Tag Archive: ldl

Apr 03 2017

LCKL 069 – Biohacks 101 – Fasting – How Fasting Impacts Cardiovascular Disease

If you are dealing with Cardiovascular Disease, High Cholesterol Levels, High Blood Pressure or Inflammation then Fasting has been shown to be very beneficial. This episode will explain why…

SHOWNOTES
  • The impact fasting has on LDL Cholesterol, the different types of LDL cholesterol you may be manufacturing and the dangers of each type of LDL.
  • The impact fasting has on HDL Cholesterol.
  • The impact fasting has on Triglycerides.
  • The impact fasting has on Inflammatory Marker #1 – NLRP3.
  • The impact fasting has on Inflammatory Marker #2 – Homocysteine.
  • The impact fasting has on Inflammatory Marker #3 – IL-6/CRP.
  • The impact fasting has on Inflammatory Marker #4 – Fibrinogen.
  • The impact fasting has on Blood Pressure.
TRANSCRIPT

Unfortunately most of the research that has been done on fasting and cardiovascular disease is that of intermittent fasting or alternate day fasting and not actually extended water fasting. However, I assume that if these results appear after short periods of fasting then they would be even better with extended fasting.

Fasting Lowers Cholesterol LevelsLDL CholesterolHDL CholesterolTriglyceridesNLRP3HomocysteineIL-6/CRPFibrinogenBlood Pressure
  • I have done a podcast specifically on Cholesterol in Episode # 009 so if you would like to learn more about that then it is a good place to start.
  • However, I am going to state a few small overly simplified facts about cholesterol…
    • LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins) are labelled as “bad cholesterol” and high amounts are often linked to cardiovascular disease. However, there are different types of LDL which will determine how dangerous they are. The small, dense LDL is the most dangerous type as they are able to seep through the walls of the arteries and lead to CHD. However, the large, fluffy LDL is much less dangerous as it is unable to get through the walls of the arteries.
    • HDL (High Density Lipoproteins) are labelled as “good cholesterol” and high amounts are often linked to lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. We do not want to see HDL decrease.
    • Triglycerides is the type of fat which is used to store excess energy from our diet and high levels have actually been associated with cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance. Our ultimate aim is to lower triglyceride levels and what is interesting is that it is not actually fats which cause high triglyceride levels but actually carbohydrate consumption. Therefore, by lowering your carbohydrate level you can reduce the risk of triglyceride levels.
  • Alternate day fasting has been found to lower LDL Cholesterol by up to 25% when done for 70 days.
  • Remember that it is the number of small dense LDL which will determine your risk factor for heart disease.
  • IF has been shown to not only decrease total cholesterol, but also the number of small, dense LDL particles.
  • In fact, a research article in the Lipids Health Disease Journal in 2011, titled “Comparison of Effects of Diet versus Exercise weight loss regimens on LDL and HDL particle size in obese adults”, showed that although only exercise actually increased the levels of HDL cholesterol, Alternate Day Fasting actually decreased plasma LDL/decreased the proportion of small LDL particles.
  • Alternate day fasting was also found to increase the proportion of large, fluffy LDL particles in the body.
  • There have also been other studies showing the same thing.
  • Fasting has been shown to have minimal effects on HDL Cholesterol and therefore is not dangerous in any way.

Alternate day fasting has been found to lower Triglycerides by up to 32% when done for 70 days.

