SpectraCell Blog

Shedding Some Light on Cholesterol

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 @ 12:54 PM

improve-heart-health-naturally_cropped.jpgDid you know that everything you’ve learned about cholesterol and its association with heart attacks is only partly correct? Consider this startling statistic: 50% of people who have suffered a heart attack, have "normal" cholesterol. Another way of saying this is that among heart attack victims, standard cholesterol testing would have detected “normal” ranges in half of this population had it been performed on the day of their event. This begs the question: why do so many practitioners use a diagnostic test that only identifies 50% of those at risk? The reason is simple: it is the test with which they are familiar and has been in use for decades. But did you know that HDL and LDL (the “good” and “bad” cholesterol), are only some of the pieces of the puzzle? Knowing your HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol is only the beginning; SpectraCell’s LPP (Lipoprotein Particle Profile) test identifies these and other components, shedding light on a spectrum of factors that provide detailed information about one’s cardiovascular health.

Here is one way to look at heart disease: when blood vessels are injured or inflamed, lipoproteins containing cholesterol and other lipids penetrate the arterial lining and build plaque. This is akin to a scab on the inside of a blood vessel, causing a reduction in blood flow. Since plaque buildup is the physiological response to injured and inflamed vessels, reducing these factors is critical.

This is where cholesterol comes in. Plaque is actually a response to vascular injury - not the cause of it. Cholesterol, a component of plaque, is rarely the culprit, but lipoproteins are. Lipoproteins are particles that penetrate the arterial lining and build plaque as a result of the injury. These tiny particles carry cholesterol (the vascular scapegoat) through the bloodstream, and cause damage (cholesterol is really just one component of lipoproteins). In other words, lipoproteins are often the real villain (some are extraordinarily dangerous, others are completely benign).

Lipoproteins are classified by size. In general, the bigger, the better, and here’s why: larger, fluffier low density lipoprotein (LDL) particles cannot penetrate the arterial lining as easily as smaller LDL particles can. Less injury to the artery over time results in less plaque formation along with clearer, more pliable blood vessels (this is a good thing). Remnant lipoproteins (RLPs) are cited as having a very strong relationship with heart disease. Statins, which are often prescribed to lower LDLs, will do little to lower RLPs – these are best lowered by high-dose omega-3 fatty acids. Understanding one’s own lipoprotein profile (number and type of LDLs) floating in the bloodstream, is key to promoting improved vascular health outcomes through lifestyle change.

Without any objective information regarding one’s lipoprotein profile, many people are simply shooting in the dark in terms of treatment for these types of cardiovascular issues. The message is clear: simply measuring cholesterol without taking into account lipoprotein particle numbers and density is certainly not enough, as suggested by the 50% statistic cited above. Talk to your health care provider about pursuing a lipoprotein profile test to get a comprehensive assessment of your cardiac risk factors. We saved the best part for last: SpectraCell's LPP test costs about the same as an outdated cholesterol test, and is often covered by insurance!



Topics: Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Lipoproteins, Heart Attack, Lipoprotein Particles, LDL and HDL, Standard Cholesterol Testing

UPDATE: 2011 Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ (LPP™) Report Enhancements

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Thu, Mar 31, 2011 @ 01:32 PM

Cardiovascular healthWe are excited to introduce our new report for the Lipoprotein Particle Profile™. We believe the changes that have been made will make the report easier to read and will facilitate your assessment of risk and the selection of patient specific treatment programs.

Addition of the Traditional Lipid Panel (Cholesterol, Triglycerides, HDL, LDL)

Many physicians continue to utilize the traditional cholesterol or lipid panel for guidance in the selection of an appropriate treatment strategy. Although we believe that the treatment is better determined by the application of the results from HDL and LDL subgroups and their particle numbers, the traditional lipid panel continues to be used for risk assessment and we are therefore including it in our report.

Elimination of CEQ

Many physicians and their patients found the practice of reporting lipoprotein test results in terms of cholesterol equivalents confusing. Therefore, we are eliminating this concept from our report.

