The Cholesterol Numbers Doctors Should Measure

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Filed Under: Diagnostic Tools, Cholesterol
Last Reviewed 08/28/2014

The Cholesterol Numbers Doctors Should Measure

Many doctors, including cardiologists, look at all the wrong cholesterol numbers. If your cholesterol is over 220 mg/dl, they get worried—if it’s over 300 mg/dl they panic. Then, they put you on statin drugs to bring down the “bad” LDL cholesterol numbers and to help raise the “good” HDL cholesterol numbers.

Know What Your Cholesterol Numbers Mean

The problem is that your “good” HDL cholesterol can be high, and your bad “LDL” cholesterol low—but both are harming your heart. The reason is that it’s not enough to know your cholesterol numbers, you also need to dig down and test the cholesterol subtypes. Here’s why…

  • Not all HDL cholesterol is “good.” There are two subtypes of HDL cholesterol. HDL-2 is large, buoyant and helps to protect against heart disease. Meanwhile, HDL-3 particles are small, dense and not as protective as HDL-2. You want more HDL-2 particles than HDL-3.

  • Not all LDL cholesterol is “bad.” As with HDL cholesterol, there are several subtypes of LDL cholesterol. You can have high LDL cholesterol numbers, but if it’s mostly LDL-A—which is a buoyant, fluffy molecule—it’s absolutely harmless unless it’s oxidized. If it's oxidized it can cause harm, but not as much harm as small particle LDL-B. If much or your cholesterol is LDL-B, that’s cause for concern. That’s because LDL-B is small and dense and can contribute to hardening of the arteries.

  • It’s also critical to know another cholesterol number which most tests don’t measure—Lp(a). This is a small, dense and highly inflammatory type of cholesterol that can damage blood vessels. It can also make your blood “sticky” and cause a buildup of arterial plaque.

Which Cholesterol Numbers Should Your Doctor Test?

You want to ask your doctor for a cholesterol particle size test, which will measure your LDL and HDL cholesterol subtypes, as well as Lp(a). You can ask your physician to order the VAP test (www.thevaptest.com) or the LPP test from Spectracell (www.spectracell.com). Here are the optimal cholesterol numbers you want to see in your test results. 

  • If your HDL and/or LDL subtypes need improvement, I recommend a combination of the PAM diet, nutritional supplements, and exercise. 

  • If your Lp(a) is high, my top recommendation to neutralize it is to take 1-3 g of niacin daily. I also recommend fish or squid oil (1 or 2 g daily) and either one of two natural clot-busting enzyme supplements: nattokinase (50 mg twice a day) or lumbrokinase, also known as Boluoke (20 mg one to two times daily).

Now it’s your turn: Have you had your cholesterol particle sizes measured?

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