The Track Your Plaque “Rule of 60”

The Track Your Plaque recommended targets for conventional lipids (i.e., LDL, HDL, triglycerides) are LDL 60 mg/dl, HDL 60 mg/dl, and triglycerides 60 mg/dl: 60-60-60.

Not only is this set of values easy to remember—60-60-60—but is grounded in science and the results of clinical trials.

LDL 60 mg/dl
The LDL target is based on experiences such as that of the Reversal Trial, the PROVE-IT Trial, and the Asteroid Trial, all of which showed that LDL cholesterol values in the range of 60 mg/dl dramatically enhance the likelihood of stopping plaque growth or achieving regression, reducing risk of heart attack more than more lenient LDL targets.

HDL 60 mg/dl
Achieving HDL cholesterol of 60 mg/dl is not as well grounded as LDL targets, mostly because increasing HDL is more difficult. There’s also no tremendously profitable way to raise HDL, as there is for reducing LDL (statin drugs). But epidemiologic observations strongly suggest that HDL of 60 mg/dl provides maximum control over both coronary plaque growth, as well as slashing rates of heart attack. Numerous smaller trials have borne this phenomenon out.

Triglycerides 60 mg/dl
Triglycerides of 60 mg/dl is based principally on studies that have shown a virtual elimination of abnormal lipoproteins, especially small LDL, when this value is achieved. Reduction of triglycerides is an effective means to reduce hidden lipoproteins like small LDL and VLDL. Triglycerides in the conventionally acceptable range of 100-150 mg/dl can be associated with dramatic abnormalities of lipoproteins.

Thus, the Track Your Plaque “Rule of 60”. In our day to day experience of trying to stamp out plaque growth from its terrifyingly rapid 30% per year, or reversing it—-dropping your heart scan score—-the Rule of 60 has held up time and again. Getting your lipids to 60 mg/dl does not guarantee that plaque growth stops, but it appears to be a necessary requirement that tips the scales heavily in your favor.

Those of you who’ve discussed lipid targets with your doctor will quickly recognize that the Track Your Plaque targets appear laughably ambitious, perhaps unnecessary. Recall that your doctor likely has no idea of what coronary plaque regression means. He/she likely conforms to the lax targets set by the National Cholesterol Education Panel (NCEP). (These targets depend on a number of factors such as whether you’re diabetic, sex, risk factors, etc.) Based on trial experiences like the few mentioned above, as well as my experience with purposeful coronary plaque reversal, the lipid guidelines as advocated by NCEP guarantee heart disease. Let me emphasize that again: Follow the guidelines set by the NCEP for your doctor to follow, and progression of heart disease is a virtual certainty. At best, it may slow growth of plaque and delay your heart attack or bypass surgery, but it will not stop it.

Now, that point made, let me make another: Just knowing about the targets and even becoming a member of the Track Your Plaque program does not mean that your lipids with automatically go to 60-60-60. We’ve actually had an occasional person tell us that they were disappointed that, by becoming Members, why hadn’t their lipids gone to 60-60-60?

Knowing that the 60-60-60 targets provide real advantage is not the same as actually achieving them.