  • This is an inflammasome which is involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
  • It has been found to increase in the presence of myocardial infarction and its deficiency has been found to improve myocardial infarction.
  • A review titled “The Role of NLRP3 Inflammasome in Cardiovascular Disease” which was published in 2015 by Jasna Ajdukovic came to the conclusion that modulating this particular inflammasome may represent a unique therapeutic strategy to limit cell death and therefore prevent heart failure after a myocardial infarction.
  • This review is amazing and in fact contains so much great information I think I will actually write a blog post on this inflammasome.
  • Well, one of the benefits of fasting is that it has been shown to actually reduce the production of this inflammasome. In fact, a research article in the Journal of Clinical Investigation by Traba et al titled “Fasting and Refeeding differentially regulates NLRP3 inflammasome activation in human subjects” showed that individuals showed less NLRP3 inflammasome activation in the fasted state compared to the fed state. This increase is also linked to an increase in mitochondrial oxidation and free radical production.
  • Homocysteine is a well known amino acid which is an intermediary on the metabolic pathway between methionine and cysteine.
  • They have found that mild to moderate elevation of plasma homocysteine levels increases the risk for development of atherosclerotic vascular disease.
  • Therefore, hyperhomocysteinemia is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis and people with high levels of homocysteine have been found to have impaired arterial endothelial function.
  • In fact, there was a study in 2007 in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism which discussed the positive changes in inflammatory markers that are brought about by intermittent fasting during Ramadam. This showed that levels of homocysteine were reduced during the fast. What is even more interesting is that when they tested the studies for Vitamin B12 and Folate during the fasting period they noticed that the levels were increased substantially, despite not consuming any more food with these nutrients than the non fasting subjects. This is probably the reason homocysteine was lowered.
  • IL-6 is a pro-inflammatory substance that is released from the macrophages and other inflammatory cells which reach the circulation and the liver. When IL-6 levels are high they stimulate an acute phase response in the liver. During this response the liver will release a number of proteins, including CRP.
  • CRP also known as C Reactive Protein is a plasma inflammation marker that has been known to play a role in the development of cardiovascular disease and is an important biomarker which is useful in the prediction of early cardiovascular risk.
  • The Ramadan study just given has shown that fasting not only decreases IL-6 and CRP levels during the fasting period but also for 20 days after completing Ramadam.
  • I believe one of these reasons is because increasing levels of CRP are linked to elevated fasting insulin amongst both lean and obese individuals.
  • This is a blood plasma protein that’s made in your liver and it is one of 13 coagulation factors that are responsible for normal blood clotting.
  • It has been identified as a major independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease due to a number of factors:
    • It contributes to platelet aggregation.
    • Promotes fibrin formation.
    • Major contributor to plasma viscosity.
    • Increased in inflammatory states.
  • In fact, there was a clinical trial that was carried out at a University Hospital with 65 male volunteers with metabolic syndrome during the Ramadam period. They found that after the fast the values of fibrinogen were significantly decreased from 251.7 mg/dL to 239.4 mg/dL.
  • One study titled “Acute effects of short term fasting on blood pressure, circulating noradrenaline and efferent sympathetic nerve activity” by Andersson B et al found that a 48 hour fast showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure from 158 mmHg to 146 mmHg and reduced diastolic blood pressure from 96 mmHg to 89 mmHg.
  • Another study that was done on Ramadam showed that this intermittent fasting caused a drop in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in normotensive patients.
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Please note that this information is not intended for medical purposes or to replace the advice of your medical practitioner. It is for informational purposes only to help guide you on your journey towards optimal wellness.

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Mar 23 2016

***Research Study*** – Diets with high-fat cheese, high-fat meat, or carbohydrate on cardiovascular risk markers in overweight postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial

Cardiovascular Risk: Cheese, Meat or Carbs

“Diets with high-fat cheese, high-fat meat, or carbohydrate on cardiovascular risk markers in overweight postmenopausal women: a randomized crossover trial”

For years we have been told that we must cut Saturated Fat from our diets and increase our “Vegetable Oils”. Well, thankfully research is now showing that this is not the case. But, what type of saturated fats should we be eating?

This study explored the effects of both cheese and meat as sources of Saturated Fatty Acids or Isocaloric replacement with carbohydrates on blood lipids, lipoproteins and fecal excretion of fat.

METHOD

This study consisted of 14 overweight postmenopausal women. Each woman followed 3 separate eating plans (consisting of same number of calories) for a period of 2 weeks each with a 2 week washout period in between (no particular diet).

DIET #1 – A high fat cheese diet;

DIET #2 – A high fat meat diet; and

DIET #3 – A low fat, high carb diet. 

TERMINOLOGY

Apoprotein AI

This is a major protein component of HDL in plasma. It promotes fat efflux including cholesterol from the tissues to the liver for excretion. It also seems to have anti clotting effects. Being a major component of HDL apo A1 helps to clear fats such as cholesterol from the white blood cells within the artery walls, making the cells less likely to become overloaded with fat, transform into foam cells, die and then contribute to progressive atheroma.

Exercise has also been found to increase Apo-AI levels.

Apoprotein B

A form of lipoprotein that is most likely to enter the walls of the arteries. If this number is high, the risk of atherosclerosis will increase and may be a main initiating factor in heart disease. This number has been shown to be a better predictor of cardiovascular disease than LDL cholesterol. Even more than this number, is the ratio between Apo AI and Apo B.

The normal range is 40-125 mg/dL. Less than 100 mg/dL is desirable in low or intermediate risk individuals. In high risk individuals it is wise to get it below 80 mg/dL.

Apo-B is able to be lowered with a low carbohydrate diet and physical exercise.

