Diet and Lp(a): Does Dietary Change Modify Residual Cardiovascular Risk Conferred by Lp(a)?

Nutrients. 2020 Jul 7;12(7):2024. doi: 10.3390/nu12072024.


Lipoprotein(a) [Lp(a)] is an independent, causal, genetically determined risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD). We provide an overview of current knowledge on Lp(a) and CVD risk, and the effect of pharmacological agents on Lp(a). Since evidence is accumulating that diet modulates Lp(a), the focus of this paper is on the effect of dietary intervention on Lp(a). We identified seven trials with 15 comparisons of the effect of saturated fat (SFA) replacement on Lp(a). While replacement of SFA with carbohydrate, monounsaturated fat (MUFA), or polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) consistently lowered low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), heterogeneity in the Lp(a) response was observed. In two trials, Lp(a) increased with carbohydrate replacement; one trial showed no effect and another showed Lp(a) lowering. MUFA replacement increased Lp(a) in three trials; three trials showed no effect and one showed lowering. PUFA or PUFA + MUFA inconsistently affected Lp(a) in four trials. Seven trials of diets with differing macronutrient compositions showed similar divergence in the effect on LDL-C and Lp(a). The identified clinical trials show diet modestly affects Lp(a) and often in the opposing direction to LDL-C. Further research is needed to understand how diet affects Lp(a) and its properties, and the lack of concordance between diet-induced LDL-C and Lp(a) changes.

Keywords: Lp(a), cardiovascular risk; diet; metabolic feeding trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carbohydrates
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / therapy
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / metabolism
  • Diet / methods*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Heart Disease Risk Factors
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lipoprotein(a) / blood*
  • Lipoprotein(a) / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Carbohydrates
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Lipoprotein(a)