2020 – Year in Review

Whadda year.

Documentary Interrupted

It’s crazy to think we started it off filming #TheCCDoc across 17 countries and 28 cities across the world (Jan/Feb)…and yet…that’s much, much smaller news than what has happened since in 2020.

That said, we have some excellent footage for #TheCCDoc (36 interviews!) and a new plan to wrap in the LMHR study as well when we finally edit it to together. Should make for a pretty interesting doc by the release.

Click here to see #TheCCDoc Playlist on YouTube

Citizen Science Foundation

Speaking of the pandemic, a very key moment happened at the end of April that was a pleasant distraction – we got our designation as a bonafide Public 501(c)(3) charity by the IRS.

And to my great excitement, I got to break the news in October that we passed our $100k fundraising goal which will be matched to get us to that magic $200k number.

Lastly, I posted our update video on progress with our selected center and the fundraising drive of $30k for travel and genetic testing.

My Experiments

During the summer I attempted to conduct a double crossover experiment of Extra Virgin Olive Oil vs Butter.

… and by “attempted”, I mean I tried and failed — twice!

I rarely cancel experiments, but this was one of only two that I can recall.

However, @ketochow offered to take up the reins of my experiment and it’s yielding some surprising data. So much so, that we’re doing a short replication experiment in addition to this one. (more on both in the coming writeup)


My favorite experiment of the year is — hands down — my #OxLDL replication experiment. This is for many different reasons from the replication marker matching, to the OxPL-ApoB and HDL map assays.

So much excellent data.

Siobhan’s Experiments

Meanwhile, my colleague, Siobhan took on the remarkable #EpicFast experiment. I can barely last 2.5 days. And yet her fast lasted weeks. And of course, she extensive blood testing throughout.

Here data is in and the write up will be coming soon as bandwidth becomes available.

Own Your Labs

One reason for tighter bandwidth on both our parts has been the launch of OwnYourLabs.com. We’ve set up an online service where you can order your labs privately directly through us. This has been primarily for service through Labcorp, although we are now testing in beta under Boston Heart Diagnostics as well.

Our primary reason for starting this service was to provide an easy means of volunteering anonymized data to an open data pool. This is strictly opt-in at checkout, but we give a discount where taken.

We exclude first and last name, date of birth, and city to help de-identify. But ask to add some basic demographic information to match with the resulting bloodwork which we are confident will provide great new insights for both formal and citizen scientists alike. We’ll be posting this dataset soon as we’re accumulating enough in the first tranche to better anonymize further.

Moreover, all proceeds go to the Citizen Science Foundation. So it’s win-win-win.

Journal of Clinical Lipidology

Easily one of the most interesting events of the year was our being mentioned in a case series by the Journal of Clinical Lipidology. The “Cholesterol Code Team” was referenced directly in the paper which certainly caught our interest.

This led to an opportunity to both respond and source where we were coming from in a Letter to the Editor which we submitted promptly. Our letter was rejected, but we have it now posted as an open letter which you can find here.

While we know this a controversial topic, we understand it may take some time to bring this important context into the spotlight. We’re confident cholesterol and risk as it relates to metabolism (particularly in a low carb setting) will rise in prominence. We’ll get there.

Presentation to Stanford University

There are many conferences I presented at online this year. But while I don’t want to pick favorites, I was especially honored to present the Lipid Energy Model to Stanford University.

Final Thoughts on 2020

Certainly the Pandemic has impacted us in many ways this year. It interrupted TheCCDoc shooting, delayed the LMHR study development, and added a lot more chaos and uncertainty to our various services and projects.

However, I personally know so many others who have had a much more difficult year. I know many who have gotten very sick, lost their jobs, seen their businesses go under, and/or entirely altered their lives in order to adapt to this “new normal”.

And while I’ve tried to stay away from discussing #Covid19, particularly since it’s gotten so politicized — I have to again express just how thankful I am for all the medical professionals on the frontline of this event.

So yes, we’re counting our blessings, as they say. We managed to secure a lot of victories under very tough and uncertain circumstances.
And as always, much of that thanks goes directly to individual one time contributions and our members / patrons!

Lastly, I hope to be announcing some news very soon into 2021 on the LMHR study. It’s hard to imagine anything will be bigger to us in this coming year… but as with 2020, that’s certainly not a given.


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Amely Wurmbrand
Amely Wurmbrand
3 years ago

Dave, have you heard if the new covid vaccines might raise cholesterol… via the recently fought infection paradigm? My husband has FH and went carnivore. Does great on it but his cholesterol shot up higher than before. That said he has gotten a dose of the vaccine as recently as 3 weeks ago. Curious about this. Also, do you guys every consult on tricky cases and peoples numbers? There is a bit more to this. I’ve read a lot of your posts and listened to many of your interviews and presentations but wanted to drill down specifically. Thanks!

