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Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 20, 2010 09:04PM

Just for the heck of it, I had a free cholesterol screening. I was curious, after being strict vegan for nearly 24 years.

Surprise! My serum cholesterol (total blood cholesterol) was 190! That's a higher level than many meateaters have!

The screening didn't tell me how much of that number is LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) and how much is HDL (the "good" cholesterol). I'll be seeing a doctor on Thursday to clarify. "Healthy" cholesterol levels are considered to be below 100 for LDL and above 40 for HDL.

I'm hoping I have something called hyperalphalipoproteinemia (HALP). HALP is a very high level of the "good" cholesterol (above 60). It's a marker for longevity, unless caused by alcoholism. It can be inherited, most often in Asians or Indians.

Maybe I have HALP. Hoping so! I will live to 120.

Or maybe I have congenitally high LDL. Hoping not ! Might explain though why I'm so food-sensitive. I always believed that a vegan could not sustain a high level of unhealthy cholesterol. Maybe I'll find out I was wrong.

Or maybe the screening wasn't acccurate. Or maybe.....?

Any thoughts/suggestion/advice, like on what to ask the doctor, or whatever, would be much appreciated!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/20/2010 09:19PM by suncloud.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: pborst ()
Date: July 20, 2010 10:28PM

I don't know if HALP is the same thing as HDL (high density lipoprotein) or not. But to look at a complete picture, you need not just total (190 is not bad by the way, not by a long shot. Consider that 150 is the level below which no heart attacks occur and most meat eaters are well over 200. 190 isn't bad at all. But you do need a complete picture.

Triglycerides?
LDL
HDL
VLDL

If you don't like your #s, higher physical activity, lower saturated fat content (but what could that be, coconut, nuts?), lower glycemic load (kiwi, berries & citrus for fruits, less grapes bananas,etc for higher sugar fruit). All will help as a total package. I'd say give it a month and test it again.

Paul

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 21, 2010 12:36AM

Thanks Paul for your suggestions. I feel a little better after your assurances that 190 is not so bad. It's a lot higher than I expected though!

I forgot about triglycerides. I'll ask the doc about that and about the VLDL.

I'm still hoping the 190 is mostly HDL (good cholesterol). So far, all the info I've seen on HDL says the higher the better, as long as a person isn't an alcoholic. So if my HDL is 160 and my LDL is 30, then the 190 total would be a good number! (?) I've read that both a high HDL and a low LDL are considered markers for longevity. I'm open to learning more though.

I don't usually eat much coconut because at my elevation, they grow so high up on the palm, they're hard to get to. I do eat a small-moderate amount of seeds, and one or two brazilnuts most days. Those foods are usually recommended for raising HDL and lowering LDL.

I had my blood sugar level screened at the same time. It was 92, and I was told that was a good number.

I guess I'll know more when I get the true breakdown on the cholesterol numbers in a couple of days. Thank you again for your help!

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: durianrider ()
Date: July 21, 2010 10:34AM

If your eating a lot of fat, you can raise your cholesterol a bit. 190 is still pretty low but high for a vegan.

Get at least 5 more tests over the year before you jump to any conclusions. One test doesnt mean much,but tests done over time can paint a better picture.

Ive got my bloodtests up on youtube, search 'raw vegan blood tests'. They are the only ones on youtube! smiling smiley

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 21, 2010 04:22PM

Durianrider said,

"190 is still pretty low but high for a vegan."

I agree! (unless the number includes a high HDL). High HDL is associated with longevity, and low LDL is associated with longevity. I just found out there are other cholesterol numbers included in the total as well, but I think all of the numbers should ideally be low, except the HDL. I'll find out more after tomorrow.

I tried accessing your blood test video, but I'm in a remote location and just can't receive it well. Would you mind letting us know what were your levels of LDL and HDL? Or send a PM? (no problem if you'd rather not!)

I'm very interested in this, especially the HDL. There's a research site online that's recruiting people with an HDL over 90. They're already aware of some inherited conditions that cause high HDL, but they're looking for others. If a person is recruited for their studies, they will pay for thorough evaluations. Not sure what all that would include; might be some pretty nasty tests, but it's interesting I think.

Forgot to mention: Long-distance runners have the highest HDL. In general, raw food vegans have HDL between long-distance runners and SAD.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2010 04:31PM by suncloud.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: pborst ()
Date: July 21, 2010 04:37PM

Suncloud,

I just wanted to mention that you do have the option of having blood tests done without a doctors order. There is a service at this website [www.directlabs.com] which basically allows individuals to select tests that they want done and for a fee have the lab of their choice perform the test.

