My Blood Panel Update: Starch and Resistant Starch Version

[Do check out the two posts I put up this weekend, if you didn’t see them. I especially like the post on gun fear and ignorance. A post every gun control lefty ought be forced to recite from rote memory. And as a sort of prelude to this post, I’ve been clandestinely cycling high protein/high fat, with high carb/lowfat. Check out this lipid panel in that context.]

Been a long time since I had any blood tests. I was having a 6:40am MRI Saturday for my probable lumbar herniation…BUTT BUTT BUTT BUTT…UPPR UPPR UPPR UPPR…BRK BRK BRK BRK… (Ha! well that’s how I entertained myself for the last half of 25 minutes in “the tube,” after getting bored spending the first half thinking of all the film and TV “buried alive” scenarios I could remember.) So, since I was there and fasted, I had the doc order up standard blood work and I hit the lab right after the torture chamber.

Cholesterol is pretty non-dramatic. Hard to really say “better” or “worse” than before. Total = 179; Trigs = 84; HDL = 89; LDL (Friedewald) CALC = 73.

Screen Shot 2014 12 07 at 9 00 05 AM
Yes, my doc Bradley is an avocado farmer on the side.

Here’s how it graphs with past results.

Screen Shot 2014 12 07 at 9 00 34 AM

Basically, everything went down except Trigs. I suppose it’s generally taken as “good” that total went from 220-230 down to 179. It’s probably taken as generally “just fine” that HDL “good cholesterol” went from highs of 110-140, down to a still pretty high 90. Some people struggle like hell to get to that > 60 sweet spot. LDL from 110 down to 73 probably assures that my doc is boxing up some confetti for me as we speak, and won’t be recommending a statin drug. (I did have an LDL direct measure in 2011 and it came in at 82.)

I think my favorite number is the Trigs, though. In the 80s, it signifies—to me at least—that my starch, carb, resistant starch, modest sugar and fruit juice intake is just about right. Not crazy (after all, the reference range for Trigs is < 500 mg/dL). I’d probably be fine with anything up to 150. Doesn’t that strike you as a more healthful and balanced approach than where I was, in the 40s, suffering lethargy, cold hands, cold feet?

So, let that put to rest the idea that I’ve gone high carb vegan on you. In terms of other results, no surprises, with liver enzymes and all other mundane stuff in normal ranges. Vit D is 56.

The only adverse result is TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), and doc didn’t want to do the full Thy panel unless TSH was still elevated (I stopped my Armor T meds long ago), so I have drilling down to do. Why? Because back in 2008/2009, TSH was 16 (normal is about zilch to 5). Got on Armor and three tests—2009-2011—had it in normal range (free T3/4 normal range as well). Now, it’s 9, almost halved from the high of 16, and with no meds in a few years. Thing is, I have no data point for where it was between 2011 and 2013, before I began my gut bug therapy (was it back near 16?). So, open Q on this, still, but I’m intrigued enough to be interested, so I’ll pursue. Incidentally, I have zero of any hypoT symptoms, anymore.

…One other topic I thought I’d address is the matter of 16S rRNA sequencing of your shit. I’m not sure why, and to each his own, but the idea hasn’t really been compelling to me (I have not had it done by either American Gut or uBiome). I kinda go with how I feel and unless I end up with chronic runny or tough shits—rather than the odd, random event of either as everyone does accutely—I’m not sure what it’s going to tell me.

Or, perhaps the standard blood tests, as above, gives you more valuable downstream information? Of what value is a “good” gut sequence if your blood work is all jacked? Of what value is is a “bad” one if your blood work is all within normal ranges? Do we really know what constitutes a good or bad gut bug sequencing?

Now, here’s another dot to connect, from Tim Steele’s Vegetable Pharm blog: American Gut and uBiome Compared.

I did things a bit differently. I did my “#2” in a new, food grade, plastic bag. Kneaded it thoroughly. Then I touched the exact same spot lightly with the swabs provided by the two companies. […]

Strange. Some really big discrepancies and also some eerie similarities. I’d say overall they did a pretty good job, but when they were off…they were WAY off.

Tim does maintain a good perspective, though, saying, “And anyway, this is all just for fun.”

Exactly, so that perspective perhaps ought to be kept in mind when you decide how many bucks you want to spend on this form of entertainment. …Also, keep that in mind as increasing numbers of opportunists come on line to tell you how jacked your gut is, and begin diagnosing all sorts of health issues over the Internet, based on this evidently fuzzy data.

Just one more thing. Does a runny nose, sneezes and congestion signal anything more to you than that you caught a virus and your body is employing its mechanisms in response? Not unless you have a runny nose, sneezes and congestion chronically. Otherwise, we call it a “cold,” as a very awful, harmful misnomer with adverse behavioral consequences.

In the same vein, having the shits could be a sign of health, so long as acute. So, when you begin getting the other 70% of your immune system up to snuff by targeted feeding and spend a night on the can, perhaps that information is positive, not negative.

Food for thought and for a gut feeling.

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  1. John on December 9, 2014 at 00:28

    That’s a great lipid panel Richard. Much closer to actual hunter gatherer’s than most LCHF promoter’s try to justify.
    Around 50-70 LDL seems to be the most optimal or even “paleo”, if you listen to Cordain.

