My experience with high cholesterol, statins, and keto
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
you get a notification whenever I upload 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
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. At this point, I was
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 a sort of 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
of 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 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.
just hurt so much, and it bummed me out because I 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 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 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 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 breaks down
your HDL, your LDL, the number of particles, the size of the particles, and 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, and all the ratios of HDL-to-total
The 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 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 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 fasting, 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 to be done, because it
doesn’t measure for markers that may or may not be indicative of cardiovascular
disease, like cholesterol. It 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 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, stayed off the statin meds, and dropped another 10
pounds. So by the time November of 2017 rolled around, I had lost a 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.
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 know 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 learned a lot of things, read up on some things, and
knew what I was doing.
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 “You know keto is
great for when you’re just starting, but as far as maintaining, it’s not
something that can get maintained long term.” And I know this to be false.
we talked a little bit about my LDL, and how, you know even though 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 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 are a couple of 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
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 foggy-headedness, that I don’t want to experience again, but also,
… 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 it if you’ve listened to me ramble for the last 15 minutes or so.
know that this is not the kind of video that I normally do, but I
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 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.
For years, you were taught that “dieting”
and busting your butt at the gym several
times per week were the only REAL ways
to get fit. Well, there is scientific evidence that suggests
that suggests continuous strenuous exercise
can cause inflammation in your muscles, which
can actually slow down the process of shedding
those difficult-to-lose pounds. If you have a few minutes, watch this controversial video that reveals how you only truly need a few
minutes per day to lose weight.