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my experience wrt Paleo and cholesterol (..good news!)

by (2506)
Updated about 9 hours ago
Created May 22, 2013 at 11:00 PM

For those suffering with cholesterol issues I can only heartily recommend the Paleo diet, and specifically consuming plenty of coconut oil, butter (ghee), and keeping a lid on carbohydrates.

==== Background (June 2012)

In June last year I was on a Paleo diet for several months already and had been gluten free and dairy free for years. However I was eating starchy veggies and did not consume much coconut oil and zero butter/ghee. Here were my numbers:

Total Cholesterol: 120 Triglycerides: 69 HDL: 34 LDL: 72

My concern: total cholesterol was too low, as was HDL

==== Latest Lab Report (May 2013)

I have been consuming coconut oil daily, perhaps 1-2 tablespoons, and 1/2 teaspoon of ghee. My carbohydrate consumption dropped in half (to maybe 75-100 grams) since I now consume hardly any starchy veggies. And I now consume perhaps 25 grams more protein per day (courtesy of a vegan protein supplement). The new numbers:

Total Cholesterol: 136 Triglycerides: 40 HDL: 45 LDL: 83

So the difference attained is:

Total Cholesterol: +13% Triglycerides: -42% HDL: +32% LDL: +15%

Overall I am extremely pleased with improvements to triglycerides and HDL, and it is nice to see my total cholesterol bumped up a bit. The 15% increase in LDL doesn't bother me.

But of course I am not satisfied. My questions:

  • do you think any improvements I am to gain from my diet has been fully achieved in the past 11 months or could I see further gains?

  • any further dietary changes I should try to further boost HDL? I do exercise daily, and I don't want to push myself further (I am 56 y.o.)

Thanks to everyone on this site, .. I owe you big time. And I hope my success encourages others.

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2506 · May 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Thanks, will do. :)

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1601 · May 23, 2013 at 9:15 PM

yeah, you are definitely moving in the right direction. As the advice of michael - no protein supplement (vegan or paleo), make sure no mineral deficiencies or oversupplementation! - and check back in 6 months or so?

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac
2506 · May 23, 2013 at 8:15 PM

And yes elf27, I have seen that chart before ... which I found depressing. ;-) But at least my total cholesterol went up 13% in the past year. At this rate I'll be in good shape in a couple of years! Yet I notice my LDL went up at about the same percentage. And so if my total cholesterol ever moves into optimal territory my LDL will probably be 110-120. If my triglycerides stays low and my HDL can be bumped up a bit more I won't worry about a higher LDL.

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2506 · May 23, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Thanks for the advice! I do supplement zinc/copper and selenium/iodine, and so I don't think I'm suffering from mineral deficiencies. I am a bit nervous about consuming more eggs since I suffer from an autoimmune disease (psoriasis) and I'm already (very) sensitive to dairy. I fear eating too many eggs too often can cause egg sensitivity. And yeah, I need more variety than chicken livers. Unfortunately I find beef liver to be vile (flavor is too strong). I'll try out lamb liver.

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2506 · May 23, 2013 at 8:04 PM

Thanks. The vegan protein I use is: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/nutrafusion-nutritionals/nitrofusion.html It does not contain pea protein. But yeah, although I like the stuff I probably won't reorder if it does really provide me added nutritional value.

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19120 · May 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Pork liver should virtually never be eaten for reasons regarding contracting hepatitis E from it. Chicken liver does have some copper - 7% RDA for 1oz. Lamb is also an incredibly good source of copper like beef liver.

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1601 · May 23, 2013 at 5:01 PM

12 egg yolks per week should do it.

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2506 · May 23, 2013 at 11:03 AM

I consume fish for dinner, almost without fail. For lunch I have beef, chicken or liver (chicken). As for eggs, two in the morning and sometimes one at dinner. And so strictly speaking, I may not need supplemental protein. I just use a bit of it just as a safety measure.

