#57: What LDL Pattern Do You Have? How Does Insulin Affect Pattern B?

#57: What LDL Pattern Do You Have? How Does Insulin Affect Pattern B?



During this Metabolic Health series, we discussed what is metabolic health, key biomarkers of metabolic health you want to use to measure your health (instead of using weight primarily), what important terminologies such as blood glucose, insulin, and insulin resistance mean, and how insulin and insulin resistance impact the biomarkers and your wellness.

By the way, if at any point, you feel ready to have a wellness coach by your side to educate you, guide you, hold you accountable, and personalize a plan for you so you get the results you’ve been longing for, book a call with me at www.BeFabBeYou.com. That’s an easy and free step to get you started which I encourage to take advantage of. I am passionate about empowering stressed out and carb and sugar lovers to optimize their weight and health so they rediscover vitality, happiness, and lead a fulfilling life.

In today’s episode, we continue the saga and we will wrap-up the discussion the impact insulin and insulin resistance have on uric acid and LDL cholesterol, which is not as bad you think. Let me just say it, we NEED cholesterol. It’s involved in key functions in the body. If you’re new to the show or want a refresher, check out episodes 54, 55 , and 56.

Let me share a little trick I use when I am listening to content…Often I change the speed to 1.25x or 1.5x and knock it out faster. I know my episodes have been longer lately, so feel free to use my own trick to my episodes.

Hold on…one more question for you, have you carried bags of ice before? Maybe, you had to carry many bags of ice back and forth. I have a good story to share with you that might get you to look at ice bags differently going forward. Stay tuned until the end.


Today, I want to invite you to stop thinking of LDL as a bad lipid. Cholesterol is made by the liver and is essential for making cell membrane and cell structure. It’s a precursor of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D. And since LDL makes up about 60-70% of total cholesterol in the body, I invite you to love it, respect it, and keep it under control so it does its job well.

Unfortunately, LDL has been used to predict heart disease and the news and even doctors portray LDL as the villain all the time.  It’s just not far and it’s an incomplete story. What’s not discussed enough or rarely, let’s just say it, is that LDL particles are not all created equal.

As we discussed previously, figuring out the LDL pattern is of the essence especially it’s creeping up for a while, or high cholesterol levels run in your family, or you were diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). In either case, I encourage you to do NOT leave the doctor’s office without knowing your LDL particle and pattern. Is it pattern A which is larger and fluffier or is it Pattern B which is smaller and denser. This smaller and denser guy has become a better predictor of heart disease. If that’s you, it’s time to put on the big girl’s pants and get to work here. Your lifestyle needs an overhaul.

Oh right, oh right, oh right…

How does insulin/insulin resistance impact LDL  and Pattern B?

Good Lord, I didn’t think you were going to ask that…

So, we know that sustaining high levels of insulin will likely cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is responsible for many metabolic dysfunction and a great contributor to cardiovascular disease. Most the cholesterol is made in the liver and insulin loves to boss the liver around. Here is the sad thing, insulin resistance can alter systemic lipid metabolism and drive the production of LDL pattern B from the liver.

I have a personal story to share…

In April 2013, I had done my labs and my total cholesterol was 210 and LDL was 144. Based on the general standards, both markers were high. At the time, my doctor suggested we keep an eye on it and if it continued to increase, medication could be a good idea. I thought to myself, no freaking way I am doing medication. I won’t let my family history take over my health.

In the next months, my holistic health studies led to me learn about LDL particles and patterns. In December 2013, I was back to my doctor with a list of test I wanted him to run for me. That list included an extended lipid profile with the LDL pattern stuff, CRP, Homocysteine, Insulin, and others.

Immediately, he asked why I wanted it and said “your results won’t change my previous recommendations.”

From my perspective, his comment was that he’d not recommend any medications despite of test results. Well, I was quick to remind him I was not his typical PRO MEDICATION patient. I wanted to know my numbers and my body so I could decide whether I should pay real close attention to them or make more drastic changes to my diet going forward.

He said OK and smiled 😊

A few days later, I got the results. I had the Large Buoyant Pattern A LDL. I was happy about that.

Side note, patterns can change over time. Your diet and lifestyle determine that. And let me tell you, I am also a living proof of that. More on that when I talk about Lipoprotein A or Lp(a).

Now, let’s talk about the last metabolic health biomarker in this series, uric acid.

What role does insulin resistance play in elevated numbers of Uric Acid?

As discussed previously, uric acid plays an important role as an antioxidant. However, elevated levels of uric acid, often by overproduction due to diets heavy in fructose and foods such as alcohol, red meat, and seafood are associated with metabolic syndrome, inflammation, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and more.

Let’s laser our focus on a common inflammatory disease caused by elevated uric acid. That is gout. It affects the joints, especially wrists, fingers, ankles, and feet. This is not fun.

By now you might be asking how does all this have to do with insulin resistance…

Well, well, well…insulin resistance interferes with the normal excretion process of which the kidney should excrete uric acid into the urine for elimination. When a person has insulin resistance, the kidneys accumulate uric acid which builds up in the body and sticks around the joints. That starts an inflammatory reaction typical of gout. In summary, the clearance of uric acid gets reduced, with an increase in insulin resistance.

