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Remembering Kevin Moore

Jimmy Moore’s Fall 2014 Cholesterol, Thyroid And Other Health Test Results

Because I am a prominent health blogger, podcaster and author who regularly talks about the virtues of nutrition on a healthy lifestyle, it only makes sense for me to regularly update my readers and listeners with the latest test results regarding my health. While I realize this most likely will open me up for criticism from those who choose to nitpick about this number or that number, I think it’s the responsibility of everyone who puts themselves out there online to be completely honest with their followers about what is actually happening in their health. YOU deserve that kind of forthrightness and you will always get it from me. How can I help you in your own health journey if I’m not showing you what’s going on in mine, right? With that said, let’s take a look at some of my latest test results from some recent tests during the Fall 2014 (interestingly, I looked up the last time I shared an array of health test results and it was exactly one year ago today):

WEIGHT

I currently weigh 275 pounds and I’m admittedly having some struggles in this area. Sleep is not where it needs to be right now (I just got a Fitbit Flex a few weeks ago to help me track it and so far I’m averaging only 4-5 hours a night) and I am working on dealing with my stress levels which seem to be higher lately. About 30 pounds of the added pounds occurred slowly during the writing of my last two books Cholesterol Clarity and Keto Clarity. In hindsight, the obvious stress of writing two books with multiple editors, deadlines and such with a major publisher in the span of one year was probably not the best idea for someone like me. While I’m trying to figure out all that’s contributing to this happening, keto is giving me a fighting chance in my health until the weight starts to come down again.


Here’s me before one of my book signings in October 2014

It’s quite ironic how in the pursuit of helping others in their own health journey, I find myself sacrificing a bit of my own health in the process. That said, I’m so incredibly proud of those two books and the positive impact they have made on the lives of the people who have gotten them. But it does take a toll on your body (I’m not the only health author who has reported this happening). The rest of the weight gain happened during my recent experience participating in Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Retreat in North Carolina. I hope to have a full blog report about that one-week immersion into the land of “safe starches” for you very soon. STAY TUNED! But I’m not dwelling on my weight as much as I am keeping a close eye on the markers in my health that matter. Let’s take a look at a few of those now…

TESTOSTERONE

I’m pretty proud of this number as it has gone UP over 100 points since last year. Woo hoo! Despite some reports from people like this stating that eating a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet will make your testosterone levels tank, I just haven’t seen that to be the case for me–in fact, JUST THE OPPOSITE!

C-REACTIVE PROTEIN (CRP)

Here’s another key blood health marker for measuring inflammation I’m especially proud of. As we shared in Cholesterol Clarity, optimally you want your CRP to be under 1.0 and that last time I checked it the level was at 0.55. Now it’s down 20% from what was already a very good level. When inflammation is low, the risk for cardiovascular problems and virtually any chronic disease is next to nil. While a lot of medical professionals put a lot of stock in cholesterol numbers, it’s this C-Reactive Protein number they should be paying more attention to. Speaking of cholesterol numbers…

CHOLESTEROL PANEL

In May 2013 during the writing of Cholesterol Clarity, I wrote blog post entitled Could Your Poor Dental Health Be A Hidden Cause Of High Cholesterol? where I shared about the extensive and expensive dental work I had done by a holistic dentist who cleaned up the infections from multiple root canals I had done as well as the removal of some mercury silver amalgams from my early twenties (after crunching on sugary hard candy often as a kid). In that post and in my book, I noted that unresolved chronic bacterial infections in your mouth could be one of the reasons why your cholesterol levels can go up and I posited at the time “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I recheck my cholesterol numbers…and magically all of my cholesterol levels drop back down to normal again?” Well take a look at my total cholesterol reading of 288. Yes, it’s still high according to the current standards for what “normal” cholesterol readings should be, but it’s been as high as 419 as soon ago as December 2012–a drop of nearly ONE-THIRD! Even still, the warning verbiage about possibly having familiar hypercholesterolemia (FH) message was on my test results (although I had it tested last year and I don’t have FH):

