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Old 03-18-2013, 07:45 AM   #1
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cholesterol numbers off the chart

I started lc in september 2012...In December I had my cholesterol checked and all my numbers improved. I was very excited and encouraged.
I cut back on my lipitor and continued my Atkins owl.
Today the docs office called me. My lipid profile from last weeks blood test was dramatically worse.
My total cholesterol went from 218 to 292
My hdl dropped from 40 to 37
My ldl dropped from 121 to 106 (improvement)?
but my triglycerides soared from 118 to 197

It 's the triglyceride number that baffles me....I stopped my triglyceride meds
when I first went lc in September yet my December blood level improved in this area. Why it went way up for the March test is a mystery. I have not cheated so my carb intake has stayed below 50 g. a day.

Really confused and distressed by these numbers. Doc wants to see me of course, will chew my butt out for playing with the meds, and I have no idea what he might say when i tell him about my lc woe.

Thanks for letting me put this out there. I was really rattled but am now starting to calm a litte.
I'll follow up when I know more.

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Old 03-18-2013, 08:00 AM   #2
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The most concerning numbers (as you must know) are that low HDL and the high trigs.

You may be one of those people who need the meds.

I have a good friend who has always been slim, exercises regularly, and is quite fit. He's now in his 60s but has been on cholesterol meds since his 30s.
His father died of a heart attack at 38, and my friend's doctor explained that his genetic inheritance (as reflected in his lab numbers) shows that he is one of the people that these meds were developed for. You don't hear of young men dropping dead of heart attacks in their 30s as much these days as when I was young (I'm 71), and it's due to the development of these Rx.

Talk this over with your doctor. A sound WOE only goes so far if there are physical issues.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:04 AM   #3
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how disappointing for you. *hug*

are you getting a lot of soluble fiber? that can help a lot, in my experience. and fish oil capsules, of course.

have you ever had a coronary event of any sort? it is my impression, particularly from reading the blog bloodsugar101 whose author reads medical studies carefully, that the only group that has been acutally SHOWN to have better mortality results from statins are men under 65 with a previous coronary event.

I agree that it's unusual to have such high triglycerides while low carbing.

you did remember to fast, right? I would ask for a retest, including a VAP test, to figure out more about what's going on.

it may well be that you need the drugs. sorry. best to do some research and try to find which are the best for your situation. good luck!
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Old 03-18-2013, 11:29 AM   #4
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Thanks for the support guys.
Y'know when I saw the triglyceride numbers my immediate reaction was that I must have 'forgotten' to fast. Truth is, I was absolutely without anything by mouth...didn't even brush my teeth till I got home from the test.
My dad died at age 48 from a heart attack and he too was thin....though he did smoke 2 packs a day....
anyway, it seems pretty clear that I am genetically predisposed to clogged arteries so the meds will be a way of life for me. I hate the thought but truth is, I have taken them for over ten years with no ill effects. I should consider myself lucky. I am trim, healhty, and active. At 63 years of age I have no physical complaints. NONE......Time to end my medication experiment and follow docs recommendatiions.
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Old 03-18-2013, 12:12 PM   #5
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Have you had your thyroid checked recently? My mom has hypothyroidism, and her doctor said that was probably at least partially responsible for her high cholesterol. Just a thought...
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:40 PM   #6
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Greta-
I'm hypothyroid, and undiagnosed, all it does is elevate LDL. It doesn't affect HDL or trigs at all, and that's a problem here.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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So sorry Avid. I know that's got to be disappointing.
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:46 PM   #8
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So sorry to hear that Avid! My dad is the same way... it runs in our family, so unfortunately no matter how careful he is, he'll always have it and always need that medicine. At least you realized it before it caused you any harm though, and you've been amazingly lucky on your medicine so far like my dad has been. I'll keep my fingers crossed that your great luck continues, your doctor doesn't give you too hard of a time about the experiment, and you have many happy, healthy years ahead!
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:11 PM   #9
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I the Art and Science book they discuss a rise in cholesterol round the time a person loses 30 or so lbs. This talks about a rise in LDL, I see that your LDL actually went down but I still thought I would share this. Maybe someone else has some input about the triglyceride numbers.


