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How to Prevent Heart Disease with Genetic Testing February 11, 2012

Posted by Dr. Brady Hurst in Heart Health / Cardiovascular Disease.
Tags: , , , ,

Go Beyond Cholesterol Testing and Into Genetics

Is Cholesterol Testing A Thing of the Past?

In the past few decades, standard health care had used basic cholesterol testing as the cornerstone for the treatment of heart disease. However, more than 50 percent of those with “normal” values end up hospitalized due to a stroke or heart attack1 .

We now know cholesterol isn’t the sole problem.  What must be considered are genetic factors that influence the behavior of cholesterol. Today we have a advanced heart disease prevention test that tells us our true risk of heart disease.

Cholesterol Size Does Matter

Many studies conclude that cholesterol size and density plays a greater role in the prediction of heart disease than the total amount of cholesterol.

Think of it like this: You have 10 people who want to take a trip. They can either take 1 bus (less traffic) or each take a car. Not only do the cars create more traffic, they can also easily stop on the side of the road (cholesterol sticking to the side of an artery). What’s the size of your cholesterol?

Genetics and Heart Disease

It is true that genetics play a large role in our heart health. Genes determine how efficiently we respond to our environment, however, the key is that our environment ultimately controls our genetics with food being one of the biggest environmental influences.

Yes, this means that your risk of heart disease can weigh heavily on how well you can “genetically digest” food. There is new testing that can help determine what types of food you should eat based on your genetics. Acting on this information will greatly lower your risk of heart disease.

The APO-E Gene

The APO-E gene plays a critical role in how diet influences cholesterol behavior. To keep this simple here is a brief description of the 3 types of APO-E genes and how they respond to diet. Remember, you will fall into a combination of these categories.


A person in this category will have the tendency toward lower LDL-Count (“bad” cholesterol even though a misnomer) and higher HDL-Count (“good”), and higher triglycerides, especially in response to dietary simple carbohydrates like grains, sugars, and high glycemic foods. This person will have a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Lifestyle Changes for APOE2

  • Minimize high-glycemic index foods
  • Cholesterol-lowering effect of a low saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet may be least effective for APOE2 individuals; However, MI risk may be increased with high long-chain saturated fat.
  • Moderate alcohol intake may reduce LDL-C in men (neutral in women) and increase HDL-C.
  • Dietary fiber and exercise help improve the cholesterol size and density tests.
  • Fish oils may reduce triglycerides most effectively in APOE2 individuals.
  • Oral estrogen will increase triglycerides in APOE2 individuals; trans-dermal estrogen replacement therapy may be safer for APOE2 women.


  • Only a moderate tendency toward high LDL-count and low HDL-count.
  • Risk is intermediate between APOE2 and APOE4 for heart disease and stroke

Lifestyle Changes for APOE3 Individuals:

  • A low long-chain saturated fat and low cholesterol diet has only a moderate lipid-lowering effect in APOE3 individuals.
  • Dietary fiber, fish oils, and exercise generally improve the cholesterol profile.
  • Alcohol appears to have a neutral effect on LDL-counts.
  • Bio-idential hormone replacement therapy generally improves the lipid profiles, including post-menopausal APOE3 women.


  • Tendency toward higher triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol and lower HDL-count.
  • Increased risk of heart disease, stroke, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and toxicity by heavy metals such as lead and mercury

Lifestyle Changes for APOE4 Individuals:

  • Reduce excess weight. Start with a 10 pound goal.
  • A low long-chain saturated fat and low cholesterol diet most effectively lowers LDL-C in APOE4 individuals.
  • Minimize high-glycemic index foods.
  • Minimize alcohol (may raise LDL-C in men and cause damage to the hippocampus (memory center) when homocyctine is high.
  • Fish oils lower triglycerides but may raise LDL-C the most in APOE4 individuals.

The Heart Disease Prevention Test

Unfortunately “basic” is the standard for our current health care system. Even though we have these powerful new heart disease tests, they remain unknown and thus unused by the majority of practitioners.

You do, however, have direct access to this powerful new heart disease blood test.

Provided by our lab, True Health Labs, the new Heart Disease Prevention Test with Genomics can play a critical part when preventing heart disease. If ordered online, one of True Health Labs’s doctors will review the test results with you for free.

Article by Dr. Brady Hurst
Clinic Director for True Health Labs

1American Heart Journal Volume 157, Number 1


1. anewlovejoyMom - February 11, 2012

I love this! This is great information for anyone concerned or wanting to become more knowledgeable about heart health. Thank you Doctor Brady for bringing the latest information to the forefront.

2. raxy - February 14, 2012

Many studies conclude that cholesterol size and density plays a crucial role in the prediction of heart disease. If you love your heart than please take care of it because heart diseases are one of the major caused of death. Change your diet chart increase your intake of low cholesterol foods and eat brightly colored vegetables, fruits and whole grain.

3. anewlovejoyMom - February 14, 2012

Heart disease is the silent killer. To be assured that you do NOT have heart disease, have your heart scanned with an EBCT (Electron Beam Computed Tomography) AND do exactly as Raxy suggests.

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