London: In developments which could lead scientists to hunt for new drugs to fight heart diseases, researchers have discovered that a substance formed from glucose in the body turns "good" cholesterol into "bad", increasing risk of heart diseases.
The substance called methylglyoxal (MG) damages "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol that helps remove excess levels of bad cholesterol or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from the body.
MG destabilises HDL and causes it to lose the properties which protect against heart disease, researchers said.
"By understanding how MG damages HDL we can now focus on developing drugs that reduce the concentration of MG in the blood, but it is not only drugs that can help," said lead researcher Naila Rabbani from the University of Warwick in Britain.
According to her, "We could now develop new food supplements that decrease MG by increasing the amount of a protein called glyoxalase 1, or Glo 1, which converts MG to harmless substances".
This means that in future we have both new drugs and new foods that can help prevent and correct low HDL, all through the control of MG, researcher noted.
There are currently no drugs that can reverse low levels of HDL.
A potentially damaging substance, MG is formed from glucose in the body.
Glo1 converts MG to harmless substances and protects us. MG levels are normally kept low in the body but they slowly increase with ageing as Glo1 wears out and is only slowly replaced.
The study appeared in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.