Page 167.

It turns out that along with the triglycerides stored in adipose tissue, our fat cells also contains a small amount of dissolved cholesterol. After 30 pounds of weight loss, the shrinkage of these cellular fat droplets proceed to the point that some of this cholesterol has to be released into the serum. The amount of cholesterol involved is 100-200 mg per day in someone losing 2 pounds of adipose tissue per week. Interestingly, although this represents 'reverse transport' back to the liver, This cholesterol appears in the LDL fraction. But once a person's weight loss ceases, this expulsion of cholesterol stored in the adipose tissue stops and the serum LDL cholesterol returns to its new post weight-loss baseline.
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clueless View Post
I the Art and Science book they discuss a rise in cholesterol round the time a person loses 30 or so lbs. This talks about a rise in LDL, I see that your LDL actually went down but I still thought I would share this. Maybe someone else has some input about the triglyceride numbers.


Page 167.

It turns out that along with the triglycerides stored in adipose tissue, our fat cells also contains a small amount of dissolved cholesterol. After 30 pounds of weight loss, the shrinkage of these cellular fat droplets proceed to the point that some of this cholesterol has to be released into the serum. The amount of cholesterol involved is 100-200 mg per day in someone losing 2 pounds of adipose tissue per week. Interestingly, although this represents 'reverse transport' back to the liver, This cholesterol appears in the LDL fraction. But once a person's weight loss ceases, this expulsion of cholesterol stored in the adipose tissue stops and the serum LDL cholesterol returns to its new post weight-loss baseline.


Wow, that's interesting and bears repeating!! Maybe that's all it is, wouldn't that be great!

However.. it is possible (1) that you simply are a person who needs meds for this. In some people, diet doesn't fix everything.

(Myself, I need meds for high bp, as did my grandfather. I finally agreed when several months of daily exercise, low-carb, and no salt made no difference to my blood pressure.)

It's also possible (2) that there is some unknown in your diet, not necessarily related to carbs, that could make a difference.

(Again, from my own experience, low-carb will nearly cure my asthma... until I decide to get my protein from soy or from whey.)

I have not heard of any particular foods that will raise your particular numbers, however, it might be worth asking if, while still staying strictly low-carb, have you changed anything significant within your diet between the two blood measurements?
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:53 PM   #11
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Avid, that is puzzling.

The info Cheryl provided is interesting but it is the triglycerides that has me wondering, too.

Everything I've read says a low carb WOE will reduce triglycerides. And I know you've been eating a clean diet, too, from posts I've read. I hope someone comes along who can give an explanation that makes sense. I'd definitely request a VAP test.

I one of those who does not believe anyone should be on statin drugs.
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:27 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiamondDeb View Post
Avid, that is puzzling.

The info Cheryl provided is interesting but it is the triglycerides that has me wondering, too.

Everything I've read says a low carb WOE will reduce triglycerides. And I know you've been eating a clean diet, too, from posts I've read. I hope someone comes along who can give an explanation that makes sense. I'd definitely request a VAP test.

I one of those who does not believe anyone should be on statin drugs.

I certainly wish to be off of the statins and thought I was well on my way.
I have heard about the vap but can't recall what it measures.
Can someone fill me in please.
I have been losing steadily and continue to do so. I can only hope that when I stop losing my numbers will stabilize at a good level. For now though, it's back to the meds. I remain optimisitc about the future.

Last edited by avid; 03-18-2013 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:48 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by avid View Post
I started lc in september 2012...In December I had my cholesterol checked and all my numbers improved. I was very excited and encouraged.
I cut back on my lipitor and continued my Atkins owl.
Today the docs office called me. My lipid profile from last weeks blood test was dramatically worse.
My total cholesterol went from 218 to 292
My hdl dropped from 40 to 37
My ldl dropped from 121 to 106 (improvement)?
but my triglycerides soared from 118 to 197

It 's the triglyceride number that baffles me....I stopped my triglyceride meds
when I first went lc in September yet my December blood level improved in this area. Why it went way up for the March test is a mystery. I have not cheated so my carb intake has stayed below 50 g. a day.

