General Question

Pandora's avatar

Why won't my LDL go down?

Asked by Pandora (30743points) June 1st, 2012

Ok, so my trans fat is 88 and my HDL is 60, and that is great, but my LdL is 151. I don’t get it. I’m not a big meat eater and I don’t eat a lot of processed foods. Most of my stuff is fresh and made with my own two hands. I also don’t eat a lot of dairy products. So why is my LDL so high? If anything I eat less meat products and dairy than most people. I watch my trans fat intake and cook most of my food by either baking, or grilling or boiling or steaming. So what am I doing wrong?

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18 Answers

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filmfann's avatar

You diet isn’t the only contributor to a high LDL. It can also be a genetic issue.
It’s good that you are concerned, but your numbers aren’t that high. Just keep up the good work, and you will outlive most of us.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I embrace calcium, vitamin D, and fish oil. When I went up to flax oil and borage oil, my LDL went to to 80.

hug_of_war's avatar

Genetics play a huge role. Unfortunately sometimes that’s just how it is. I will likely end up with high blood pressure regardless of how I eat due to a long family history + predisposition due to race. Have you looked into how much of foods that have shown signs of being able to bring those numbers down that you are eating? Foods high in good fats (fish, olive oil, nuts, etc) and fiber (oats and whole grains)?

Pandora's avatar

@filmfann Doc wanted me to come in and get a perscription for meds but I tried them before and it made me sick. I looked on line and your LDL is considered borderline high beween 130 and 159. They want me to bring it down to 100. I started amping up my workout 2 days ago, but I’m not sure this will take care of it.
@Adirondackwannabe, I ‘m also taking d and fish oil. I guess I should try taking more flax oil as well. Home much do you take?

gailcalled's avatar

I grind fresh flax seed in a little Krups coffee bean grinder. When I remember I throw in some sesame seeds as well.

I try to eat 2T of the ground stuff daily; it goes down well with oatmeal or cold cereal and berries and can be thrown into soups, stews or salads.

Ltryptophan's avatar

Thanks for your answers!

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@Pandora I do 1200 mg of fish and flax and 500 mg of everything else.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Genetics Genetics Genetics. Try flax seed oil and fish oil.
My HDL is higher than normal and my LDL is lower than normal, overall my cholesterol is 136 and it use to be 205. Yes I also take meds for cholesterol but flax seed and fish made the LDL higher than normal.

JLeslie's avatar

Are you eating a lot of cholesterol? Eggs, cheese, and other dairy? You probably have genes working against you. I highly recommend cutting your cholesterol intake by 75% for three weeks and getting retested if you eat a lot. it will tell you if your body doesn’t read how much choesterol you are taking in and just keeps prodicing too much. An egg yolk has the same cholesterol as a 10 ounce steak more or less depending on the cut, and usually people eat 2 or 3 eggs at one time. Literally in just a few weeks your number will drop like a rock if it is because of the cholesterol you take in if you eat less of it. But, it might be unrelated to the cholesterol you eat, but this will test the theory. My cholesterol is very affected by my cholesterol intake and not so much by all these other things that are in the mainstream now regarding transfats, high fructose corm syrup etc.

If you are eating eggs regularly, and cheese (you said you actually don’t eat much cheese) and don’t want to actually count the milligrams of cholesterol you are consuming, just cut out the egg yolks (you can have the whites) cheese, and fattening dairy like whole milk (skim is ok) cakes and sweets for the three weeks and see what your number is. But, I recommend actualy getting to know the amount of cholesterol in the foods you eat and actually counting how much you take in a day.

The few people I know who had crazy high LDL were on high protein low carb diets, and were consuming tons of cholesterol when they told me what they were eating. You might just have crappy genes and be doing everything right.

Oh, liver has a tremendous amount of choesterol also.

rooeytoo's avatar

My brother had problems and he started taking Metamucil everyday (not for its laxative qualities) and it worked well. But it made his skin very dry. Despite the fact high cholesterol runs in my family, I have avoided the problem so far. I use only olive oil, and olive oil spread instead of butter or margerine. Lots of fresh and raw fruit and veg, beef only once a week or every other week, vegetarian at least 3 times a week and chicken or fish the other times. I eat eggs 2 or 3 times a week because I believe the good outweighs the bad in their case. I also run and bike usually 5 times a week. I would do what you’re doing but just try to cut out a little more of the bad stuff and probably try the metamucil.

