I received genetic testing and was determined to have two copies of ApoE4. However, prior to this discovery, through trial and error (that is via numerous lipid panel tests over the years and subsequent adjustments to my diet, I realized that my LDL is very sensitive to any animal derived saturated fat and some plant fats, specifically coconut oil/medium chained triglycerides (MCT). I am now a whole food, plant based eater for this reason (minus coconut oil). The good news is that according to past and ongoing research, consuming a whole food, plant based diet (lots of fruits, vegetables, low glycemic whole grains, nuts, seeds and no added sugars, no refined carbohydrates and no processed foods) may help to decrease the risk of developing late onset Alzheimer's - even for carriers of 2 copies of ApoE4 like me!
Therefore, because elevated LDL has been linked to increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular health is intrinsically linked to neurovascular health (brain health), then the logic follows that achieving and maintaining LDL levels well below 100 and triglyceride levels well below 150 should be the predominant goal for anyone actively working to avoid the development of Alzheimer's.
My frustration lately has been finding recommended supplements (that, according to related peer reviewed, randomized, controlled trials work to improve cardiovascular and neurovascular health), that do not contain additives, fillers and potentially blood lipid elevating substances that could run counter to what the supplement is supposed to be doing in the first place. For example, in November 2019 my LDL was 118 (which actually had decreased 14 points since omitting MCT/coconut derived) and my triglycerides were 70 - excellent, as usual, thankfully, - which had decreased also from 88.
In response to Dr. Bredesen's recommendations in his book "The End of Alzheimer's," I began taking CoQ10, Vitamin D3 and algae derived DHA DPA. I foolishly, (hind sight is 20/20) did not carefully examine the ingredients or the ingredients of the actual capsule. I had my lipid profile retested just this past week (end of February 2020), eagerly awaiting even lower LDL and triglyceride levels. Much to my horror, my LDL had INCREASED to 137 (an increase of nearly 20 points) and for the first time in my life my triglycerides were a whopping 141!! Never before, had my triglycerides risen above the 80s. I was flabbergasted and extremely frustrated.
I began researching the possible culprits. Here is what I discovered:
1) I discovered that in some individuals (and yes, also in mice) supplemental DHA, regardless if it's derived from algae or fish, can result in an elevation of LDL.
2) MCT (medium chained triglycerides, commonly found in coconut and palm kernel oils) can result in elevating both LDL and triglyceride levels in humans.
3) The ingestion of glycerin and/or gelatin raised LDL and triglycerides in mice. The results are still pending for humans.
Low and behold, the CoQ10, D3 and DHA DPA supplement capsules were all made from gelatin/glycerin. The CoQ10 contained several fillers, one of which was...drum roll please...MCT from coconut oil. Not to mention the fact that the CoQ10 and the D3 were both animal derived.
Lesson learned. Do not assume that when an expert recommends certain supplements that those supplements are all created equal. Research is required on the part of the consumer prior to purchasing. I naively assumed that because he was recommending them in his book, to decrease risk of Alzheimer's, that the supplements were all plant derived/based. After all, he strongly recommends eating a whole food, plant based diet. Therefore, the supplements should all be whole food, plant based. Right?
The long and the short of it is, I have discovered that my blood lipids are extremely susceptible to fluctuations depending on whether I consume animal derived saturated fats, dietary cholesterol and medium chained triglycerides/coconut oil. The question remains: Is my blood lipid fluctuation susceptibility because I have two copies of ApoE4?
Is there anyone else out there, who has one or two copies of ApoE4 who has experienced the same or similar issues with diet/supplement related LDL and/or triglyceride volatility?
The good news in all of this is that despite having this sensitivity, I CAN control my LDL and triglyceride levels through diet. Yay! I just have to be a very diligent researcher prior to selecting a supplement and when choosing foods.