Really confused and distressed by these numbers. Doc wants to see me of course, will chew my butt out for playing with the meds, and I have no idea what he might say when i tell him about my lc woe.

Thanks for letting me put this out there. I was really rattled but am now starting to calm a litte.
I'll follow up when I know more.

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That is a puzzle! Any chance you could have them repeated?
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Old 03-18-2013, 07:49 PM   #14
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The VAP Cholesterol Blood Test gives a more detailed breakdown.


Quote:
VAP Test Vertical Auto Profile

Why is this test important? The VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) Blood Test is the most accurate and comprehensive cholesterol test available today, reporting 15 separate components of blood cholesterol as opposed to four in a standard test. This more comprehensive test can identify a far greater number of lipid abnormalities (the #1 risk factor of heart disease) than the standard test and is the only cholesterol test to identify markers for Metabolic Syndrome, a pre for diabetes. Risks of both Heart Disease and Diabetes can be reduced with the right preventative treatments, which is why more accurate diagnosis is critical...

...The VAP (Vertical Auto Profile) test involves a blood draw by a qualified lab technician. The test measures the following:
  • Total cholesterol
  • High-density lipoprotein (good) cholesterol (HDL)
  • Low-density lipoprotein (bad) cholesterol (LDL)
  • Very low density lipoprotein (VLDL)
  • Intermediate density lipoprotein (IDL)
  • Lp(a) 8213 LDL plus the apo(a) protein
  • Triglycerides
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:17 PM   #15
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I remember reading about the situation you've described, with regard to veteran bodybuilders who started getting crazy numbers in their bloodwork when they used the same "cutting" diets that they'd been using for years. Their numbers would just rise off the charts when they started cutting fat for competition.

For what it's worth, some guys looked into the situation and found some studies that suggest omega-3 fatty acid supplementation as a helpful treatment for hypertriglyceridemia.
Dose-response effects of omega-3 fatty acids on triglycerides, inflammation, and endothelial function in healthy persons with moderate hypertriglyceridemia.
Dose-response effects of omega-3 fatty acids ... [Am J Clin Nutr. 2011] - PubMed - NCBI
Do you take/use flax products?

It turns out that a lot of these guys who were having this problem got into taking a lot of flax oil back in the 1980s, when that was *the thing* in bodybuilding, and so they thought they were getting better omega-3 nutrition than they were actually getting. So their omega-3 to omega-6 balance was totally off and it had a negative effect on their blood lipid profiles while they were cutting.
The inclusion of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet has a rapid effect on the composition of cellular membranes in all tissues. Given the fact that fatty acids act as reservoirs for potent biologically-active molecules and that they regulate the environment of membrane-bound proteins, it is not surprising that they affect many tissues and their functions.
...
Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and fish oils are not to be confused with those from plant sources, such as flax and canola oil. These plant oils are enriched in an omega-3 fatty acid called α-linolenic acid, which is a metabolic precursor of the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oils. Although we are able to convert dietary α-linolenic acid into eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids (which are found in fish and fish oils), this conversion is not efficient in people who consume a typical Western diet. Consequently, following the consumption of foods containing α-linolenic acid, our tissues are exposed to very little of the types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and fish oils. Some beneficial biological activity has been attributed to plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids; however, the associated health benefits are likely independent of the conversion of α-linolenic acid to the fatty acids found in fish. In addition, dietary oils that are rich in α-linolenic acid do not, for the most part, reproduce the biological activity associated with dietary fish oils.

The science behind dietary omega-3 fatty acids
The science behind dietary omega-3 fatty acids
Apparently, omega-3 fatty acids play key roles in cellular metabolism, which impacts blood lipid management and the way the body naturally regulates and metabolizes cholesterol. On cutting diets, the muscle tissue in these bodybuilders should have been pulling massive amounts of triglycerides out of the bloodstream to burn as energy, but problems with their cellular metabolism interfered with the process and resulted in unfavorable blood lipid numbers.

