Is cholesterol a myth?

I've been told it's a big myth cholesterol causes heart attacks but I can't see that's true as my uncle at 51, slim and non smoker had a massive heart attack due to high cholesterol. His level was about 7. My levels were tested a year ago. My hdl was 1.6, ldl 3.4 and triglycerides were 3.0. Total 6.9. I hadn't fasted and blood taken at 1pm after 2 meals that day. Gp said at 37, non smoker and slim i was not at risk and to follow and low fat diet. He's not tested me since.

I worry because a low fat diet has not agreed with me. I swear it's causing anxiety and low mood as my fatigue is 30-40g a day max. I was afraid to eat any dairy which a aging caused issues. I need to eat eggs and some fat again but am afraid to if it will increase my cholesterol but am I worrying over nothing?

Thank you

Julie

40 Replies

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  • Your mood is not caused by not eating fat, it's you just worrying, each good quality low cholesterol meat and fish, a few eggs a week and for snacks eat a selection of raw nuts, without salt, try oats for breakfast with fruit and nuts, and if possible have soya milk.

    But most of all relax

  • I disagree - I think mood is affected by diet and eliminating all fats from diet is not good for the brain or nervous system.

    That is why we are advised to eat oily fish or take a fish oil supplement - for the brain.

  • Don't ignore the fat issue in mood.

    Different micronutrients are necessary for a range of functions associated with the brain/mood including nuerotransmitter synthesis.

    Micronutrients are either water or fat soluble i.e. some vitamins require fat in order for them to be absorbed into the body. This is why some supplement companies provide some of their micronutrients in fat-containing capsules (albeit often 'nasty' oils!).

    My own approach is to consume a broad range of good quality sources of fat.

  • I have post traumatic stress so I have had a tough few years coping with that and the anxiety its caused. Last year I was also diagnosed with an underactive thyroid and chronic fatigue. It has been a stressful few years for sure.

    I eat well, I was just eating too low fat at around 29g a day, which as others have said does have an effect on mood sadly. I have increased my fat slightly by eating avocados and eggs a few times a week. I also eat chia and linseed. I have oats most days, fruit, veggies, white meat and mackerel or tuna. I eat pretty health, as I am gluten free I don't eat fast foods or cream cakes.

    Thank you.

    Julie

  • Please don't drink soya milk, it is very bad for you! Only small amounts of fermented, non GM soya should be consumed!!!

  • Please explain you reasons.

  • Because it contains high amounts of anti-nutrients and is estrogenic and goitrogenic.

    foodrenegade.com/dangers-of...

    authoritynutrition.com/is-s...

  • Thanks. As I am allergic to some products (fruits and veg), I have not tried the milk but in UK, I can get frozen soybeans and have used it is cooking and also some other products in cooking.

  • Hi Julie

    There's lots of info on the web and my advice would be to become knowledgeable yourself and then make a judgement about the lifestyle that you should lead.

    There are people who believe the current clinical mantra and others who don't. I happen to be in the latter camp and have found this blog (see below) very helpful.

    Best of luck.

    Peter

    drmalcolmkendrick.org/tag/c...

  • Thank you Peter, I shall take a look.

  • My understanding is there is no simple answer - the process is that eating some fats is essential for good health, especially for the brain and the nervous system but some fats can contribute to high cholesterol.

    The body produces cholesterol as a reaction to inflammation in the arteries but unfortunately when this accumulates, it builds up into plaque which narrows the arteries, reducing blood flow and heart or brain is deprived of blood resulting in heart attack or stroke.

    But even that is not spthe only answer - some people have a genetic disposition to high cholesterol levels and doesn't matter what they eat, their cholesterol will be high - you can ask your GP to be tested if you are concerned. If in this group you might consider taking statins.

    It is thought that sugars and carbohydrates are the real culprits as they are more likely to cause inflammation, kill the inflammation, kill the response.

    There are indicators which are far more predictive than serum lipid levels but the NHS don't offer them - see a Nutritionist and they do but it will cost. Think upwards of £500 for all tests and consultation - which is why the NHS take the cheaper route by offering a pill - statins - because it is cost effective and is known to reduce inflammation and therefore also serum lipid levels.

    Complex isn't it?

    I have levels that wander around 6.5-7 and I get a call every 6 months or so from my surgery saying do I want to take statins - which I say no. GPs are encouraged to prescribe them and gets a bonus for every patient taking them and they help a lot of people and they also cause a lot of side effects. I currently have at least 3 conditions with high inflammation levels so I am working with diet and exercise (when I can) to try keep active and healthy.

    Advice from my Nutritionist was to stay away from the spreads, eat a little butter (I don't have bread at all so that's easy) eat a little cheese 2-3 ozs week, use the healthy oils - hemp, olive, coconut etc every day - ensure at least half my plate for every meal contains green, fibrous veg. Reduce sugar to about 5% of intake, (no added sugar, no alcohol etc) so all sugar is from fruits.

