The Connection Between Lipoprotein A and Heart Disease
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 heart risk factor.
According to an article in the 1997 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Lp(a) appears to regulate clot formation (thrombosis) and inhibit blood thinning, which can lead to blood circulation problems.
We know that Lp(a) 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) 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 heart risk factors should consider natural, topical estrogen replacement therapy, particularly if their Lp(a) is elevated.
Research shows that elevated Lp(a) 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)
Statins, drugs commonly prescribed to help you keep good cholesterol levels, are not effective for lowering Lp(a) 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). If you find that a high Lp(a) level runs in your family, you must attack it with an alternative approach.
Here’s what I recommend:
- 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) and other risk factors (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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Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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