I recently had blood work done and it came back that I am in the top 1% of healthiest people in their database but I also have high cholesterol. “How can this be?” I wondered when I saw my results. I had to wait only a few hours before I was able to talk to a doctor and sort out the numbers.
I think I’m healthy but do my results agree?
A few months ago, I was contacted by the PR at InsideTracker.
InsideTracker analyzes your bloodwork and gives you recommendations and an optimal eating plan. All InsideTracker recommendations are based on scientific evidence and tailored to you. If your life changes, so does InsideTracker.
Since I do not take typical vitamins on a regular basis, I was curious what my results might reveal. Was I getting my vitamins and minerals from real food? I didn’t even bat an eyelash at the thought of elevated cholesterol levels.
The first step was having my blood drawn. I was having trouble making it to a location to have this done so Dr Mike came to me! Yes, a doctor came to my front door at 8 am on a Thursday and took 3 vials of blood. It was so easy and he got a vein on the first try, something I will always appreciate. By Monday morning, my results were in.
I set up a time to go over my results with the resident doctor at Inside Tracker. I had to fill out a profile on which I indicated that I was an athlete, how often I workout, if I took vitamins, how often I go outside and age. The doctor informed me first that my blood work was in the top 1% of all customers he has ever seen.
Things that he also mentioned that stuck out to me:
- He couldn’t remember the last time he saw someone with such a high HDL level (mine was 118 mg and over 60 mg is considered good)
- Over 60% of women are low in Vitamin D
- 30% of women are deficient in iron
I attribute my vitamin D health to running outdoors, however a friend of mine told me a story last week about a coworker who was training for the marathon. She was extremely tired and could not continue with her training. After taking a 6 week break from training, she had her blood work done and found she was low in vitamin D. In addition to the foods below, salmon, tuna, carp, and sardines are also high in vitamin D. If you think you might be deficient, this test might be a simple way to find out.
Now for the cholesterol question… Since my HDL (good cholesterol) was so high, it made my total cholesterol appear to be more harmful than it actually is. My LDL (bad cholesterol) was 101 mg which is not that high, people should aim for below 100 mg. Inside Tracker recommended to eat more oatmeal, trout, oat bran and almonds to lower my LDL. While I do not eat trout, I do eat salmon, oatmeal and almonds. Here is why having elevated LDL can be bad:
Low-density lipoproteins. These lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout your body, delivering it to different organs and tissues. But if your body has more cholesterol than it needs, the excess keeps circulating in your blood. Over time, circulating LDL cholesterol can enter your blood vessel walls and start to build up under the vessel lining. Deposits of LDL cholesterol particles within the vessel walls are called plaques, and they begin to narrow your blood vessels. Eventually, plaques can narrow the vessels to the point of blocking blood flow, causing coronary artery disease. This is why LDL cholesterol is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol.
I believe that as a result of my beefy trip to Argentina and recent birthday, my LDL levels were raised. My mom did tell me however that high cholesterol runs in my family and is hereditary. I’m not going to use that as an excuse though. I’m determined to get the LDL below 90 mg. I mean really, I don’t eat hardly any of the foods below unless it’s the occasional bacon wrapped scallop or chilli nachos for football Sundays. Overall though, the doctor told me not to worry about it.
The test also checked for triglycerides, folic acid, glucose, hemoglobin, ferritin, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, creatine kinase and vitamin b12. All were within the healthy range. My creative kinase levels show that “I know how to workout,” the doctor said. I was also happy to have healthy levels of b12. I was told back in college my levels were low, but I just assumed it was because of my drinking and I was dehydrated.
Had my levels of the above been in unhealthy ranges, the InsideTracker would have given recommendations for my diet to get back on track. If you do not want to take supplements it gives dietary suggestions. Even with healthy levels though, you can see what would have been recommended like this:
However, if you are a vegan, you know that many of the foods above are not in your diet. If you look to the left, you can see that you are able to make dietary selections. To show you, I checked off vegan and see how the recommendations change?
Since I do not take vitamins regularly, I was excited to be able to try out the Inside Tracker service and confirm what I already thought was true. I do get my vitamins from real foods!!! It was provided courtesy of charge, but I was not paid to tell you about my results and the opinions expressed are my own.
They are willing to give you guys a $70 discount if you want to try the service yourself. Some insurance companies will cover this at your doctor’s office but you might be in for a big surprise when you get the bill if they do not… It will be cheaper through Inside Tracker if insurance doesn’t cover it. For the fitness test, it’s normally $169 and for the fitness plus (which is what I had done) it’s $269. Just enter this code SDDDAP1270D to apply the discount. Have you ever had a test done like this before? Were you shocked by the results.
My total cholesterol was 202 I believe when I did bloodwork last november. I think my bad cholesterol was slighly high as well but that can actually be affected by foods you ate recently. My doctor said some people manage to “cheat” and they eat super healthy the week before getting bloodwork done and the bad cholesterol can actually go down a bit. The opposite is also true, so if you have splurged on vacation that is probably a reason. Whereas for triglycerides, there is no cheating! So the doctor told me he usually can tell by other blood values if you are overall healthy. My family on my dad’s side also had cholesterol and high blood pressure problems, so I try very hard to be healthy. I’m tempted to take this test, because I believe I overall eat a very well balanced diet rich in all the nutrients you listed above (and I am not vegar nor vegeterian). As for iron, I have a blood condition so I actually have too much of it, thankfully it doesn’t affect me really because I am just a carrier but my hubby had to take a test to make sure he wasn’t a carrier too or our kids could be born with the actual disease (a form of anemia).
Great post Sarah!
Jamie Mulford says
Thank you so much for posting this information! Very helpful. I take vitamins every day but still have low Vit D and I can now find the right foods to help increase that. You rock Sarah!!!
Very interesting. It looks like what they check is all relatively standard, but the what you can eat to help is really cool.
That is so interesting. I do get my blood work done every year and for the most part its pretty good. Being vegan, my B12 is always normal, but my D had bottomed out 2 yrs ago and I have been anemic for many many years. So I do take iron & D vitamins regularly. Wish I could afford to get the whole package done by InsideTracker though. It looks pretty thorough. Will check their website out. Thanks for the info.
What a great post! I don’t take vitamins either, and my mom always gives me a hard time. Thanks for such an informative post -- great way to use real foods to boost my health!