Since starting on the Paleo journey, the one thing that had been playing on my mind was Cholesterol levels, knowing they were high at the start of this journey, my concern was that they could potentially get worse.
In this blog I am going to share my results from three months ago and compare these to those taken this week. In addition I’ll try to analyse this using researched data.
Cholesterol results consist of six readings, four of which are key to determining your ratios, typically the result that your GP gives you is your general cholesterol level, however you should request a copy of the full results as these tell more of the story of the good and bad cholesterol levels.
- Total Cholesterol (TC) – this is the total amount of cholesterol in your blood. Ideally it should be 5 mmol/L or less
- Non HDL-Cholesterol this is your total cholesterol minus your HDL-cholesterol (good cholesterol) and is the sum all the “bad” cholesterols added together (including LDL cholesterol) – ideally it should be 4mmol/L or less
- LDL-Cholesterol (LDL-C) – this is the amount of LDL-cholesterol), ideally it should be 3 mmol/L or less
- HDL-Cholesterol (HDL-C) – the amount of good cholesterol, ideally it should be over 1mmol/L (men) and over 1.2mmol/L (women).
- TC:HDL ratio This is the TC figure divided by the HDL-C figure. A ratio above 6 is considered high risk – the lower this figure is the better.
- Triglyceride (TG) this represent your body’s ability to clear fat from the blood after a meal. Ideally it should be less than 2mmol/L on a fasting sample)
My Results – May 2016:
- Total Cholesterol of 6.10 mmol/L – BORDERLINE
- Non HDL-Cholesterol 5.2 mmol/L
- LDL of 4.41 – HIGH RISK
- HDL of .86 – HIGH RISK
- TC:HDL ratio 7.1
- Triglyceride level of 1.80 mmol/L- BORDERLINE
This data provides the following ratios:
- Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio is: 7.09 – (preferably under 5.0, ideally under 3.5) – AT RISK
- HDL/LDL ratio is: 0.195 – (preferably over 0.3, ideally over 0.4) – AT RISK
- Triglycerides/HDL ratio is: 4.791 – (preferably under 4, ideally under 2) – HIGH RISK
My results – August 2016
- Total Cholesterol of 5.53 mmol/L – BORDERLINE
- Non HDL-Cholesterol 4.7 mmol/L
- Your LDL of 3.9 – BORDERLINE
- Your HDL of .8 – HIGH RISK
- TC:HDL ratio 6.9
- Your Triglyceride level of 1.80 mmol/L –BORDERLINE
This data provides the following ratios:
- Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio is: 6.91 – (preferably under 5.0, ideally under 3.5) –AT RISK
- HDL/LDL ratio is: 0.205 – (preferably over 0.3, ideally over 0.4) – AT RISK
- Triglycerides/HDL ratio is: 5.151 – (preferably under 4, ideally under 2) – HIGH RISK
So what does this tell me? Firstly there has been a lowering of the ‘Bad’ Cholesterol (LDL), which is good thing. The ‘Good’ Cholesterol (HDL) has also lowered slightly which is not so good.
The Triglyceride level remains unchanged, these are an important measure of heart health and having a high level of triglycerides, which is a type of fat (lipid) in your blood, can increase your risk of heart disease. “When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly “easy” calories like carbohydrates and fats, you may have high triglycerides (hypertriglyceridemia).” – Mayo Clinic
Ideally the level should be less than 2mmol/L on a fasting sample, my level of 1.8 is just under.
In my basic research there are no specific foods that consistently increase HDL (good) levels, so the key is to lower triglyceride levels by losing weight, exercising, and not smoking (I have never smoked). The paleo diet has been a good method of weight loss so the next phase need to be an exercise regime combined with more foods to help lower LDL’s (bad); typically these are
- Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids (such as fatty fish and dark, leafy greens)
Moderate alcohol has been shown to increase HDL; however, it does not lower LDL.
Foods Containing Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring, sardines, and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids (also shown to lower triglycerides).
I hope this helps anyone else obtaining their results, please leave any comments to this blog I would be interested in any thoughts on the subject.