Siobhan Huggins
Siobhan Huggins(@siobhanh)
3 years ago

I’ve never heard of that before, no. However, the Cholesterol Code or Lean Mass Hyper-responder facebook groups may be of interest as there are plenty of people there, known as hyper-responders, who see their cholesterol levels increase from a low carb/ketogenic/carnivorous diet who share their perspective, resources, etc. With the far end being the Lean Mass Hyper-responder. Though I’m not a doctor and can’t give medical advice, and I can’t say if this is likely to be the case from what you’ve posted, as there’s not enough context (prior diet, total cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides both before and after), but felt it worth mentioning.

There are many ideas as to why this may happen, but Dave has a hypothesis, called the lipid energy model, which he discusses in-depth here. So that may also be of interest.

We don’t do one-on-one consults, but you and your husband are free to post your questions here, along with any relevant info, and we can provide our thoughts (though we still can’t give medical advice, etc).

3 years ago

Hi Siobhan,

Thanks for those links. I will dig in to them all. Helpful! So since you mentioned posting more details, I will. He is familial Hypercholesterolemia for sure. His dad and sister have it. They have 0 heart disease in the family and he has had high cholesterol since he was 12. He had a coronary calcium scan at 54 ( 3 years ago) and it showed 0 plaque despite cholesterol in the 300-400 range for years…he had it in high 200’s only with statins but they started to make him pre-diabetic ofc so he went off of them a few years ago.

After 3 months on a 90% carnivore heavily red meat based diet his cholesterol was as follows:
Total 359, HDL 57, Triglycerides 97 ( this felt high to me given his carb intake of less than 30-40g/day consistently – mostly 1/2 an apple or 2 t of raw honey), LDL 279, Chol/HDLC ratio 6.3, Non HDL Cholesterol of 302, LDL praticle number 2608, LDL small 220nmol, LDL medium 482, HDL Large 6074, LDL Pattern A, LDL Peak Size 224.2, Apoliipoprotein B 193mg/dl, Lipoprotien (a) <10.

2 years ago on higher carb diet his cholesterol looked like:( He was on red yeast rice extract on the time…statin natural version
Total cholesterol 237, HDL 66, Trigylcerides, 66, LDL Cholesterol 197, Col/Hdlc ratio 4.2, Non HDL 214, LDL particle 1921, LDL Small 218, LDL medium 411, HDL Large 6524, Apolipoportein B 133,Lipoportein (a) <10

Again, clearly FH numbers here. Perhaps not a lean mass hyperresponder as his triglycerides are higher. He is not an active/avid exerciser. His BMI is fairly normal but not super lean I would say 20-21% body fat. Wondering what others with FH have found when trying to use carb intake and carnivore type methods to influence cholesterol. Thanks for any insight you might have. Just looking at this out loud in writing it here I am guessing it is more of FH than LMHR and just less info out there on that situation….especially without risk of CVD. Thanks for any ideas.

Siobhan Huggins
Siobhan Huggins(@siobhanh)
3 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Ah yes, thanks for the additional context. Although, again we’re not doctors and can’t give medical advice, from the profile it looks more like standard hyper-responder on top of the FH (the two can apparently co-occur, as we have seen people in the groups who have said they’ve been in a similar situation and saw the same thing).

Regarding the triglycerides – from what we’ve seen they can be fairly “noisy” e.g. bounce up and down even day to day within a certain range (around 30% variation day to day from what we’ve seen), the same as glucose or ketone levels can (which makes sense as they’re all energy substrates). They can vary much more wildly if fasted for less than 12 hours as well – hence why I always aim for 12-14 hours water-only fasting (e.g. no coffee, no tea, no caffeine during the fasting period). Obviously I don’t ignore changes in levels, I moreso look at the trend, context, and if it’s outside what I’d consider normal fluctuation range for myself (>115 mg/dL, meaning it normally fluctuates somewhere in the middle between 60-100 mg/dL for me)

If interested in the combo between FH and LCHF you may be interested specifically in the Familial Hypercholesterolemia LCHF group. As the members there would likely be able to comment on their experience.

3 years ago

Thanks Siobhan for your response and the link. Good research links for me. I appreciate the insight. He is likely going to do a second heart scan this year just to double-check that nothing is moving in that department, which will be interesting. After so many years of being told it is an issue but not showing any issues, it is a good piece of mind we are lucky to have as a tool given all the pushing of statins that’s out there. Thanks again for your response and your work here. It is so helpful to keep people who don’t need to be medicated actually healthy.

Siobhan Huggins
Siobhan Huggins(@siobhanh)
3 years ago
Reply to  Amy

You’re welcome, and best wishes on your follow-up scan!

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