My experience with high cholesterol, statins, and keto

My experience with high cholesterol, statins, and keto

July 16, 2019 100 By William Morgan


Hey, guys. How are ya? Today’s video is
gonna be a little bit different. I wanted
to talk a little bit about my personal
experience with cholesterol and statin
medication, and I’m gonna start right
after this. Hey guys, welcome to A.D. Keto.
My name is Aaron. This is the channel
where we talk about the ketogenic diet. I
do some keto food vlogs, talk a little
bit about keto science, and do some keto
recipes. If this is your first time
here, please consider subscribing, and if
you do, be sure to click the bell icon so
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new content. All right, guys. So this is a
video that’s been a long time coming. I
have wanted to do this video for a while. It’s about cholesterol, and my personal
experience with cholesterol. Before I
even get started, I want to make sure you
guys understand that I am NOT a doctor.
I’m not a medical professional of any
kind. I’m not trying to give anyone any
medical advice. This is simply my
experience with the world of high
cholesterol and statin medications. So
I’m gonna take you guys back a little
while, to about 2010 or so. I went for
routine blood work. I at this point, I was
at about age 35, 36. And my cholesterol
came back as pretty high.
It was around 300 total, and my doctor
put me on atorvastatin medication,
20 milligrams. Atorvastatin is more
commonly known as Lipitor. It’s a very
common cholesterol-lowering medication.
And so I listened to my doctor, and I
went on this medication. And I was on it
for a while. My cholesterol numbers went
down, and my doctor was very happy. But I
felt like garbage. My joints hurt, and I
had sort of a brain fog, and I didn’t
even put two and two together. I didn’t
even think for a second that it was the
atorvastatin that was giving me
these side effects. I just chalked it up
to me getting older, and getting creakier,
maybe getting a little bit more
forgetful, but in doing a little bit of
research, I found that these are very
common side effects
to statin medications in
general. So I stayed on the medications,
just because my doctor told me to, and I
was scared to go off them, because I was
afraid that if I my cholesterol got too
high, I would have a heart attack and die.
So I began to exercise regularly, even
while on the statin medications. I began
to run 5k races, and I actually built up
my endurance to the point where I
could run a marathon. I ran and finished
the 2012 Mohawk Hudson marathon, and in training for that marathon, I felt
terrible. I would run and go out for a
long training run on the weekends, come
back, and need a day to recover. My body
just hurt so much, and it bummed me out,
because I really enjoyed running. So I
yo-yoed with my weight for a little
while. After this marathon, I sort of
started eating poorly. I had a lot of, you
know, frozen pizzas, and just made bad
choices.
But my cholesterol kind of stayed in
that normal range, because I was still on
the atorvastatin, and then in early 2017,
I sort of had enough yo-yoing and I
decided to start keto. I found keto
through a friend at work, and tried it
for a little while, and within a week, was
in love with it, because I felt amazing.
Better than I had in a long time. I
didn’t really have much of the keto flu,
maybe a few days, and then I think the
fourth day after I started keto, I can
remember waking up and feeling like
something was different. Wasn’t hungry.
Had a lot of energy. Was becoming fat
adapted. So I decided to stay with it. I
also decided to drop my statin
medication. And I stopped taking my
statins in January, and got some baseline
blood work done at the time. And then a
few months later, when I went to see my
doctor again, had my blood work done
again, and my numbers were up, which is what I expected. I expected my cholesterol to
go up. And he was worried, and really didn’t
know what to do. I told him that I felt
better than I had in years.
He wanted me to go back on the statin
meds. I did not. Did not agree. Did not go
back on them. He said, “let’s give it a few more months,
and see how you’re doing then.” A few more months went by, and I lost a grand total,
from the… from January until about July,
I’d lost fifty-something pounds, which he
was thrilled about. And at this time, when
I got my lipids done, I got what’s called
an NMR lipid profile. And NMR stands for a
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance. And what that
does is as opposed to a normal lipid
panel, it measures not only your total
cholesterol, but it actually breaks down
your HDL, your LDL, the number of
particles, the size of the particles, the
consistency of the particles. It’s much
more information, that gives you a lot
clearer picture of what’s going on with
your lipids. And every single marker on
my NMR, outside of my LDL, was sparkling.
Best numbers I’d ever had. My
triglycerides were super-low, my HDL was
up, all the ratios of HDL-to-total
cholesterol looked good. HDL-to-
triglycerides looked fantastic. The one number that was still super-high,
even higher, was my LDL. It was up near
300. My GP didn’t really know what to
make of that, so he sent me to a
cardiologist. And the cardiologist ran
some tests on me. He did an echo… not an
echocardiogram…
They basically listened to my heart, to
test for abnormalities. Everything was
cool there. They put me on a treadmill, a
stress test, and had me run. I remember I
had fasted all that day, and told them I
was fasted, and they didn’t think I would
last long, and I ended up going for like
25 minutes. And every five minutes they
would increase the pace and incline of
