When I see a female with Peripheral Vascular Disease (plaque in the legs) or angina/CAD (heart disease: plaque in the coronary arteries) or Chronic Kidney Disease (plaque in the kidney arteries)... invariably Lp(a) and low HDL2b are the PRIME factors for plaque buildup.
Another factor is a positive family history of a coronary event in the father prior to age 60 yo.
Review: Goals for Regression
Dr. Hecht has ten case studies which I will review one by one here. Earlier ( Cardio Controversies: Dr. Hecht ) we reviewed the success case study of the the young male with strong family CAD history, high Lp(a) and 15% EBCT regression after only 15 months on niacin 4000mg daily (and low low dose weak statin). This gentleman had regression after doubling the HDL2b from 12% to 24% and the small LDL shifted to buoyant Pattern 'A' LDL subspecies. Most notably, his Trigs started in the 200s then reduced to only 30s. O-u-t-s-t-a-n-d-i-n-g. Drugs alone? No. He must have lost weight, changed the diet, gained some body recomposition and started a good exercise program. Drugs alone cannot lower to Final Trigs 30s from the 200s. TYP goal for Trigs is 60 mg/dl however this is typically exceeded by most members especially those who are able to shift to Pattern 'A' and reach the other TYP goals. Trigs are an expression of our carbohydrates in our diet (starchy and sweet foods/beverages), saturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids (ALA flaxseed; EPA DHA fish oil). As Trigs drop, buoyancy goes to the particles, both LDL and the HDLs. HDL-2b, the regression particle is the most buoyant, largest HDL subspecies. HDL-2b is associated with extreme longevity in centenarians, cancer-protection in remission cases and vascular regression of plaque in heart trials and at TYP.
HDL-2b are like good, loyal friends who watch out for you and your family.
Can you ever have too much?
Case Study: Perfect Scores, Perfect P L A Q U E
Dr. Hecht presents a case of a young female, no symptoms, with perfect plaque progression. She has a double-digit coronary calcification score of 95 which takes her to the top 98th percent for her age for plaque. Normal heart disease stratification at this time in conventional medicine uses the Framingham score. With her perfect baseline lipids, her score is quite good.
The Framingham 10-year risk is calculated to be < 1%.
Translation: 0-10% = 'low risk'. (10-20%=mod; >20%=high)
Her risk, in fact, is estimated to be insignificant, negligible risk.
Alarmingly, she has the highest heart calcifications and the 'real age' of a 98 year old female.
Real Age, Real Baloney: Coronary Calcification Tells Age
Some experts Dr. Hecht discusses want to use EBCT or MDCT percentile scores as the 'real age'. This makes sense to me. It is the internal metabolic milieu, chaos and entropy which reflect our longevity and status.
Just as well, the internal metabolic calm reflect our regression and control of lifespan.
Advanced Metabolic Testing
Her results for the metabolic testing show perfect CRP (C-reactive protein). CRP is bunk. It could be elevated if you sneeze. If it is chronically elevated, then you have issues but it is no more telling of plaque than the traditional, conventional lipid panel.
On further examination, the metabolic testing which is identical to what we look at TYP program shows--elevated apoB (goal < 60-70)
--mildly elevated homocysteine (goal < 8.0)
Both of these indicators are related to inflammation and high carbohydrate intake. Inflammation may stem from excessive omega-6 and/or fructose, deficiencies (n-3 omegas, vitamins ADEK, B-vitamins B3 B6 B1 folate B12, minerals Magnesium Selenium Zinc Chromium Iodine Iodine, vitamin C, vitamin "O" optimism *haa*, carotenoids, mitochondrial components Carnosine CoQ10 ALCAR Carnitine; hormones adiponectin T E2 E2 P preg DHEA, etc), food allergies (wheat, gluten, A1 casein, nuts, etc), heavy metal and environmental toxicity (mercury from seafood, estrogenic pesticides, etc).
Ultimate Testing Lipoprotein Subfractionation:
The 'death band' is evident.
Recall according to Krauss, goal LDL IVb is less than zero. Just kidding, the goal is to get this subfraction which is the most dense, most lethal to as low as possible. In patients with large amounts of plaque where stenosis was > 30%, Krauss found < 2.5% of LDL-IVb was highly statistically significant for regression on angiogram. For those with 'less' plaque (read: less stable), LDL-IVb of 2.5% was still too high for regression to occur. What is good? I believe as low as possible. We see at TYP even when LDL-IVb is 1.5%, EBCT progression still occurs at 10-25%.
I don't find this acceptable.
The death band should be as low as possible. Or none.
Ultimate goal: Shift the LDL from dense to buoyant (known as LDL1 + LDL2a+b on BHL) and annihilate the 'death band'. Stop stuffing the face with fructose (fruit). Cut back olive oil and replace with some saturated fats.
Major Risk Factors for CAD: Low HDL2b, Lp(a)
Diagnosis: This young lady has extensive 98th-percentile plaque. Dense LDL, the death band LDLIVb, low HDL2b, and Lp(a).
