Heart disease is still the #1 killer in our country. We routinely go to the doctor to have our blood drawn, hoping that keeping our HDL and LDL levels in a healthy range will protect us. But there is a much more serious element of cholesterol that needs to be monitored, and far too few doctors ever even mention it, let alone order a test for their patients.
Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), is a tiny, dense, highly inflammatory particle found in cholesterol. Elevated Lp(a) levels make the blood “stickier”, potentially forming blood clots and elevating the risk of heart attack or stroke. If you are at moderate to high risk of cardiovascular disease, you’ll definitely want to be tested as soon as possible. And since there is a genetic component, having your Lp(a) level checked is particularly crucial if you have a history of early heart disease and death in your family.
To discover your Lp(a) level and associated risk, ask your doctor to order one of the best particle size tests, a NMR Lipo Profile. This new-generation test dives deeper than the standard lipid tests to evaluate your cholesterol particle patterns. In many European countries, doctors regularly screen their heart patients for Lp(a) levels, as recommended by the European Atherosclerosis Society. The society’s guidelines recommend prioritizing bringing a patient’s elevated Lp(a) level to under 50 mg/dL. It’s time to take action if your level is over 30. And if it’s over 75, it’s definitely sounding the alarm!
For overall heart health, and especially if you have elevated Lp(a), there are several supplements you can take to mitigate your risk for cardiovascular disease. One is a good quality fish or squid oil (1 or 2 g daily), containing both EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation. Make sure your fish oil is Third Party Tested, Pharmaceutical Grade for purity and potency. You may also consider a natural clot-busting enzyme called Nattokinase (50 mg twice daily) as an excellent adjunct to treating elevated Lp(a) levels.
It’s also recommended to take up to 2 grams daily of regular (vs. non-flush) niacin to diffuse the inflammatory nature of elevated Lp(a). When taking high doses of niacin, you may experience the infamous “niacin flush”, which can be uncomfortable but is not harmful. Taking niacin right after a meal can help too. It’s best to start with a very low amount, such as 100 mg of niacin, and then slowly increase the dosage as you are able to tolerate it.
In addition, do not overlook L-carnitine, a key ingredient in my Weight Loss Formula supplement. Research has shown a very real link between obesity, insulin resistance and heart disease. Besides increasing endurance and ramping up weight loss, L-carnitine helps to protect against muscle damage, like in our most important muscle, the heart. It has been used effectively to help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels while having a positive effect on blood pressure.
To learn more about my Number 1 heart healthy supplement, Magnesium, check out my recent blog. For an engaging education on the nitty gritty of Lp(a) and other vitally important cardiovascular health topics, listen to my podcast with “America’s Cardiologist”, Dr. Stephen Sinatra.