    Exercise will also help clear unhealthy lipids from your blood serum so moderate walking pace for 20 mins/day x 5 week will help, minimum.

    This is what I have concluded having done my own research, but others may disagree so you need to come to your own conclusions.

    Do hope you start back on the eggs and dairy - it is essential nutrient for your nervous system! Yes, I think that is worrying too much. Balance is the key, always balance.

  • Thank you for your helpful reply.

    My diet is pretty good, I don't eat red meat, I don't drink, I don't have any sugary drinks or rubbish in my diet just some dark chocolate. I eat chicken, turkey and some mackerel or tuna, veggies and fruit each day. I don't eat fast food, I am gluten free aswell so that stopped me eating any rubbish.

    My GP said my levels were probably high due to the sample not being fasted. I was very concerned my triglycerides were so high but was told that if you haven't fasted they will be high.

    Thanks again for your response, very reassuring.

    Julie

  • Jingdy - having just had a peek at your previous posts might I suggest that stress may be your biggest contributor for raised cholesterol levels?

    But also be careful when working with your GP that you are not dismissed as a 'worrier' - ask for regular cholesterol monitoring 6 month - annual would be sufficient.

    Best wishes CD xx

  • Hello

    Yes, I experienced a terrible trauma 4 years ago and have been though alot of anxiety since. I was also diagnosed with an underactive thyroid a year ago. It's been a tough few years. I currently struggle with chronic fatigue which is tough.

    I am a worrier but luckily my GP is very thorough and I am not one to run to the GP every week with a worry, I see him maybe twice a year loL!

    My GP ran tests 2 months ago but forgot to add cholesterol on but we will be adding it onto my next test in the next few months. He told me my risk was below 1% for any heart issues with my levels but I still worry.

    Julie

  • According to your GP what is your general health?

    Did you GP do a risk analysis (QRISK & JBS2) score and discuss in full and the benefits of life style change?

    You can do your own JBS2 and QRISK accessing via Google.

    If the answer is "NO" please go back to your GP to get full understanding of all the three blood tests, blood pressure, blood glucose and blood cholesterol.

    People who are this and do not smoke may have health issues. Regular exercise and eating green veg, fruits cheese, butter, cram and coconut oil and olive oil and many more can give you a better life.

  • Hello

    Yes he told me he did a risk assessment and my risk was below 1% so he was not concerned at all. He said annual testing would be sufficient.

    My blood pressure is good, around 100/65. My glucose on the HBA1C 2 months ago was 35.

    I don't smoke, don't drink, weigh 115lbs at 5ft tall, I'm 37 years of age. I do have an underactive thyroid and chronic fatigue but do my best to hit 5000 steps per day. I have anxiety and agoraphobia but try to walk my dog daily and do steps at home. All depending on my health/fatigue each day.

  • You should worry but not over the things you say. Main cause of heart attacks is genetics and stress. Your trigs are way too high. Your LDL is also a bit high. Forget low fat - but choose fats and carbs carefully. Go for PLAC test - about £90

  • Thank you.

    My diet is pretty good, I don't eat red meat, I don't drink, I don't have any sugary drinks or rubbish in my diet just some dark chocolate. I eat chicken, turkey and some mackerel or tuna, veggies and fruit each day. I don't eat fast food, I am gluten free aswell so that stopped me eating any rubbish.

    My GP said my levels were probably high due to the sample not being fasted. I was very concerned my triglycerides were so high but was told that if you haven't fasted they will be high.

    Thanks again for your response.

  • Why not assume the worst about your tests and change your life accordingly. If your tests are fine then this will be a preventive rather than curative approach. Address the following: relaxation; sleep; exercise; diet; social interaction. This will in turn affect blood pressure, cholesterol, arteries etc

  • Hello Paul

    I did change a lot last year when I was told I had high cholesterol.. I went gluten free (for my thyroid issue) and so that made me cut out any biscuits or cakes (I never eat them anymore and haven't in a year) I eat a healthy diet, I always did really it's why my GP was puzzled as to why I had high cholesterol as I don't eat fast food, no red meat, don't smoke or drink. I am slim and live a healthy lifestyle. I do have an underactive thyroid and chronic fatigue so I don't exercise anymore as I can't. I walk my dog a few times a week on the days I am feeling well and I make sure I do steps at home on the days I can't get out, and aim for 5000 steps a day. I do my best under the circumstances.

    Thank you

    Julie

  • Hi Julie

    Surely you can do yoga?

    That would reduce stress and....

    everydayhealth.com/high-cho...

  • I do. I do yoga for 10 minutes a day, but obviously can't do yoga that is heavy on the legs or causes a big sweat due to my energy crashes but I do gentle relaxing yoga every day or I walk my dog for 10 minutes. I have limited energy over the last year so I have to be careful or I crash for 2 days after alot of activity and having 3 children that's not very helpful as I have noone to support me if I crash and land in bed for days.