So I am full of stories today…

Let me tell you another story because it’s another one that’s so applicable to our daily lives and you might look at ice bags and a walk differently going forward.

Recently, an acquaintance of mine volunteered for a local event and share a picture on social media. Upon seeing her post, my mind as a health and fitness coach and trainer took a trip. I wanted to share ‘mind trip’ with you.

Imagine an American woman between 48 and 51 years old with an average body composition of the average female in the USA at that age. This woman is wearing shorts and t-shirt on a sunny day outside. She has a pretty smile on her face and seems happy helping the community by hugging a large ice bag. Her post with her picture said “My intimate relationship with a 22lbs ice bag. It was a real thing this weekend.” Here is where my mind went…

My curious mind wondered…

Did she carry one bag a time like that in picture?

How far did walk holding each bag?

How many trips did she make?

I put my fitness trainer and health coach immediately. This happens all the time and if you are a coach, trainer, or teacher you might resonate with me and the fact that the mind goes to work whenever it sees an opportunity for learning or improvement.

>> Gotta love farmer’s carry walk—by the way, that’s an exercise. One version of it is to walk for 50-100 meters while you hold heavy dumbbells, kettlebells or anything heavy.

This simple exercise strengthens many muscles including your triceps, shoulders, biceps, core, lower body, and forearms or grip which is essential for performing basic yet important activities such as lifting and carrying heavy stuff around especially as we age!

By the way, many studies have recommended grip strength as a “useful indicator for overall health”

There will be a starting weight for everyone, of course. If you do resistance training 2-3 times a week and you often challenge your muscles, grab a 25-pound dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand and walk for 50-100 meters or for 30-60 seconds will get you to feel. No dumbbells or kettlebells, add grab whatever heavy you have around the house. Or add sand to an empty gallon. Don’t have two items of the same weight. No problem, hold a light object overhead and the heavier object by your side.

In the situation I mentioned, how having farmers’ carry as part of workout routine help? Three benefits:

>> She would carry two bags of ice, one per hand, at once. Hence, she’d accomplish the task faster and use this ‘extra’ to knock another task out, relax, or even enjoy the event.

>> She would reduce the risk of back discomfort since most of us would need to curve our backs to hold on tight to a bag.

>> She would strength her triceps and assure she maintained good posture while carrying the bags.

There are many variations of a farmer’s carry. The beauty of it is what makes it awesome too. You can add to workout routines, warm-ups, or as a cash-out—which means you perform a few sets of it at the end, after you’re done with the main portion of your workout, and before you perform your post-workout stretch.

Please understand I am NOT judging her, not at all. I haven’t talked to her in quite some time, actually. My point sharing this story is this….as a coach and trainer, my mind and ears are very attentive to possible ways we can do activities we enjoy and do life better, more efficiently, productive, and healthier so we can do them for as long as we shall live and with least amount of discomfort as possible.

It doesn’t matter if you are volunteering or getting paid for, maybe you’re playing with animals, children, grandchildren, friends. Playing a sport, enjoying nature by walking or jogging on the park or beach or going for a hike. Going grocery shopping. Doing activities inside or outside, including pressure washing your driveway or washing your car on weekends, cutting the grass, cleaning the house, being a ladder to change a light or paint. GOSH, you name it.  I hope you get the idea here.

Being intentional with your movement routines so it includes strength and resistance, flexibility, anaerobic, and aerobic to support your life so it’s even more special is a THING, my friend. The earlier you start, the longer you will feel energized and healthier for.

If I haven’t been able to plant a seed of awareness regarding the relationship between insulin, insulin resistance, and metabolic health…my English must be really awful. So, go back and listen to these last episodes and if you cannot understand this well, please call me. I promise I will do a better job.

So, what can you do TODAY to prevent or reduce this nightmare?

  • Check your most recent test results and make sure your doctor has run the markers we had discussed. If he/she has not, schedule an appointment and get it done. Don’t want to see a doctor, call me and I will set you up with a laboratory.
  • ADD whole, colorful, and low glycemic foods to your plate.
  • Target to have 2/3 vegetables, raw and cooked, on your plate.
  • Limit processed foods
  • Swap out foods that don’t sit well with your digestion for healthier options. Make a list of these unfriendly foods first then figure out the next step. I am here to help you too.
  • Add omega 3 fatty acids to your diet such as salmon, tuna, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts.

I encourage you to start adding foods instead of cutting them off. And when you add them to your plate, make sure you eat them first and then go for the other stuff that you know that aren’t so healthy for you but you aren’t ready to ditch yet.

Your body will start crazing healthy food. Your cells want to thrive doing their jobs. Fuel them properly and you will see what happens.

OK, my friend, that’s it for today. Stay tuned because we are about to start on the topic of inflammation. You will want to listen up.

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Talk to you soon! Tchat tchau.

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