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie Actually, I am not a big protien eater. I could have 1 egg a week and I would be fine with that. I actually only eat proteins for energy purposes, if I feel a little run down. And dairy in general is not my best friend. I love cheese but I eat that only maybe once or twice a month. I drink almond milk and regular milk. But that is only 1 glass a day. I’m not a big eater at all. If I go out to eat, I won’t eat the bread and salad because I won’t be able to fit my food. When my food does come, I eat maybe ¼th to ½ of my plate, depending on how big it is. If I over eat, than my acid reflux acts up, and it takes forever for my food to digest. I have to wait 2 hours or more after eating to go to the gym or my food will come up my throat. For now, I guess I will have to rely on some flax seed oil and some garlic pills that my brother-in-law swears by and also work out more. He says if I swallow garlic pills a half hour before each meal that it will help get rid of any excess cholesterol. He said it bought his numbers down drastically in 3 months.

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora It sounds genetic then. I just thought more about the numbers you provided. I think your ratio is 3.5? Check my math. That isn’t bad at all. Did your doctor go over your ratio with you? And, your LDL number is not crazy high, but is elevated. Were your tryglicerides high? Maybe it has to do with your stomach problems too? Could be some complicated digestion absorption thing not really understood yet by medical science.

Some numbers to think about:

Regular milk as in whole milk? That is 35mg cholesterol in 8 ounces I think, and most people drink larger than an 8 ounce glass, but you might not since you said you consume very small portions. When I am being careful about my cholesterol I keep my cholesterol intake below 50 for the day, but more realistically I generally eat 75–100, because I don’t stick to it all the time. I go through doing well for months and then doing badly for months. I only mention it because people who are overweight for instance usually are very bad at guessing how many calories are in a meal, or even each little thing they eat, and by the end of the day they have eaten a lot of calories. I think people probably make the same mistake about their cholesterol intake.

You said you could have one eggs week and be fine with it. Does that mean you could be fine, or that is what you actually eat? An egg yolk, or whole egg has about 220 mg of cholesterol. For me that is 4 days of cholesterol in one fell swoop.

Do you use real butter? Another thing that adds up. People tend to think butter is a better natural, the real thing, but if you genetically don’t read cholesterol well in your body it will work against you. I switched to butter once from margarine and my cholesterol went up. Not that I recommend margarine, I just have done all sorts of tests to see how I am personally affected by various diet restrictions. I have known I have high cholesterol since I was 16. If I eat everything I want my total is 270. If I don’t eat any egg yolks, cake or sweets of any sorts (cake has eggs and butter and candies with chocolate and caramel have high cholesterol) but I still might have some sugary things like a small coke (but coke does not have cholesterol) and keep my portions reasonable, like 9 oz or less of meat in a meal (meat to me is all animal from fish to beef) in a month my cholesterol drops 40–50 points. Then if I further reduce my cholesterol by really counting it goes down more.

Also, you said you are not a big protein eater, so not seafood/fish eater? People seem to think seafood is low in cholesterol, but it isn’t. Especially things like shrimp are high in cholesterol. I don’t mean to imply that you don’t know what foods have protein, but I know a lot of Catholics who don’t count fish as meat, and they also pull that all together with what they guess has high fat and cholesterol.

Niacin is supposed to be effective in improving cholesterol ratios you might look that up. You would want to get the kind that is non-flushing or time released so you don’t get hot in your face.

So do you mostly eat veggies and grains? Do you eat legumes? A lot of fruit? Fruit juice? Sugar will elevate your tryglicerides, not sure how much it plays into the cholesterol numbers, but what is important to know is a glass of orange juice has the same amount of sugar as a glass of coca-cola. It is the same regarding sugar, calories, and how it affects lipids. When I am eating “healthier” I also cut back on sugar a little, I am not extreme about it, and all my numbers get better, but I am also cutting cholesterol of course as I mentioned above.

Are you constipated a lot? It isn’t really part of your question, but sort of related to what you said in your last post. Being constipated can put pressure all the way up the digestive tract causing discomfort in the stomach (the organ the stomach sort of center left behind the left breast) and if the part that keeps food from going up into the esophagus is a little week the constipation can even cause the acid reflux. Raw veggies can really make digestion very difficult for a lot of people, but not everyone of course. I have trouble if I eat a lot of very hatd veggies like carrots or a lot of nuts, especially almonds (I love them). Cooked vegetables are no problem for me.