RESULTS

  • The Cheese Diet caused a 5% higher HDL cholesterol concentration than the Low Fat High Carb Diet;
  • The Cheese Diet caused an 8% higher aporotein AI concentration than the Low Fat High Carb Diet;
  • The Cheese Diet caused a 5% lower apoprotein B than the Low Fat High Carb Diet;
  • The Meat Diet caused an 8% higher HDL cholesterol concentration than the Low Fat High Carb Diet;
  • The Meat Diet caused a 4% higher apoprotein AI concentration than the Low Fat High Carb Diet;
  • Total Cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, apoprotein B and Triacylglycerol were similar with all three diets;
  • Fecal fat excretion was 1.8 and 0.9g higher with the cheese group than the carb and meat groups but the meat diet produced higher fat excretion than the carb group.

CONCLUSIONS

Diets with cheese and meat as primary sources of saturated fatty acids cause higher HDL cholesterol and Apo – 1 and therefore it appears they are both less atherogenic than the low fat high carbohydrate diet.

Jan 20 2015

People with the Highest Cholesterol Live the Longest…

People With The Highest Cholesterol Live The Longest

I guess we have heard the same mantra over and over again, haven’t we. Oh, you mustn’t eat that because it has cholesterol in it. Don’t touch that, because it will raise your cholesterol. Or what about, Oh no you have high cholesterol. You had better eat a low fat, high carbohydrate diet. Well, you know what, it is all a bunch of nonsense. Cholesterol is a substance in our body that is absolutely required…

In fact, it has been shown that people with the highest cholesterol live the longest and that people with the lowest level of cholesterol were twice as likely to die of a heart attack than those with high cholesterol.

In fact, a study published in the Scientific World Journal by Sarria Cabrera showed that those elderly that had greater total cholesterol levels above 200mg/dL were associated with a decreased risk of mortality over a 12 year period, as opposed to those with cholesterol levels below 170mg/dL were associated with an increased risk of death by 60%.

Cholesterol itself performs many different functions in the body, and without it, your body will not sustain optimal life.

Functions

The many functions that cholesterol carries out include:

  • It forms and maintains cell walls and structures.
  • Cells need cholesterol to help them adjust to changes in temperature.
  • Its used by nerve cells for insulin.
  • It is essential for synthesizing a number of crucial hormones, including:
    1. Testosterone;
    2. Progesterone;
    3. Estrogen;
    4. DHEA;
    5. Cortisol;
    6. Aldosterone; and
    7. Pregnenalone.
  • It is required in the production of bile (a fluid produced by the liver that plays a key role in the digestion of fats).
  • It is required to make Vitamin D and without cholesterol the sunlight cannot be converted into vitamin d and therefore you can put yourself at risk of many illnesses associated with low vitamin d.
  • It is a strong antioxidant and free radical scavenger, which is the reason why as we get older, generally our cholesterol levels go up, as we are needing more protection.
  • It keeps our skin soft and moist.
  • It is required for proper brain function and for the production of serotonin. Low cholesterol levels have been associated with aggression, violence, depression and suicidal tendencies.
  • It may improve muscle strength. A study carried out by researchers at Texas A&M University have shown that those with higher cholesterol levels appeared to have higher muscle strength gain. They believe this may have to do with the inflammation that the cholesterol circulating in the blood may cause. Although inflammation is not good around the heart it has been shown to be beneficial during times of muscle gain due to the break down and repair phase. As such, those that were taking statins during the trial had lower muscle gains.
  • A study carried out by Professor David R Jacobs and his coworkers at the Division of Epidemiology at the University of Minnesota found that high cholesterol may actually be protective against gastrointestinal and respiratory infections. During their study, they found that those with low cholesterol were hospitalised more often with these infections than those with high cholesterol.
  • Studies have even shown that those young, unmarried men with a sexually transmitted disease or liver disease have a greater risk of being infected with HIV than other men. It also showed that those with low cholesterol at the start of the study had a greater chance of dying from the HIV than those with the higher cholesterol.

Many people hear about the nasty LDL and the good HDL cholesterol. Well, I guess you can consider that HDL is like the cleaner who mops up after the LDL cholesterol. LDL will collect in plaques on the artery walls and then HDL will come along and clean the arteries of the LDL as it moves through the bloodstream. Pretty cool huh.

Manufacturing

It is important to note that only animals have cholesterol. Most of the cholesterol your body needs is manufactured in the liver and a small amount is manufactured in the small intestines and individual cells throughout the body. Although we may eat animal foods that are high in cholesterol (i.e. beef, chicken, eggs, fish, dairy etc), only 5-15% (100mg) of the total cholesterol in our body comes from food and the other 85% (2000mg/day) is manufactured within us. So, if it was the case that we didn’t need cholesterol, then why would our body be manufacturing it?

