What is ApoB and what does it mean?
By Henry Howard
When an email alerted me that my new InsideTracker results were available, I first checked out my ApoB score, as it would give me a good look at a new biometric being measured.
So what’s ApoB?
Apolipoprotein B (ApoB) is a protein found on all potentially atherogenic (artery-clogging) lipoproteins, according to InsideTracker. Lipoproteins (the "L" in HDL and LDL) transport cholesterol throughout the body. This test provides a quantifiable look at the number of these particles in the bloodstream and, predicts their risk. An optimized ApoB level (between 40 and 90) indicates healthy cholesterol transport and clearance. My score was 59 on Feb. 1 in an abbreviated test and 61 as of March 27.
ApoB was among 49 biomarkers I had tested, 35 of which were optimized. Eight others were rated “needs improvement,” while six were deemed “at risk.” That’s better than my previous full test in October when eight needed improvement while 10 were at risk.
Regular InsideTracker tests allow me to analyze how my training, nutrition, recovery and other factors are having an impact on my overall health. But I’m not alone. InsideTracker not only provides easy-to-grasp data but offers customized recommendations for improvement.
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Understanding ApoB levels
My score of around 60 fell into the normal range of ApoB levels. Via InsideTracker, here’s what the ranges mean:
Normal ApoB levels (40-120 mg/dL) can indicate healthy cholesterol transport and clearance. ApoB levels towards the higher end of this range may begin to indicate suboptimal cholesterol clearance.
High ApoB levels (greater than 120 mg/dL) can indicate decreased cholesterol clearance from the blood and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Consult with your physician if your ApoB levels are above 120 mg/dL.
It is possible for ApoB levels to be too low. A range of 40 to 50 mg/dL is considered to be too low, though more research needs to be vetted. Low levels of ApoB likely result from medical conditions or diseases in the body including hyperthyroidism, cirrhosis, or malnutrition, according to InsideTracker.
On the other hand, high ApoB levels can indicate a risk of heart disease.
ApoB-tagged particles carry LDL cholesterol throughout the body. So elevated ApoB levels can indicate the body cannot remove excess LDL cholesterol from the blood. With decreased clearance, more ApoB particles get deposited into the arterial walls. And when left unaddressed, elevated ApoB particles — mainly consisting of LDL cholesterol — can eventually increase plaque build-up. That narrows and constricts the arteries and increases the risk of heart disease.
How I fared since the previous test
After each InsideTracker test, I review the score, analysis and recommendations, and create a to-do plan for myself. I also publish the action steps I will take to hold myself accountable and so that the next test should yield better results.
In my most recent full test from six months ago, I listed these three items as my goals:
• Vitamin B12. Keep using the new supplement but back off to five days a week instead of daily. Result: Success! I lowered my B12 level from an extraordinary high of 1295 to 597, squarely in the middle of the optimized zone.
• Sleep. This is an area I have struggled with. As my training load will be reduced in the months ahead, this is a good opportunity to ensure I get the rest my body needs more consistently. Result: This is still an area where I struggle.
• Sodium. I am interested to see how this category will fare next time. To improve this biomarker, I’ll be more consistent in refueling with a sports drink, per the suggestion from InsideTracker. Result: This is trending in the wrong direction. My level went from an already low 133 to 130 when the optimal range is 137 to 145. This is a pretty good overview of why having too little or too much sodium can be problematic.
Goals before next test
• Improve sodium level. This appears to be urgent. I’ll need to be vigilant to refuel with a sports drink, per the suggestion from InsideTracker, and increase sodium in my diet.
• Reduce potassium level. My score is nearly off the charts, up to 5.5 after being in the optimal range for most of the 21 previous tests. Like sodium, being able to hydrate better should improve this score.
• Keep boosting white and red blood cell counts. My recent test showed gradual improvement for both of these markers, which are just below the optimized line. Continuing the work I’ve done in these areas should lead to improvements, thanks to InsideTracker.