Reviewing the Labs My Lipidologist Ordered

Lipidologist Labs 9

In my last post I shared the notes I took from my consultation with the lipidologist.  During that initial meeting she ordered all the labs we discussed and many that we didn’t.

After a week the results came back and we discussed them over the phone.  Unfortunately there was a lab screw up and a bunch of the insulin resistance labs she ordered weren’t processed.

I of course took diligent notes that I’ll share below.  As a warning, like the past couple of posts in this series, things do get a bit dense and technical, but I’d rather give you more information than less.  I included a too-long-didn’t-read summary at the end for those that want to skip ahead.

I know the text in my scanned reports can appear small so feel free to click on them for a larger version of the image.

The first thing the doctor said to me was, “Your labs don’t look pretty,” which is undoubtedly what I just wanted to hear (insert sarcastic tone).

So, without further ado… here goes:

Lipids and Inflammation

Lipidologist Labs 1Lipidologist Labs 2

Lipids:

  • The traditional panel is not very different from the ones I’ve had in the past, and the numbers are reflective of that.
  • My high Total Cholesterol and high LDL-C are still here.
  • Triglycerides and HDL are normal, which they’ve pretty much been in the past.
  • Typically when we think about insulin resistance, people will make an assessment based on the triglycerides and HDL, but this is where things can fall short, because not everyone who has insulin resistance has triglyceride and HDL problems.
  • She feels based on the rest of my information that there is a genetic thing going on.

Lipoprotein Particles and Apolipoproteins:

  • Apo-B and LDL-P reflect the number of atherogenic lipoproteins.
  • Apo-B is an immunologic assay and LDL-P is an NMR assay.
  • My ‘numbers are very very elevated,’ especially for someone of my age with my level of fitness.
  • Typical Apo-B numbers in guidelines should be between 60-90, and she is more aggressive in people with a prior heart attack, wanting to keep it under 60, but regardless, my numbers are off the charts.
  • She would like to keep LDL-P under 1000.
  • These numbers tell her that we need to be more aggressive in treating what’s going on, whether it’s diet, or supplements, or medication.
  • Small LDL-P: Gives us a window into insulin resistance and often this will give us a window into insulin resistance years before we will ever see changes in fasting blood sugars and HbA1c.
  • Since my small LDL-P numbers are so high, this tells her that at least one of the contributing factors is insulin resistance.
  • This might be one of the first things we try to treat, if it’s the underlying insulin resistance that is driving the particles up.
  • We don’t just want to start taking a medication to lower the cholesterol if there’s something there, like insulin resistance, that is driving the particles up.
  • HDL-P: These are normal, and are a more accurate measure of HDL-C. This is simply a genetic marker. Simply knowing HDL status doesn’t really tell you whether or not you’re protected from heart disease, and in my case, I’m definitely not protected from heart disease even though my HDL numbers are normal because my other numbers are so bad.
  • Lp(a)-P: My number was normal before on a test by a different type of technology.   This is a difficult marker to measure, this is why she likes to measure the Lp(a) particle via electrophoresis assay.
    • She isn’t overly concerned with my number which is on the low end of the ‘intermediate risk range.’ She typically sees people with the particle count in the 300s.
    • This is something we may want to check again, because there is a little bit of variability.
    • Niacin is something can actually lower it by up to 20%. Sometimes high dose fish oil or aspirin, but won’t really move it a whole lot.
    • Since I’m so close to normal, it’s not something we need to worry about a lot (whew, first bit of good news)
    • If we check it in the future though, would be better to check the Lp(a) Particle count.