The only thing that has really changed since my last cholesterol panel is the dental work I had done. It’s so amazing to see this stunning change and yet doctors are totally missing this reason why cholesterol levels have gone up and are reaching for their prescription pads to administer statins instead. Such a shame! As for the rest of my panel, triglycerides of 56 and HDL of 84 gives me a spectacular triglyceride/HDL ratio of 0.67 which studies have shown to be a much better marker for cardiovascular risk. In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t get the NMR Lipoprofile test that runs the particle number and particle size this time around, but I can presume those also improved. All in all, my lipids are even better than the incredible results I previously had. WOO HOO!

PROSTATE SPECIFIC AG (PSA)

I’ve been keeping a close eye on my PSA because I’ve always had struggles going to the bathroom often ever since I was a kid. After I turned 40, the issue has become a bit worse and I assumed my prostate health would suffer as a result. But this PSA result says otherwise. Anything under 1.0 is a great result.

FULL THYROID PANEL




And finally, despite all the negative comments about the thyroid health of people who eat a low-carb, high-fat, ketogenic diet that are made and promoted by well-meaning people in the Paleo community like Chris Kresser and Paul Jaminet (which we addressed fully in Keto Clarity), the reality is all the weeping and gnashing of teeth about this is much ado about nothing. These numbers are outstanding despite the fact I eat ketogenic pretty much all the time. I got these superb results in my thyroid numbers because I eat a well-formulated low-carb, high-fat diet with adequate calories. This nonsensical low-carb = hypothyroidism meme that has become so popular in recent years needs to end right here, right now.

That’s all I have to share with you right now. I’m not someone who obsesses about numbers and thinks you need to constantly test yourself in the pursuit of healthy living. But because I think you deserve to see what’s happening to my health, I’ll keep sharing my test results periodically on my blog. THANK YOU for reading and I wish you well in your own personal health journey.

  • Carroll Muir

    love your honesty Jimmy. Way to go!

  • Thank you for your openness and honesty, Jimmy! It’s a lot more than what I’ve come to expect from some other prominent bloggers within the Paleo community. It’s wonderful to see the positive trends in your health. As for the weight gain, it seems like you have identified the triggers and I’m sure that you’ll get to the bottom of it. Thank you for sharing.

  • LLVLCBlog

    As I stated, there are many non-diet reasons weight can go up despite a ketogenic (or any other) diet–stress and lack of sleep are two biggies, but hormonal imbalances, medications, aging and more. But keto gives you a fighting chance while you try to figure it out.

    • John B Wagnon

      Road trips and book tours are tough to keep weight off. I would recommend keeping your macronutrient ratio the same but ease up on the calories. There are two parts to exercise. Cardio is important, not for losing weight, but for mental health and sleep. Weight bearing exercise is important to increase the size of your muscle engine. Your metabolism burns faster with more lean body mass. It continues to burn more even between weight workouts. Congrats on the health numbers. You should determine what weight you would feel better about yourself and go for it. There are some psycho social elements involved here as well. It’s easy to say that one doesn’t have the discipline, but it is more complicated than that. Hormones are big here.

  • Laura Schoenfeld

    Hey Jimmy, glad to see you’re doing well! But I will say that the low carb thyroid connection is by no means “debunked” by your experience… rather I think it goes to further show that what works for one person does not work for everyone. So while I’m glad that your low carb diet isn’t affecting your thyroid function, I think it’s inaccurate to suggest that your experience means that the experience of others isn’t happening. It’s good to stay openminded to the fact that everyone handles dietary changes differently, and personalization is key.

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Laura. I’m not saying people can’t have thyroid issues eating low-carb ketogenic. What I am saying is this is more indicative of a low-calorie intake, not a low-carb one. This is why adequate calories while in ketosis is critical. Hypothyroid issues are happening when calories are too low. You know I’m very open minded about these things, but that meme is just plain wrong. Thanks for your comment.

