How I improved my Cholesterol and Vitamin D levels with WellnessFX
In an earlier post, I describe a blood test I took in November through WellnessFX. With only a few changes, I have been able to improve some of these markers in just 4 months.
As a reminder, here was my action plan to improve some of the markers:
- 8 hours of sleep every night, measured with a Zeo Sleep Manager Pro
- Betaine HCL and Super Enzymes to better absorb foods
- Bio-Kult Probiotic for better digestion
- Liver Detox support
- Vitamin D supplementation
- Low carb whole foods diet based on combination of a few diets: GAPS Diet, The Paleo Solution Diet, Weston A Price / Nourishing Traditions, and the New Atkins / Low Carb Performance
- Exercise 4x/week using Mixed Martial Arts and Starting Strength weight lifting
I switched to a moderate carbohydrate diet based off The Perfect Health Diet in early 2013. Otherwise I have followed this plan quite well. I also lost about 5 lbs.
I had a follow-up test done at the end of March and saw some great results. The second test was not through WellnessFX, but I mocked-up my new scores alongside their original graphics.
During my WellnessFX consult in November, my practitioner tipped me on to the idea that the low cholesterol that I have had all my life could be the result of malnutrition. While my physician was not on board with this idea, I was concerned enough about my low HDL and low testosterone to make a change.
For those of you unfamiliar with the idea that cholesterol might not be such a bad thing, I’d recommend this article by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride: “Cholesterol: Friend or Foe?”. Dr. Mercola also has an article on this topic: “The Truth about High Cholesterol”.
I was already eating copious amounts of saturated animal fats. In order to improve digestion, I eliminated Gluten from my diet and adding Now Foods Betaine HCL and Now Foods Super Enzymes. With these two changes, I was able to raise my total cholesterol by 28%. My new HDL-C score also takes me out of a high risk area for cardiovascular disease. This increased total cholesterol should provide my body more building materials to create testosterone and other hormones.
Increased Vitamin D
Vitamin D supplementation seems to be one of the favorite topics of the Paleosphere and my WellnessFX practitioner felt I should be supplementing. I used these Green Pastures Cod Liver Oil and Life Extension Vitamin D3 supplements to increase mine 62%. I do also make an effort to get sun exposure each day. Unfortunately with the winter temperatures that sun only seems to hit my face, head, and hands. I may add brief weekly tanning into my wellness regime.
There is another possibility here which is that my low cholesterol was preventing my body from generating sufficient Vitamin D.
Regarding Vitamin D supplementation, Todd Becker makes an excellent point here about how this supplementation could be a bad thing in his post at gettingstronger.com: “Why I don’t take Vitamin D supplements”. I have to say that I was not amused by getting the stomach flu and a two-week cold over the past few months. I am also in favor of the most natural way of fixing a problem. In his other excellent post “An Alternative to Vitamin D supplements”, he suggests calorie restriction, intermittent fasting, brief strenuous exercise, and general hormetic stressors (such as cold showers) as alternatives to Vitamin D supplementation.
Elevated Liver Enzymes
The final piece of the puzzle during my WellnessFX consult was my Liver Enzyme levels. My practitioner felt my liver was working overtime to process toxins in my body and suggested Apex Energetics Clearvite-SF, a protein powder designed to help detoxify the liver. I will confess that this sounded like some new age voodoo magic to me – I am still not comfortable with the generic word “toxins.” In addition, each serving contains 15g of carbs which did not jive with my low-carb diet. What I did do was take a Thorne Research SAT capsule each morning. This product contains Silymarin (milk thisle), Circumin (tumeric), and Cynara (artichoke) – all of which are purported to help the liver.
As you can see from my updated test results, some of my Liver Enzyme tests improved and some worsened. My action now is to double my dose of the SAT and further reduce my alcohol intake .
I found a great resource “When and How to evaluate mildly elevated liver enzymes in apparently healthy patients” that also describes Liver enzymes in much more detail.
I would also add that my physician was not concerned about these scores. I’ve had some slightly out of range Liver enzymes scores like these since my first blood work over a decade ago (they blamed Ephedra back then!) yet I am still keen to try and improve them.