Does a ketogenic diet lower a very high Lp(a)? A striking experiment in a male physician

BMJ Nutr Prev Health. 2020 Nov 20;3(2):413-415. doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000189. eCollection 2020 Dec.


The level of lipoprotein(a) (Lp(a)), an important cardiovascular risk factor, is considered to be genetically determined. I am a 55-year-old male physician specialised in preventive medicine and a hobby triathlete with a body mass index of 24.9 kg/m2 and a maximum oxygen consumption (VO2max) of ~50 mL/(kg×min), with an average of 7-10 hours of exercise per week. I discovered my own Lp(a) at 92-97 mg/dL in 2004 and measured a maximum Lp(a) of 108 mg/dL in 2013. Surprisingly, I observed a much lower Lp(a) of 65 mg/dL in 2018. This happened after I had adopted a very-low-carb ketogenic diet for long-term endurance exercise. My n=1 experiment in July 2020 demonstrated an increase in Lp(a) back to 101 mg/dL on a very high-carb diet within 2 weeks, and a drop back to 74 mg/dL after 3 weeks on the ketogenic diet afterwards. The observed large changes in my Lp(a) were thus reproducible by a change in carbohydrate consumption and might have clinical relevance for patients as well as researchers in the field of Lp(a).

Keywords: biomarker; lipid lowering; nutritional treatment.