      • joesmith984

        If Jimmy is correct, then the amount of fat one has on their body, to burn, likely also plays a role. If one has a large calorie deficit, their excess fat stores are burned by the body for energy. (In a way, body fat can be interpreted as stored calories from previous meals, so it’s similar to eating a very high fat diet).

        Therefore, it’s entirely possible that having excess body fat to burn protects someone from having hypothyroid issues—due to the fact that they will have excess calories to burn. Whereas a very thin person would not have such energy stores to burn.

  • Peter Turner

    Jimmy, is it possible that we low carbers simply do not need as much sleep? I have always slept very easily, about eight hours a night, but after 2 1/2 years full low carb, I find at least two or three nights a week I wake up extremely early, five or six hours a night and that is plenty. Wouldn’t your CRP number be higher if lack of sleep is a problem? Also find that my cholesterol numbers exactly the same as yours. Thanks for sharing, we are all in this together!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Perhaps Peter, but I’m feeling the effects of that lack of sleep. Not sure it would show up in CRP.

  • Karen Hanes

    Thank you for sharing. I hope you are able to manage your stress. I am looking forward to picking up a copy of your books. I wasn’t sure what blood work to ask my doctor to run at my next test, now I have an example of some numbers I’d like to know about better. I actually don’t have a thyroid anymore so I’m 100% supplemented by Synthroid. It doesn’t impair my ability to lose weight on a keto diet it seems. I agree about stress… I’m an emotional and binge eater so I have to keep stress in check. Tonight I even dropped off a Facebook group because some comments on one of my post was triggering a stressful response (and making me hungry). Even though many tout that you don’t need to count calories, just eat to satiety, I find I am much better off when I am super mindful of my stress/food connection and logging all foods into MyFitnessPal. I used one of the popular keto calculators and it provides plenty of calories anyway. I figure I’ll have to do that for the rest of my life as I quip with my family that I’m either losing or gaining, never simply maintaining. I’d like to have some weight stability for once in my life!
    As for sleep, being a mom of a young child, it seems sleep deprivation is often a reality. It’s 3:15 am and I’m up writing this and my 4 year old is up for whatever reason (trying to get back to sleep again). Oh well! C’est la vie!

  • Nicole

    I know you didn’t have one done, but I would LOVE to see your advanced cholesterol numbers..an NMR test to measure particle size. There is NOTHING wrong with cholesterol over 200 unless its packaged in small/dense particles! I bet, judging by your HDL, Trigs, and LDL numbers that your LDL-P/ApoB etc are low…Cholesterol can’t harm the body unless it gets in the wrong places… in the lining of the arteries..

    Another test might be a CIMT (carotid intima-media thickness) Test to actually see if there is any plaque buildup in your arteries.

    I think your numbers look impressive!

    • LLVLCBlog

      Thanks Nicole. This round of tests I ran didn’t include the NMR but we can extrapolate I would have mostly large, fluffy LDL particles from my trigs and HDL being so good. As for a CIMT, I had it and a CT Heart Scan done and both came back clear.

      • Nicole

        I’d agree with you. You NMR numbers are likely very good. Very impressive that your arteries are clear. Just more evidence that high total cholesterol doesn’t “clog” arteries. I think the focus on weight gain is a bit unfortunate. I see so many patients at normal weights who are at very high cardio vascular risk due to their cholesterol, metabolic, and inflammatory markers. Weight matters in terms of over all health, but it’s not everything.

        • LLVLCBlog

          Agreed. While I’m still keeping an eye on my weight, I’m much more interested in keeping my health numbers optimal regardless.

  • Carmen YanezPrieto

    Hi, Jimmy … Insomnia, stress, weight gain … Couldn’t it be magnesium deficiency? I got stuck with my weight and I have started taking magnesium because of stress and my weight has started plummeting again after a very long stall.
    Cheers and thanks for sharing so much info, including your lab work results!
    P.S.: I have hypothyroidism and I’m losing all this extra weight that I had. And I haven’t felt so alive and energetic in a long long time. I’m kind of curious about my next thyroid test in January…

    • LLVLCBlog

      Not likely. I supplement magnesium regularly.

