I often joke that I have to live schizophrenically between Scientist Dave and Human Dave (the professional lab rat). Today both of them are extremely happy.
What is a CIMT?
CIMT stands for Carotid Intima-Media Thickness test. Here’s a brief description that puts it well:
The carotid intima-media thickness test (CIMT) is a measure used to diagnose the extent of carotid atherosclerotic vascular disease. The test measures the thickness of the inner two layers of the carotid artery—the intima and media—and alerts physicians to any thickening when patients are still asymptomatic.
It’s an ultrasound taken on each side of the neck to make this measurement and typically requires a visit to the doctor’s office to be done by a specialist.
Since my CIMT climbed considerably following the Weight Gain Experiment, I’ve been publicly hypothesizing for over half a year that I expect it will drop again while being on a ketogenic diet and averaging well above 200 mg/dL of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and over 2,000 in LDL particle count (LDL-P). Save my half of the Tandem Drop Experiment in September, I’m actually quite confident I’ve been running at these levels throughout this period and have additional CardioChek data to show for it (see below).
The data I have here is quite astonishing. In fact, after getting the first CIMT taken on December 13th, I decided go get a second one a week later on the 20th. I knew there’s be some variability, but I wanted to be sure both of them were well below the previous reading.
Above I’m showing a screen shot from the Dec 20th reading. Below I include both along with the average.
This is the Second Reversal
It can’t be emphasized enough why this is such a milestone. We’ve observed my regressing the CIMT from the very first one I had up until November 2017, all while averaging very high LDL-C and LDL-P. My Weight Gain experiment dropped my LDL-C and LDL-P to 130 and 1,130, respectively, but brought my CIMT to new heights on both sides. Now after this experiment and returning to high LDL-C and LDL-P we see the drop again.
Certainly one can bring up that weight gain alone might track with CIMT increasing and I think there’s definitely some merit in that. However, my CIMT from November 2016 to 2017 was regressing even though I was actually gaining weight (from around 175 to 185lbs). And secondly, my current weight (196) stands at over 10lbs more than all my previous scans save the last one in May. In short, I think weight matters, but by how much is much more debatable in my data set.
I’ve gathered quite a bit of evidence over three years, but I put this well into the highest category of consideration.
These aren’t just transient blood markers, these are actual physical measurements. And thus far, the pattern is especially compelling.
Am I certain this will continue? No. As always, my opinion goes where the data takes me. And if the data changes course in a significant way, I’ll adjust accordingly.
Yet for those who keep asking me why I can be more comfortable with a high LDL-C/LDL-P while also maintaining a high HDL-C and low triglycerides, this is most influential evidence to date.
N=1 to become N=Many?
My sincere hope is that more people follow this example and take regular CIMTs, preferably every six months. This goes doubly so if they are Lean Mass Hyper-responders. If you do, please report that data back to us, positive or negative.
It’s now my pleasure to finally update this chart with the new data. (Just in time for the holidays too!)