I have used their service and been very satisfied. The downside is the expense because it won't be covered by insurance. The upside is you have control about what is tested and when. My feeling always was, I don't need a doctor to test my blood sugar, blood pressure, temperature, weight or percentage body fat. Why should I need their permission to test my blood profile? I agree having the data in hand is useful when consulting with your doctor. However, "getting the doctor's permission" is a little bit patronizing to me. As if I couldn't read a reference dose or the medical literature. I'm not a medical professional but I'm not an idiot either.

In any case, if you have the same free cholestorol test available, I'd recommend taking it in a month. A second test is a good way to make sure no instrument error or error because of an abberant meal, etc. also just peace of mind. Be well.

Paul

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: pborst ()
Date: July 21, 2010 04:47PM

One last thought, Suncloud,

when it comes to cholesterol, there is honestly a genetic component. Cholesterol is created by liver. And the amount that is created varies from individual to individual. It might be useful to checkin with your family about their results too. This matters also for blood pressure and blood sugar as well. Just a thought.

Paul

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: Utopian Life ()
Date: July 21, 2010 04:53PM

I know of vegans who have high cholesterol. Most don't have what I consider an optimal diet, unfortunately. But genetics do play a role.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: durianrider ()
Date: July 22, 2010 03:10AM

Check out my vid and remember I dont eat oils and keep my fat intake low over the course of the year. I have to if I want super amounts of energy to be active. Eating more than 10% of cals from fat longterm provides noticeable fatigue levels in athletes. Hence why when I go bike riding with the bunch, its coffee shop after coffee shop.. smiling smiley

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 22, 2010 03:23AM

Hi Paul,

Thanks for your link to the online lab. But darn. My doctor appointment is tomorrow. If I don't go, I'll be billed anyway.

I don't have insurance, so next time I need something done, I'll try directlabs!

I'm hoping that if I have high HDL, I'll be recruited into the HDL study, and they'll reimburse me for the tests.

The research is sponsored by The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the Dept. of Health and Human Services. I like the idea of possibly becoming a raw vegan guinea pig. If I have extremely healthy cholesterol, the national record might say that a raw vegan can have extremely healthy cholesterol. smiling smiley

Here's what American Heart Association says about HDL (bold print, mine):

"With HDL (good) cholesterol, higher levels are better. Low HDL cholesterol (less than 40 mg/dL for men, less than 50 mg/dL for women) puts you at higher risk for heart disease. In the average man, HDL cholesterol levels range from 40 to 50 mg/dL. In the average woman, they range from 50 to 60 mg/dL. An HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dL or higher gives some protection against heart disease."

The study requires HDL over 90. I don't know if there are other conditions as well.

(Keeping my fingers crossed)

Utopian Life,

Thanks for the info. I think my parents had cholesterol within a normal range - for SAD. But can't say for sure. You and Paul are probably right that genetics play a role. How much of a role, I have no idea. My belief is that an optimal diet would put anybody into a healthy range. But if it turns out that my LDL is over 100 (the danger point for LDL), that will definitely prove I'm wrong (at least to me!).

I've heard also that changes in lifestyle can actually change a person's genes. I don't have a reference for that though.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: Mislu ()
Date: July 24, 2010 03:33PM

Utopian life,
I agree, I knew someone who was a 'brown rice vegan'. That is what he attempted to live on, that and handfuls of vitamins. He was also very, very aware and mindful of what other people eat. Very very unhealthy

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: Utopian Life ()
Date: July 24, 2010 05:40PM

Interesting, Mislu. Was it for cost reasons?

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: RaysofLight ()
Date: July 24, 2010 06:04PM

That simply represents an imbalance somewhere in your terrain. (your body's system)
If you eat processed foods, it may come from that. I don't have any info to go on but what you indicated. Could it be a mistake?
It is really high...better safe than sorry...let us know how that turns out.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 24, 2010 06:18PM

I had my lab test, but now I have to wait until Friday to get the results. The lab only charged me $60 (special rate if you pay on the day you come in).

I'm happy to have a new young doctor who is very sympathetic to vegan diet. We haven't discussed raw vegan diet yet.