Triglycerides

So, I have discussed LDL and HDL cholesterol, but now I must talk about the nastiest of them all and that would be triglycerides. And, how does that fit into a ketogenic lifestyle? Well, the answer to that is easy. Triglycerides accumulate in your body from the consumption of too many refined sugars and grains. It actually has very little to do with the fats consumed in the diet. Like cholesterol, triglycerides belong to the lipid family and also like cholesterol, they can either be produced by your body or from the foods you eat (i.e. sugars and grains). When your body has more triglycerides than it can use, it gets transported to fat cells and if these levels remain elevated, it can lead to atherosclerosis and heart damage. As such, high triglycerides are a potent indicator of your cardiovascular risk. What is even more damaging though is high triglycerides and low HDL and therefore it is crucially important that you try to keep your HDL levels high. So I guess you are wondering what the best way to do this is? That would be to increase your exercise, increase the level of Omega 3’s in your diet and then decrease the sugars and grains in your diet.

Statins

Although the medical profession has made it their job at times to discredit cholesterol and mark it as being evil, they have been very biased in their opinions of it and instead of getting to the root cause of what is causing the cholesterol to rise, they have instead decided to lower it by giving people statins. Now that you know how advantageous cholesterol is and how dangerous low cholesterol is, I guess you can also understand why taking statins is not good.

Statins, for those who don’t know or haven’t guessed from this conversation, are drugs that are possibly the most sold drugs on the market and this is because people have been so scared off of cholesterol that they believe it is the only thing they can do. In big words, they are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors that act by blocking the enzyme in your liver that is responsible for making cholesterol.

There are so many side effects associated with statin drugs, some of which include:

  • Muscle problems and polyneuropathy (nerve damage in the hands and feet), as well as rhabdomyolosis (serious degenerative muscle tissue condition).
  • Acidosis;
  • Immune Dysfunction;
  • Depression;
  • Pancreas or Liver Dysfunction, including an increase in Liver Enzymes;
  • Anemia;
  • Sexual Dysfunction;
  • Cataracts;
  • Memory Loss;
  • Blood Glucose Issues (not good for diabetics);
  • Tendon Problems.

On top of this, there is evidence that statin use may increase the likelihood of Lou Gehrigs Disease, Diabetes and even Cancer. I don’t know about you, but so far this does not sound pretty to me.

They have been shown to cause Diabetes due to the fact that they promote insulin resistance, which can be extremely harmful to your health. This increased insulin resistance leads to chronic inflammation in the body, which can then lead to other conditions such as:

  • High Blood Pressure;
  • Heart Attacks;
  • Chronic Fatigue;
  • Thyroid Disorders;
  • Parkinsons;
  • Alzheimers; and
  • Cancer.

Wow, I am still going on the statin bandwagon because I am extremely passionate about expressing the dangers of statin drugs. They have also been shown to interfere with other biological functions, such as steroid production. The steroids that are affected include all of your sex hormones, cortisone, dolicohls (involved in keeping the membranes inside your cells healthy) and sterols (including Vitamin D and of course cholesterol).

I also give one warning and I am extremely serious about this. If you are pregnant, or considering becoming pregnant, then DO NOT take statin drugs. Cholesterol plays an important part in embryonic development and statins may play a part in embryonic mutations and even death.

Also, please do not ever support the statin drugs for kids. Because of greed, big pharma decided to create chewable lipitor tablets for kids, just so that they can make more money. I find this is disgusting and is messing with our childrens lives. Having our children on statins can mess them up for life as cholesterol is absolutely necessary for childrens development. Instead of statins, just change their diets, increase their exercise and take other precautions so that they may be as healthy as possible.

Now if you do make the decision to take Statin drugs after hearing or reading my information, then please make sure that you take CoEnzyme Q10. Statins deplete your body of this crucial nutrient and as your body gets more and more depleted, you may suffer from fatigue, muscle weakness and soreness and eventually heart failure. If you are over 40 and decide to take CoQ10, please take the reduced form known as ubiquinol. This is a far more effective form. In terms of dosage, if you just want to use it preventatively, then 200mg or less is sufficient. However, if you are doing it due to statin related damage, such as muscle pain, then take anywhere from 200 to 500mg.

Conclusion

Remember that the cholesterol is not the issue, the cholesterol is only being raised due to something else going on in your body, in particular inflammation of some sort. Get to the root cause as to what is causing the problem and then cholesterol is not going to be an issue.

See Medical Disclaimer

Aug 21 2014

Why is my LDL high even though I have cut the carbs???

High LDL even though Low Carb

Have you ever wondered why your LDL cholesterol level is still high even though you have taken the initiative the cut your carbohydrates and improve your fat levels? Are you so scared of it that you are even considering returning to the Low Fat, High Carbohydrate diet that you are so used to? If so, please don’t.

