Thanks, Meme. I too find the images quite interesting -- with a touch of creepy, though, as they are images of my own heart slice by slice. I'm just happy that what I'm doing appears to be working for me.
Since my CAC follow-up in May I did find a few other anecdotes of people who have reduced their calcium scores. That was reassuring. They all appeared to be doing exactly what I'm doing - LC/Keto diet + supplementation recommendations by the likes of Ivor Cummins, Dr. William Davis and others. But to be fair and balanced on this subject not all anecdotes out there are positive. Dave Feldman pointed me to this story that happened to hit the twittersphere last May. It's pretty much the opposite of my experience.
Accelerated Coronary Calcification with a Ketogenic Diet: A Worrisome Case Study
are my results.
I don't doubt the facts in this story. By the lipid changes and weightloss reported it sure looks like the guy was doing proper keto. His trigs were great on keto. His Trigs/HDL ratio was outstanding. However, his LDL-C & LDL-P were off the charts high... just like mine are on keto. He is clearly what Dave Feldman would call a Lean Mass Hyper Responder. The guy is a little younger than me, his initial CAC score was lower than mine, and I don't doubt that his went up and mine went down. The problem that I have with this story is that Keto is strongly implied to be the driving force behind this guy's 40% calcium increase in 10 months. I doubt that very much.
Given that the facts in this article are correct, what is known is that the guy was doing keto and the guy had a huge increase in his calcium score at the same time. Take keto out of the equation. Had the man not changed his diet, but had the two calcium scans done on the same dates would the results have been different? Better? Worse? We don't know.
One fact that I have learned through my experience the past few years is that plaques come first, then comes the calcification -- usually later in life. My cardiologist told me that he sees plaques in teenagers and that plaques build up over our lifetime. Calcification doesn't start for most men until after they've reached their 40's and it is typically later than that for women. So what is the driving force behind plaque calcification? I think that is the important question that needs to be answered. In this alarming article keto gets the blame. Maybe it contributed to the problem. Maybe not. Or maybe keto had nothing at all to do with it.
I can't say for sure why I got the results that I did regarding my artery calcification while this other guy had the opposite thing happen. We both had plaques in our arteries long before keto. I think everyone would agree with that. Maybe the difference is supplementation. The story does not mention any supplements that this guy was taking. I don't know for sure, but I suspect that my daily D3, K2 and magnesium regimen may have had something to do with it. On keto my CRP (inflammation) is in the low risk category and my metabolic health is top notch. Again I don't know for sure, but I would hope that my plaque formation days are over. Given my lifestyle changes as a whole, the calcification process seems to be reversing, too. This article says that after the 40% increase in his CAC score, the subject changed his diet. I wish him success. But if the cause of his issue was some deficiency that does not get addressed, then he may very well end up with the same results on the new diet.
Another thing to consider is the timing. This guy had both of his scans done within the first 18 months of starting keto. I didn't have my first CAC done until 2017 when I had already been eating LCHF/Keto for 3 years. I'd lost all the weight and corrected most all of my metabolic health issues long before I had that first scan. I've wondered what my CAC score would have been back in 2013 just before I started my LCHF lifestyle. I've speculated that it would have been much higher than my 2017 score of 347. But maybe I'm off the mark on that. Perhaps at age 50 my calcification had just gotten started. I wasn't doing any supplementation during those first few years, either. So who knows? My story could have been just like the guy in this article. It is quite possible that my CAC went up during the first year or two of keto. What would I have done had I been in the same situation? Probably something stupid. Maybe it is good that I didn't have my first scan until 2017.
Nonetheless, the case is worrisome that others who are following the ketogenic diet are not being followed with the measurements this man had and may also be experiencing elevations of lipid fractions, inflammation, and coronary calcification.
Medical practitioners should be cautious about advising the ketogenic diet and should monitor the status of their patientís cardiometabolic and vascular status very carefully if they are following it.
I didn't realize that cardiovascular disease was exclusive to those following a ketogenic diet. Oh yeah, it's not. Perhaps the author of this article should consider it worrisome that not enough people -- on any diet, including SAD -- are having screening such as the CAC done that could alert them to CVD long before symptoms, such as sudden death, occur. Having CVD without knowing it is a problem. Figuring out what to do about CVD once it is known is another problem that needs solved. It's going to take a lot more quality clinical trials, case studies, anecdotes and N=1s before any of us truly know what causes what.