There is no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in blood. And we’ve known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit. ~ Ancel B. Keys
Last week, I enumerated my concerns about direct access testing and this week, I’ll explain why my optimism outweighs those concerns. Quick refresh: Direct access testing allows consumers to order their own blood tests without seeing a doctor first. Despite some potentially negative consequences I am excited that Arizona recently passed a law allowing us this access.
Why would one order their own blood test? It can provide information that may not be available via the standard tests approved by health insurance companies and, in turn, ordered by doctors.
Let me give you an example.
If you’ve had routine blood work done lately, you will have likely received what is commonly referred to as your cholesterol numbers. These data typically include separate values for total cholesterol, high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). HDL is considered to be the “good” cholesterol because it removes the so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol that is thought to build up in the arteries. I’ll leave it to you and your doctor to decide whether these numbers are of value. However, if you’re concerned about heart disease or are deciding whether or not to take meds (e.g., statins), it should be noted these data leave out some valuable information.
For example, missing in a standard blood test is information about the morphology of your LDL. Specifically, it doesn’t answer the question of whether your LDL is the fluffy and buoyant type (LDL-A) or the small and dense type (LDL-B). With (all other things assumed to be equal) an “A” pattern thought to be good and a “B” pattern thought to be bad, knowing whether your blood exhibits an A/B pattern seems like good information to have as you work with your doctor to develop strategies to lower your risk for heart disease. While standard blood tests are likely to omit these data, the good news is that if you live in a state that allows direct access testing you can simply order up a test (e.g., NMR LipoProfile) that will include them.
Before checking out for the week, a quick comment about the quote that heads this blog. It’s by the gentleman who was largely responsible for our decades-long jihad on saturated fat and cholesterol. At the end of his career, Keys would finally acknowledge that eating food with cholesterol has very little impact on the cholesterol levels in your body, a fact that many (including doctors) still aren’t aware of.
As to some music for our Manufacturing Peace of Mind™ Spotify playlist, today I’m going to leave you with a song by The Vaccines titled “Handsome.” I heard their first release What did you Expect from the Vaccines back in ~ 2011 and lost track of the band after that. In agreement with the blurb about the band in Spotify, their music definitely reminds me of the Strokes and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Glad to learn the anti-vaxer movement hasn’t stopped them from touring and producing music.
Have a great week.
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