Lp(a) and Risk Factors of Heart Disease

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Filed Under: Heart Health, Cholesterol
Last Reviewed 07/14/2014

Lipoprotein A, or Lp(a), is a component of LDL or “bad” cholesterol and high levels of it in your blood can be a serious risk factor of heart disease.  

According to an article in the 1997 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Lp(a) cholesterol appears to regulate clot formation (thrombosis) and inhibit blood thin­ning, which can lead to blood circulation problems.

We know that Lp(a) cholesterol increases in unstable diabetics and menopausal women with elevated levels due to lowered estrogen levels. This may be why the incidence of heart disease among menopausal women quadruples.

Conversely, Lp(a) cholesterol decreases with estrogen replacement therapy. For this reason, it’s imperative that all menopausal and perimeno­pausal women with a strong family history of heart disease have their Lp(a) levels checked by their doctor. Further, postmenopausal women with multiple risk factors of heart disease should consider natural, topical estrogen replace­ment therapy, particularly if their Lp(a) cholesterol is elevated.

Research shows that elevated Lp(a) cholesterol levels appear to be even stronger predictors for the development of premature heart disease in men. JAMA reported a study of 2,191 men confirming this.

Statin Drugs Will Not Reduce Lp(a) Cholesterol

Statins, drugs commonly prescribed to help you keep good cholesterol levels, are not effective for lowering Lp(a) cholesterol levels. In fact, a study involving these drugs showed an increase in Lp(a) levels! And therein lies the dilemma.

While cholesterol-lowering drugs can reduce LDL, they can’t reduce Lp(a) cholesterol. If you find that a high Lp(a) level runs in your family, you must attack it with an alter­native approach.

Recommendations for Lp(a) Cholesterol

  • Take 100 mg of niacin, twice a day. If you experience side effects like flushing, headache and diarrhea, follow the diet and stop the niacin. You can try a lower dosage at a later date and you can increase the dose to 500 mg a day, twice a day for further protection, or reduce it by no less than 100 mg daily if you have side effects. Twinlabs’ quick-acting Niacin is a good product.

  • Follow my Pan-Asian Modified Mediterranean (PAMM) diet.

  • Take 1–2grams of vitamin C and 100–200 mg of standard coenzyme Q10.

  • Take 1–2grams of fish oil daily.

  • Take 50mg of nattokinase twice a day.

  • Take 100mg of delta tocotrienols twice a day.

  • Exercise regularly.

If you’re concerned, you and your family members should have your Lp(a) cholesterol and other risk factors of heart disease (homocysteine, fibrinogen, and serum ferritin) evaluated by your doctor. And be aware of other heart disease risk factors, includ­ing smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, glucose intolerance and repressed emotions, all of which can cause cardiovascular problems.

For more information on LDL cholesterol levels and ways to lower them, visit www.drsinatra.com.

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