The Little-Known Cholesterol Test That Could Save Your Life

February 17, 2021

Heart disease is still the #1 killer in our country. We routinely go to the doctor to have our blood drawn, hoping that keeping our HDL and LDL levels in a healthy range will protect us. But there is a much more serious element of cholesterol that needs to be monitored, and far too few doctors ever even mention it, let alone order a test for their patients.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra, esteemed cardiologist and author of “The Great Cholesterol Myth”, believes that Lp(a), not LDL, is the real cholesterol story. 

Lipoprotein(a), or Lp(a), is a tiny, dense, highly inflammatory particle found in cholesterol. Elevated Lp(a) levels make the blood “stickier”, potentially forming blood clots and elevating the risk of heart attack or stroke. If you are at moderate to high risk of cardiovascular disease, you’ll definitely want to be tested as soon as possible. And since there is a genetic component, having your Lp(a) level checked is particularly crucial if you have a history of early heart disease and death in your family.

Dive Deeper

To discover your Lp(a) level and associated risk, ask your doctor to order one of the best particle size tests, a NMR Lipo Profile. This new-generation test dives deeper than the standard lipid tests to evaluate your cholesterol particle patterns. In many European countries, doctors regularly screen their heart patients for Lp(a) levels, as recommended by the European Atherosclerosis Society. The society’s guidelines recommend prioritizing bringing a patient’s elevated Lp(a) level to under 50 mg/dL. It’s time to take action if your level is over 30. And if it’s over 75, it’s definitely sounding the alarm!

Take Action

For overall heart health, and especially if you have elevated Lp(a), there are several supplements you can take to mitigate your risk for cardiovascular disease. One is a good quality fish or squid oil (1 or 2 g daily), containing both EPA and DHA Omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation. Make sure your fish oil is Third Party Tested, Pharmaceutical Grade for purity and potency. You may also consider a natural clot-busting enzyme called Nattokinase (50 mg twice daily) as an excellent adjunct to treating elevated Lp(a) levels.

It’s also recommended to take up to 2 grams daily of regular (vs. non-flush) niacin to diffuse the inflammatory nature of elevated Lp(a). When taking high doses of niacin, you may experience the infamous “niacin flush”, which can be uncomfortable but is not harmful. Taking niacin right after a meal can help too. It’s best to start with a very low amount, such as 100 mg of niacin, and then slowly increase the dosage as you are able to tolerate it.

In addition, do not overlook L-carnitine, a key ingredient in my Weight Loss Formula supplement. Research has shown a very real link between obesity, insulin resistance and heart disease. Besides increasing endurance and ramping up weight loss, L-carnitine helps to protect against muscle damage, like in our most important muscle, the heart. It has been used effectively to help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels while having a positive effect on blood pressure.

To learn more about my Number 1 heart healthy supplement, Magnesium, check out my recent blog. For an engaging education on the nitty gritty of Lp(a) and other vitally important cardiovascular health topics, listen to my podcast with “America’s Cardiologist”, Dr. Stephen Sinatra.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Lina

    This is fascinating! I had no idea there was another test to take that was more accurate. Thanks

  2. Tanya

    Wow, I really need to take my weight loss seriously. Heart issues run in my family.

  3. Bret

    I remember hearing about using niacin many years ago but had forgotten it’s value. Thank you

  4. Jodi

    I believe moderately elevated Lp(a) in the absence of other risk factors will be show in the future to be just a single piece of a much larger puzzle. I’ve tracked all of my blood markers for over 20 years. I do have elevated lp( a) placing me at moderate risk. I take lysine and vitamin c, magnesium b complex etc. high dose niacin dampens methylation in people with MTHFR snps per Ben Lynch and so that blanket advice is really not effective for everyone and since homocysteine is an independent risk factor for heart disease, dampening methylation is not a great idea. All of my other risk factors are in check, no signs of inflation, no insulin resistance etc. so to focus just on the lp(a) which is largely resistant to any supplement meaningfully reducing it would plant the seeds of fear that itself can cause the body to respond to that stress. Biology of belief is very important so it is important to remember, no one marker, should make us believe our risk of disease is increased.



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