‘Bad’ cholesterol is actually ‘good’

Last Updated: Friday, May 6, 2011 - 00:00

Washington: A new study has found that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or so-called “bad cholesterol” is not as bad as it has been made out to be in recent years.

LDL is almost always referred to as the “bad” cholesterol because it tends to build up in the walls of arteries, causing a slowing of the blood flow that often leads to heart disease and heart attacks.

But researcher Steve Riechman from the Texas A and M University said, “LDL serves a very useful purpose. It acts as a warning sign that something is wrong and it signals the body to these warning signs. It does its job the way it is supposed to.”

Riechman conducted the study with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, Kent State University, the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

They examined 52 adults from ages to 60 to 69 who were in generally good health but not physically active, and none of them were participating in a training program.

The study showed that after fairly vigorous workouts, participants who had gained the most muscle mass also had the highest levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which Riechman said, “a very unexpected result and one that surprised us.”

“It shows that you do need a certain amount of LDL to gain more muscle mass. There’s no doubt you need both – the LDL and the HDL — and the truth is, it (cholesterol) is all good. You simply can’t remove all the ‘bad’ cholesterol from your body without serious problems occurring,” he said.

“People often say, ‘I want to get rid of all my bad (LDL) cholesterol,’ but the fact is, if you did so, you would die.

“Our tissues need cholesterol, and LDL delivers it. HDL, the good cholesterol, cleans up after the repair is done. And the more LDL you have in your blood, the better you are able to build muscle during resistance training.

“The bottom line is that LDL – the bad cholesterol – serves as a reminder that something is wrong and we need to find out what it is,” he added.

The study was published in the Journal of Gerontology.

ANI




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