T Nation

Just Got Bloodwork Back

Hey everyone,
I just got my bloodwork back today and the results are good overall, except for 1 category. My overall cholesterol is at 153, my “bad” cholesterol is at 96, while my HDL or “good” cholesterol is at a 34, which is considered a bit low (35-40 is average and over 40 is recommended).

Not sure why this is low, other than I’ve been sick with my sinus infection and haven’t exercised much in the past 2-3 weeks, so that could be a reason.

If I get back on a regular routine, should this number jump up pretty quickly? And, how much should I worry about my HDL being below normal levels?

Thanks,
Dan

HDL you want as high as possible. 50 or above and you are considered protective of various diseases. I’ve read that Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, High doses of Vitamin C will raise HDL. Your lipid profile is not bad with the exception of the HDL being somewhat low. Remember, the higher the better, even if your total cholesterol goes up slightly. How high are your triglycerides?

Nick

Don’t remember what my tri’s were, as I just spoke to my doctor over the phone. I’ll have to call the office to get a copy of the results so I can see all of the totals.

[quote]Djwlfpack wrote:
Hey everyone,
I just got my bloodwork back today and the results are good overall, except for 1 category. My overall cholesterol is at 153, my “bad” cholesterol is at 96, while my HDL or “good” cholesterol is at a 34, which is considered a bit low (35-40 is average and over 40 is recommended).

Not sure why this is low, other than I’ve been sick with my sinus infection and haven’t exercised much in the past 2-3 weeks, so that could be a reason.

If I get back on a regular routine, should this number jump up pretty quickly? And, how much should I worry about my HDL being below normal levels?

Thanks,
Dan[/quote]

Djwlfpack:

I grappled with cholesterol numbers a few years ago and it took me quite a while to figure out the best way to lower what should be lowered and raise what should be raised.

I can only tell you what has worked for me and those whom I have advised.

An HDL of 34 is very low. But your total cholesterol is also quite low at 153.

The HDL cholesterol act as an “artery sweeper” for lack of a better term. It helps clean out the cholesterol that may otherwise build up in the artery walls.

There are a few theories regarding cholesterol.

One goes like this: Since your total choesterol is only 153 then your HDL need not be any higher than 35 or so, as it is not needed.

Make sense?

Personally, I would feel better if you had an HDL of at least 40 or better and they say that the “gold standard” for HDL in men (women are naturally higher, go figure) is a number at 50 or better!

My HDL was in the mid 30’s as well with a total cholesterol of 170. The doctor was not the least bit worried. But I thought that since a number closer to 50 was indeed healthier why not shoot for it?

Here’s what worked for me after a couple of years of trial and error:

-Two cups of oatmeal per day. That might sound like a lot but it really isn’t bad at all. Have one cup in the morning. And then have a couple of oatmeal muffins during the day. If you add raisens to the oatmeal you will also be raising your consumption of antioxidants.

-Take no less than 6 grams of Fish Oil per day. If I recommend “Flameout” are we going to have the usual mentally challenged T-Nation haters flame me? Ha ha…who cares? Buy some “Flameout” which will give you the Fish Oil that you need. And it will also give you some important CLA.

-Walnuts and Almonds! I consume about one small handfull per day. It might sound like a pain but it’s really not. But them in bulk at your local grocer and when you pass by the container in them morning (or at night) take a handful. After a while you won’t even have to think about it.

-Okay, here’s the big one…ready? Okay here we go: No amount of weight lifting ever seemed to raise my HDL, But, cardio did! Try to burn at least 1200 calories per week performing some sort of cardio.

If you weigh around 190lbs. and run for 30 minutes you’ll burn about 500 calories. Below is a calculator to help you figure exactly what you have to do to get to the minimum of 1200 calories per week:

http://www.changingshape.com/resources/calculators/caloriesburnedcalculator.asp

After a period of trial and error, finally doing all the things above. I raised by HDL to 49. That was a big improvement for me.

If there is anything else that I can do to help you out don’t hesitate to PM me.

