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  1. #1
    Senior Member ctpres's Avatar
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    Cholesterol and riding

    Need some advice on getting it DOWN. Spent spring training for century with 250 plus miles a week. Century went well and annual check-up weeks later my cholesterol was at lifetime high. I want off the statins - period. Total 210, LDL 112 and HDL 77. I must be doing something wrong. What did you do to get lower cholesterol?
    Retired 75 YO. Got my sub 5 ET century at 50 and sub 7 RT at 75. Just want to finish at 80. USNR, USAF, USCGA - riding 2014 Zenetto Steath ZR7.1 Carbon

  2. #2
    Cat 5 field stuffer bbeasley's Avatar
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    We're all very different especially on this one. I was on statins for over 10 years and managed to get off. I believe like weight loss it's all about the diet with a tad of exercise thrown in. In my case I don't eat red meat or egg yolks ever. I eat a small amount of chicken and fish, maybe 3 servings combined per week. Lots of fruits veggies and lots of healthy fats. Walnuts and avocados are my go to fats. When I was on a traditional "low fat" diet my cholesterol and lipid profiles were terrible.

    What was fun was the first month off the statins. Did my first 20 mile at 20 MPH bike ride ever, this was on flat ground with no drafting a big moment for me as I'm not fast. I also did my first sub 30 min 5K. Again I'm an old, fat, slow guy so it was a big deal for me I suffered muscle cramps every ride over 30 miles while on statins. The cramps dictated how hard I could push. Now, I haven't had a cramp since dropping the statins.

    Be careful and listen to your MD. Mine took me off for a "trial" and my labs have stayed good. I'm very careful about what I eat, my motivation is the muscle cramp issue.

  3. #3
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    Honestly, it's as much about eating the right things as exercise. Even with exercising much more than the average Joe, I still haven't been able to get off a statin yet, even though my weight has come down and I'm healthy overall. Many people will find they have to be very diligent about eating the right things to get their numbers in line.

  4. #4
    DBA
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    You have a pretty high HDL. Your LDL/HDL ratio is not bad. I'm not exactly sure why you are on a statin.
    That said, if those are your numbers on a statin, you may have familial hypercholesterolemia. If that's the case, coming off a statin is unlikely. If it's not the case, what's your diet like?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
    Need some advice on getting it DOWN. Spent spring training for century with 250 plus miles a week. Century went well and annual check-up weeks later my cholesterol was at lifetime high. I want off the statins - period. Total 210, LDL 112 and HDL 77. I must be doing something wrong. What did you do to get lower cholesterol?
    I'm not a cardiologist, but your ldl hdl ratio is not all that high fwiw. I wouldn't worry too much unless you have a history of heart issues. Have you had a heart scan to check for arterial plaque and cardiomegaly etc?

    Personally, I eat extra cholesterol in the summer when I am riding a lot. eggs, steak, butter. My lipid numbers are fine and ratio is good. I do not use topical sunscreen, the extra cholesterol helps prevent sunburn. cholesterol + sunlight = vitamin D. If no free cholesterol, the sunlight burns you instead.
    Maybe try skipping sunscreen.
    I am riding 175 miles so kids with cancer can go to summer camp for free. You can help:
    http://www.chailifeline.org/events/Bike4Chai/my/kak

  6. #6
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikebreak View Post
    If no free cholesterol, the sunlight burns you instead.
    Maybe try skipping sunscreen.
    Umm, you're joking, right? Skin oil does have a protective effect (which is why I don't shower in the morning before riding), but it doesn't follow that your body will devote more cholesterol to this if you skip sunscreen. If you have something to back it up, I'd be interested, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
    Umm, you're joking, right? Skin oil does have a protective effect (which is why I don't shower in the morning before riding), but it doesn't follow that your body will devote more cholesterol to this if you skip sunscreen. If you have something to back it up, I'd be interested, though.
    No joke, but my sample size is n=1. It works for me, ymmv.
    I eat extra cholesterol, get a good amount of sun without sunscreen, never get a sunburn, and have normal blood lipids. Safe to assume that sun exposure is converting extra cholesterol to vitamin D.