Inflammation and Oxidation

  • Fibrinogen and HS-CRP are both acute inflammatory markers, and lots of things can cause them to be elevated them.  Fortunately mine are both normal.
  • Fibrinogen does have some association with blood clotting.
  • Lp-PLA2: Suggests that there is inflammation in the blood vessel walls. However she’s seen avid exercisers that have elevations in Lp-PLA2 that don’t make clinical sense.
  • In my case because of my other numbers (Apo B and LDL-P), it’s something that gives her pause for concern.
  • She has less faith in this assay that she used to. She’s seen a lot of people that are athletic with elevations in this because exercise can increase it.
  • She’s not sure if my exercise levels are throwing a monkey wrench in this or not, but it’s definitely something to pay attention to.
  • Myeloperoxidase: Similar to Lp-PLA2 and also looks at vascular inflammation. Sometimes when people have dysfunctional HDL, this can give information on that. She’s more reassured that this is normal because she’d be extremely worried about my arteries if both Lp-PLA2 AND Myeloperoxidase were elevated.
  • Oxidized LDL: New test, looks at how much of my LDL particles are oxidized. Since mine are normal, it’s reassuring, but we still can’t ignore my markedly elevated LDL-P.
  • I ask, on the whole, if she were to say whether or not I’m inflamed and she said “that it doesn’t really look like there’s much inflammation going on.” (yay, more good news)
  • She says I probably have a little bit of inflammation going on because of the Lp-PLA2 and the AspirinWorks study showing my platelets are a little sticky.
  • But she wouldn’t say that inflammation is an issue of great concern for me because my diet is pretty anti-inflammatory and I exercise and am relatively fit.

 Endothelial Function, Myocardial Stress, Platelets, and Genetic Testing

Lipidologist Labs 3

Endothelial Function:

  • ADMA and SDMA are both markers of endothelial dysfunction. A healthy endothelium allows blood vessels to vasodilate and impacts how we make nitric oxide.
  • ADMA and SDMA have been shown in trials to be associated with cardiovascular risk. This can be elevated many many years before the onset of a heart attack clueing you in that there is some sort of underyling endothelial dysfunction.
  • ADMA: Mine is normal.
  • SDMA: Slightly high but not super high.
  • ADMA/Arginine Ratio: A little bit elevated.
    • We will probably want to check this again.
  • Things we can do to address these include exercise (which I already do), weight loss (which she doesn’t think I need), sleep, reduced salt diet, stress management.
  • Foods that are higher in arginine – chocolate, coconut, nuts, seeds, barley, brown rice.
  • I want to have more arginine, so if I want to, I can increase intake of these.
  • I can also supplement with L-Arginine and L-Citrulline. She doesn’t think my numbers are high enough to warrant it, but wanted to give me this information anyways.
  • ACE inhibitors are also something that can effect these.

Myocardial Structure/Stress/Function

  • NT-pro-BNP: Looks at whether heart muscle is having to work harder to meet the demands of the body. Things like hidden hypertension, sleep apnea, congestive heart failure can cause this to be elevated
  • Mine was completely normal so it’s not something I need to worry about.

Platelets

  • AspirinWorks: Helps detect platelet reactivity and how ‘sticky’ they are, because the more sticky they are the more likely they’ll clot.
  • Taking Aspirin can produce benefits in reducing cardiovascular risk in older patients (55 years or greater), but in people in my age group, we don’t really know.
  • If there is a significant abnormality on this test, she recommends a baby aspirin.
  • In my case, my number is elevated, but it’s not significantly elevated. She see’s patients with numbers of 4000 and 8000. I’m just barely out of the normal range. She’s not even sure she wants to say this is abnormal.
  • If I were to take aspirin as a preventive measure, especially given my other risk factors, I could start with 81 mg two to three times a week because Aspirin is actually quite long acting with a half life of 7 days. There are also risks involved with taking Aspirin like bleeding.
  • Aspirin may even benefit my Endothelial function numbers as well.

Lipoprotein Genetics

  • Apolipoprotein E 3 / 4 – This places me at higher cardiovascular risk. Sometimes these people don’t respond well to statins.  She never uses high dose statins on these patients.
  • If I ever decided I wanted to take a statin, because of my genetics, I should probably never take a high dose.
  • Some people with a 3/4 have a good response to lifestyle changes, but she thinks that I’ve already maximized everything I can do with that.
  • Some of the earlier studies suggested that people with a 3/4 don’t do as well with a high fat diet, but she thinks those studies were pretty poor. That being said it’s probably not a good idea for me to be on a high saturated fat diet.
  • It’s important for people that are APOE 3/4 to be on adequate amounts of Omega 3s to protect the brain and there are increased risks for Alzheimers in the future.

Coagulation Genetics

  • MTHFR C677T and A1298C SNPS – I have a minor mutation of the C677T. She would be more worried if I was a ‘compound heterozygote’ meaning having one mutation in both SNPs, but in my case my mutation is probably not clinically significant.
  • It still makes sense for me to take methylated forms of folate and B12.
  • Nothing in my coagulation panel suggests that I have a higher risk of clotting.