It is important to realise that when you cut your carbohydrate levels your LDL level will increase for a small period of time until your metabolism gets used to using the fat for fuel instead of the carbs.

Within the scope of this article I am going to go into the three markers that should be taken into account when getting your blood levels done.

LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein)

Often labelled the bad cholesterol it is given a really bad rap and as a result whenever anybodies LDL cholesterol is increased, the doctors will recommend somebody goes on statins. But before taking that step, please remember that LDL comes in two main forms: small and dense or big and fluffy. The bigger and fluffier the particles, the less atherogenic it is as it is not able to pass into the blood stream so easily. When you have a high level of carbohydrates in your diet, you will also have smaller and denser particles as opposed to when you reduce the carbohydrates, where they will mostly be big and fluffy.

Also, it is important to note that when you first start a low carb diet, your LDL levels may temporarily increase for 3-6 months but then it will taper off and come back down again. However, it is important to remember that just getting the number of LDL is not sufficient as you may be producing the large fluffy kind and not the small, dense kind. If your LDL numbers have not come down in that time then it is important to get your doctor to figure out what the particle sizes are and take into account your other more positive marker changes…

HDL (High Density Lipoprotein)

As opposed to LDL Cholesterol, this form of cholesterol is labelled as “Good”and is responsible for shuttling the unused cholesterol back to the liver. The higher your HDL, the more cholesterol is being removed from you bloodstream before it has the chance to oxidise and damage your blood vessels. As with LDL cholesterol, there are two main types of HDL cholesterol and this needs to be taken into account also. People who have metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance or are on a higher carbohydrate diet will tend to have more small, dense particles which are not as protective as those larger, fluffier particles. The more large, fluffy kind you have, the greater your protection against heart disease. So to get more large, fluffy particles you need to reduce your insulin levels, which means cutting down on the carbs.

Triglycerides

Triglycerides are nothing more than tiny droplets of fat and the more of them  you have floating around in your bloodstream the greater your risk of heart attack. Your optimal level for triglycerides is less than 100 mg/dL. The good news is though, that triglycerides are able to be controlled purely with diet and lifestyle. Higher triglyceride levels can be reduced simply by reducing the carbohydrates in the diet and implementing exercise in your routine. It is that simple. No drugs will actually lower triglyceride levels.

But Wait, there’s more…

There is one other test that you can do, even if your LDL level is low which may give you an even better indication of your risk of heart disease, and that is the test for Lipoprotein little A (lipoprotein (a)). This is another form of blood lipid that has been shown to be an independent risk factor for heart disease.

So, lets say you have been following a Low Carb Diet for a little while now, you go to the doctor, they do a blood panel on you and you find out that you do have High LDL Cholesterol and High Total Cholesterol. Does that mean you should go on a statin drug?

Well, before I go into that, I ask you a number of questions first?

  • Have you checked out your particle size? Do you know whether they are small and dense or large and fluffy?
  • What are your HDL numbers like? Are they small and dense or big and fluffy?
  • How long have you been doing the Low Carb Diet?
  • What are your triglyceride numbers?
  • What are your lipoprotein a levels?
  • Do you have familial hypercholesterolemia (genetic condition causing elevated cholesterol levels)?
  • What is the level of exercise that you are doing?

Before you even consider going onto a Statin drug, all of these questions need to be taken into account. If your LDL and Total Cholesterol is High, but your HDL is high and your Triglycerides is low, then I would emphatically say please think very carefully about going on a statin. If you also have low lipoprotein a levels, you do not have familial hypercholesterolemia, you exercise regularly and most of your LDL and HDL particle sizes are big and fluffy, then the answer is a definite NO… It is also important to remember that if you have only been following a low carb protocol for a few months then give it a bit longer as it can take up to six months for your LDL levels to go down again.

Plus, there are a number of other reasons that I recommend against statins in most cases (except familial hypercholesterolemia):

  • Statins do absolutely nothing to decrease your triglyceride numbers or increase your HDL numbers and as we know these are two of the best predictors of future heart disease.
  • The side effects associated with statins can be horrendous…
  • It is important to remember that cholesterol is absolutely essential in the body and is really important for the production of essential hormones in the body, such as sex hormones. Without it, your hormonal balance can be put right out of whack.

Now, I am not here to say whether you should or shouldn’t go on Statins but I am here to say that the same results can be achieved by cutting the carbs, increasing the fats and moderating your protein, and without the detrimental side effects.

But if you decide that you would much prefer to go the Statin route, please make sure that you do a great deal of research on it first…