T Nation

Lipid Panel Results


#1

I had my cholesterol taken the other day and here are the results:

Cholesterol = 204 *
Triglycerides = 81
HDL = 42
LDL = 145.8 *
VLDL 16.2
CHOL/HDL = 4.9

I was really surprised since my diest is somewhat clean and I take Fish and Flax oil. I thought my good cholesterol (HDL) would be a lot higher and my bad cholesterol LDL would be a lot lowwer.

My doctor said my Cholesterol level is to high and should take medication. It should be well below 200. My LDL is also really high and should be down in the 50s.

I really would perfer not to take statin drugs. As far as diet and supplementation goes, what could I take and eat to bring my CHOL and my LDL down and increase my HDL?


#2

IMO, I wouldn't go on meds until you made an attempt to adjust your diet and add cardio to your workout.

My husbands was 246 and the dr. didn't even mention statin medication. The statins tend to affect your liver.

What are the lab's normal ranges for those values? Your HDL is low based on our lab's standards. It's usually desired to be >40 or >60 depending on what lab runs the test.

The fish oil is probably helping your triglycerides. The total is up, but not really high. You want it to be <200. Your fractions are important...more HDL less LDL. I'd try adjusting your diet first. If you are genetically predisposed to having a high cholesterol, you may then have to use meds.


#3

Ok, IANAD, so take this for what it's worth.

Are you getting enough cardio exercise? My HDL was always high (60s range - but women tend to be higher anyway), but it went up another 20 points when I got serious about doing vigorous cardio 3-5 days/week.

Just as point of curiousity, I notice your triglycerides are low (that's a good thing) - do you low carb?

Martha


#4

How much high intensity cardio do you do? That will definitely help with the HDL/LDL thing more so than just lifting weights.


#5

Thanks for the help. I plan on cleaning up my diet and getting more cardio before I even think of the meds.

My desired range for HDL says >35 <86. I have to get this value up and the LDL down.


#6

No actually I haven't really done any cardio since November!! I have been trying to bulk up - lifting weights only. I am going to start sprints, treadmill work and biking this week. Just waiting for the snow to melt because I hate doing stationary inside cardio (bad excuse I know).

No low carb diet since October. I haven't really been eating that well since last fall. Last spring, summer and fall I followed a Berardi type low carb, high protein and vegetable diet. I was in really good shape. I just got sick of that diet and decided to eat like the rest of North America and tried to bulk up a little.

I did gain quite a bit of muscle and my waste line only went up one size (34 to 36). I didn't gain that much body fat.


#7

No cardio at all since November. I guess I will have to start!


#8

Also my Urea Nitrogen Bun was high at 21. The reccomended range is 9-20. The doctor said I may not be drinking enough water, but I think I drink more then the average person. Could this be caused bty my high protein intake?


#9

As my professor says, "Cardio is happy hour for the heart."

No amount of supplementation can replace good old fashioned cardio.


#10

Blaiser,

I'm no physician or dietician, and won't disqualify your physicians' recommendations, but your blood panel could use a little better HDL levels and I think without statins. Increase your fish oils, take some inositol hexanicotinate (No Flush Niacin) along with your B-Complex. Also, your BUN function is slightly elevated, and could mean you were dehydrated when you took your blood test. If your creatinine levels were normal, I wouldn't sweat it.

Your BUN has virtually nothing to do with your cholesterol panel. Also the fact that your doctor thinks you need to take statins is because he is like most MD's, brain washed by the most powerful lobby in the world, so much so that they even influence how medical schools teach students. That lobby is the pharmaceutical industry.

30 or so years ago, a total cholesterol level of 200 was considered normal. How did this change over the last 30 years? Now all of a sudden it's not normal, but high. Who do you think influenced that? Yep, and why? Because they want to treat the symptom and not the cause. It's a LOT more profitable that way. Healthier, fuck no, but more profitable. Ask any drug rep to have a head to head double blind placebo test of ANY statin vs. inositol hexanicotinate, and they will NEVER do it. Why, because it is the only substance known to increase HDL while also decreasing LDL cholesterol. Statins are such a crock of shit that it is amazing.

Oh, and by the way, LDL levels are often a red herring in terms of actual heart disease. CV disease is more of a chronic inflammatory response and not due to elevated cholesterol, or hyperlipidemia. They have done studies recently that have shown that people with "normal" cholesterol levels suffer from heart attacks and strokes MORE than people with "elevated" cholesterol levels, which supports my red herring theory. Therefore, just get your HDL levels higher so you are protective and you'll be fine, no matter what your total cholesterol levels may be. Just my two cents, and these are just my opinions based on what I've read. So don't sue me if you get a heart attack or stroke. I have spoken.