Metabolic and Renal

Lipidologist Labs 4

Metabolic

  • These can drive ApoB and LDL-P up.
  • Despite a normal fasting glucose and insulin, my HbA1c is up.
  • HbA1c of 5.9 – Technically classifies me as pre-diabetic. This can explain my high particle count
    • (This is also the worst it’s been.  I think this could be related to my recent increased intake of carbs or possibly just due to differences in lab technique… but in any case, this is something I’ll need to keep a close watch on).
    • Because I’m not eating any sort of high carb diet and am pretty fit, this tells her that there is clearly a genetic predisposition to insulin resistance.
    • I can try to address this via life style, or can consider taking it a step further by taking a medication.
    • She’s had experience using Metformin or Actos, to help address people with pre-diabetes and elevated particles and ApoB. In some cases the particles can drop significantly.
    • There are studies on Actos lowering LDL-Particles and less data on Metformin, but a lot more data on how it addresses pre-diabetes.
  • Given my current data, she is confident that I have borderline insulin resistance.
  • My insulin isn’t elevated, so this tells her that I don’t have severe insulin resistance.
  • Vitamin D – She likes to keep it between 50-90. Because I’m not symptomatic supplementation isn’t required, but in her practice she likes it higher. Vitamin D can even help alleviate muscle aches in patients on Statins.
  • TSH – She would check this annually, because thyroid problems can cause particles to go up. She likes it under 2.
  • Homocysteine – Another marker of cardiovascular and clotting risk, and of B12 deficiency. Mine is normal.
  • B12 – Mine is normal. Metformin can drop B12 levels, so it’s important to check this if I decide to use Metformin.

Renal

Everything is normal here.

Sterol Absorption and Synthesis Markers

Lipidologist Labs 5

  • She feels strongly that my LDL-P and Apo-B are not due to diet.
  • I show increased cholesterol synthesis in my liver, and this is usually the result of something genetic or medication.
  • I also show increased cholesterol absorption.
  • Typically with hypersynthesizers the treatment would be Statins. But in hyperabsorbers, statins can actually make the problem worse!
  • In my case because I have BOTH increased synthesis and increased absorption! (Lucky ME!)
  • The question is, is the increase in my absorption a genetic problem? Or is it something related to some other aspect of gut health?
  • She’s been trying to learn a lot more about gut health and the microbiome recently. Probiotics can play a role.
  • Intestinal permeability can also play a role.
  • Zetia can be used to treat cholesterol hyperabsorption, but she doesn’t want to jump immediately to that because she wants to see if there are issues with my gut that we can address first.
  • We could consider doing a stool test to see if there’s anything going on there… or just jump straight to a probiotic.
  • I ask her opinion on Benechol – she says that in her experience it takes 5-6 tabs per day to be effective and each tab is filled with high fructose corn syrup. It’s something like 5 gm of sugar per tab, which is her only hesitation.
  • Benechol margarine has trans fats in it, which she never recommends.
  • When she uses Zetia, she never uses high doses, she prefers ½ tabs so if a tab is 10 mg, she likes to give 5 mg.
  • She might even use combinations of Zetia and Metformin, but unfortunately there aren’t any randomized clinical trials on this.
  • She’s not saying that I need to be on meds yet, she’s just telling me the options.
  • I ask if my absorption and synthesis markers tell her if one is contributing more than the other.
  • She says sterol absorption abnormalities are very common. She sees less synthesis abnormalities unless there is a genetic issue.
  • She’s more concerned about my synthesis abnormalities.
  • Niacin – While this can help with lipoprotein particles it can worsen glucose and insulin resistance, so this probably isn’t something we should consider.

Chemistries and CBC

Lipidologist Labs 6

Lipidologist Labs 7

Not much to talk about here since everything was normal.

Omega 3 Index

Lipidologist Labs 8

 

  • Mine is 6.7. Optimal is more than 8.0%. I can try to increase my intake of fish and fish oil.
  • I ask how much is too much fish oil? She said that I don’t need to take massive amounts.

Too Long, Didn’t Read: Summary

My LDL-P is still off the charts and my HbA1C of 5.9 confirms to her that I’m insulin resistant, which likely plays a role in my LDL-P elevation.  The sterol markers show I have BOTH increased cholesterol synthesis AND increased cholesterol absorption.  She thinks the synthesis is at least partly related to underlying insulin resistance and suspects the increased absorption is related to an underlying issue with my gut health.