Conventional Prognosis: No action on her doctor's part until she comes in with throbbing, painful legs or shortness of breath, back ache, jaw pain, heartburn (extensive plaque leads to vague, non-specific anginal symptoms in females). Worse case scenarios: tries to run a half-marathon or marathon and has a coronary event and is resuscitated with brain damage. Or SCD (sudden coronary death) where the first sign of heart disease is silent and fatal.
Unconventional TYP Prognosis: Longevity and shifting 98th-percentile calcifications to 15-50th-percentile less each year. Shortly... her real age will be 17 years old.
Yes, shaving YEARS off of her real age, coronary calcification percentile rank.
Hecht-Treatment: Hecht discusses niacin 4 grams per day and some statin (why? I dunno why because he contradicts himself when it comes to bashing LDL and LDL-goals; I sense some 'cognitive dissonance' on his part). Most cardiologists and physicians don't know a lick about diet, nutrition, what organs/hearts require, and basic micro- macronutrients. Didn't the father of medicine, once say 'let food be thy medicine'? We in the Paleo/Primal and TYP communities already know food can be poison (e.g. gluten, wheat, grains, legumes).
Is Hecht's therapeutic strategies enough? No. Some cases are 'treatment failures' which we'll later breakdown why.
Optimal Longevity Treatment To Reverse Vascular Dysfunction:
(1) Statin-less (statins increase Lp(a), OxLDL, OxLDL/apoB, %-dense LDL and prevent shifting from pattern B to A+++; causes autoimmunity and auto-antibodies, cellular level mitochondrial and myocyte damage, depletes antioxidants ubiquinols and coenzyme Q10; Crestor is associated with higher incidences of diabetes and kidney problems (proteinuria) in clinical trials)
(3) Omega-3 fish oil 6000++ mg EPA DHA daily for Lp(a), low HDL2b, high dense LDL, shift to pattern A, optimize n-6:3 ratio (goal ~1.5-2.0 per Dr. Barry Sears PhD and medical literature involving CKD patients)
(4) Correct Vitamin D deficiency (goal [25OHD] 60-80 ng/ml)
(5) Correct Saturated Fatty Acid Deficiency: Stop the AHA-low-fat-low-cholesterol-diet. Obtain Saturated Fats 15-20+% daily to increase HDL-2b, lower the death band LDLIVb, shift to Pattern 'A', and lower the atherogenicity of Lp(a)
(6) Correct Vitamin K2 deficiency (Sources: fermented cod liver oil, casein-free butter, hard cheeses if not allergic, natto, vitamin K2 100mcg daily MK7)
(7) Correct thyroid and adrenals by initially supporting (egg yolks, vitamins ADEK K2 Bs C; tocopherols, tocotrienols, minerals: Magnesium Selenium Zinc Chromium Iodine Iodide; saturated fatty acids, omega-3 fats ALA EPA DHA, carotenoids, avoidance of n-6 PUFAs) and if not sufficient then thyroid replacement (Armour +/- T4) and adrenal support (read HERE and HERE ) to achieve optimal metabolism and stable core body temperatures 98.2 - 98.6 degrees F.
(8) Correct insulin disparities (exercise, C-A-R-B RESTRICTION, stress reduction, SLEEP, yoga, resistance train, weight loss, ketosis (diet, intermittent fasting), insulin-sensitizers: R-alpha lipoic acid, L-carnitine, Chromium, Leucine, Taurine, Glutamine, whey protein, flaxseed and fish oil, bittermelon, celery, pycnogenol, krill oil, astaxanthin, other antioxidants and proanthocyanidins, etc)
(9) Correct other calcified organ dysfunction: pineal (melatonin), hypothalamus (yoga, relaxation, breathing ex, etc), thyroid (see above), pancreas (see insulin above + digestive enzymes), gallbladder (digestive enzymes), colon (probiotics)
(10) No w-o-r-r-i-e-s ! *winky*
What about 4 grams per day of vitamin B3, niacin?
Does overdosing on niacin aid the above? Unfortunately 'no'. The mechanism of action is that niacin mimics all of the above (increases hGH, testosterone, steroids, ketosis, fasting and exercise). Adverse effects of niacin include: gout, diabetes and liver test elevations. Again I like niacin b/c it works but I don't love it. It doesn't appear to work on everyone in the year 2008-2009 and likely the future. Numerous nutritional and environmental toxicities apparently have shifted the cardiology and endocrinology playing field since the niacin trials were published, including the HATS 2001 NEJM publication by BG Brown et al.
Dr. Davis' Nutritional Wisdom and Recent TYP Topics (Members) to Reverse Vascular Dysfunction:
o Fructose: Dangerous at Any Level?
o Anthocyanidins: Eat Purple
o S-L-E-E-P -- Quality and Quantity
o Iodine Deficiency -- Importance for Heart Health
o Thermoregulation -- Thyroid and Adrenal Dysfunction
o TYP Part 3 Diet: 40% Fat Diet for Lp(a) and read more HERE