Archive for 'triglycerides'

My lipid panel indicated very low total cholesterol and even LDLs were lower than my cardiologist was happy with. At the time my Crestor intake of 20mg a day, coupled with 1 gram of Niaspan, and a strict diet and heavy exercise problem lead to these results.

The high reverse t3 levels (rt3) are a result of a restricted diet with over training. To verify there was no issue the reader will note in the results a lab draw on 10/12 that measured Iodine. The link discusses the relationship between Iodine and the thyroid gland.

Very low cholesterol has been tied to issues with memory loss and dementia, as well as other health issues. While many TRT specialists aim for a total cholesterol of 180 mg/dL I believe the body can function with lower levels. The thinking goes something like this. See the hormone tree below:

Note the cleaving enzyme that cleaves cholesterol into pregnenolone and then on down the steroid pathway. Without enough cholesterol there is not enough fuel for the remaining hormonal system, right? True – to a point.

The reality is everyone is different and that 180 mg/dL is not some magic number or target. For some, 120 may work fine, or even lower. The worry is that patients will remain non-compliant with cholesterol lowering medications without doctor supervision in an effort to “jump-start” their own testosterone or maximize hormone fuel by boosting cholesterol. The warning here is…be careful.

I lowered my dose to 5mg of cholesterol and purchased a cholesterol meter that measures Total Cholesterol, Triglycerides (TG), and HDL. This allows LDL to be calculated using the formula LDL Cholesterol = Total Cholesterol – HDL – (TG / 5). I ensure I am always above 120 and I am doing just fine. If I hit 180, I don’t panic. I get by without any problems with frequent exercise and some sanity in my diet.

Not shown in this lab that did show up on previous labs is an increase in hematocrit and RBC leading to polycythemia – an increase in red blood cell count per unit blood volume. This increases the risk of clot formation. If you have heart disease, watch out for this side effect. More often seen on shot therapy for TRT, it can happen even with gels. Treatment usually involves blood letting, a procedure that can be ordered by your doctor. Also, it helps to cease TRT treatment every 12-18 months for a short period of time.

As far as the testosterone levels go, I was on 1.5 tubes of Testim for this test, applied in the morning, and the blood work done 2 hours after application. My testosterone was screaming high at over 1400ng/dl. This level is a false reading as a future lab would indicate.

WARNING: Never apply Testim or any gel to the area where the blood draw will occur. This can taint the results. This is what happened for this particular test. I had to ignore the results.


I can only say, “Thank you God”. It seems like being put on the prayer list at my church really worked a miracle. Only two minor blockages were noted on my heart nuclear stress test, something of little significance, especially given my diet for the last four months. Steaks, hamburgers, nachos, cheese, Scotch – you get the picture.

My total cholesterol did increase from 99 mg/dL to 141 mg/dL, with my Triglycerides topping out at 197 mg/dL (140 is the maximum). HDLs were 44 (they were 41 last time). LDLs were 58 (they were 33 last time). CRP was still very low at .3 mg/L (anything less than 1 is great).

My kidney function was off (creatinine of 1.54 mg/dL and eGFR of 50L). Creatinine should top out no higher than 1.34 mg/dL, but I have often seen numbers higher than this. This is the first time for an eGFR measurement and it registered low (it should be greater than 60L). My physician did not seem too concerned, given that I lifted weights the day before and was taking my wife’s Naproxen for a pulled muscle for the week previous to the test. I concluded after studying eGFR lab online in medical journals that it is on shaky ground as far as viability is concerned. My physician’s greater concern was my A1C – a measurement of the average blood sugar for the past 6 months.

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From the New York Times

For the sake of heart disease research, 809 members of the Old Order Amish community agreed to go to a clinic in Lancaster, Pa., near their homes, and drink a rich milkshake that was made mostly of heavy cream. Over the next six hours, a group of investigators took samples of their blood, determining how much fat was churning through their bloodstreams.

Most of the study participants responded as expected — their levels of triglycerides, a common form of fat in the blood, rose steadily for three to four hours and then declined. But about 5 percent had an extraordinary reaction: their triglyceride levels started out low and hardly budged.

It turns out, the researchers report in the Friday issue of the journal Science, that those individuals who barely responded have a mutation that disables one of their two copies of a gene called apoC-III. The gene codes for a protein, APOC3, that normally slows the breakdown of triglycerides.

With the mutated gene, people break down triglycerides unusually quickly. And, the investigators find, they also have low levels of LDL cholesterol, which at high levels increases heart disease risk. They have high levels of HDL cholesterol, which is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease. And they appear to have arteries relatively clear of plaque.

The article goes on to say that clinical applications are “years away”.