  • mrfreddy

    Oh no, what is she-who-should-not-be-mentioned (author of a vile and unreadable blog) going to carp about now?

    IMHO, 275 pounds is pretty damn good for a guy who was once over 400.

  • joesmith984

    “Sleep is not where it needs to be right now…I’m averaging only 4-5 hours a night…and I am working on dealing with my stress levels which seem to be higher lately”

    I’m sorry to hear your stress/sleep has slipped Jimmy. I know how hard that can be, first hand. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I had a very similar experience two years ago. It may not seem like it, but these symptoms are directly related to the microbiome.

    Here’s the passage that brought everything into focus for me.

    ——-
    “American Psychological Association: That gut feeling”
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/09/gut-feeling.aspx

    With a sophisticated neural network transmitting messages from trillions of bacteria, the brain in your gut exerts a powerful influence over the one in your head, new research suggests…

    …Gut bacteria also produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate basic physiological processes as well as mental processes such as learning, memory and mood. For example, gut bacteria manufacture about 95 percent of the body’s supply of serotonin, which influences both mood and GI activity…

    …Lyte, in a 2011 BioEssays paper, proposed a neurochemical “delivery system” by which gut bacteria, such as probiotics, can send messages to the brain. Gut bacteria both produce and respond to the same neurochemicals—such as GABA, serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, acetylcholine and melatonin—that the brain uses to regulate mood and cognition. Such neurochemicals probably allow the brain to tune its behavior to the feedback it receives from the army of bacteria in the gut.

    ——-

    Basically your gut bugs are supposed to produce these calming and sleep-inducing neurochemicals in sufficient quantities. You can slowly restore those gut bugs and feed them with soluble fibers.

    I was able to quickly restore my sleep by taking GABA around bedtime and taking L-Theanine twice a day to reduce stress. There are even some products that combine these two amino acids. These are extremely safe amino acids and easy to take. They will reduce stress levels and help restore your ability to sleep with no major side effects. They begin to work very quickly.

    After restoring and feeding my gut flora I was able to slowly ween off of GABA and L-Theanine over the course of two to three months. Now that my gut bugs produce these kinds of neurochemicals for me, I no longer need such supplements.

    Interestingly, pharmaceutical companies will use bacteria to synthesize these neurochemicals. So, you can either make your own neurochemicals by eating prebiotic fibers or you buy the neurochemicals at the pharmacy. They come from the same origin either way.

    I wish you the best of luck and the best of health, Jimmy.

    Cheers.

    • Jens

      How were you able to “restore and refeed” gut flora? Probiotics +? Something else? I’m experiencing similar problems and eager to sort out some answers.

      • LLVLCBlog

        What’s the context of what you’re asking buddy?

      • joesmith984

        Probiotics reseed the gut flora. Fermentable fibers (i.e. prebiotics) feed the gut flora. Resistant starch is well known to help alleviate sleep problems in many people with the right gut bugs (a key point). If you were completely against starch, I would imagine a similar effect could be done with high inulin foods (dandelion greens, raw jerusalem artichokes, etc) and non-starch polysaccharides. Any raw high fiber food should be low in carbohydrates if you are worried about carbs. Though, fibers are also well known to help people tolerate more carbs. Additionally, it’s probably not wise to take resistant starch without other naturally occurring fibers, like inulin, anyway.

        Good luck to you.

        • LLVLCBlog

          LOL! Preaching to the choir brotha! 😉

  • This Old Housewife

    Jimmy–try L-theanine to help conquer that built-up stress. Try about 200 mg. with food (I assume you eat in the A.M.). You can also take some before bed to help you sleep.

    Another thing you can try before bed is 5-HTP: about 500 mg. That will make you drowsy, so don’t use it for stress reduction during the day.

