T Nation

Cholesterol and Hypoglycemia?!

T-Nation,

Recent blood work showed that I have below “normal” total cholesterol, at 102, where 125 is considered the lower end of normal. My ratio of total to HDL is about 3:1, where 5:1 and below is generally good (the smaller the ratio the better). Besides the fact that my HDL could be higher, this is not dangerous according to my MD.

But, I was wondering if anyone has seen any significant research that shows lower cholesterol can pose health risk(s)??? I believe the Weston Price Foundation preaches against traditional medicine when it comes to cholesterol levels, saying they are not a true indicator of CVD. Weston says the healthiest humans are those that have high-normal cholesterol, generally living the longest (this is an awfully broad statement though).

Also, I told my doctor about some hypoglycemic-like symptoms I have occasionally experienced. After seeing my fasted blood-glucose results, he said they are also low-normal, at 71. He said that I shouldn’t have a problem unless I get near the “passing out” stage, as very low blood-glucose can cause coma and death. Incidentally, I found this out first hand some years ago while having a bad case of the flu. After not being able to eat for 24 hours, every time I stood up out of bed I passed out cold… I decided to crawl to the bathroom after several tries!

Anyway, I expressed concern that these symptoms could indicate worsening hypoglycemic episodes. He assured me of two things. One, that my numbers were totally safe, but if they crept into the 60’s I would definitely feel worse. Therefore keep doing what I already was - eating every 3-4 hours. Two, because I’m an “athlete”, vigorously exercising 5-6 days per week, my metabolism is elevated. Therefore, I metabolize food very rapidly which can make blood-glucose drop off quickly after gastric emptying. Hence why I cannot tolerate low-carb diets (less than 50 grams per day).

The weird thing though is that my grandfather was quite hypoglycemic, yet besides high school, he was not athletic at all. So, I don’t know how accurate the “athletic” diagnosis fits me (or people in my situation) but I don’t have any other hypothesis. I also asked if I could be hypoglucagonic, but he said that usually occurs with a tumor of the pancreas.

If you are interested, here is a good read on what effects glucagon has on blood-glucose. http://arbl.cvmbs.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/endocrine/pancreas/glucagon.html Its interesting to note that even high blood-amino acid levels can cause an insulin spike! So, its not just a problem when eating high-GI carbs, although I bet its not nearly as pronounced.

Looking for further education, constructive debate, and/or personal experiences.

Thanks,

TopSirloin