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

SpectraCell Now Offers LPP™ Cardiovascular Testing in New York

Posted by SpectraCell Laboratories, Inc. on Tue, May 17, 2011 @ 12:56 PM

Lipoprotein Particle Profile TestingSpectraCell Laboratories has officially been granted a license to provide its Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ (LPP™) test, which assesses cardiovascular risk, to New York state physicians and patients. The recently patented LPP™ test has been commercially available to the other 49 states since 2006.

SpectraCell began the process of acquiring a licensure in 2008 with an application submission the state of New York. The laboratory underwent an initial inspection by the New York State Department of Health in late 2009 followed by extensive documentation validating the LPP™ procedure, which is standard protocol required of all diagnostic laboratories. A final inspection in December 2010 concluded the evidentiary process, proving the LPP™ technology is valid, accurate and reproducible.

“Acquiring our New York license allows us to serve the largest metropolitan area in the country,” states Dr. Fred Crawford, PhD, VP of Operations and Laboratory Director at SpectraCell Labs. “In fact, many physicians in the state of New York have wanted to implement the LPP™ test in their practice but were unable to do so until now. Plus, we recently streamlined our LPP™ report using feedback from existing LPP™ clients, making it easier than ever for physicians to translate LPP™ results into clinical decisions.”

New York represents a large market for laboratory testing. According to a CNN report, approximately 40,000 physicians practice within a 30 mile radius of New York City, in contrast to a national average of about 8000 physicians for other American cities.

LPP TestingAfter visiting the laboratory and reviewing the testing protocol, Dr. Robert Rej, Director of Chemistry for the State of New York Department of Health recommended the permit be approved for SpectraCell’s LPP™ testing. The license also allows SpectraCell to add FDA approved chemistry procedures to New York clients. Their first addition will be LpPLA2 testing (lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2) which measures a specific enzyme linked to thrombosis (blood clots), indicating a higher risk of heart attack or stroke.

Just a few months ago, SpectraCell Laboratories was awarded a patent on their Lipoprotein Particle Profile™ (LPP™) test, which measures both the size and number of lipoproteins rather than the cholesterol contained within them. In recent years, more doctors have seen standard cholesterol tests label a patient “normal” when in reality their risk for heart disease is quite high.

Measuring Cholesterol is Not EnoughIn 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. The LPP™ test allows physicians to stratify risk more accurately, thus prescribing therapies that will be the most effective, depending on their patients’specific lipid profile.

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 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.

Stop by our booths in New York City!

We will be at Booth #28 at the National Lipid Association (NLA) Scientific Session (May 19-22, 2011) and Booth #435 at Pri-Med (June 16-18, 2011)!



 

Topics: SpectraCell, lipoprotein particle profile, LPP, Cardiovascular Health, Heart Disease, Lipoproteins, Lp(a), Heart Attack, Lipoprotein Particles, NCEP, RLP, New York State License

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

OR

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