I have mentioned before that my lipid profile is reasonable to good but the one marker that has been out of kilter is the Lp-PLA2. This is a blood enzyme that is believed to be associated with inflammation and more worryingly with inflammation of soft plaques. Contrary to popular belief blocked arteries even up to 90% can be perfectly safe and still allow people to function. What usually kills people when it comes to heart attacks is the rupture of any small soft plaques. These small soft plaques cannot be detected so you only tend to find out if you have any when they rupture and cause a major blockage.
If soft plaques are secreting Lp-PLA2 they are more vulnerable to rupture. Of course other forms of inflammation with access to the blood stream can lift this marker too eg gum disease.
I got my results back today and the marker is still at 210, although down from 235 it is still above the 195 that only puts you in the medium risk range.
It appears that there has only been one study done on lowering Lp-PLA2 and that showed that fish oil significantly lowered it and made soft plaques less prone to rupture. Now I do not take fish oil, preferring Krill oil as fish oil tends to upset my stomach but I am going to try Natures Best which is not only loaded with EPA and the more important DHA but is reputed to be fish burp free and generally kinder on the stomach. If you have found a fish oil that is easy on the stomach do let me know. If I can tolerate one it will be interesting in a few months to see if the fish oil has had any impact.
Just found this study that suggests that Niacin can raise Lp-PLA2 levels
Participants who had raised Lp-PLA2 when taking Niacin were put on Fish Oil, Spirulina, Grape Seed Extract and Pycnogenol. I have used Spirulina in my blending on and off but clearly need to keep using it. With regard to Niacin, it is included in my Vitamin B complex supplement. A possible way round this is to switch to simply a Vitamin B12 only tablet and if this alone keeps Homocysteine in check then I will have at least removed the Niacin. There is an element of whacking crocodiles here as Niacin, as I have blogged before, certainly lowers cholesterol.
Also just discovered the following two studies. The first suggests that lowering Lp-PLA2 does not actually improve end points in patients, in other words no fewer heart attacks. The second study suggests that its the EPA that lowers Lp-PLA2 so although we usually revere the DHA it could well be the EPA that does the trick on Lp-PLA2.