  • Have a look at Michelle Rubin on YouTube ....

  • Worry will give you the stress which will give you the high sugar intolerance and plaque.......follow a simple rule "All things in moderation". Don't go drastic. I did and suffered irreversible damage. Also know that 80% of blood LDL is produced by your liver. Diet has 20% contribtion. More later. Relax. Body needs some cholesterol and fats.

  • That's very reassuring thank you.

    My concern was my triglycerides but my gp said as I'd eaten just before the test not to worry at all as they raise after we eat and why it'd best to fast before a test.

    I do worry a lot about my health as I've ask underactive thyroid and chronic fatigue plus I've an anxiety disorder after being attacked 4 years ago by my brother. It's tough and I've anxiety about my health due to bloods showing issues. As a mother it frightens me too.

    Thank you for your reply.

    Julie

  • Hi, I'm 57 and my cholesterol is 9.3. I'm slim and weigh 8 st 4lbs. Doc told me no cakes no biscuits no bread no sweets which was hard (Xmas and new year) I'm to go back in 3mths for a retest which is first week Feb so it's fingers X'd

  • Best of luck to you. I hope it has come down.

  • I've been diagnosed with 7 cholestral last month had full blood tests blood pressure was also high doc has put me on alvorstatin10my got to ho back in eight weeks for another blood test I am on letrozole tablets for breast cancer the side effects are higher cholestral and blood pressure which obviously have added to it as two years ago my chol was 6 and no slightly lower I am overweight and can't walk far due to arthralgia and arthritis in agony in all my bones another side effect of the cancer tablets I was working at 66 till I had my ok it has knocked hell out of my body i absolutely hate taking tablets my oncologist has tried me on all three arimidex then exemerstane for the last three years but there's no difference in them they all cause the same problems

  • Having been on this earth 90 years I think the genetic make up has much more to do with health than the many drugs used to control such things a cholesterol. This having noticed how much variation there are with those on the same drugs such as statins and diets. It wasn't until I was 80 before I started on statins having been diagnosed with atherosclerosis.

    I had smoked moderately until 65 when |I gave up.

    Otherwise I've lived a fairly healthy life. Had I had a different genetic make up I might well have been in a serious condition 20/30 years earlier I think it's genetic first followed by life style.

  • Cholesterol is essential to the body and responsible for many functions. You need to eat more saturated fats, not less!!

    Have a look at these two links:

    dietdoctor.com/stunning-sat...

    healthimpactnews.com/2016/c...

  • There are still some people out there who will insist the Earth is flat. I'd try to keep a balanced view away from the extremes unless you have tried a few things out and feel drawn to that position by your experiences because it could be that you're a freak - in the nicest possible sense! - and one of the treatments which doesn't work for many actually works for you.

  • Hi all and thanx for your comments. I'm doing fine and will get my bloods tested again in a couple of weeks it's been hard sticking to the no bread no cakes no biscuit no sweetie rule but apart from the odd lapse I've not done too badly, I hope. I'll let you all know xc

  • do give us an update.

  • Hi, I was like you, slim, low blood pressure, , careful what I ate, good amount of exercise through walking and my three jobs, BUT I did drink A LOT, which apparently caused hardening of the arteries, so I suffered a major stroke ( a bleed) and maybe 10 years later, a minor heart attack. The stroke was preceded by a lot of bd headaches (not migraines). When I went into hospital, my cholesterol readings were very high (no point in telling you numbers because our method of reading in Aust is different to what the US uses). 21 years later I am still disabled. All my doctors thought I was low risk for any of the major diseases, because I was so slim. All I am saying is, just don't coast along thinking you are OK because 9/10 of your life is healthy.

  • Sorry to hear that.

    I think he also bases it on my age as I'm quite young, never drink, never smoked.... so hopefully I am low risk. I am getting a re test next month.

    I am sorry to hear what happened to you.

    Julie

  • When you get your results, please ask you doctor for a QRISK or JBS2 analysis.

  • He did do a risk analysis and I was 0.5%.

  • OK, there is no 1/2 human therefore 1 in 100!

    Stress and worry can bring heart problems.

    Controlling food and drinks intake, regular exercise, watching out for free and hidden sugar in food and drinks can help towards a healthy life.

    Just enjoy one life while you can.

    Do ask your GP questions on your next blood test results.

  • Thank you.

    I eat really well and take care of myself best I can. I can exercise right now as I've had a year of illness with an underactive thyroid my gp is trying to get right on the correct dose. It causes chronic fatigue. Other than that I take care of myself.

    Even at 1% I guess I should be pleased. I did the risk assessment myself to check he was right and it said I wasn't at risk so thats reassured me.

  • That's quite a lot that you have dealt with. I'm hoping that when I go back next week it might have come down a bit. I'm in the UK I think we all have different readings for our Cholesterol x

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