeks red meat was out.
I decided to throw eggs out too due to their saturated fat content and we all saw what happened to me when I ate too much of my moms delicious-yet-saturated-fat-laden-home-cooking.
Almost all of it was bad news!
LDL-P: Rocketed up to 2326 from 1715 for an increase in 36%
Small LDL-P: Climbed 17% higher to 933 from 797.
LDL-C: Followed the particle numbers up 22% to 172 from 141.
Triglycerides: Came back down to 69 from 115… the only bright spot in all of this.
HDL-C: Essentially unchanged at 52
Total Cholesterol: Grew to 238.
My guess is that this is where my body will be given my current lifestyle and diet without Berberine and/or Bergamot. When I don’t have either of those two supplements in my system, my body tends towards a state where my LDL-P is in the low 2000s and my Small LDL-P is in the 900s.
A good bit of information to have.
Next up, let’s see if we can bring things back down with Berberine, Bergamot, AND Bionic Fiber.
*Image found here