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32518 · May 22, 2013 at 11:09 PM

Do you eat organ meats and seafood?

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32518 · May 22, 2013 at 11:08 PM

Why not more fatty red meat instead of that protein supplement? Or eggs?

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4400 · May 23, 2013 at 4:37 PM

I think I'd ditch the protein supplement. What's in the vegan protein supplement -- soy protein? There are all sorts of issues with that. Besides, you already eat plenty of protein. You could replace that with a bit more ghee or coconut oil, or if you want a bit more meat/fish for the protein, that's fine.

I've heard it said that saturated fat can raise LDL and HDL, but that the effect only lasts a year or so and then it drops back to where it was. I didn't hear about whether that's true for people with lowish cholesterol levels though. It would be nice if you could report back to paleohacks occasionally and let us know what you try and how things are going for you.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac
2506 · May 23, 2013 at 8:04 PM

Thanks. The vegan protein I use is: http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/nutrafusion-nutritionals/nitrofusion.html It does not contain pea protein. But yeah, although I like the stuff I probably won't reorder if it does really provide me added nutritional value.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a
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1601 · May 23, 2013 at 5:00 PM

You might want to watch out for copper deficiency, (copper is present in beef liver, not chicken liver or pork liver) which can affect your cholesterol levels (in the long-term).

I think you could see further gains with the aid of diet - beef kidneys for selenium, also iodine.

A glass of red wine per day could help raise HDL more. Keep up the coconut oil.

The point of lipids like LDL and HDL are for immune function...perfect health diet did a series of posts on cholesterol in hunter-gatherers, and what good levels of lipids are.

Check out the graph in this post and the information:

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/06/blood-lipids-and-infectious-disease-part-i/

> mortality goes up as cholesterol goes down.

> Minimum mortality is found in countries with average cholesterol between 200 and 240 mg/dl. Mortality rises sharply as cholesterol levels fall below 200 mg/dl.

•Serum cholesterol – LDL and HDL – help defend against infections. As long as you have these infection-fighting lipids in your blood, infections can’t kill you.

My advice to you: Some supplementation and eating organ meats might not be amiss. also egg yolks! eat a lot of them.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a
1601 · May 23, 2013 at 5:01 PM

12 egg yolks per week should do it.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac
2506 · May 23, 2013 at 8:15 PM

And yes elf27, I have seen that chart before ... which I found depressing. ;-) But at least my total cholesterol went up 13% in the past year. At this rate I'll be in good shape in a couple of years! Yet I notice my LDL went up at about the same percentage. And so if my total cholesterol ever moves into optimal territory my LDL will probably be 110-120. If my triglycerides stays low and my HDL can be bumped up a bit more I won't worry about a higher LDL.

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac
2506 · May 23, 2013 at 8:09 PM

Thanks for the advice! I do supplement zinc/copper and selenium/iodine, and so I don't think I'm suffering from mineral deficiencies. I am a bit nervous about consuming more eggs since I suffer from an autoimmune disease (psoriasis) and I'm already (very) sensitive to dairy. I fear eating too many eggs too often can cause egg sensitivity. And yeah, I need more variety than chicken livers. Unfortunately I find beef liver to be vile (flavor is too strong). I'll try out lamb liver.

Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106
19120 · May 23, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Pork liver should virtually never be eaten for reasons regarding contracting hepatitis E from it. Chicken liver does have some copper - 7% RDA for 1oz. Lamb is also an incredibly good source of copper like beef liver.

8d3cb0be5f31c75a05f853cb3b5c245a
1601 · May 23, 2013 at 9:15 PM

yeah, you are definitely moving in the right direction. As the advice of michael - no protein supplement (vegan or paleo), make sure no mineral deficiencies or oversupplementation! - and check back in 6 months or so?

75d65450b6ff0be7b969fb321f1200ac
2506 · May 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Thanks, will do. :)

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