Hello there, my name is Christian. I'm a 3/4.
Before I move into topics related to Alzheimer's and CVD, I would like to introduce myself by telling a bit more about myself.
I'm currently 22 years old and I am constantly focusing on being the best version of myself, both in health and performance. In the past, I have struggled with my health. As a child, until the age of 18, I was overweight. When I turned 18, I decided it was time to finally start caring about my health, since my mental performance started becoming affected by my poor diet and sleep. And quite frankly, at that age my hormones started kicking in and I wanted to look more attractive to the other sex.
As a child growing up in the early '00 my diet was poor: although my parents told me to eat a lot of veggies and fruits, we mostly ate processed crap. Both of them are overweight, borderline obese (although my mother is finally improving that - inspired by me - by basically following the Bulletproof Diet). So when at age 18 I went to a nutritionist for the first time, I was recommended to cut the sugar and sweets (good!) and focus on eating whole grains and pasta (not so good, looking back at that now). My weight improved, I got slim and together with my new diet I also started exercising rigorously, endurance running about an hour each day on top of doing weight training.
All in all, everything started being better, but I just noticed a couple of annoying things on this High carb, low fat diet:
- I was constantly hungry and never felt 'satisfied' or nourished by a meal. After finishing a meal, I was hungry again. I could eat ALL the time. My energy levels were all over the place and I would become really sleepy, really often. Not good. Not fun.
- My 'gains' in the gym were not progressing: I constantly started increasing the volume of my exercise (more running and more weight training) but the results didn't improve. Quite the opposite actually; I felt as if my body was holding on more to fat storages than before.
- I became depressed and my energy levels were down. Eventually, I got treated by a psychologist after a suicide attempt. Looking back, my testosterone was relatively low back then for a male of my age, which I assume had something to do with it. In the normal range still, but 'low' normal. At the bottom of the 'normal' range.
For a while, I kept following the mainstream recommendations, but kept falling back because I felt the need to 'cheat' on my meals with fatty foods. At some point, I realized it was time for a change and I adopted a higher fat diet. Still not high fat though, instead more high protein, moderates amount of fat and relatively low-carb. This diet, I followed together with a high-intensity exercise program. The diet was also calorie restriced. Less time in the gym, more satisfying meals and better results. I felt better than ever before, but I also felt there was room for improvement. On the diet, I cycled high protein, low carb & low fat days with, high protein, high fat, low carb and high carb, moderate protein and low fat days. The final one in that list was a so called 'refeed day'. I felt best on the high fat, high protein, low carb days. After a period of 3 months, I also did a blood panel:
Vitamin B12 662
Folium acid 11,1
Protein metabolism 77
Cholesterol total 197
Ratio HDL/Non 2,74
GOT (AST) 27
Glucose sober 77
25-OH-Vitamin D 39
Free Testosterone 0,295
As you can see, my free testosterone was still relatively low. And I also felt like I didn't feel a 100% yet. So I swapped to a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet with carb refeeds: something between a keto/paleo/bulletproof diet.
First of all: wow! I have never ever felt better. I 'feel' like this is the diet for me! No more energy crashes, no more hunger, I can go easily 16 - 20 hours without having a meal. My testosterone is buzzing. And while at the start I had a couple too much carb 'refeeds' which actually led to a high carb, high fat diet (which is reflected in my blood panels below, and which I sincerely believe was detrimental to my health and performance), I am currently in deep ketosis, in preperation for an athletic contest where my BF% needs to be under 10.
25-OH-Vit D 49,8
Testosterone 24,14 (<- went up together with increased fat and saturated fat intake)
Free Testosterone 0,352 (<- went up together with increased fat and saturated fat intake)
Vitamin B12 508
Folium acid 8,3
Total Cholesterol 222 (still OK, but 'high' according to mainstream standard, my own pdoctor told me there was nothing to worry about)
Ratio HDL/Non 3,08
LDL-Chol 131 (rose just a bit after about 4 months of high fat eating)
Triglycerides 97 (rose from 28 to 97, probably due to me eating a bit too high carb around the holiday period)
GOT (AST) 23
Glucose sober 82 (rose from 77, probably due to me eating a bit too high carb around holiday period, just like with trigs)
CRP 1,3 (I had a cold around this period)
Free Testosterone 0,346
IgE 210 (after this, I did an allergy test for which I tested positively on the dust mite allergy)
A couple of weeks later, I did a hormone test, because I was worried I might have a bit too much estradiol (fat around waste and chest was getting really hard to get rid off) and this came in completely normal, but testosterone produced elevated:
Testosterone 38,14 (my doktor asked me if I was injecting extra testosterone lol! I told him it was because of my increased saturated fat intake)
Free Testosteron 0,530 (FINALLY in the higher 'normal' range, I definitely felt this in the gym!)