    I have the opposite problem: I can’t seem to stay awake much past 7:30 ever since about a month before the time change. If I could give you some of my sleep eagerness, I’d bottle it and drive it down to you myself…well before 7:30. :)

  • William Graves

    I too have had high LDL-P numbers since my diet changed to a very low carb diet. All my last NMR numbers were stellar except for one… that LDL-P number. I saw a lipidologist & had many different blood tests. His analysis was basically that I have the same physiological consequence that people with anorexia nervosa have. All I supposedly have to do is gain a few lbs & the high LDL numbers will disappear. The results aren’t all in yet (I’ve upped my carbs slightly & gained a few lbs back… still waiting to get new lipid panel blood draw with these changes). For the most part the human body is a resilient, adaptive, and not completely understood entity.

  • kjulian

    Thanks for sharing your status. When you say stress may be contributing to your modest weight regain, I’m very curious if you mean in the sense that stress made you hungrier (and thus you ate more), or if you’re still eating the same diet (quality and quantity) and something else is going on (perhaps hormonally)? You’ve said before you don’t “cheat”, and keto is still helping you avoid greater rebounds, so I’m just wondering if you were regaining using the exact same meal plans / strategy, or if the stress/etc caused you to at least eat more keto-food during that time?

    • LLVLCBlog

      Yes. Same meals. It’s a non-diet response.

  • Raymund Edwards

    You were kind enough to share your ALT levels
    I wonder how they have been trending over a number of tests .

    I think is it a very important test to follow
    A good reading is in the LOWER THIRD of the reference range

    During the 18 months prior to diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, serum ALT rises steadily (solid line). This is likely to reflect the steadily increasing burden of fat within hepatocytes. In any one individual, this change may go unnoticed as for most people it remains within the range of normal.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/…/PMC3593165/figure/fig03/

    • LLVLCBlog

      Dunno

  • tinky_30

    I hope that you have had your serum cortisol, saliva cortisol, and 24 hour urinary cortisol rechecked jimmy! cushing’s disease can make weight loss impossible even while low carbing. It affects sleep, cholesterol, tesosterone & fertility. Only excellent endocrinologist that are in the know can diagnose & treat cushing’s disease.

  • Pam

    As a vegetarian, it is very tough for me to stay on low carb diet permanently. I have observed that my food craving are much under control and I dont gain back the lost weight fast enough.

    Is it okay, if I go one cyclic Low carb / ketogenic diet once in a while – but stay moderate at other times?

  • Pam

    I try to read regularly about this diet so that I can keep myself motivated. I have come across some content which raises three concerns:

    1. Ketogenic diets leading to cognitive impairment in long term – if they are goo for brain health, how they can lead to that?

    2. Ketogenic diets have adverse impact on bone health – I think bone leching happens when our diet is too high in protein

    3. Ketogenic diets replicates a process of starvation in body?

  • LLVLCBlog

    I don’t know what you’re asking.

  • LLVLCBlog

    Conversely, if your LDL goes down, it stands to reason that your LDL-P went down as well. Thanks for agreeing with me about that happening.

  • Nancydd

    I know many people disdain calorie counting, but I always begin to add pounds when I don’t daily plan and record my intake. Like you I am very IR due to many years of starving my body into something half way normal. In my 60s now, and spend my days at a computer, though I lift heavy wrights and walk a lot, and the FACT is my body requires less food than I want to eat. My appetite is strong, especially after my Big 5 weight days. I faithfully eat <20 carbs per day, keto, with one serving of good carbs (usualy a small sweet potato) once a week. I feel healthy and happy on this, but turn me loose on eggs and bacon, and I won't eat just one egg and 2 bacon, I'll eat twice that, or more. My belief is that once your metabolism is as broken as your's and mine, you will never be able to eat ad libitum–even on keto.

    You have done incredibly well, and helped so many!

    • LLVLCBlog

      I eat less calories now than I ever have.