I'm not sure how helpful this information is, but what you've described is something I've read about so it doesn't seem to be a terribly uncommon experience even though it is clearly quite troubling.
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:32 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo41 View Post
Greta-
I'm hypothyroid, and undiagnosed, all it does is elevate LDL. It doesn't affect HDL or trigs at all, and that's a problem here.
Ah, I see. Thanks for explaining!
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:16 AM   #17
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I'm not a big fan of statins due to the long term side effects for some people but you are an example of someone who need them. With your family history and lipid panel, they will be an important part of your life.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:53 PM   #18
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I spoke to doc and he was pretty cool about the whole thing. He understands me wanting to get off the statins, and said we can try again at some point in the future when I'm not losing any more weight. He said high amounts of saturated fat can raise triglyceride levels and so cautioned me about that, but didn't say I should stop low carbing.
He actually complimented me for admitting that I "experimented" with my drug regimine. Apparantly alot of people do this but won't admit it. This is a problem when he ends up doubling their meds. In my case he simply put me back on the dosage I have been taking for the last 10 years. Next time I decide I want to try to forgoe the blood meds, I'll speak to him first and we'll do it as a team effort.
Lesson learned.
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Old 03-19-2013, 08:01 PM   #19
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Sounds like you've got a good doctor there Avid! It's great he's willing to work with you, and didn't treat you badly for experimenting with things. Sounds like a keeper to me!
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:58 PM   #20
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I don't know if it's helpful to avid, but trillex has made a good point, one that I try to post often. Far too many people don't understand the difference between the EPA and DHA that are found in fish oils, and ALA, the precursors that are found in flax oils. They are not interchangeable, we don't convert alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA at all efficiently, and only people who cannot consume fish oils (such as vegans and people who are allergic) should use flax oil as a source of Omega 3.

Nor is cod liver oil a good source of DHA and EPA. It's a better source of vitamins A and D than anything else.


Avid, it does sound like you have a doctor that's willing to listen and work with you. That's always encouraging. I'd be interested in hearing about your next numbers, especially if you get a VAP done.
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:37 AM   #21
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Avid I have nothing to add, I don't know a lot about cholesterol.

Except I always wonder who is right?? kwim?? A lot of LC drs don't seem to worry so much about cholesterol numbers, just what type it is?? (small or fluffy)

Anyway, I'm so happy your dr is listening to you. And a team effort is always good.

Keep us posted next blood draw.

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Old 03-20-2013, 07:41 AM   #22
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[quote Ntombi I don't know if it's helpful to avid, but trillex has made a good point, one that I try to post often. Far too many people don't understand the difference between the EPA and DHA that are found in fish oils, and ALA, the precursors that are found in flax oils. They are not interchangeable, we don't convert alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA at all efficiently, and only people who cannot consume fish oils (such as vegans and people who are allergic) should use flax oil as a source of Omega 3.

Nor is cod liver oil a good source of DHA and EPA. It's a better source of vitamins A and D than anything else.

][/quote] I had no ideal, thanks Ntombi. I take CLO and did not understand this!
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Old 03-20-2013, 11:07 AM   #23
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You're very welcome, I'm glad I could help.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:00 PM   #24
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Interesting about the fish oils. I used to take 2000 mg a day back when my numbers were excellent. but about a year ago i broke my elbow and the cast caused me such an allergic reaction that I became hyper sensitive to all kinds of things. I would break out in rashes from many things that never bothered me before. fish oil was one of those things. Now a year later I still have allergic reactions, but less so. I just started taking krill oil 300 mg and that was fine...have upped it to 600 daily and see some reaction...I'm sticking with the 600 unless I get a major flare up....
Things are always changing......gotta roll with the punches.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:49 PM   #25
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I had a trig reading in Jan of 2012 of 118 as well. Then this January it soared to 197. No idea, except maybe from all that extra sugar I was eating, or I started taking my other 12.5 mg of Atenonol in the mornings, or because I was placed on 30 mg of Amitryptiline. (I did fast for 12 hours before the lipid profile was done).