Addition of ApoB, non-HDL cholesterol and non-HDL particle numbers

A value for non-HDL cholesterol has been included since it is likely to be the new NCEP ATP IV target of therapy when the guidelines are released later this year. Additionally we have added Apolipoprotein B and non-HDL particle numbers which were the focus of the Consensus Statement of the American College of Cardiology and the American Diabetes Association for better risk assessment. Individual variability in the triglyceride and cholesterol composition of the lipoprotein subgroups can make particle numbers more meaningful in risk assessment.

LPP Sample Test ReportOther report changes include:

• Lp(a) results have been moved to the Risk Modification section.

• The reporting units for hs-CRP have been changed from mg/dL to mg/L which changes the reference range to 0.00 – 3.00 mg/L.

• The LDL mean size/phenotype result has been deleted as this result can often be misleading as a result of variances in the total LDL result.

• The Apo B reference range has been changed to 40 – 100 mg/dL.

• The Apo A1 reference range has been changed to 115 – 224 mg/dL. This test is not a part of the LPP™ Basic or Plus panels, it must be ordered separately.

Are you using a cardiovascular risk assessment in your practice?

Topics: lipoprotein particle profile, LPP, Cholesterol, Cardiovascular Health, Heart Disease, Lp(a), Triglycerides, LDL and HDL, Apo A, Apo B

The Role of Micronutrients in Heart Disease

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 @ 01:56 PM

Is Your Heart at Risk?



There is compelling evidence that deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are a major contributor to cardiovascular disease and its symptoms. Similarly, the use of many drugs in treating heart disease often lead to various nutrient deficiencies.

Micronutrients and High Blood Pressure:

High blood pressure can result in physical damage to thMicronutrients and High Blood Pressuree walls of our blood vessels. Although the causes of hypertension often overlap, micronutrient deficiencies can cause or worsen this condition. Several mineral deficiencies such as zinc, copper, calcium and magnesium have been linked to high blood pressure.

Research also suggests that a high level of oxidative stress eventually takes its toll on our arteries, ultimately causing hypertension. Several studies of coenzyme Q10 lowered blood pressure significantly. The antioxidant vitamins C and E help blood vessels maintain their flexibility, allowing them to easily dilate and contract. The powerful antioxidant lipoic acid reduces blood pressure by inhibiting inflammatory responses in the blood vessels. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to hypertension because it contributes to endothelial dysfunction, a condition where the lining of blood vessels cannot relax properly and secrete substances that promote inflammation of the blood vessel lining.

Prevent Arterial "Scarring":

Vitamin B6, B12, folate, serine and choline are all necessary to properly metabolize homocysteine and reduce the risk of arterial scarring. In fact, B-vitamin therapy has been an effective treatment for reducing heart disease and blood pressure.

Keeping the Heart Muscle StrongKeeping the Heart Muscle Strong:

The heart’s requirement for energy compared to other muscle tissues is incredibly high. Carnitine is an amino acid that facilitates the transport of fatty acids into heart cell mitochondria, thus helping the heart meet its strong demand for chemical energy. It also helps muscles, including the heart, recover from damage, such as from a heart attack. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) is another key component in energy metabolism by helping the heart increase its pumping strength. Deficiencies of vitamin B1 have been found in patients with congestive heart failure, as long-term use of diuretic drugs, which are often prescribed to those patients, deplete the body’s storage of thiamine. Coenzyme Q10 is also required by cardiac tissue in large amounts to properly function. Statin drugs deplete the body of CoQ10, so deficiencies of CoQ10 in statin-users are particularly common.

Heart Disease is an Inflammatory Process:

Scientists now emphasize that heart disease is actually an inflammatory condition within the blood vessels. Inflammation and oxidative stress work together damaging arteries and impairing cardiac function. Several antioxidant nutrients minimize this inflammatory process.

Glutathione is the most potent intracellular antioxidant and actually helps to regenerate other antioxidants in the body. Cysteine, glutathione, B2, selenium, Vitamin E and Vitamin C work together to reduce oxidative stress throughout the entire cardiovascular system.

How Well Do Your Arteries Fight Oxidative Stress?:

An optimal antioxidant status is particularly important in the Preventing Atherosclerosisprevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and stroke. Since many antioxidants work together synergistically, measuring a single antioxidant may not provide an accurate picture of total antioxidant function. SpectraCell’s SPECTROX™ score will provide a complete and accurate picture of the overall antioxidant status of patients.

