Blog | NMR Lipid Profile: Why You Need THIS Blood Test to Assess Heart Disease Risk

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NMR Lipid Profile: Why You Need THIS Blood Test to Assess Heart Disease Risk

BySarah Axtell, ND October 21, 2021

I see a lot of patients for high cholesterol. If total cholesterol is above 200, the conventional approach to to simply take a statin. This is frustrating because this is a rudimentary approach.

There is so much nuance to interpreting cholesterol or lipids. A standard cholesterol panel is lacking. To get a full picture and to truly assess heart disease risk, I order the NMR lipid profile.

The NMR lipid profile assesses not only the amount of cholesterol particles in your blood but also the SIZE of lipid particles. There are two different types of LDL, for example:

-Big, buoyant LDL particles (think beach ball that can bounce off the arterial wall, not causing damage)- pattern A

-Small, dense LDL particles (think golf ball, causing damage to the arterial wall)- pattern B

Unfortunately, the conventional medical model at addressing high cholesterol is lacking. While statin medications will decrease the amount of cholesterol in your blood, they won’t address the size. In fact, statins actually appear to increase the ratio of pattern B to pattern A LDL cholesterol.

So how do we manipulate particle size?

  1. Diet:

Fasting- Intermittent fasting will reduce insulin. We know that insulin increases LDL pattern B (small dense harmful “golf ball” particles). Reducing sugar and refined carbohydrates will also reduce insulin.

Fiber– Fiber helps bind cholesterol and helps you eliminate it. Fiber also slows the release of insulin. Examples include oat bran, psyllium husk, and plenty of low carb fruits and veggies.

Fat- Avoid highly processed, industrialized vegetable oils can also help. Avoid canola oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, and partially hydrogenated fats (ie. trans fats). Eat plenty of healthy fats in the form of salmon, avocado, avocado oil, olives, olive oil, raw nuts, chia, hemp, and flax.

2. Exercise– Aim for at least 30 minutes cardio exercise 4 days/week.

3. Supplements if needed. Discuss this with your naturopathic doctor to determine what is best.

Be an advocate for yourself and ask for the NMR lipid profile to truly assess heart disease risk! Be well!

For more info on lab testing, see this post.

Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.


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