I love it when someone asks for help and actually listens and follows through! Last August a close friend and colleague of my husband’s stopped by and wanted me to look at his bloodwork and give him my thoughts. He said he thought the doctor would tell him his cholesterol was too high. When I looked at his numbers his cholesterol was 199 – which is perfectly fine. His HDL and LDL were within good limits although they certainly could improve. What jumped out at me were his triglycerides, which were 334! Yikes, that is WAY too high. Normal levels are less than 150 milligrams per deciliter; borderline high is 150 to 199; and 200 to 499 is considered high.
I told him that and explained that having that number this high was much more dangerous than elevated cholesterol. What I mean by that is that if your total cholesterol is 220 the doctor may immediately recommend a statin drug, but what is more important is the ratio between the HDL and LDL. Cholesterol is a very necessary component of a healthy body and brain and artificially lowering it to some arbitrary number can do more harm than good. And don’t get me started on the dangers of statins. I’ve talked about that many times in the past so I won’t bore you again here. Back to his situation.
I explained that triglycerides are the main form in which fat is found in the body, the diet and the bloodstream. High triglycerides are an independent risk factor for both heart disease and stroke. An even more important number than your cholesterol level is the ratio of triglycerides to HDL cholesterol. Triglycerides trigger the liver to produce more cholesterol, particularly the small dense particles known as LDLb, which are particularly harmful.
So we did a brainstorming session and I created a blueprint of foods he should avoid, those to include, some habit changes and supplement suggestions that would be helpful in lowering his triglycerides and raising his HDL, which would ensure he has the harmless type of LDL.
Whenever I work with someone, I can’t guarantee their results because I can’t guarantee they will actually follow through. I must admit I wasn’t sure just how much this gentleman would follow through because of all the objections he raised initially. All I can do is point people in the right direction. It is up to them to begin walking.
That being said, he stopped by our house to see my husband this week and brought me his blood work results from. He took the suggestions to heart (literally, pun intended!) and in 4 months his triglycerides dropped from 334 to 62! His HDL went up 15 points, his total cholesterol dropped 27 points; his LDL/HDL ratio is much improved and he lost about 10 pounds as well.
I felt like doing a dance! It thrills me when people follow through and then are able to see the results they desired. It also makes me happy because then they also experience just how critical nutrition and making good food choices is. I say it on my home page video and it is absolutely true: properly nourishing ourselves is critical from conception to death and at all points in between! And it is an aspect of our health we do have control over.
Do you agree that nutrition is a powerful force for or against health, depending on the choices we make?
**I am being interviewed by The Iron Jen tomorrow, February 1st at 11 am ET and sharing some of my thoughts on how to make 2017 your healthiest ever. I hope you can join me – here are the call in details:
Eliminating gluten was a BIG part of how this man reduced his triglycerides. If you have ever wondered how to eat gluten free but didn’t know where to begin or even if you should consider it, my brand new Baby Step Guide: Going Gluten Free is now available. Click this link to learn more!
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