Elevated lipoprotein (a)
Lipoproteins(a), or Lp(a), is a protein that helps to repair damage in the arterial walls, but excessive levels of it are a direct cause of plaque formation and blood clots that cause heart attacks and strokes. Lp(a) also magnifies other coronary risk factors as it affects the size and number of LDL particles. As many as one in five who have heart disease will have elevated Lp(a) levels, which will usually lead them to have heart attacks as early as their forties or fifties. Lp(a) is more atherogenic than oxidized cholesterol.
Most experts concur that Lp(a) levels of lower than 30 mg/dL will significantly reduce the risk of heart disease, though the best way to reduce it is still debated. It appears niacin can be effective in lowering high Lp(a) levels, but the dosage usually needs to be higher (usually 2,000 – 4,000 mg a day). This can be problematic because of niacin’s unpleasant side effects of flushing, burning, and itching. Take niacin after breakfast and dinner and with low-dose (80 mg) aspirin. Start with one niacin after breakfast and one after dinner, and after two weeks, increase the dose to two niacin after breakfast and two after dinner. Have your liver functions checked after one month of this regimen. Recheck the Lp(a) level in three months, and if it is still elevated, gradually raise your dose of niacin up to 4,000 mg a day using the same protocol. Recheck your liver functions in one month, and recheck your Lp(a) in three months. You should also discuss bioidentical hormone therapy with your doctor since testosterone in men and bioidentical estrogen in women can reduce Lp(a) levels by up to 25 percent. Avoid all trans fats if you have elevated Lp(a).
Other supplements to consider adding to your daily vitamins, minerals, and nutrients regimen to regulate Lp(a) are
• Pharmaceutical grade fish oil – USANA Vitamins fish Oil Supplement is formulated with lemon oil to eliminate the fishy aftertaste associated with most fish oil supplement. Pregnant women should have sufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. USANA’s BiOmega™ supplement is produced from cold-water, deep-sea fish oil and contains a balanced, concentrated daily dose of two important omega-3 fatty acids: EPA and DHA. DHA is one of the dominant fats in the nerve cells of fetal and infant brains, and research shows that omega-3 fatty acids are critical to the development of the brain before birth and during early childhood. USANA BiOmega is fortified with vitamin D to supply an additional 200 IU per day. USANA BiOmega is virtually free of contaminants.