Best Of Luck,

Zeb

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Djwlfpack wrote:
Hey everyone,
I just got my bloodwork back today and the results are good overall, except for 1 category. My overall cholesterol is at 153, my “bad” cholesterol is at 96, while my HDL or “good” cholesterol is at a 34, which is considered a bit low (35-40 is average and over 40 is recommended).

Not sure why this is low, other than I’ve been sick with my sinus infection and haven’t exercised much in the past 2-3 weeks, so that could be a reason.

If I get back on a regular routine, should this number jump up pretty quickly? And, how much should I worry about my HDL being below normal levels?

Thanks,
Dan

Djwlfpack:

I grappled with cholesterol numbers a few years ago and it took me quite a while to figure out the best way to lower what should be lowered and raise what should be raised.

I can only tell you what has worked for me and those whom I have advised.

An HDL of 34 is very low. But your total cholesterol is also quite low at 153.

The HDL cholesterol act as an “artery sweeper” for lack of a better term. It helps clean out the cholesterol that may otherwise build up in the artery walls.

There are a few theories regarding cholesterol.

One goes like this: Since your total choesterol is only 153 then your HDL need not be any higher than 35 or so, as it is not needed.

Make sense?

Personally, I would feel better if you had an HDL of at least 40 or better and they say that the “gold standard” for HDL in men (women are naturally higher, go figure) is a number at 50 or better!

My HDL was in the mid 30’s as well with a total cholesterol of 170. The doctor was not the least bit worried. But I thought that since a number closer to 50 was indeed healthier why not shoot for it?

Here’s what worked for me after a couple of years of trial and error:

-Two cups of oatmeal per day. That might sound like a lot but it really isn’t bad at all. Have one cup in the morning. And then have a couple of oatmeal muffins during the day. If you add raisens to the oatmeal you will also be raising your consumption of antioxidants.

-Take no less than 6 grams of Fish Oil per day. If I recommend “Flameout” are we going to have the usual mentally challenged T-Nation haters flame me? Ha ha…who cares? Buy some “Flameout” which will give you the Fish Oil that you need. And it will also give you some important CLA.

-Walnuts and Almonds! I consume about one small handfull per day. It might sound like a pain but it’s really not. But them in bulk at your local grocer and when you pass by the container in them morning (or at night) take a handful. After a while you won’t even have to think about it.

-Okay, here’s the big one…ready? Okay here we go: No amount of weight lifting ever seemed to raise my HDL, But, cardio did! Try to burn at least 1200 calories per week performing some sort of cardio.

If you weigh around 190lbs. and run for 30 minutes you’ll burn about 500 calories. Below is a calculator to help you figure exactly what you have to do to get to the minimum of 1200 calories per week:

http://www.changingshape.com/resources/calculators/caloriesburnedcalculator.asp

After a period of trial and error, finally doing all the things above. I raised by HDL to 49. That was a big improvement for me.

If there is anything else that I can do to help you out don’t hesitate to PM me.

Best Of Luck,

Zeb[/quote]

Zeb,
I appreciate the advice…I figured since my overall cholesterol was low that a number of 34, while low, wasn’t that off when compared to my total number and shouldn’t be something I should be overly concerned with at this stage. Obviously to be on the safe side I’d like it to be higher and in the normal, acceptable range, so I will add some things to try and raise the number.

One thing I have slacked on is cardio…I think CW’s MMA Endurance program will help in that area, as I’ll be doing that workout 3x a week (it’s a circuit-style program that lasts 20-30 minutes).

I eat almonds, but not all the time. I will make this a part of one of my daily snacks and will also add in some walnuts for variety.

I do take Fish Oil currently, but haven’t taken as much recently due to my sinus infection. I was at around 4-6 grams a day. I do need to order some Flameout, though, as the Fish Oil I am taking doesn’t have much CLA in it.

I’m not a huge oatmeal guy, but I don’t mind it. Does it matter if it’s instant oatmeal or not? I don’t like the taste of regular oats.

