First hand experience of the Great Cholesterol Myth

I had an interesting experience on Thursday after visiting my doctor to review my first ever blood tests. Due to the Paleo Diet I was encouraged by friends and family to get my numbers tested due to concerns about my cholesterol because I was eating alot of saturated fats and animal products. I am going to share what is happening here because this is a very controversial subject that gets very heated and I want it noted what is happening and why I am choosing to do what I do.

First of all, lets get to the punch mark. My total cholesterol results were high and in my doctors words, she has never seen LDL (the so called ‘bad cholesterol’ (we will get to this later)) as high as she has seen mine. The results are Total Cholesterol 375, Triglycerides 62, HDL 58 and LDL 244.

Now when we first reviewed the blood tests (fasted) which included everything from red blood count, to liver function, kidney function, testosterone, cortisol, vitamin D, CRP (inflammation), Iron, Glucose, Serum’s and Thyroid. Everything indicated that I was very healthy, the only small discrepancies were testosterone on the low side and Serum Ferritin on the high side. Despite everything being ok, and being a young 28 year old fit, healthy, male with no history of disease, sickness in myself or heart disease in my family, the doctor decided that I was to immediately start treatment on statin cholesterol lowering drugs. She also took me to the Australian Government website to calculate my risk of heart disease. This website indicated that I have a 15% chance of death by heart disease in the next 5 years (if I didn’t change anything by the age of 35). She advised that I should start a low-fat diet and cut out butter, coconut oil, red meat and cheese.

I was in shock. First thing first, I asked her whether one supposed outlier in a field of results that showed I was healthy could mean I am to go on a statin. She said the LDL is too high, she had never seen this result before and that it is ‘very bad’. I said, what about the LDL particle size, isn’t very low density LDL B a better indicator of risk of heart disease? ‘No, this is very bad’ was the answer. Queue the Latest In Paleo, Humans Are Not Broken post by Angelo Coppola where even now the infamous Dr. Oz (the oprah of American talk show health) has been convinced by the docs of The Great Cholesterol Myth that you should resist being placed on a statin if you have high LDL and that you should get a particle size test.

I eventually convinced the Dr that I should get retested in three months and get a particle size test done. Further research hereherehere, here and here. Alison Golden even details her own experience going through this issue all the way to the point of a CT Scan.

Needless to say, my research has shown that my triglyceride to HDL ratio 1.06 ( puts me in the very low risk of heart disease ratio because it indicates the majority of my LDL are the large fluffy kind. Secondly, my research shows it is very well documented that people who are transitioning through Paleo may get elevated LDL lipoproteins. I can’t seem to see exactly why my body is doing it but it must be for a reason. They say this can be lowered by reducing my consumption of eggs but that due to LDL particle size A is a poor indicator of heart disease there is no real need to do something as drastic as ‘taking a statin’ to reduce the number when it isn’t evident it is doing anything wrong and that it may be healthy.

All I know is, people freak out with this stuff, so I am going to go get my LDL particle size test to see what my ratio of LDL particle size B is within my LDL number.

A great result out of this test though, and on the bright side of it all, my inflammation numbers were non detectable at less than 5mg/L which means my anti inflammatory diet of avoid grains, wheat and legumes is working. And, seeings as the research is showing inflammation to be a greater cause of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer and a myriad of other diseases I, and my friends and family, should be happy with this result.

It is a lonely road when you are not pushing the popular opinion and I guess that is why it takes courage to fight for what is right and not what is accepted.

Please feel free to comment below or read my forum post on my blood test where I am further discussing this issue and how to get healthier which ultimately makes us stronger more capable karateka.

About Jay Killeen

I began training in 2004 under the guidance of James Duggan Shihan. I have since achieved my Nidan in Goju Ryu Karate do Seiwakai. My favourite kata is Sanchin and I enjoy the challenge of kumite against great opponents.

Comments

  1. *like*

  2. Also – i have done a bit of research and as far as i can tell you can’t actually test for particle size in Australia… 🙁 none of our pathology labs are set up for it…

    Another marker to look at would be Lp pla2, which is a cardiovascular specific marker… CRP isn’t necessary the holistic inflammation marker that everyone makes it out to be!!

    If you’re looking for a cheaper way to do all this testing you should check out http://www.talking20.com

    • Ahh that is a real shame. Ill check out http://www.talking20.com. If I can’t source an NMR test I’ll have to do a couple of things. The first is to give blood to reduce my serum ferritin levels (no harm in doing that), tweak the diet to limit iron absorption (alcohol, red meat) to and possibly look at tweaking some foods to up regulate the thyroid T3 production to stimulate LDL receptors to pull LDL out of the bloodstream. Or, just do nothing and use the Tri/HDL ratio as an indicator that I have the big fluffy LDL particles and just focus on the iron to reduce the possibility of oxidation of the LDL.

    • Melbourne Pathology does the sub fraction/particle size test. I had it done recently, although I am yet to find a doctor who can interpret the results!

  3. Thanks for sharing. Congrats on your health and good luck.

  4. Hi
    Where in Brisbane can you get your particle size tested
    Euleen

  5. My numbers are very similar to yours after eating high fat low carb Paleo type diet. My lp-plan is elevated as well and I don’t feel as energetic as I should. Did you ever find out what was going on.

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