the thing. So I ran like an idiot on that
thing for a while, did well on that, and then
I went for the thing that was very
excited to go for. The third test that I
went before at the cardiologist’s office
was called a calcium scoring test. And a
calcium scoring test was the granddaddy
test that I wanted done, because it
doesn’t measure for markers that may or
may not be indicative of cardiovascular
disease, like cholesterol. It actually
measures… it measures ACTUAL heart disease in your
arteries, in your heart, and measures the
actual calcium. And the way that it’s
scored is that it starts at zero, and
goes all the way up to a thousand. Zero
being zero risk, there’s a zero calcium
in your arteries and heart. A thousand is
“Dear God, how are you still alive?” So
there’s a pretty wide spectrum there, and
my score came back as a 14. So I was
hoping for zero, but 14 is still pretty
good, all things considered. And I was
very excited, but my cardiologist wanted
to put me back on a statin. And I refused.
So I stayed on keto, and stayed off the
statin meds, and dropped another 10
pounds. So by the time November of 2017
rolled around, I had lost a grand total
of 65 pounds, and I went back in, and had
some more blood work done. I had an NMR
profile done. Similar numbers came back:
sparkling across the board. Really, really
fantastic numbers, except for that pesky
LDL. And my GP sent me to… referred me to a low-carb doctor. Something that I
didn’t even knew existed here in Albany,
in the Albany area. But I went to see
this guy today. He knew what keto was. He knew what
low-carb was. He knew what it meant to be
fat adapted. I answered a lot of the
questions he had with answers that I
don’t think he expected to hear. Because
I had kind of… I’ve been doing this for
11 months. I kind of have learned a lot
of things, and read up on some things, and
knew what I was doing. We…we had a good
conversation about keto and low carb. However, his whole thing is using keto to
transition people to a Mediterranean Diet. He’s had a lot of success
getting people on Mediterranean diets,
which is more… less fat, and more protein.
And you know, he gave me the line that I
was dreading, that I knew I would
probably hear, is that, “You know keto is
great for when you’re just starting out,
but as far as maintaining, it’s not
really something that can get maintained
long term.” And I know this to be false. So
we talked a little bit about my LDL, and
how, you know even though my my calcium
score was good, it wasn’t zero. Even
though all of my numbers look good,
except that LDL, and even though my
weight is where it was when I was 21
years old, he suggested that I get… I eat
fewer marble-y cuts of meat, he suggested
that I lower my saturated fat. When I
told him that I had butter in my coffee,
he looked at me as if I had two heads.
I’m doing a lot of reading about the
lipid system. I’ve been watching a lot of
videos about lipids and cholesterol, and
I’ll link this right up here, but there’s
a video by a guy named Dave Feldman
who’s not a doctor, not a medical
professional. He’s an engineer. and he has
come at his cholesterol, which is similar
to mine — he’s what you call a hyper
responder to the keto diet. His LDL shot
up when he started keto. And he’s an
engineer, and he came at the problem from
an engineer’s perspective, and basically
gave himself… had blood work drawn every
day for I think a month, or two months,
and tracked what he ate over that course
of time, and found some startling and
amazing results, and basically concluded
that the lipid system is SO dynamic and
changeable, that to base anything on such
a changeable system is Crazy Town.
So I’ll link it up here again. You should
check out Dave Feldman. There’s a couple presentations
that just kind of blew my mind on
YouTube. And so that’s where I am these
days. I am continuing keto. I’m in
maintenance. I’m not going back on
statins,
despite the pressure from every medical
professional in my life to go back on
them, I’m not going on them. Both for
personal reasons, the reasons that I’ve
said before — that they… I had some issues
with them, some side effects, some
achiness, some foggyheadedness, that I
don’t want to experience again, but also,
a… an institutional reason for not going
back on them. Statins are now the number
one drug in the history of drugs. The
standards for putting someone on statins
have become lower and lower and lower as
time has gone by, and I feel like it’s
mostly about money. So while statins
might be lowering my LDL number, I don’t
feel like that LDL number being lower
benefits me in any significant way. So
that’s what my…been my experience with
cholesterol and statins.
I appreciate if you’ve listened to me
ramble for this last 15 minutes or so. I
know that this is not really the kind of
video that I normally do, but I really
wanted to talk about it. I’ve had some… I
feel pretty strongly about it. And that’s
where I am, so… so let me know if any of
you guys have had similar experiences. I
know that in general, cholesterol does go
up when you start keto, kind of no matter
what, just based on the fact that you’re
using fat for energy. Fat is being
mobilized throughout your body more.
Cholesterol is going to show it up in
your blood,
regardless. But let me know. Let me know
what your experience has been with this
stuff. I’d love to hear from you, love
to chat about it. It’s something that I
really needed to talk about, and I hope
it benefits somebody, or hope somebody
can identify with it. And that’s gonna
wrap it up for this week, so… so I thank
you for watching,
please consider subscribing if you
haven’t already. I hope you have a
fantastic day,
and I will see you next time.