T Nation

50 and Cholesterol

I’m turning 50 in about 10 days, and had a checkup a couple of weeks ago. got the blood test results in the mail:

cholesterol 228
triglyceride 125
HDL 40
LDL, calc 163
CK, total (whatever this is) 174
HGB 15.9

i also had a my T checked, it’s 480. my blood pressure is good, last time it was 111/70. all the doc said after listening to my heart and lungs was “excellent”.

all looks good except the total cholesterol and LDL. I searched this site and others for info on just what this means, and of course got totally confused and baffled. the doctor’s (form) letter recommends diet to lose 1-2 lbs/month, excercise and a baby aspirin.

I’m 5’11", about 215 lbs. I don’t know my BF%, but I wear 36 inch pants easily, and measure 37.75" at the navel. so OK, i could lose some fat, but I’ve been working on it. I train 9 - 12 hours per week, weights+cardio 3 times per week, BJJ+kickboxing 2 - 3 times per week, yoga once per week.

i eat oatmeal for breakfast, soup, fruit and V8 for lunch, fruit for afternoon snack. dinner is all over the place, i mainly try to stay away from too much fried food and watch my portion sizes. pre-workout, i usually have a piece of fruit and some OJ. post-workout i have a protein shake.

i take a men’s formula multivitamin daily, plus extra E and C. i also take an aspirin, chondroitin/glucusamine/MSM and flax oil cap daily. i recently added ZMA, and just got my first shipment of Flameout.

i drink lots of water, have cut down on my coffee intake, and drink a glass of metamucil every day.

i guess there are some small things i can do diet - wise to get my LDL down and my HDL up, and i hope the Flameout will help. Do i need to go really strict with my diet (no soup, really watch what i eat at dinner), or is this cholesterol number game overblown and not worth worrying about? the big mystery is taht the last time i had this checked, about five years ago, it was 205. At that time i was definitely an out of shape fat bastard (about 280 lbs, wearing size 42 relaxed fit jeans). I’ve made good progress on the weight, have turned myself into a pretty decent martial artist, gotten stronger and have good endurance, but this damn cholesterol number has gotten worse.

one last piece of info: there is no history of heart disease or stroke in my family, except for my 80 year old mom, who has blockages in her neck. she’s diabetic and hypertense. used to smoke three packs a day and drank heavily, so she’s lucky to be alive.

I would read The Cholesterol Myths if I were you. The author is Uffe Ravnskov. Look it up on amazon.

[quote]Andrew Dixon wrote:
I would read The Cholesterol Myths if I were you. The author is Uffe Ravnskov. Look it up on amazon. [/quote]

thanks for the tip. as it so happens, i’m going to Border’s today, I’ll look for it there.

There are supplements for moderately high cholesterol, usually sterols included in dietary fats and milk products and sold under names such as Becel or Benecol.


I don’t mean to sound harsh, but I don’t think anyone here would call a carbohydrate based diet eating right. You get maybe a little protein with one meal a day? You should be eating protein at every meal. The body stores protein in muscle. If you don’t get what you need from your diet, your body breaks down muscle to get what it needs.

Your diet is also woefully lacking in unsaturated fats. If I were you, I’d increase the flaxseed oil and add fish oil caps. Some olive oil wouldn’t hurt either. Look around, adding unsaturated fats to your diet can improve your cholesterol profile. I take four flaxseed oil caps a day and twelve fish oil caps and I have a salad with olive oil dressing every night. My HDL is 60 and my LDL is 85.

You should definitely read Dr. John Berardi’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs.”


I’d also cut back a little on the fruit. Fructose cannot be metabolized directly by the liver into glycogen and is first converted to fat.

The biggest mistake I made when starting out was thinking that I knew how to eat right. Trust me, if you haven’t spent time actively studying nutrition, you have no idea how to eat right.

I suspect if you clean up your diet, everything else will fall into place. Sure, you have to eat less to lose weight, but if you don’t do it right, you’ll lose a lot of lean body mass along with the fat and, unfortunately, your diet seems to me to be the perfect “keep the fat, lose the muscle” diet.

Given your age and weight - fat patttern, you should have your fasting blood sugar checked and estrogen. You could be at risk for syndrome-X and pre-diabetes.

The fat will be creating E, which can itself promote fat, especially around the butt and belly.

Some [few] docs will bring down cholesterol by restoring hormones. Many on TRT have improved HDL, lower LDL and loose weight as well. They also gain muscle [if eating protein and training]. The added muscle mass eats calories 27x7.

Your T level looks quite decent for 50. But if your E is up, that increases SHBG which could leave you with reduced free testosterone (FT). It is the FT that makes you tick.

In extremes, syndrome-X can lead to high E and quite low T&FT, along with the weight/fat problems. The low T compromises endothelial function which leads to arterial disease. High E promotes enlargement of the prostate.

Tests for homocysteine and C reactive protein (CRP) are better markers for active problems in the arteries that need action.

You could also be tested for:

This test is used for insulin measurement in the evaluation of individuals with fasting hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia. High fasting insulin is a sign of insulin resistance and the start of type II diabetes or syndrome X

I’m going to chime on with HappyDog. You suggest perhaps you should cut out soup (if it’s canned or packaged, leave your computer, throw them away, return to your keyboard), and I say yes. And absolutely, you should get strict with your dinner. Weigh your food, or at least purchase a book detailing carb, fat and protein content and use it. Learn food content, see what meals agree with your body and your life, and eat them over and over.

As HappyDog says, I also fear you are not taking in anywhere near enough protein, nor taking seriously the combinations of food you are eating. Treat everything you put into your mouth as if it’s fuel for your workouts, recovery and training. If that corn chip doesn’t quality (and in your heart you know what does and doesn’t), then don’t stuff it into your mouth. You cannot cram enough extra weight training, nor cardio, into your life to make up for poor nutrition. It just cannot make up the difference.