My LpPLA2 test is still high, but this is equivocal since it can be elevated in people who exericse a lot (I do BJJ ~ 6 hrs per week and weight lift 2 hrs per week), and none of my other inflammatory markers are elevated.

I’m also an Apo E 3/4 which means that I should cut back on saturated fat and that I should be sure to eat fish and supplement with fish oil for the neuroprotective effects since I can have an increased risk for Alzheimers in the future.

Next up… I discuss my gameplan and the therapeutic interventions I decide to pursue.

*Image found here

26 Responses to Reviewing the Labs My Lipidologist Ordered

  1. Hemming says:

    FWIW, my dad, brother and myself have elevated LDL. My brother’s not that much, mine is high and my dad’s is very high. We have had that for as long as we’ve been tested. We all live different lives with different diets. I’ve tried ketogenic diet which only made it worse. My dad tried some of the ‘conventional’ ideas (which are arguably somewhat stupid) but nothing changed.
    All of us are active running, cycling, resistance training several times per week and have always been. I rarely eat junk food, cake, candy etc. My dad and brother are more relaxed about but still emphasises real food.

    I’m not sure if anything can be concluded other than there might be a genetical component which is very hard to counter.

  2. Lee Lieberman says:

    Thank you for posting all this incredibly detailed information!
    I have been on your mailing list for the last year–I’ve been on a very low carb plan(<20g/day), cal <1000/day, and moderate protein.
    I am sedentary (72 years), trying to exercise more. BUT I have lost about 50 lbs and still going down.
    I am retired and on fixed income w only original medicare, so very sophisticated tests are almost impossible.
    Robert Atkins would be very proud of you.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      I’m glad you find my posts helpful and informative!

      I’m happy to see that you’ve managed to lose 50 lbs! That’s incredible! It seems like you’ve found something that’s really working well for you!

  3. charles grashow says:

    https://www.lipid.org/sites/default/files/advancedlipidtest.pdf
    Case Study:
    Advanced Lipid Testing—Beyond LDL-P and Apo B
    TARA L. DALL, MD, FNLA
    Advanced Lipidology
    Delafield, WI
    Diplomate, American Board of Clinical Lipidology

    https://www.lipidcenter.com/pdf/Lipid_Treatment_Algorithm.pdf
    Lipid/Lipoprotein Disorder Treatment Algorithm
    Thomas Dayspring MD, FACP

  4. billharis says:

    Thanks for the info. It would be great to match these results with your previous results if possible.

    Nice job.

  5. Dale says:

    Lots of information there, but no ratios. Aren’t there some ratios that are more predictive of disease than the numbers themselves?

    I’ve had one NMR test a few years back. My LDL-P is lower, but still out of range (1619). Small LDL-P# is in the good range (134), HDL is in the very good range (97), but total my cholesterol is higher even than yours(303). This post got me wondering about how much those labs would cost if I were to go this route in order to get a better handle on what’s going on with me.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      The ratios you’re thinking about are the HDL: Total Cholesterol and HDL: Triglyceride ratios.

      These can be easily calculated with the data at hand. You can see that my HDL:Trig ratio is great… but the HDL:Total is terrible.

  6. Ben says:

    I consistently see between 0.2 and 0.3 differences between labs on my AIC. They seem to be consistent. Lab a is consistently lower than lab b.Maybe it is a calibration issue.

  7. charles grashow says:

    Jimmy Moore blood test results post fast

    What do you think happened when he STOPPED consuming huge amounts of saturated fat??

    His blood work NORMALIZED!! This N=1 experiment PROVED a link between dietary saturated fat/cholesterol and serum cholesterol!

    Fasting Insulin – from 10 to 13.9
    hsCRP – from 1.6 to 0.94
    TC – from 295 to 195
    LDL-C from 216 to 131
    HDL from 61 to 50
    TG from 90 to 68
    LDL-P from 2889 to 1664
    Small LDL-P from 1446 to 587
    Lp(a) from 441 to 143

    BTW – he mentions in the video that he’s ALWAYS had high cholesterol and high Lp(a) – Doesn’t that mean that a lower fat/lower cholesterol diet is best for him??