Preventing Atherosclerosis:

One of the major culprits in heart attacks and stroke is the buildup of plaque within the arteries throughout the body. Lipoproteins become dangerous when they are oxidized, making them “sticky” and causing blockage of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Micronutrient deficiencies accelerate atherosclerosis. One study showed that oleic acid (found primarily in olive oil) reduces oxidative damage to lipoproteins. It also facilitates absorption of vitamin A in the gut, which is important because vitamin A is linked to lower levels of arterial plaque, primarily due to its antioxidant effect in protecting lipids from oxidation.

Vitamin K supplementation to deficient people slowed the progression of plaque formation in major arteries. Vitamin B3 (niacin) lowers blood cholesterol (fats in the blood), inhibits the oxidation of LDL, and is currently the most effective drug available for raising the heart-protective, good HDL cholesterol. One study on chemicals made from vitamin B5 (pantothenic acids) showed a decrease in blood triglycerides and cholesterol, and evidence suggests that vitamin E can even retard existing atherosclerosis. Another study showed that inositol, a member of the B vitamin family, decreases dangerous small, dense lipoproteins that easily penetrate blood vessel walls and cause atherosclerosis.

Preventing StrokePreventing Stroke:

A recent study on more than 20,000 people concluded that adequate vitamin C levels reduced risk of stroke by over 40%. Similar studies on calcium, magnesium, folate and biotin all concluded that adequate levels of these nutrients contribute to a reduction in the incidence of stroke.

Share with us your experience with the role micronutrients have played in heart disease with your patient population! Do you have a particular success?

Topics: serine, micronutrients, micronutrient testing, Coenzyme Q10, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, zinc, folate, Vitamin D, Carnitine, Magnesium, Choline, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, B Vitamins, Copper, Antioxidants, Heart Disease, Vitamin K, Calcium, Triglycerides, biotin, inositol, Heart Attack, Glutathione, High Blood Pressure, Oxidative Stress, Spectrox, Stroke, Lipoprotein Particles, LDL and HDL

SpectraCell Receives Patent on its LPP™ Cardiovascular Test

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Fri, Jan 28, 2011 @ 01:59 PM

Lipoprotein Particle Profile TestingHouston, TX- January 28, 2011. SpectraCell Laboratories has recently been awarded a patent on their Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ (LPP™) test which is used to measure cardiovascular risk. The LPP™ has been commercially available since 2006, and is a type of advanced cholesterol test that measures lipoprotein subgroups. The LPP™ gives more accurate estimation of cardiovascular risk compared to a routine cholesterol test.

The patent was awarded for use of a “Method for Analyzing Blood for Lipoprotein Components.” Specifically, the LPP™ test utilizes a patented analytical ultracentrifugation method for separating lipoprotein subclasses. This separation method for LPP™ originated at Texas A & M University and was further developed by Dr. Jan Troup, the inventor of LPP™ technology, who is also a member of SpectraCell's scientific staff.

“The LPP™ generally doesn’t cost the patient any more than a standard cholesterol test, but it gives the doctor much more relevant and accurate information.” states Dr. Jan Troup, PhD, and Director of Lipid Science for SpectraCell Laboratories. “Different lipoproteins respond differently to therapy, whether it is statins, fish oils or niacin, for example. The LPP™ enables the doctor to treat appropriately.”

In recent years, the medical community has discovered that, beyond “standard” cholesterol tests, an independent factor for heart disease can be determined by measuring the density and number of lipoprotein particles, to which cholesterol is attached. Patients with a normal cholesterol value, but abnormal particle sizes or numbers, can be at serious risk for cardiovascular disease.

In fact, The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) acknowledges that 50% of people that have heart attacks have “normal” cholesterol – that is, cholesterol below 200 mg/dL. NCEP recognizes four risk factors that are not measured with routine cholesterol testing but are all measured by the LPP™ test:

1. RLP – (remnant lipoprotein) more easily converted into arterial plaque than other lipoproteins

2. Lp(a) – a dangerous lipoprotein that contributes to clot formation

3. HDL2b – a type of HDL that indicates how well cholesterol is being cleared from your system

4. Small, dense LDL – easily penetrates vascular wall, causing damage and plaque

The main reason to know NCEP risk factors are that specific lipoproteins respond to specific therapies very differently. The LPP™ is part of the trend toward more individualized medicine. The LPP™ test, which is done on a fasting blood sample, is usually covered by insurance. Results typically take 3-5 days.