Thanks again for the advice. I appreicate it.
-Dan

That’s not really all that bad. I don’t think your cholesterol is affected at all by being sick. It takes a long time for changes to be made to your levels, and being sick for a couple weeks wouldn’t be long enough to do anything. Unless maybe you ate buckets of lard as a comfort food.

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Djwlfpack wrote:
Hey everyone,
I just got my bloodwork back today and the results are good overall, except for 1 category. My overall cholesterol is at 153, my “bad” cholesterol is at 96, while my HDL or “good” cholesterol is at a 34, which is considered a bit low (35-40 is average and over 40 is recommended).

Not sure why this is low, other than I’ve been sick with my sinus infection and haven’t exercised much in the past 2-3 weeks, so that could be a reason.

If I get back on a regular routine, should this number jump up pretty quickly? And, how much should I worry about my HDL being below normal levels?

Thanks,
Dan

Djwlfpack:

I grappled with cholesterol numbers a few years ago and it took me quite a while to figure out the best way to lower what should be lowered and raise what should be raised.

I can only tell you what has worked for me and those whom I have advised.

An HDL of 34 is very low. But your total cholesterol is also quite low at 153.

The HDL cholesterol act as an “artery sweeper” for lack of a better term. It helps clean out the cholesterol that may otherwise build up in the artery walls.

There are a few theories regarding cholesterol.

One goes like this: Since your total choesterol is only 153 then your HDL need not be any higher than 35 or so, as it is not needed.

Make sense?

Personally, I would feel better if you had an HDL of at least 40 or better and they say that the “gold standard” for HDL in men (women are naturally higher, go figure) is a number at 50 or better!

My HDL was in the mid 30’s as well with a total cholesterol of 170. The doctor was not the least bit worried. But I thought that since a number closer to 50 was indeed healthier why not shoot for it?

Here’s what worked for me after a couple of years of trial and error:

-Two cups of oatmeal per day. That might sound like a lot but it really isn’t bad at all. Have one cup in the morning. And then have a couple of oatmeal muffins during the day. If you add raisens to the oatmeal you will also be raising your consumption of antioxidants.

-Take no less than 6 grams of Fish Oil per day. If I recommend “Flameout” are we going to have the usual mentally challenged T-Nation haters flame me? Ha ha…who cares? Buy some “Flameout” which will give you the Fish Oil that you need. And it will also give you some important CLA.

-Walnuts and Almonds! I consume about one small handfull per day. It might sound like a pain but it’s really not. But them in bulk at your local grocer and when you pass by the container in them morning (or at night) take a handful. After a while you won’t even have to think about it.

-Okay, here’s the big one…ready? Okay here we go: No amount of weight lifting ever seemed to raise my HDL, But, cardio did! Try to burn at least 1200 calories per week performing some sort of cardio.

If you weigh around 190lbs. and run for 30 minutes you’ll burn about 500 calories. Below is a calculator to help you figure exactly what you have to do to get to the minimum of 1200 calories per week:

http://www.changingshape.com/resources/calculators/caloriesburnedcalculator.asp

After a period of trial and error, finally doing all the things above. I raised by HDL to 49. That was a big improvement for me.

If there is anything else that I can do to help you out don’t hesitate to PM me.

Best Of Luck,

Zeb[/quote]

Great post Zeb,
One thing thats always bugged me - why does only cardio seem to affect HDL numbers and not weightlifting, and wether or not HIT cardio( like sprints, plyos and such) will affect them. Im assuming probably not.

Either way, I myself am way overdue for bloodwork.

Yes, I’m also wondering what types of cardio would work? I do home boxing workouts at home that last 20-40 minutes and I take only a couple of short breaks during that time, just to set up the bag, etc.

CW also has this MMA endurance program that’s a continuous circuit that you do for 20-30 minutes…would that count?

Or for cardio are we talking about generic cardio like running for 30 minutes or riding a stationary bike?

Dan,

I use the Quaker Oats (slow cook) variety in a box. My wife is gracious enough to make it for me every day. So I have no idea of how the instant oatmeal in a packet would work. Why don’t you compare the fiber content of each and then adjust accordingly.