    Here is a good article about vit D synthesis
    Vitamin D is Synthesized From Cholesterol and Found in Cholesterol-Rich Foods
    with the caveat that the author is pro vitamin D and pro cholesterol
    I am riding 175 miles so kids with cancer can go to summer camp for free. You can help:
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  8. #8
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Quote Originally Posted by ctpres View Post
    Need some advice on getting it DOWN. Spent spring training for century with 250 plus miles a week. Century went well and annual check-up weeks later my cholesterol was at lifetime high. I want off the statins - period. Total 210, LDL 112 and HDL 77. I must be doing something wrong. What did you do to get lower cholesterol?
    i would never take statins (liver poison) for those numbers. The flags on blood work are silly. Your total cholesterol is flagged because it is over 200, but that is largely because your HDL is nice and high. Look at your total heart risk. C-Reactive protein? Triglycerides? More and more enlightened members of the medical community are starting to realize that treating for cholesterol numbers is misguided: Growing doubt on statin drugs ? the problem of drug-lifestyle interaction

    Don in Austin

  9. #9
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    I have high cholesterol that the Doctor is a little worried about. Its the ratio between the HDL and LDL that should be of concern. If the HDL to LDL is greater than 4:1, it needs to be watched. If you have a high total cholesterol number, that is less important than the ratio. Mine is 4.5:1.

    I switched to vegetarian about a year ago. My mistake was leaning way to heavily on protein bars when I was weight training. I was eating 2 or three of those a day. The thing I was looking for on the label was Cholesterol amount which was 0%. Where I screwed up was not looking at the Saturated Fat content. They were 25% of my RDA.

    So, now I have completely eliminated those bars and really investigate the Cholesterol AND Saturated Fat content of food items. I transitioned to more fruit and I eat a big bowl of Bob's Red Mill organic rolled oats with cinnamon and honey. I've also eliminated shrimp and lobster from my diet. They are high in cholesterol.

    I've also stopped weight training and moved solely to biking and have managed to drop 10 lbs. Oh yeah- I will also choose to gamble with managing high cholesterol than ever taking a statin.

  10. #10
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikebreak View Post
    No joke, but my sample size is n=1. It works for me, ymmv.
    I eat extra cholesterol, get a good amount of sun without sunscreen, never get a sunburn, and have normal blood lipids. Safe to assume that sun exposure is converting extra cholesterol to vitamin D.
    Sun exposure does indeed produce vitamin D, no one can argue that. The bad advice is to tell someone else not to wear sunscreen, with the implication that this will use up some of their extra cholesterol...
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
    There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
    RUSA #7498

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Don in Austin View Post
    i would never take statins (liver poison) for those numbers.
    Triglycerides calculate out to 105 which is fine. LDL looks fine unless the OP is diabetic in which case I think they want you under 100. I agree though, it's crazy that they suggest statins with those numbers!

  12. #12
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiggity View Post
    I have high cholesterol that the Doctor is a little worried about. Its the ratio between the HDL and LDL that should be of concern. If the HDL to LDL is greater than 4:1, it needs to be watched. If you have a high total cholesterol number, that is less important than the ratio. Mine is 4.5:1.

    I switched to vegetarian about a year ago. My mistake was leaning way to heavily on protein bars when I was weight training. I was eating 2 or three of those a day. The thing I was looking for on the label was Cholesterol amount which was 0%. Where I screwed up was not looking at the Saturated Fat content. They were 25% of my RDA.

    So, now I have completely eliminated those bars and really investigate the Cholesterol AND Saturated Fat content of food items. I transitioned to more fruit and I eat a big bowl of Bob's Red Mill organic rolled oats with cinnamon and honey. I've also eliminated shrimp and lobster from my diet. They are high in cholesterol.

    I've also stopped weight training and moved solely to biking and have managed to drop 10 lbs. Oh yeah- I will also choose to gamble with managing high cholesterol than ever taking a statin.
    Good plan!

    My total cholesterol has dropped from nearly 300 on a Standard American diet to 175 (and the LDL has been nearly cut in half) on a whole food plant based diet. I had been taking cholesterol medication for nearly 20 years but the muscle weakness they caused pushed me to stress the diet and exercise that have enabled my cardiologist to discontinue the statins -- and I feel a LOT better!

    Unlike the statins, a healthy lifestyle has only positive side affects.
    ... But it has required a lot of learning and unlearning (of old assumptions)
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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