Low cholesterol - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-27-2015, 01:59 PM
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Low cholesterol

Some time ago I asked my doctor for a cholesterol blood test, so I can challenge any omnivores that would bug me about veg diet being unhealthy. The results were:

HDL: 34.41 mg/dl
LDL: 72.7 mg/dl

Do I have to worry about that low HDL ? The doctor kinda glanced over the HDL and said that it a little low and said that it could only be raised by medication (and didnt say i needed it), then said that I should try to raise my bad cholesterol.

Now having had watched Forks over knives and read stuff on the internet i think this was wrong advice since dr. Esselstyn recommends 50-70 mg/dl which means I should lower my LDL under 70 not raise it.

Should I be worried about low HDL ? I am on the heftier side so more exercise, and lower weight should raise my HDL.
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#2 Old 02-27-2015, 09:05 PM
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Everything I have read and heard says that LDL should be lower, not raised. Your LDL levels seem relatively healthy though if you ask me.

I work with medical charts a lot and it seems like those in the most trouble always seem to be the ones with very high LDL. I have seen people with LDL levels nearing 200. I really don't have a ton of knowledge about HDL/LDL though. My HDL was 62 as an omnivore and after two years as a vegan it did drop slightly to 57 but my total cholesterol dropped from 155 to 125. I think it is natural for HDL to drop slightly for vegans but I really couldn't tell you how far a drop is acceptable. I have heard that more exercise will raise HDL too. Hopefully someone with my knowledge will come along!

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#3 Old 02-28-2015, 12:58 AM
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Hi there! Your LDL needs to be low!

LDL is bad as it takes cholesterol to your organs...HDL is good as it takes cholesterol away from your organs.

The Total Cholesterol: HDL ratio is important...If you lower your LDL, your ratio will be healthier.

Exercise will help as will cutting out spreads for bread and sweets/ chocolate (vegan or otherwise)...
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#4 Old 03-06-2015, 10:31 PM
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The American Heart Association has published this webpage regarding cholesterol numbers: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Condit...62_Article.jsp . The webpage also explains some of the causes of having low HDL.
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#5 Old 03-07-2015, 05:58 AM
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Here's the best explanation I've heard on this subject by Dr. Dean Ornish:


"Your body makes HDL to remove excessive cholesterol from your blood and tissues, a process known as "reverse cholesterol transport." Think of HDL like the garbage trucks of your body. HDL transports cholesterol back to your liver, where it is metabolized and removed from your body. Your body's ability to make more garbage trucks (raise your HDL) is, in part, genetically determined. Some people can make more garbage trucks than others.



Most Americans eat a diet that's relatively high in saturated fat and cholesterol—i.e., a lot of "garbage." Those people who have a lot of garbage trucks—in other words, who have high HDL levels—are more efficient at getting rid of extra fat and cholesterol in their diet. As a result, they have a lower risk of a heart attack or stroke than those who eat a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet who have lower HDL levels. However, the relationship of HDL to risk of heart disease and stroke assumes that people are not changing their diet."


So basically, if you're eating healthy, your body has less garbage to get rid of, and therefore needs less garbage trucks (HDL). Sounds like it's a good thing to me.


This is the link to the rest of the document. http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...87611401,d.eXY
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#6 Old 03-07-2015, 07:05 AM
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Going by what I've read and listened to I'd say that you could do with upping your HDL a little bit and lowering your LDL a bit or just upping your HDL. The doctor was probably a little unsure as to what to think as he/she probably doesn't encounter those kind of numbers with their "normal" patients.

I have encountered it being said that the total cholesterol number isn't really that important, it was believed to be, however the evidence hasn't really backed that up, it's the ratio's that now seem to be important i.e. anything better than 1 to 4, you have 1 to 2 so he/she is probably concerned only that your HDL numbers are just so low.

It's something you will have to look into personally and decide for yourself but while the keeping the total figure down is regularly banded about as the way to go there was a french study where the cholesterol level remained the same but the ratio's changed from 1 to 10 to 1 to 4 and there was a big reduction in cardio vascular incidents/death within the study group.

By your own admission you could do with being more active, here's a few tips I took from WEBMD with regards to raising HDL.

5 Ways to Raise Your HDL Cholesterol
Some diet and lifestyle changes help boost HDL cholesterol levels:

Get active. Physical activity can boost your HDL level. Get at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity, most days of the week.
Lose extra weight. If you're overweight, losing extra pounds can help raise your HDL levels, as well as cut your LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.
Choose better fats. The healthier choices are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. You’ll find these in plants, nuts, and fish like salmon or tuna. And, like everything you eat, keep your portion sizes small. Fats pack a lot of calories in small amounts.
Alcohol in moderation. Drinking moderate amounts of alcohol is linked to higher HDL levels. If you don't drink now, check with your doctor before you start, since alcohol has some risks not related to cholesterol.
Stop smoking. Kicking the cigarette habit can raise your HDL level.
WebMD Medical Reference
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#7 Old 03-07-2015, 09:15 AM
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Please don't worry about lab counts that are slightly above or below a so called "normal" value. Nature doesn't know normal values. The normal values of lab tests are statistical values. :-)

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