A couple of months later, I had another 'general' blood test done:
glucose sober 95 (I continued having too much 'refeeds', which had a clear effect)
Vitamin D 64 (all those months of supplementation finally payed off!)
SHBG 86,4 (does anybody maybe know why it is so high?)
Free Test 0,483
Most recently, I did a 'heart health' blood test, which got me worried about my cholesterol levels:
Cholesterol, total 275
HDL Chol 62 (how did this drop from 72?, I continued eating high fat!)
Ratio HDL/Non 4,4 (this got me a bit worried, because my LDL went up, HDL went down)
LDL Chol 197 (got me worried a bit too!)
Tryglicerides (already lower, but still not low enough, started taking fish oil 4g/day)
Fasting glucose 90 (still not low enough either)
My apologies for putting up a wall of text and blood panels like that, but I felt it was necessary to get a clear image of my situation communicated to you. I hope you understand and take the time to go through them.
In any case, at the moment i am preparing for an athletic competition for which I need to lose fat. This are my current macro's:
Net carbs: max 25g/day
Protein: 70-120g/day, pushing towards upper limit
Why so low in carbohydrates? Because I feel I am extremely sensitive to carbohydrates and I would like to restore my insulin sensitivity (which I probably lost after 2 decades of eating crap like a kid) and improve my fasting glucose and triglyceride numbers. I have been eating under 50g net carbs for the last couple of weeks (and with that number I was in ketosis), but I feel that the lower I go in net carbs, the less hunger I feel. This goes well with my calorie restricted plan of 2000kcal/day. As I still have a couple of pounds to lose in fat before the competition in 6 weeks, I plan on pursuing this ultra low carb diet at least until then. I also have better mental clarity and practive intermittent fasting (ranging from 16 to 24h fasts each day).
Next, I would like to ask you a question: one I feel nobody really has an answer to, but a question which I would like you guys to shed some perspective on. Should I eat more or less saturated fat? For about two months, I ate a saturated fat restricted diet: 30-35g of saturated fat per day. With my caloric requirements and with the purpose of maintaining ketosis, I felt this is the lowest I could go. Ate a lot of olives, avocados, macadamias and salmon. Most of my calories came from monounsaturated fat. But I feel like there is something strange going on: when I decrease my saturated fat intake, like I did in the past couple of months, my libido goes down, as well as my athletic performance. I just do not feel as energetic after a while. I suppose this might have something to do with testosterone production being lower. Does any one of you know how different saturated fat and monounsaturated fats influence cholesterol, and thereby testosterone production?
Obviously, for the athletic competition, I want to be the most energetic and lean as possible. For this reason, I reduced by net carb intake to 25g/day for the next six weeks (to completely reduce hunger and sweet cravings) and increased saturated fat to around 80g/day (for more energy and to maximize testosterone production). However, the thing that I keep asking myself in my head as a 3/4: will this saturated fat eventually kill me? I feel so much better with increased SFA intake, especially in terms of libido and exercise, but I have this constant fear that I might be damaging my arteries & brain.
What is your perspective on this? And does anybody know why suddenly my HDL went from 72 to 62? Is this due to increased carbohydrate intake during that period?
PS: A couple of months ago, I went to London to be a part of a Zestology podcast, where Dave Asprey (author of the Bulletproof Diet) was the guest of the evening. You can watch it here, around 1:19:40: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fo3_z4AaRlA
I asked him the following:
Christian: What is your perspective on saturated fat intake and the APOE4 gene mutation? Isn't increased saturated fat intake going to increase LDL-C AND LDL-P for carriers of the APOE4 gene mutation?
Dave Asprey: Your supposition though, that if you eat saturated fat - any kind of saturated fat - and you have APOE4 then you LDL particles go up. That is not an untrue statement. A saturated fat includes C8 and C10 oils, which are technically saturated but do not behave like saturated fats. Unlike the other MCT oils that are saturated fats and DO behave like long-chain saturated fats. That is one of the reasons I recommend the stuff that I do versus MCT, which includes some things that behave like long chain fats. So, I think what you mean, is that if you eat a long chain saturated fat, your LDL particle number will go up. Now, if your LDL goes up and your HDL goes up as well, your triglycerides drop, your homo cysteine drops, your Lp Pa2 drops and your CRP drops... does that not factor in into the overall risk equation that we got looking at LDL-C? It does! Because, if LDL-C is damaging your arteries, by definition you will have an enzyme Lp-pla2 that will be expressed from the damaging of your arteries. So, if you are worried about that, and I know some people that are very focused on that, look for Lp-pla2! If you have damage, you have damage! If you have high LDL and you do not have damage... do you know high LDL makes it easier to put on muscles? It makes you more resilient to certain kind of poisoning? There is actually benefits to LDL, it is not a bad thing as long as there is no inflammation and damage. Like, show me the evidence. If you have APOE4 and you have high LDL, show me that it is causing damage, than you might need to change.
Anybody any thoughts on this?