    You’ll get the fringe low carb guru’s trying to justify people’s LDL that double and even triple that as healthy on a lot of of blogs and forums though.

  2. michael goroncy on December 9, 2014 at 12:32

    Stunning numbers! My friend.
    Are you going to enter them in the (National Lipid Championship)?

    However! Are you a ‘drug cheat’…like me?
    Statins, beta blockers or other medications.

    Just to complete the whole panel…..LP(a) – APO B – homocystein – CRP – BNP and the (party trick) Calcium scoring.

    Perhaps writing a topic on your ‘lifestyle’ one day, would be fascinating…Richard (Infarct Proof) better than (Bullet Proof).

    • Richard Nikoley on December 9, 2014 at 15:47

      Nope, zero drugs, actually, not even the Armor Thyroid I have a script for. I wanted to see what the numbers would be without.

      Caffein, alcohol, some tobacco, and occasional weed are my only drugs.

  3. michael goroncy on December 9, 2014 at 16:34

    Fanfuck’ntastic Richard

    Whatever you are doing, sounds right for you.

    If the liver, kidneys and hypertension have not ‘cacked their dacks’….drink, smoke and be merry.

    Although I am biased..I smoke and drink like a witch.

  4. TomS on December 9, 2014 at 19:30

    Good job Richard! Were you taking any probiotics prior to the panel? Are you now and which ones? Also do you give blood (to reduce iron etc.)?

  5. Wenchypoo on December 10, 2014 at 07:16

    Your elevating trigs might mean you have fat on the move.

    Question about TC: since 160 invites cancer, are you at all worried that your TC might be TOO LOW? Mine is just as low, so I started eating more eggs–testing won’t happen until next June.

    • Richard Nikoley on December 10, 2014 at 07:32

      No, I think everything is pretty sweet, particularly in light of my HDL. I might be concerned about too low TC if HDL was under 40.

  6. George on December 12, 2014 at 08:30

    I have been doing Wheat belly for 3 months. Lost 20 lbs in the first month and then nothing for 2 months, actually gaining a little bit. Not much, but a little bit. Dr Davis has a link to your site so that’s how I found out about the importance about resistant starches. I had a blood panel, have had high cholesterol for some time, and my values got better, a lot better. My question to you is, what is your take on the wheat belly “diet” with low carbs and high fat? I started on PS, green banana, green Mazango (nname??) bananas, psyllium husk, probiotics in a milk shake with kefir in the morning and one in the evening. GREAT FARTS :) and getting really regular which hasn’t happened in years. I will have a new blood panel done to see the results. Hopefully a lot better. Thank for all the work you have done!

    • Richard Nikoley on December 12, 2014 at 09:53


      First, thanks for not just doing 4 TBS in a glass of water, but incorporating it into what you eat and using other stuff to target gut.

      Smart move.

      I like Bill Davis. He’s been good to me over the years.

      Yes, the weight loss/stall story with low carb is legend. What happens is that when you cut out the grains and processed food in general, you aren’t feeding opiate receptors, so your natural hunger impulses moderate. It’s not perfect, because you still have weight to carry around. But anyway, you naturally take on an average caloric deficit without hunger, and thus drop weight. However, in very many people, especially those not in their 20s anymore, the caloric deficit you adopt doesn’t correspond to your resting metabolic high school weight, but more often your more couch potatoish self at 35 or something. So, you “stall” 10, 20, 30 pounds from where you’d like to be.

      You’ve reached homeostasis.

      That’s why those last pounds can be tough. Think of it this way. You raised your set point by just getting older: hormones don’t crank as well, cells have hearing loss. Add processed food specifically engineered to make you hungry and want more, you add another layer. Fortunately, that layer seems relatively easy to eliminate. But the elevation in set point, not so much.

      Anyway, the end point here is that it was not about the low carb, it was eliminating the grains and the processed foods they came with.

      I’d advise you become carb agnostic, but, eat your carbs from whole sources: rice, potatos, beans. Also, be mindful of fat, especially added fat.

      Think of it this way: engineering processed foods with grains, sugar, salt and fat to make you crave and smoke…sorry…eat more, is really just a technological advancement from the same thing in even ancestral diets, making food way more palatable and desirable by rendering or extracting fat from some foods, and adding them to others.

      Heard of the potato diet that works like 100% of the time and everyone has to eventually stop or they’ll end up looking like a concentration camp survivor? …Yes, the absolutely most sure way to loose weight by stuffing yourself is a very high carbohydrate diet of potatoes with no (or miniscule) added fat, and herbs & spices, or non-fat sauces (like veggies purees). Now, do the potato diet but heap on butter, sour cream, and bacon bits (our proto-processed foods) and see how that diet works out. You’ll pour on pounds.

    • George on December 12, 2014 at 10:17

      Thanks for the very informative answer! I read about your mashed potatoes recipe yesterday so I have a full pan waiting for me in the fridge when I get home :) I found some fully cooked wild rice in the store that I will try too (hopefully they are OK). I will try to get some bean and other starchy stuff and also start eating that to see if I can loose the last 10 lbs or so. I also read about the PHD (Perfect Health Diet) and it is more close to what you are talking about and I think it might even be more to what I need. I will get off the HF (High fat) and just use it where it belongs, mashed potatoes and such. Might have to stop the BPC too for a while :)

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