For the last decade, regular blood testing has been a crucial component of my anti-aging plan. By regularly monitoring various important biomarkers for my genetic make-up, I have been able to tweak my diet to what’s anti-inflammatory for myself and I’ve been able to see firsthand how certain foods can affect my inflammation markers. In general, regular blood testing can provide valuable insights into anyone’s overall health, help detect potential issues early, and guide your Nutritional and lifestyle decisions. Certain conditions like pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and even early tumors can be detected at least a decade before they become a full blown risk. Thus, early detection allows for timely intervention and treatment, which can significantly improve outcomes and the quality of life.

One specific marker that deserves attention, especially in the context of cardiovascular health, is Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a) and Apolipoprotein B. Both of these biomarkers are especially important to me as Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular disease is still the number 1 killer worldwide and is highly preventable. This is not a routinely measured marker worldwide however this notion is changing and unfortunately it is the MOST important marker in terms of heart health. In my books, heart health equals brain health so these two biomarkers must be kept in consideration.


The Role of Lipoprotein(a) in Cardiovascular Health

Lipoprotein(a), commonly referred to as Lp(a), is a type of lipoprotein(carrier for fat in the body) similar to low-density lipoprotein (LDL), but it has an additional protein called apolipoprotein(a). Elevated levels of Lp(a) in the blood are a significant risk factor for Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases (ASCVD), including heart attacks, strokes, and aortic stenosis. This is an independant marker for ASCVD and smoking and high Blood Pressure will increase that risk even more.

1. Understanding Lp(a)-Lp(a) levels are primarily determined by genetics and remain relatively constant throughout a person’s life. Unlike LDL cholesterol, lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise have minimal impact on Lp(a) levels. Therefore, individuals with a family history of heart disease should be particularly vigilant about testing their Lp(a) levels but also keeping other biomarkers under strict measures. There are several other markers, which in this scenario can be controlled to make sure that risk is reduced greatly. As part of my routine testing, I also check Apo B, Hs-C reactive protein, Heamoglobin A1C, and fasting insulin to see a 360 degree profile. Other things that you can check at home regularly is blood pressure, and waist to hip ratio. I personally also like to measure resting heart rate as a measure of heart health.

2. Lp(a) and Cardiovascular Disease-High levels of Lp(a) contribute to the development of atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaques in the arteries), which can lead to coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Research indicates that elevated Lp(a) levels are associated with a two- to three-fold increased risk of heart attack and stroke, independent of other risk factors such as LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. As scary at this sounds, diet and exercise can mitigate this risk immensely and will help control other factors which then reduce your overall risk of ever having a heart attack or stroke. Heart health is definitely about controlling all the elements that you have under your belt, using diet and lifestyle modifications as a fundamental component. I would group exercise into the lifestyle modification although exercise should be comparable to brushing your teeth. Then, if needed we can talk about onto pharmalogical interventions if needed.

3. Managing High Lp(a) Level-While lifestyle changes have limited effect on Lp(a) levels, certain interventions can help control the risk induced with this genetic link. Maintaining good levels of HDL and LDL, a low HBA1C, low fasting insulin, C-reactive protein, and liver markers are good initial points to start mitigating any family risk. Maintaining a high level of insulin sensitivity through a low-carb diet would be an important risk reducing strategy as well. Hyperinsulimea can put a greater risk on endothelial function in itself so keeping insulin levels in a good range is important. Vigorous exercise will help in being more insulin sensitive and will help improve levels of fat utilization. Sauna use has shown to mimic cardiovascular exercise so if you have one at your local gym, do use one regularly.


Diet– A diet low in carbohydrates reduces Triglycerides and increases levels of good HDL. This way of eating can be very anti-inflammatory to the body and can improve all metabolic health parameters. Low-carb diets also maintain insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, and can create a shift in LDL particle size from small dense which are atherogenic to large buoyant which are better for heart health. Diets low in processed carbohydrates vastly reduce visceral fat and can help manage weight, which is an independent risk factor for heart disease. Through the action of ketogenesis, the body learns to utilize fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates although the action of being metabolically healthy teaches the body to do both. Ketone bodies in itself have cardioprotective benefits.