For more information, go to www.spectracell.com


contact Dr. Jan Troup, PhD – Director of Lipid Science  at 800-227-5227

Dr. Jan Troup, Ph.D.

Topics: SpectraCell, lipoprotein particle profile, LPP, Cholesterol, Cardiovascular Health, diagnostic tools, Heart Disease, Lp(a), Lipoprotein Particles, NCEP, RLP, LDL and HDL, Patent, Dr. Jan Troup

Clearing up the Cholesterol Confusion – So Your Patient Can Understand It

Posted by Nichole Herms on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 @ 03:09 PM

Heart HealthThere has been a lot of talk about cholesterol recently in the news.  This is largely due to one startling statistic to which most people are unaware: 50% of people who have heart attacks have "normal" cholesterol.  What??? Stated differently, that means that half of all heart attack victims may have had a routine cholesterol test done on the very day they had the heart attack and felt fine because their cholesterol (by routine testing standards) was "normal."  So, why do so many practitioners use a diagnostic test that is only 50% accurate?
The reason is simple:  that's what doctors have been using for years, decades really.  But now there is more accurate testing available.  Basically, it's an evolution of the former, out-dated cholesterol testing.  Knowing your HDL and LDL - the "good" and "bad" cholesterol is only the beginning.  SpectraCell’s LPP (Lipoprotein Particle Profile) test goes much, much further.
Here is the basic scenario of heart disease:  When our blood vessels are "scratched," or injured, plaque builds up in our arteries to repair the injury, sort of like a scab on the inside of  the blood vessel, causing reduced blood flow. Since plaque buildup is our bodies' response to injury of the blood vessels, reducing the injury to our arteries is key.  
Human HeartThat's where cholesterol comes in.  Actually, cholesterol is good.  Everyone needs it.  In fact, it protects us in many ways.  Cholesterol is actually a response to vascular injury - not the cause of it.  Cholesterol is really not the culprit.  Lipoproteins are.  Lipoproteins are what "scratch" or "burrow" into our arteries causing injury.  They are actually tiny balls in our blood that carry the cholesterol, our vascular scapegoat.  Lipoproteins are what do the damage, not the cholesterol inside them.  In fact, a lipoprotein can be almost empty of cholesterol and it can still wreak havoc on our arteries, depending on its size and characteristics.  Cholesterol is really just along for the ride.  Lipoproteins, at least the dangerous ones, are the real villain.
There are different sizes of lipoproteins.  In general, bigger is better.  Here's why: Larger, fluffier LDL particles cannot lodge into your arteries (which is an injury to the artery) as easily as the smaller LDL particles can.  Less injury to the artery means less plaque formation and clearer, more pliable blood vessels - a good thing.  So it is imperative to understand what kind of LDL (low density lipoproteins) you have floating around in your blood.  There are some that are extraordinarily dangerous and some that are completely benign.
MedicationsFor example, RLP (also called remnant lipoprotein) has been cited by the government as a very high risk factor for heart disease.  But statins, which lower LDL, will do nothing to help your RLP.  Omega 3 fatty acids effectively lower RLP.  So, if you don't know what kind of lipoproteins you have, you're shooting in the dark in terms of what treatments you should take.  
Here's another example:  Lp(a) - so dangerous that it is sometimes called the widowmaker - is lowered by the simple vitamin B3 (also called niacin).  Again, you may be taking statins or fish oil pills, but they won't affect Lp(a).  You can see why measuring just plain old LDL is certainly not enough.  That is why 50% of the people who have fatal heart attacks have "normal" cholesterol - they are not getting the right cholesterol/ lipoprotein test done.
Here's the best part:  SpectraCell's LPP test costs about the same as an outdated cholesterol test and it is also usually covered by insurance.  Why wouldn't you want an LPP done?

Topics: SpectraCell, lipoprotein particle profile, LPP, Cholesterol, Heart Disease, Lipoproteins, Heart Attack, LDL and HDL