There is bad cholesterol (LDL) and good cholesterol (HDL). People who eat SAD whose total cholesterol count is high (over 200), usually have high LDL (the bad cholesterol).

But it's also possible to have very high HDL (the good cholesterol), which could account for a somewhat high cholesterol total, while also having very low LDL (the bad cholesterol). This would be considered a double marker for longevity.

I found this today in Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, by Seeley, Stevens, and Tate: "A high HDL/LDL ratio in the bloodstream is related to a lower risk of heart disease. Aerobic exercise is one way to elevate blood levels of HDL."



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/24/2010 06:25PM by suncloud.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: Mislu ()
Date: July 25, 2010 11:57PM

Utopian Life,
I don't think it was for cost reasons. He lived in a very nice home, and certainly spared no expense for treating himself for things he wanted. He had elevated cholestrol, and I think he thought that such a limited diet would help, but it appeared not to. In fact it appeared to have caused a lot of additional problems. He had severe ulcers, anemia, and he died of cancer.
Its very upsetting.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: kwan ()
Date: July 26, 2010 03:59AM

If your 'bad' cholesterol is TOO low, that can be bad too-- surprisingly, people with very low LDL are prone to strokes and other problems.
My husband has very high HDL and fairly low (but not super-low) LDL, and his inflammation test (which is really a better indicator than the cholesterol test, I'm told) came back zero. (He eats a basically low carb non-vegan diet, though.)

Sharrhan:


[www.facebook.com]

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 26, 2010 04:14AM

Hi Sharrhan,

Love your picture! Hope you're doing real well.

I've heard before that LDL could be too low, but I didn't know low LDL could cause strokes. I still have a lot to learn apparently. Do you happen to know if Jonathan's high HDL is genetic? Apparently there's a protein that's sometimes absent or lacking in people who have genetically high HDL.

If Jonathan is interested in being a part of the HDL study, here's the link:

[patientrecruitment.nhlbi.nih.gov]

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: Tamukha ()
Date: July 26, 2010 04:22PM

Mislu,

Brown rice and only brown rice is the final cleansing stage in the Macrobiotic Diet; it isn't advised to do this for long, even by most macrobiotics practioners. Contrary to what founder Dr. Ohsawa believed, brown rice is not the perfect food.

suncloud,

Too little of LDL cholesterol does result in the same pathology as too much--hemorrhagic strokes. So every individual should work with their physician to find a happy medium. Sounds like you have a good doctor, suncloud. I am wishing for the best for you with regard to your bloodwork results smiling smiley

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 26, 2010 07:05PM

Thank you much Tamukha. Appreciated!

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: kwan ()
Date: July 26, 2010 08:30PM

> Do you happen to know if Jonathan's high HDL is genetic? <

Suncloud-- As far as I know, it's not. I think it's just his diet and healthy lifestyle. He doesn't eat much at all; hardly ever touches sugar or starch, doesn't snack, and eats rather small meals. His HDL last time he went to the doctor was 99.

>Love your picture! Hope you're doing real well.<

Thanks! ;-) Finally got up the nerve to give myself the haircut and color I've been thinking about for 2 years. Having a great summer, and getting ready to go camping in 3 days.

Sharrhan:


[www.facebook.com]

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 26, 2010 09:53PM

Oh wow, camping! Have a great trip Sharrhan!

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: Mislu ()
Date: July 26, 2010 11:56PM

Tam,
Well, he really believed that such a diet was ideal. Unfortunately, he paid a price for it. There also was some emotional stuff he wasn't taking responsibility for. He had some emotional aversion to fruit and vegetables. He actually loved ham, cheese and butter, but avoided them for ethical reasons. He was very judgemental and vocal to others who didn't follow his ideals. He was educated at an ivy league college, and was very critical of anyone who was not as educated as himself. (almost everyone) I am surprised I kept friendship with him as long as I did. It was because my partner really looked up to him as a role model.

Isn't there some principle that health is based upon letting others be free, and wishing them the best? and that despite the bad choices you think they might be making?

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 31, 2010 03:50AM

Well I found these results interesting and somewhat unexpected!

Triglycerides: 54 (less than 150 is optimal)

HDL: 68 (this is the "good" cholesterol; greater than 39 is optimal)

CHOL/HDL ratio: 2.71 (less than 3.5 is optimal)

LDL: 105(!) (this is the "bad" cholesterol; less than 100 is optimal)

Total cholesterol: 184 (less than 200 is optimal)

Everything is really great except the LDL, which strangely is above 100. Never once in almost 24 years have I eaten meat or any animal product.

