Even Skinny People Develop Heart Disease
How Thin People (Especially Women) are at Risk
In my previous article, I wrote about a persistent myth in our current culture: that LDL cholesterol leads directly to a higher risk of heart disease. I discussed why this is not necessarily the case and possible explanations. So where does heart disease come from and is it directly related to our diet and the high rates of obesity? And is body size or weight related to higher risk for heart disease?
Lipoprotein(a), is a particle in your blood which carries cholesterol, fats and proteins. The amount your body makes is inherited from one or both parents and is determined by the genes passed on from your parent(s) when you are born. It does not change very much during your lifetime. Diet and exercise seems to have little to no impact on the lipoprotein(a) level. Some cholesterol and Lp(a) in your blood is normal. A high level of LDL cholesterol increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Lipoprotein(a) is a type of lipoprotein/cholesterol and high levels increase your risk for atherosclerosis (build up of fatty deposits in the wall of the artery, also called atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease or CVD). About 20% or one in five people have high levels of Lp(a) which is anything greater than 50mg/dL. This is based on genetic factors they inherited from their parents, and most don’t know they have it.
As high levels of Lp(a) travel through the bloodstream, it collects in the arteries, leading to gradual narrowing of the artery that can limit blood supply to the heart, brain, and kidneys as well as the legs. It can increase the risk of blood clots, heart attack or stroke. This is why you don’t have to be overweight to have heart disease. Genetics sometimes can be just as important as the efforts put behind a healthy diet and lifestyle. Susan Lucci’s most recent incident of a cardiac event, is an excellent example.
Causes of High Cholesterol
Protein intake has been a bit controversial in recent years—while it sounds like a good idea to eat a protein-rich diet, studies have found that too much protein, especially from certain sources, is not so good for long-term health. A new study from the University of Eastern Finland finds that men who eat a high-protein diet have a slightly increased risk of heart disease in middle age. But again, not all proteins are created equal. For animal and dairy protein, the risk was higher.
Diets high in saturated fats and white flour, white sugar, white rice, and vegetable oil also have a higher risk for heart disease. A low-fat, low-cholesterol diet is not the answer to decreasing heart disease. In fact, this diet has been shown to increase triglycerides, decrease HDL, and increase small dense LDL and inflammation – all of the factors for a heart attack. Avoiding processed foods and focusing on whole natural foods means giving yourself a better chance of avoiding heart disease.
Preventing Heart Disease
1.Test for Lipoprotein(a)
A simple blood test can measure your Lp(a) level; however, it is not included in most standard cholesterol or lipid panels. Unfortunately, not all insurance companies cover testing for Lp(a) at this time so check with your insurance company or provider.
2. Remove or Reduce Animal Products
Contrary to what people believe about “organic” consumption be
ing exclusively free of medications or toxins, in order to be bread for consumption, The National Organic Program, does permit the use of vaccines to be administered to livestock. These and other inflammatory toxins accumulate in the fat, brain and bone of the animal. Therefore exposing us to the same toxins and burdening the liver and heart from further damage. Eating whole plant based proteins is a far better alternative towards a healthy heart.
3. Curb your Sweet Tooth
And what about sugar? This culprit offers insignificant amounts of vitamins and minerals and simultaneously robs your body of nutrient stores. This can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease. High glycemic or refined sugar cause elevated glucose levels which gradually build up on the inner lining of your arteries developing plaques.
Lowering Lp(a) Naturally
Lipoprotein(a) attaches to the artery at the lysine binding sites forming atherosclerotic plaques. The higher the concentration of the free lysine in the blood, the more likely lipoprotein(a) will bind with this lysine, rather than the lysine strands that have been exposed by cracks in blood vessels; or the other lysine that has been attracted to the lipoprotein(a) already attached to the blood vessel wall. Linus Pauling showed that 6 grams a day were effective at lowering Lp(a) levels by two to five times.
2. Vitamin C IV Therapy
Vitamin C can reduce or prevent the development of atherosclerosis by lowering plasma lipoprotein(a), decreasing lipoprotein infiltration into the arterial wall, and preventing lipid peroxidation. Unfortunately oral dosing of vitamin C is not enough to effectively lower Lp(a) values. For this reason, I formulated a highly powerful Vitamin C IV that does.
3. Balancing Hormones
Estrogen has been found to lower Lp(a) levels in postmenopausal women. If you are a women, levels of Lp(a) increase as the natural estrogen level declines with menopause. Therefore, if you are older than 40, testing your hormones with my specialized hormone testing would be highly recommended to help prevent heart disease.