People who carry the gene for lipoprotein(a), Lp(a), tend to be:
–Intelligent–The bell curve of IQ is shifted rightward by a substantial margin.
–Athletic–With unusual capacity for long-endurance effort, thus the many marathoners, triathletes, and long-distance bikers with Lp(a).
–Tolerant to dehydration
–Tolerant to starvation
–Resistant to tropical infections
In other words, people with Lp(a) have an evolutionary survival advantage. More than other people, they make clever, capable hunters who can run for hours to chase down prey, not requiring food or water, and less likely to succumb to the infections of the wild. In a primitive setting, people with Lp(a) are survivors. Evolution has likely served to select Lp(a) people for their superior survival characteristics.
But wait a minute: Isn’t Lp(a) a risk for heart attack and stroke? Don’t we call Lp(a) “the most aggressive known cause for heart disease and stroke that nobody gives a damn about”?
Yes. So what allows this evolutionary advantage for survival to become a survival disadvantage?
Carbohydrates, especially those from grains and sugars. Let me explain.
More so than other people, Lp(a) people express the small LDL pattern readily when they consume carbohydrates such as those from “healthy whole grains.” Recall that the gene for Lp(a) is really the gene for apoprotein(a), the protein that, once produced by the liver and released into the bloodstream, binds to an available LDL particle to create the combination Lp(a) molecule. If the LDL particle component of Lp(a) is small, it confers greater atherogenicity (greater plaque-causing potential). Thus, carbohydrate consumption makes Lp(a) a more aggressive cause for atherosclerotic plaque. The situation can be made worse by exposure to vegetable oils, such as those from sunflower or corn, which increases production of apo(a).
Also, more than other people, Lp(a) people tend to show diabetic tendencies with consumption of carbohydrates. Eat “healthy whole grains,” for instance, or if a marathoner carb-loads, he/she will show diabetic-range blood sugars. I have seen long-distance runners or triathletes, for instance, have a 6 ounce container of sugary yogurt and have blood sugars of 200 mg/dl or higher. The extreme exercise provides no protection from the diabetic potential.
Because carbohydrates are so destructive to the Lp(a) type, it means that people with this pattern do best by 1) absolutely minimizing exposure to carbohydrates and vegetable oils, ideally grain-free and sugar-free, and 2) rely on a diet rich in fats and proteins.
The perfect diet for the Lp(a) type? It would be a diet of feasting on the spoils of the hunt, devouring the wild boar captured and slaughtered and eating the snout, hindquarters, spleen, kidneys, heart, and bone marrow, then eating mushrooms, leaves, nuts, coconut, berries, small rodents, reptiles, fish, birds, and insects when the hunt is unproductive.
Capable hunter, survivor, consumer of muscle and organ meats: I call people with Lp(a) “The Perfect Carnivores.”