Ok folks. This may very well be the most important question I ever ask on PaleoHacks. I've seen many people on here post their cholesterol numbers. From Travis to Todd to Kamal to Melissa and many others. Well, now it's time for Jack Kronk. I need a hack, big time.
I'm sorry to report that I am very unhappy with the results of my VAP test from last week. I was hoping for something more "Paleo-ish". Instead, I am staring straight down the pipe at needing to make some major changes.
I DO NOT want to make this post. I like the notion much better that you all just think everything is going peachy with Jack Kronk and that I am this picture of health. In many ways, that's true. I am more fit than ever, strong as a bull, and happy with many aspects of my health. But these results have me very concerned. One of the toughest things for a person to do is humbly ask for help, especially when it appears that the help is needed as a result of bad decisions. I will say this... if it is bad decisions on my part, it's certainly not intentional. It would be more correct to blame ignorance, hence the importance of my honesty here. I sat here and thought to myself... should I try to make some changes first and improve the numbers and then report back my success to show everyone how brilliant I am? But then I immediately realized that that's what gets people into more trouble. No. I decided instead to bite the bullet... to be completely transparent.
I will post the results and discuss my thoughts below. Ok, enough prepping. On to the numbers:
Oct 2010: Standard Lipid Panel
(after 2 months VLC - less than 50g per day)
July 2011: VAP
(switched to higher carb Dec 2010 - probably around 150-200g per day from starch and fruits)
Since Oct of 2010, I have skyrocketed my Trigs and my HDL is just sitting there like a lazy bum. My LDL went down quite a bit, and my TC went down a little, but what's the deal with my HDL/Trig ratio?
I eat about a dozen eggs per week, and while that isn't breaking any records, it's also not absent from my diet by any means when you consider that I'm getting about 4-5 dozen per month. Also, I cook those eggs in coconut oil, every time. But that's about my only intake of coconut oil. For a couple months, I was eating 2 tablespoons per day, but I stopped doing that back in January.
Also, I have seriously upped my intake of fruit lately. I've been very vocal about this on PaleoHacks too. I love me some bananas and cream. I think I average at least 1 large banana per day now. Sometimes I have 2 because I figured it may help me add muscle from the starch. Is that what's causing my trigs to go up?
And what the heck is up with the pattern B and the small VLDL? This is the thing I am MOST concerned about. The only thing I can think of is my stubborn HDL and rising Trigs. I wish very much that I had gotten the VAP done back in Oct 2010 as well so I can compare since my Trigs were only 85 then.
I know that some folks would go into freak out mode over this. Understandably so. But I not like "OMG Paleo is killing me! I'm going Vegan!". Um, no. I know too much to think like that. I can identify some key areas that I may need to change and I'm not about to toss out everything I've learned just because I don't like my numbers.
So I'm open folks. You all know me. You know I'm serious and I will do whatever I need to.
Some other key elements to my diet that may be important:
Very little gluten. My only indulgences are the occassional pizza and beer. But my intake of both of those has plummeted to way below average over the last 10 months. I probably eat pizza about twice a month and have beer about 1 pint every 2 weeks or so.
Very little PUFA - I avoid all vegetable oils whenever I can. I never cook in veggie oils, of course. I do eat almonds and pecans regularly. This is basically my only intentional source of food that contains some O6 PUFA.
I will often eat a banana sliced up with cream and a coffee with cream for breakfast. I started doing this about 3-4 times per week maybe 4-5 months ago. I really enjoy it, but I will dump this habbit faster than Chuck Norris if I need to.
Raw honey with nut butter is one of my favorite little snacks, although I haven't had raw honey in over a month and a half so I'm not sure if that played a big role here.
So what do you think? Could this be due to a certain genetic predisposition? If so, how do I test for that?
Should I supplement with fish oil to get more omega3?
Drop the bananas completely?
Supplement Niacin like Dr Davis recommends to rasie HDL?
Increase eggs and coconut oil?
Drop the starchy tubers?
Add more starchy tubers?
Eat more salads and veggies?
Personally, I suspect that my increase in fructose consumption has caused my Trigs to go up, which is why I target the bananas. But would eating ONLY whole fruits like berries and bananas and figs do that? The only juice I get is from Kombucha, and it's very little at 5% content.
Doc wants me on meds of course. Here was my response this morning:
Thanks for these documents. I was expecting to see the full range of other measurements on the VAP like VitD levels, CRP, etc. I suppose the trade off is getting a better picture of what kind of cholesterol I have.
To be frank, I am not pleased with these results at all. I am very concerned about the VLDL, low HDL, low protective HDL, high Trigs, and certainly the small pattern B LDL. That sounds like a bad recipe in many respects and I will not accept this.
Without question, I will be making some significant adjustments to my dietary choices now that I know how my body is processing what I am eating. The adjustments begin today. Right now.
At this time, I am not interested in cholesterol meds. I understand the implications, and the importance. I would like to retest for the VAP in about 3 months to monitor this more closely for a time so I can get a clear picture of what's really going on.
I am very serious about correcting this, and I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that I have good cardiovascular health.
Thanks for your help everyone!
EDIT: Some people are asking what I think about cholesterol and the lipid hypothesis.
I'd like to put my viewpoint out there so everyone knows where I stand on this.
I believe the diet-heart hypothesis is faulty, and I believe the cholesterol lipid hypothesis is VERY faulty.
Specifically regarding lipid numbers, I should have noted in my question that I come at this from a very non-conventional perspective and I have a fairly advanced understanding of what this all means. I say 'fairly' because I won't even begin to pretend to understand it from a bio-mechanical perspective like, say... Chris Masterjohn does. But I know what to look for beyond just TC and LDL, which for some reasons, are still the typical things that docs freak out about.
I believe total cholesterol number is almost worthless. TC should not be calculated the way it is by conventional standards. It makes no sense. If you ask me what I think 'healthy' cholesterol numbers are, I would say they should have the following points:
High HDL: 60+ (and closer to 80+ is even better)
Low Trigs: <100, (and <80 is even better)
Low VLDL: fuzzy, but should probably be less than 20
LDL should be large, buoyant pattern A dominance over small, dense pattern B
VitD should be at least 35 ng/mL
Low C-Reactive Protein levels
Even then all we can do with this information is speculate, since these are only markers for good cardiovascular health. I don't care much about the total LDL number because I think the calculation of it is faulty. I also think the measured LDL number is misunderstood still and that even an LDL of 200+ may not be a bad thing if all other areas listed above are present.
So why I am concerned? Because I miserably failed the top 4 important points and didn't get the last 2 so those are still unknown.
Hopefully that helps clarify where I stand with cholesterol.
----EDIT---- It has been noted that I was told fasting wasn't necessary. Most of the research I am seeing backs this up, yet everybody on here agreed that I should have fasted. Look at this page for the Atherotech VAP testing (one of many). It says: "Because we are directly measuring LDL-C, fasting is not required."
Is that true for LDL-C (calculated), but not true for triglycerides?
If fasting is still required to get an accurate measure of fasting trigs, than they are making a big mistake telling people they don't need to fast.