You said your Dr. told you that saturated fats can raise trigs. Is this true? If a person is doing Atkins, aren't they taking in a lot of saturated fats? I am already low carbing, and cut sugar way back. Lost about 8 pounds in three months. Exercising. But now I would have to stay away from fats? I thought if you LC, your trigs would come down?

I don't consider a trig level of 197 high. It is considered borderline high. And I understand that statins are not used for trigs unless they are over 500. Although, I do not have a family history of high cholesterol. My total cholesterol was 210, up from 191 last year. And trust me, I lived on sugar and carbs.

I hope it isn't my Amitryptiline causing the trig increase. Because it is the only med that helps my IBS.

And FWIW, I think this whole cholesterol thing is so over-hyped. The pharm. companies are making millions off statins .

And our grandparents lived on bread and carbs. Never had their cholesterol checked and most lived into their 90's.

If my trigs do not come down when I am re-tested in August, and they are under 200 I will not take a statin.
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:22 PM   #26
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Saturated fats COMBINED with simple carbs raise triglycerides, not alone. It's the carbs that do it, not the saturated fats.

If you're interested in the science behind it, you can watch this five part series on the subject. It's a lecture by a research scientist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0khESue2bA&list=PLA88AE0D3B5BEB73B
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:42 AM   #27
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Saturated fats COMBINED with simple carbs raise triglycerides, not alone. It's the carbs that do it, not the saturated fats.

I always believed this, that's why I was stunned when my my triglycerides jumped from 118 to 197. I have been faithfully lc for months, losing weight steadily. I had fasted for over 12 hours. I had NO carbs to account for the jump.
My personal theory at this time is that the steady fat loss in my fat cells added to the serum fat level in my blood.
Simple fact is that SOMTHING has to account for the jump and carbs is definetly not the reason.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:57 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ntombi View Post
Saturated fats COMBINED with simple carbs raise triglycerides, not alone. It's the carbs that do it, not the saturated fats.

If you're interested in the science behind it, you can watch this five part series on the subject. It's a lecture by a research scientist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0khESue2bA&list=PLA88AE0D3B5BEB73B
Thank you for pointing that out. What the doctor said confused me cause it's not what I've read, heard or studied in human physiology that sat fats alone raise triglycerides and that it's carbs alone or with fat worse that raises it. and the reason for fasting is not because of ingested fats but because of ingested carbs that would skew the Trig numbers.

Avid, I hope this gets worked out. Getting a retest with more details makes sense to me, and perhaps the fact that you are still losing will cause your body to fluctuate and that it's just a snapshot of a moment not an indication of your long term health overall. Everyone has a snapshot of a time when they are making an ugly face or sneezing but we don't look like that all the time, KWIM?
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:54 AM   #29
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I always believed this, that's why I was stunned when my my triglycerides jumped from 118 to 197. I have been faithfully lc for months, losing weight steadily. I had fasted for over 12 hours. I had NO carbs to account for the jump.
My personal theory at this time is that the steady fat loss in my fat cells added to the serum fat level in my blood.
Simple fact is that SOMTHING has to account for the jump and carbs is definetly not the reason.
I understand what you're saying, avid, but there is also a genetic component. I was talking about in general, for people without the genetic disposition for high triglyceride numbers, those whose numbers can be changed via diet alone. It's hard to say what yours would be on high satfat plus carbs without statins, I have a feeling they would have been even worse than they were with satfat and very low carbs without statins.
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Old 03-21-2013, 10:01 AM   #30
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I spoke to doc and he was pretty cool about the whole thing. He understands me wanting to get off the statins, and said we can try again at some point in the future when I'm not losing any more weight. He said high amounts of saturated fat can raise triglyceride levels and so cautioned me about that, but didn't say I should stop low carbing.
He actually complimented me for admitting that I "experimented" with my drug regimine. Apparantly alot of people do this but won't admit it. This is a problem when he ends up doubling their meds. In my case he simply put me back on the dosage I have been taking for the last 10 years. Next time I decide I want to try to forgoe the blood meds, I'll speak to him first and we'll do it as a team effort.
Lesson learned.

Excellent news!

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