I feel for you, really I do. Having sucky genes related to these health things like high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, is really annoying.

JLeslie's avatar

@SpatzieLover I had never heard that before. I have a few recipes I make with apple cider vinegar, I might pull them out more often.

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie Wow, not sure where to start. My tryglicerides are 80 ( not 88 like I thought) my hdl is 60. My over all number was 237. Not sure how they add these numbers up. I love shrimp but I only eat it maybe twice a year. I like cooking my own shrimp but I hate peeling them and cleaning them because they make me break out when I touch them raw. So my husband has to clean them and he hates doing it. But yes, I am aware that some fish and shrimp are high in cholesterol.
I love salmon and tuna and both are good in Omega 3 fats. I steam my salmon and I eat solid white tuna. ( I may put a little mayo in my tuna but not enough for those numbers. LOL)
I do also eat legumes. I love all types except for the waxed kind. ( I can’t remember what they are called but they taste like I’m eating wax) Both tuna and legumes I may have several times a week. I suppose that is where I’m getting most of my proteins from neither should raise my LDL. My sister thinks it has to do with being perimenopausal. She said a doctor told her once that the change in hormones can cause unusual numbers in a persons cholesterol .
If you can tell me how that works, I would appreciate that. :)

JLeslie's avatar

@Pandora I forgot to ask if you did the test fasting? If you had not been fasting for at least 12 hours before the test the results are junk. All normal ranges are for fasting. I calculated your total cholesterol wrong somehow. So, that puts your ratio at 3.95, which is getting close to the cut off. I think they like to see below 4. Don’t go by me on that though. Your ratio should be listed in your results. I agree getting your cholesterol down is probably a good idea, mine often hovers around the same place yours is when I am not doing all the right things. Frustrating. Did the doctors want to put you on medicine? I won’t but my endocrinologist and GP would like me to. My cardiologist is fine with me not taking it if I stick to my better diet. Even then my total number is high, but she likes other measures so she doesn’t hassle me.

Supposedly there is a connection between hormones and cholesterol, but for me even when my hormones are whacky, for the last 9 years my thyroid is hard to regulate, my cholesterol is consistently where it always has been since the age of 16. But, that is not the same as being perimenauposal. What I would ask is has your cholesterol always been high? If so, I don’t think you can blame it on your hormones.

Wax beans are not legumes.

Salmon has about 50 mg’s of cholesterol in 3 oz. I know you don’t eat large portions, but it is likely you eat 6 oz in a sitting. Tuna about 20–30 in 3 oz canned. I think a little higher in fresh. Maybe the mayo you add is 10–20 if you don’t add a lot. Not sure. I’m rounding all numbers and working off memory.

Anything you eat only twice a year doesn’t count in my opinion, but if you get tested the next day after eating a very high cholesterol meal your numbers will be high. High for a few days.

If you eat frequently in restaurants, which I don’t get the impression you do, but if you do they add butter to everything. They add it to fish, steamed vegetables, tons of things you don’t realize.

Do you exercise? They say that helps. I have never narrowed down if it helps my numbers or not. I never did an expirement regarding the exercise like I have with butter vs margarine, and cutting cholesterol intake by counting daily intake. And, just to reiterate, just because something is true for me, doesn’t mean it will be for you obviously.

Still it sounds like you are not pigging out on high cholesterol things though. Which means it is probably hard to drive down your numbers unless you go vegan. :( Even then it might not work, but probably it would. You could try it for a few weeks and see what happens? The vegans in my family have great cholesterol numbers after having had high cholesterol like the rest of us. Are you thin? Overweight?

If you expirement with any of the siggestions above, let us know if one of them works. I recommend trying one thing at a time or you won’t know what is working. Some people feel just do everything, because as long as something is working that’s good.

Pandora's avatar

@JLeslie I’ve been working out now for 6 days straight. I did fast before the test but a few days before I was at a family event, and nothing on the menu was diet friendly. I don’t know it that did it. But for now I am ramping up my work out. I’ll let you know in 3 months if that helped with my numbers. I had to cut back on working out because my vitamin d was low and my bones would ache. Now my D levels is back to normal and so is my energy levels and my bones no longer hurt, so I am able to go back to working out like a demon. Thanks for your input.

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