You stated:

Why did you stop taking your fish oil when you got the sinus infection?

What am I missing here?

[quote]Nicholas F wrote:

Great post Zeb,
One thing thats always bugged me - why does only cardio seem to affect HDL numbers and not weightlifting, and wether or not HIT cardio( like sprints, plyos and such) will affect them. Im assuming probably not.

Either way, I myself am way overdue for bloodwork. [/quote]

The whole cardio thing bugs me too. In fact I tried doing all sorts of circut weight training as I thought that that would do the trick, and it did nothing to raise my HDL. Neither did several sets of (lower weight) 20 rep squats.

That was actually very disappointing when I discovered that there was no type of weight lifting (that I knew of) which would raise my HDL number.

I’m sure someone much smarter than I could give the medical reasons why this activity was not as good as “pure” cardio in raising my HDL. I imagine it has to do with getting your heart rate up to a certain level and keeping it there…why? Who knows? But like everything else, it almost does not matter why it works as long as you recognize that it does work and you discipline yourself to do what works for you.

The good news is…

the cardio can be done in interval fashion as long as you do not completely stop.

For example, slow jog 200 yards, sprint 100 yds. Do that 7 to 9 times and you have about 1 1/2 miles.

That sort of training seemed to work for me. I would change it up and do 1/4 mile repeats, but slow jog in between instead of a total rest. This slowed my times in the 1/4 but I realized this and it didn’t bother me.

You can get creative too, as long as you continue to move when performing cardio.

I personally used the bicycle this way as well as longer steady state rides.
I used the treadmill and other machines like this as well.

I actually do a steady state cardio run or bike for 30 minutes noce per week with no “sprinting” involved.

I always sugges that someone make a 12 week cardio plan for themselves and stick to it. At the end of the 12 weeks get the blood lipids checked and see that sort of progress that you have made.

I did this several times before I actually could see what worked for me relative to nutrition and training.

Yea…it drove my wife crazy but she knows me by now.

:slight_smile:

(A side note: My wife’s cholesterol is near perfect with an HDL of 78! And she might get to the Gym once a week if shes lucky…Hey I’m glad she’s healthy …but that is just a tad frustrating LOL)

[quote]ZEB wrote:
Dan,

I use the Quaker Oats (slow cook) variety in a box. My wife is gracious enough to make it for me every day. So I have no idea of how the instant oatmeal in a packet would work. Why don’t you compare the fiber content of each and then adjust accordingly.

You stated:

I do take Fish Oil currently, but haven’t taken as much recently due to my sinus infection.

Why did you stop taking your fish oil when you got the sinus infection?

What am I missing here?[/quote]

I will check the fiber content of both and see what the difference is.

As for why I stopped taking fish oil when I started on my antibiotic, I’m not really sure why. I guess I thought it might somehow interfere with the sinus medication. I’ve gone back to taking my regular dosage this week, though.

Your LDL/HDL ratio is a better indicator.

An average LDL/HDL ratio is 4.5 but we strive for better than average here at T-Nation to the lower the ratio number the better.

Your ratio is 2.82 which is fantastic.

My total was 103 at my last checkup and my HDL was 36…my ratio was 1.86 which I am very happy about.

[quote]Marmadogg wrote:
Your LDL/HDL ratio is a better indicator.

An average LDL/HDL ratio is 4.5 but we strive for better than average here at T-Nation to the lower the ratio number the better.

Your ratio is 2.82 which is fantastic.

My total was 103 at my last checkup and my HDL was 36…my ratio was 1.86 which I am very happy about.[/quote]

Cool, thanks.

Here’s some totals

Cholesterol: 153
Triglycerides: 116
LDL: 96
HDL: 34
Glucose: 89
Creatinine/Serum: 1.4
Bun/Creatinine Ratio: 15.0
Sodium: 140
Potassium: 4.2
Calcium: 25
Protein: 7.6
Albumin: 5.1
Glodbulin: 2.5
A/G Ratio: 2.0