It’s finally above freezing here on Long Island, and more ice and snow is falling off of my parents’ home than you’d see falling off a glacier melting in warm water! Every Tuesday and Friday, I visit my hometown of Port Washington, and work with my grandmother on rehab from hip replacement surgery last summer, and my dad on improving his strength, tone and overall cardiovascular health.
And today, FINALLY, I got my blood results back from Labcorp! With a long history of chronic conditions (autoimmune and heart disease among the most common) in my family, I get my bloods taken once every 1-2 years to make sure everything is up-to-snuff. And sure enough, all but three things were within the ‘normal’ range!
What were the three things that were ‘low’ or ‘high?’
1) Total Cholesterol (High),
2) LDL Cholesterol (High), and
3) Alkaline Phosphatase (Low)
See for yourself:
Since this message is about cholesterol levels, I’ll quickly dispel the Alkaline Phosphatase: I was only one point lower than what’s considered ‘normal,’ and having low Alkaline Phosphatase levels does NOT seem to indicate anything being wrong with you.
Quite the contrary, actually: Low Alkaline Phosphatase levels mean you’re NOT at risk of developing less-than-stellar conditions like cirrhosis, hepatitis, and liver cancer. My doctor confirmed this assessment, so big phew on that one!
As for both the LDL and the Total Cholesterol levels, many people would be alarmed by their physician for high numbers in both of these areas. The ‘normal’ range for LDL is between 0-99 mg/dl, while the ‘normal’ range for Total Cholesterol is between 100-199 mg/dl. My readings for these were: 125 for LDL cholesterol (26 points higher than the norm), and 202 for Total Cholesterol (just three points higher than the norm).
Let’s start by dispelling a few myths, here:
Myth 1) LDL and HDL are forms of cholesterol.
Here’s a hint: They’re NOT! LDL stands for Low Density Lipoproteins, and is considered the ‘bad cholesterol.’ HDL stands for High Density Lipoproteins, and is considered the ‘good cholesterol.’
If you hadn’t guessed from the breakdown of the acronyms, these two measures of cholesterol are actually derived from (wait for it!) PROTEINS, and have been (in my opinion) unfairly used to keep patients A) Continually going back to their doctor’s offices, so that B) Script-happy doctors can put their patients on cholesterol-lowering drugs like statins.
It’s estimated that the cardiovascular risk calculator used to put patients on statins here in the US has been OVERestimating the need for these drugs in patients by anywhere from 75-150%! That means that there are MILLIONS of people in this country who are being put onto statins when there’s little-to-no need for it!
Some of the side effects of statins can be seen in the info graphs below, proudly taken from Mercola.com:
Myth 2) LDL is the ‘bad cholesterol.’
Because I eat a lot of saturated fat, this is undoubtedly what raised my LDL number up so high. It goes hand-in-hand with why much of the medical community denounces the ingestion of Omega-3 saturated fats like meats, butter, and cheeses, in favor of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fats like margarine, and several forms of vegetable oil.
First thing’s first: There ARE certain types of LDL that can constrict your blood vessels, and thus leave you more susceptible to either a heart attack or a stroke. There are Type A particles, which are considered both ‘fluffy’ and large, and there are Type B particles, which are both denser and smaller.
Guess which LDL particle is associated with increased heart disease and stroke risk? 50/50 chance, come on… :-p
If you guessed Type B, then you are correct!! And which type of LDL cholesterol is raised by eating a diet high in saturated fat? If you guessed Type A, then you’re two-for-two!!!
My point? Eat saturated fat has been PROVEN to NOT increase ‘bad’ LDL particle levels, and has been CLEARED of a previously thought correlation to heart disease and other potentially fatal conditions. What’s more, this same study linked trans fat (guess what kinds of fat tend to convert to trans fat?) to all of these deadly diseases.
To throw one more wrench into this crappy, old pseudoscience that’s been used for half a century to determine what does or does not put us at risk, what type of fat lowers blood serum cholesterol? Yup – Omega 6’s! And what types of fat when heated during processing are at the highest risk of becoming trans fats? I think you can do the math on this one 😉
Myth 3) Total Cholesterol shows a direct correlation to your chances of acquiring heart disease later in life.
Quite the opposite, actually! In fact, a recent study showed that the higher your cholesterol (and not just Total Cholesterol, but LDL levels) as you age, the LOWER your chances of dying from a cardiovascular incident. In fact, for every 30 point drop in your Total Cholesterol level, there’s an added 22% INCREASE in your chances of suffering from one of these types of incidents!
So, Moral of the Story: The cholesterol levels that are measured through routine blood work mean jack! The guidelines that most doctors are following are based on slick marketing from big pharma and from the misunderstanding of what REALLY causes heart disease. Moreover, as you age, it’s actually MORE beneficial to have HIGHER Total Cholesterol levels, as this has been shown to LOWER your risks of acquiring a heart condition, or having a stroke! If your LDL is high, there’s hope for you yet – If you eat a diet high in saturated fat, you’re promoting ‘good LDL’ growth, which is OK! To be safe, you can have an additional NMR Lipoprofile test drawn to insure what type of LDL is most prevalent in your body.
Hope you found this helpful! ‘Til tomorrow 🙂
P.S. If you’re READY to take that first step on your health and weight loss journey, and you have 50 or more lbs to lose, then let’s chat!
With 10 years of experience, SEVEN different fitness and nutrition certifications, and a sustained weight loss of 100 lbs., I think I know a thing or two about this Permanent Weight Loss thing 😉
To set up a FREE strategy call with me, please go to www.weightlossbypete.com/strategy, and select a date and time that works for you.
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