Nick


#11

Nick,

I disagree with you that statins are a crock of shit. There have been hundreds of studies done to show that they are effective at reducing morbity and mortaility in a variety of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.

There is some evidence to suggest that these effects are not related to a decrease in LDl and cholesterol, but that statins have an anti-inflammatory effect on blood vessels thus increasing the diameter of the lumen of the vessels and decreasing the risk of occlusion.


#12

Your BUN can be influenced slightly be the amount of protein to take in. Protein is eventually broken down into several components, one of which is urea. Your high protein intake is probably the most likely cause of it being elevated, although it also could be due to dehydration. I wouldn't worry at all about it being 21. I have seen people in the 70s and above.

Re: you cholesterol levels, Niacin has been shown to be effective in reducing LDL, cholesterol and TGs while increasing HDL. Some people experience facial flushing when taking it, it has happened to me before, not real pleasant. You should take ASA about 30 min prior to help reduce the flushing. Also the slow release forms may reduce the SE associated with niacin.

Also, as mentioned, increasing you cardio should help to improve your lipid profile. I would start there and then pursue other alternatives if you don't achieve the desired effects. Hope this helps.

Pete


#13

I was able to cut my cholesterol in half by following Berardi's 7 habits and adding almonds and psyillium fibre while keeping up with my regular training. My cholesterol was not too high to begin with but given some health issues my docs wanted it even lower. I would avoid statins if at all possible.

I was on lipitor and suffered some rough side effects - mainly really bad muscle spasms to the point of having trouble moving around. I know the side effects are quite rare and my expereince may be an exception, but it scared the crap out of me.


#14

I'll second the comments about statins. I took a very low dose of Liptor. 10mg. per day. Took my Tri's down from over 300 to under 150. Dropped my ldl way down also. Its 120 right now. HDL is also pretty good at 49.

I took Lipitor for a month. Started daily cardio and kept that up fro 3 months. For me it did a quick fix and then I worked to maintain it. Had a liver test done at the same time and found no issues.


#15

Check out this useful article by Cy Willson on how to fix "bad blood."

http://www.t-nation.com/findArticle.do?article=163bad2


#16

I doubt there are hundreds of studies showing decreased mortality because none of the initial (10 years or so) of statins' studies showed ANY increase in mortality. Only the most recent studies have shown this and yes - it's most likely due to the anti-inflammatory effect and not the cholesterol reduction.


#17

I TOTALLY DISAGREE with this advice. Inositol hexaniacinate is the only form of niacin to produce no or very little flushing and it shown to be very safe for the liver. Many companies originally came out with a slow-release niacin to help reduce the flushing BUT THIS HAS BEEN SHOWN TO BE THE MOST DAMAGING TO THE LIVER. So please do not use slow-release Niacin unless you're going to get regular liver function tests done by your doctor. Even then, you are much better off with a fast-release inositol hexaniacinate.


#18

OK, I've been meaning to post this stuff for a while.

My cholesterol and triglyceride numbers had been above normal for many years, and were getting worse. After my father died last fall, I decided to do something about it.

Here are before and after numbers (all tests run by Quest Diagnostics). The boldfaced numbers are "after"; normal range in italics.

Total chol. 304 195 <200mg/dL
HDL 49 66 >=40mg/dL
LDL 216 108 <130mg/dL
Triglycerides 194 104 <150mg/dL
Chol/HDL 6.2 3.0 <5.0

As you can see, these were fairly substantial improvements and my doctor was somewhat amazed - and is no longer suggesting that I need statins. For reference, I'm 45. The "after" numbers are from a recent lab test, after about three months on the program described below.

So here's a quick overview of what I did. Note that the diet and exercise changes are nothing new for T-readers, but I had been slacking off in these areas. The supplementation changes might be the only novel area (by novel, I mean not part of a typical training program).

Diet changes
Less carbohydrates, more protein
More fruits and vegetables
Healthier fats
Carbs mainly after workouts
Fish every day (at least one serving)
No processed or fast food
Less alcohol
(I could have summarized this by saying "just follow Berardi's 7 Habits")

Supplementation changes
Megadose folic acid, B6 and B12
High dose pharmeceutical-grade fish oil
Lecithin
Flax seeds, hemp seeds
Cinnamon
Lots of supplemental fiber (oat bran, wheat bran, psyllium, pectin)

Exercise
Weights: 3 days/week, legs/push/pull split
Running: 3 days/week, 12 miles/week, 8 min/mile (fast pace)


#19

I never said he should take the slow release over another form on niacin. I was just pointing out what you said about, slow release may decrease the incidence of flushing.


#20

You're right, after i reread what I wrote i see that I made an error.

What I meant was that there are hundreds of studies out there about the effectiveness of statins in a variety of diseases. There are ALSO studies showing decresed M & M, but not hundreds of them. That data is relatively new.