    So what was this schmuck’s takeaway from this N=1 experiment? That his copious intake of saturated fat on a daily basis and it’s removal normalized his blood work within 17 days and he should seriously consider a lower fat diet full time??

    NO – he’s decided that going on a fast BEFORE he takes his physical for life and/or health insurance is the way to game the system!!

    What will happen when he goes back on his NuttyK diet???

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Wow! Thanks for tabulating all of his data.

      It’s really interesting to see that his Lp(a) made such a dramatic difference. I was under the impression that Lp(a) doesn’t change that much.

      I’m surprised at how high his fasting insulin is… that really is telling us that he’s severely insulin resistant. Especially since that’s a number while fasting!

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Where did you get this latest info btw? It might be interesting for me to put together a post looking at his results like I did before.

  8. Angela says:

    Thanks for a great post I was comparing your values to mine. So much information. To take in. Although I don’t have since of diabetis I also have signs of insulin resistance. I have also been following Jimmy’s fasting journey. I certainly looks liike something I will try out.

  9. Jonny says:

    Hey there, fellow biohacker/keto dieter. I recently went to the doctor and ordered a bunch of similar tests that you received (except my doctor had never heard of any of them haha). I’m actually quite impressed as to how close our numbers are. TC, LDL-C, HDL-C, TG-C are almost identical. I have high Lp-PLA2 as well. Similar homocysteine. Similar CRP. I am APO-e3/e4 also. Crazy stuff going on here! I am trying to figure out what is causing my Lp-PLA2 to be so high.

    My LDL-P is 1600 (which is less than yours but still high). Small LDL-P is only 389 but the Lp-PLA2 is what worries me.

    Fortunately, my A1c is 4.7%. I’m surprised that your A1c is so high, given what I’ve read on your blog. Anyway, I thought I would chime in to let you know that there is someone else in the same boat. Curious to see your follow up experiments.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      Thanks for sharing too! Looks like we’re definitely in the same boat!

      If you find anything that works for you, I’m definitely all ears.

    • jason says:

      Me too. Got my test and LP-PLA2 high. If everybody high, that is normal. I wonder how they got that reference range? Wanting to sell you pharma drug?

      • jason says:

        Click on my link to see my story. Does Dr. knows how LP-PLA2 reference range was made? Can we have the study name? I was told by my cousin and his wife both ND in Canada to not worry about it. Has cholesterol really been identified as culprit? Or just fireman on the scene to put out inflammation? (Dr Sinatra) I am still trying to find out.

        • BJJ Caveman says:

          The explanation from Dr. Dall was that Lp-PLA2 is still an iffy marker. It can be high in people who exercise a lot and in people with dental disease, so she doesn’t put too much stock in it, especially of CRP is low.

          So it’s not one of those markers that shouldn’t be weighted too heavily. Of course it’d be better if it were low, but just because it’s high, doesn’t mean that there’s something bad happening…. but it also doesn’t mean we’re 100% in the clear.

          Clear as mud yeah?

  10. Richard B Arnesen says:

    Great post. Are you familiar with the Apoe4info site? https://www.apoe4.info/wp/ Tons of good information on this site for 3/4s and 4/4s. All of your issues are covered in various forum threads on the site.

    • BJJ Caveman says:

      A few people have actually brought this to my attention… and I have some message threads bookmarked, and unfortunately just haven’t gotten around to looking through them… if only there were more time!

  11. Richard B Arnesen says:

    It is a bit of a rabbit hole. I always find that hours have gone by and I have a ton of new information but of course nothing definitive as to what a 3/4 should eat given low insulin, low BG, low A1C, low hs-crp, low trigs, but
    hi LDL-p and small ldl-p….sigh

Disclosures: Please note that some of the links provided are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.  Please understand that I have experience with all of these products.  If they're books, I've read them cover to cover, and if they're products or supplements, I've used and/or continue to use them, and I am not shy about giving my honest opinion of them, positive or negative.  The small commissions I make help me out a tiny bit, and if you've found my site helpful then feel free to purchase these products through the links I've provided.  If not, that's fine too, no pressure, I'll still continue to write!  Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites

Medical-Legal Disclaimer:

This site is not designed to and does not provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual. Through this site and linkages to other sites, bjjcaveman.com provides general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this site, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider. BJJ Caveman and bjjcaveman.com are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or product you obtain through this site.

Privacy Policy

See the bjjcaveman.com privacy policy here.