As we get older and wiser, we start to realize that true health and longevity depend on more than just diet and exercise alone. While those pillars are certainly important, understanding our body at the molecular level provides key insights into how we can live longer, healthier lives.
One of the most underrated in normal screening tests yet crucial biomarker for overall health and longevity is a protein in your body called apolipoprotein B, or ApoB, for short.
Tracking and maintaining healthy ApoB levels may be one of the most impactful steps you can take to promote healthy aging and add years of healthy living to your future.
TLDR: ApoB is a crucial biomarker for health and longevity.
- ApoB is a better predictor of heart health than conventional measurements
- High or unhealthy ApoB levels are associated with poor health outcomes and shorter lifespan.
- Maintaining healthy ApoB levels through diet and lifestyle can promote healthy aging and extend your years of healthy living.
The Importance of ApoB to Longevity.
What Is ApoB and Why It Matters for Health
Apolipoprotein B, or ApoB, is a protein found on lipids such as cholesterol and triglycerides. High ApoB levels indicate you have numerous particles in your blood that can accelerate atherosclerosis.
This buildup of plaque in your arteries raises the risk of heart disease and other circulatory problems. Optimizing your ApoB levels have also been linked to better diabetes control, reduced hypertension, and improved liver health.
How ApoB Testing Can Assess Heart Disease Risk Better Than LDL
An ApoB test provides a superior assessment of heart disease risk compared to LDL alone. Each ApoB particle, whether in a VLDL, IDL, LDL or lipoprotein(a) carrier, poses the same threat to artery walls.
Traditional LDL tests may underestimate the amount of plaque-forming molecules circulating in your bloodstream, which ApoB tests can accurately reflect.
While national guidelines do not specify target levels for ApoB, it's essential to note that there is no defined lower limit for ApoB. The principle is that the lower the ApoB levels, the more favorable it is for your overall health.
- ApoB levels less than 80 mg/dL are considered optimal for heart health.
- Levels between 80 to 99 mg/dL indicate moderate risk.
- ApoB levels of 100 mg/dL or higher signify high risk of atherosclerosis and related cardiovascular events like heart attack or stroke.
How Often to Screen for ApoB
To keep your apoB levels in a healthy range, the National Lipid Association recommends getting screened every 3 to 5 years, starting at age 20. The frequency depends on your risk factors.
If you have high cholesterol or heart disease in your family...
You'll want to get screened more often, about every 2-3 years. Early detection of high apoB or LDL cholesterol is key to reducing health risks. Ask your doctor about also screening for other biomarkers like hsCRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein) and Lp(a) lipoprotein a.
If you have a healthy heart and lipids...
Getting screened every 5 years is probably sufficient, unless your numbers start creeping up or other health issues develop. But don't skip testing altogether. Even for healthy adults, apoB levels over 120 mg/dL may increase the risk of plaque buildup in arteries over time.
When you do get tested, look at your apoB result along with other cholesterol panel numbers like LDL, HDL, triglycerides, and the total cholesterol/HDL ratio. Together they provide a more complete picture of your risk.
Mito Health's flagship package, priced at $499, offers testing for ApoB as well as 66 other carefully curated biomarkers that provide insight into various aspects of your health - this comprehensive suite of tests allows for early detection of cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes and more.
In addition to testing, members receive a personalized health optimization plan from our doctors incorporating supplements, nutrition, exercise and sleep strategies, and access to exclusive health and longevity events for members.
Lifestyle Changes to Optimize ApoB Levels
To optimize your ApoB levels and support healthspan, several lifestyle changes can help.
Generally, dietary changes are more effective than increasing exercise, although both should be used in tandem for optimal results. If you are currently overweight, the goal primarily should be losing weight, followed by diet (including supplements), and exercise to optimize your ApoB levels.
Consult your physician if ApoB lowering medications are required as well.
A heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol can help lower ApoB. Focus on lean proteins like fish and chicken, lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Limit red meat, full-fat dairy, and fried foods.
Some specific recommendations:
- Increase omega-3 fatty acids like fatty fish, chia seeds, and flaxseeds. They help lower inflammation and triglycerides.
- Add plant sterols and stanols which can block cholesterol absorption. Look for fortified foods like legumes, vegetable oils, nuts, cereals, and seeds.
- Increase soluble fibers such as oats, barley, beans, carrots and brussels sprouts, which help lower ApoB. Aim for 25-30 grams of fiber per day.
- Adopt diets such as the Mediterranean diet or vegan diet, which have shown to reduce levels of ApoB.
- Limit sugary and starchy foods which can raise triglyceride levels and ApoB. Cut back on sweets, white bread, and white rice.
- Reduce high saturated fat foods such as butter and fatty cuts of meat
- Get sufficient Vitamin C from fruits and supplements, Vitamin D from fish and eggs, and magnesium from seeds and whole grains.
Engaging in regular aerobic exercise and strength or resistance training can help lower ApoB levels. Aim for at least 30-60 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
- Brisk walking, jogging, biking or swimming. Aerobic exercise improves cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity.
- High intensity interval or strength training. In addition to aerobic exercise, include interval or weight training 2-3 times a week. Building muscle mass improves metabolic health and lowers ApoB.
- Reduce sedentary time. Too much sitting or lying down is associated with higher ApoB and health risks. Stand up, walk around and stretch whenever possible.
Incorporating certain supplements into your routine can complement lifestyle changes and contribute to lowering ApoB levels. While maintaining a regular exercise regimen remains crucial, specific supplements have shown promise in supporting cardiovascular health.
Some supplement suggestions:
- Fiber, including beta glucans
- Probiotic products that contain Lactobacillus strains
- Vitamin C
Making these lifestyle changes to diet and exercise can significantly lower your ApoB levels, supporting longevity and improved healthspan. Be sure to also get enough sleep, manage your stress, limit alcohol, and avoid tobacco use-all of which can negatively impact ApoB and health. With time and consistency, you can positively influence this important biomarker.
By understanding and optimizing this important but underrated biomarker, you can take control of your metabolic health, reduce disease risks, and potentially add healthy years to your lifespan. Making ApoB a priority and focusing on lifestyle and medical interventions to lower it could be one of the most significant steps you take for your long term health and longevity.
At Mito Health, we specialize in advanced health diagnostics to test your ApoB levels (along with 66 other biomarkers) - to form a science-based, personalized health plan to help you optimize your health. Sign up for our flagship package today to take control of your health and your future.