I asked the doctor if a person's LDL could be raised by eating nuts and seeds. He said no. He said the human body makes its own LDL, and the only diety source of LDL is meat and animal products.

He said it must be inherited. Amazing! Good thing I'm vegan! Well, I'm going to try to take that number down anyway. More foods high in niacin is one approach. The other is more exercise, which I just hope I can find time for.

Not expected, but I guess it's something new learned.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: Tamukha ()
Date: July 31, 2010 01:13PM

suncloud,

Those are really good numbers! You and the doc should be pleased. I wouldn't fret about the LDL if I were you--it's hardly elevated and the other ratios are excellent smiling smiley

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: July 31, 2010 07:34PM

Thanks Tamukha. Your encouragement is welcome! I have to admit, this is bugging me.

I think you're probably right though. I need to remember Flipperjan's message: "Don't fret if you're not perfect!"

And I'm so happy to be vegan. I think if I weren't, my LDL would be way up there!

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: celastrus ()
Date: August 02, 2010 04:01PM

You might consider getting your thyroid checked out. My cholesterol is over 300 and I am vegan, though not 100% raw (it is a goal). I have hypothyroid as a result of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and it causes ridiculously high cholesterol among other bad things. On the other hand, I haven't had my cholesterol checked in a while. I am due to check it again in a month or two. I will up my raw percentage and hope that helps. I am 30 years old, btw.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/02/2010 04:03PM by celastrus.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: August 03, 2010 04:40AM

Wow, 300! Do you happen to know how that breaks down for LDL, HDL, and triglycerides?

Definitely, it seems like there must be more factors involved in cholesterol levels than just how much meat and/or dairy a person eats. Thyroid I guess is one of them. I will read up on Hahimoto's thyroiditis and maybe get tested for that the next time I do lab work (in about 6 months - no insurance).

Thanks celastrus! Hope you're doing well.

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: celastrus ()
Date: August 03, 2010 05:10AM

I can't recall but I think the HDL ratio was mildly bad. My triglycerides are always low because I don't overeat sugar or fat. smiling smiley
There are other causes for hypothyroid. I'd suggest just getting hormone levels checked, not necessarily Hashi's testing until you know if your levels are low first. I don't have insurance either. I went through an online service where a doc-in-the-box signs off on an order and you drive to your local lab and get it done. You can order any testing you want. Just the test itself (levels of 3 hormones) is about $160 (just checked). You can print the results (they come in email) and take it into your doc when you go.
My doc was unhelpful though. He did not want to start me on useful medication. So I am trying to heal it other ways. :|

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: pborst ()
Date: August 03, 2010 12:19PM

Celastrus,

I want to thank you for being open and raising awareness on Hashimoto's thyroditis. It's something I wasn't aware of. Heretofore, when someone who is eating well has high cholestorol, I would have opined that there was something genetic involved that the liver produces cholesterol from saturated fat. While for a given individual that could still be true, I feel humbled and grateful. Humbled because I know that people who are eating well but still have high cholesterol might have something other than a genetic predisposition toward high cholesterol. On your advice for online service, I agree entirely. I recommended to Suncloud above in the thread using directlabs.com. Just curious did you use a different provider? If so, I would like to price compare.

I feel grateful to you for being open and raising awareness. The allopathic remedy appears to be a hormone replacement drug called levothyroxine. No word on side effects. I'm a member of Dr. Fuhrman's board. And the suggestions on Hashimoto's are that his program (high green veggies & fruits, little grains or starches) are effective at the beginning of the disease and decline as an intervention as the disease progresses. Not much help. Dr. Fuhrman wrote a protocol for autoimmune disease in Eat to Live and also in one newsletter. I will hit the high points today in a future post. My best to you in your struggle. And know that you are supported and not alone!

Paul

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Re: Raw vegan cholesterol levels?
Posted by: suncloud ()
Date: August 03, 2010 06:57PM

Seems I do have several of the symptoms of Hashimoto's Disease.

I'll try to find out how much it would cost here to get tested. Mayo Clinic recommends a hormone test for TSH. If TSH is elevated, then another test is recommended to confirm the presence of antibodies.

Thank you Celastrus, and thank you too Pborst. Any other info anyone has on Hashimoto's Disease would be appreciated.

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