Cholesterol: It's All Good

Cholesterol: It's All Good

You've heard it repeatedly: there are two kinds of cholesterol: the good high density lipoprotein (HDL) and the "bad" low density lipoprotein (LDL). Now a researcher at Texas A&M University has come to the defense of LDL and says that it may not be so bad after all.  In fact, it helps build muscle. 

According to Steve Riechman, a researcher in the Department of Health and Kinesiology, the study reveals that "LDL is not the evil Darth Vader of health it has been made out to be in recent years."

In a study published in the Journal of Gerontology, Riechman and colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, Kent State University, the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine examined 52 adults from ages 60 to 69.  The participants were in generally good health, but not physically active, and none of them were participating in a training program.

To the researchers' surprise, after the subjects completed fairly vigorous workouts, the participants who had the highest levels of LDL cholesterol had gained the most muscle mass.

According to Riechman, the study shows that we 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," said Reichman.

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in all humans and serves many necessary functions in the body.  For instance, it's been called the mother of all hormones.  Any attempt to remove all the 'bad' cholesterol from your body would cause serious problems.  In fact, low levels of cholesterol can be hazardous to your health.   

LDL is almost always referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because it is often found as a buildup in the walls of arteries.  It's been associated with a slowing of blood flow which often leads to heart disease and heart attacks. HDL, usually called the "good cholesterol," often helps remove cholesterol from the arteries.

However, the idea that there are "bad" and "good" blood lipids that contribute to heart disease is known as the "lipid hypothesis," or "cholesterol myth."  The hypothesis is subject to much criticism and has been challenged often.  The underlying causes of cardiovascular disease are more likely related to inflammation and other factors. 

Riechman agrees that the common attitude to cholesterol is wrong.  He prefers to focus on the very useful purpose that LDL serves.  Without cholesterol, he points out, we would die.  In fact, studies in the elderly have shown that those with the lowest levels of cholesterol are at highest risk of death from all causes. 

"Everyone needs a certain amount of both LDL and HDL in their bodies," says Riechman. "We need to change this idea of LDL always being the evil thing – we all need it, and we need it to do its job."

He points out that LDL delivers needed cholesterol to our tissues for repair, and HDL, the good cholesterol, cleans up after the repair is done.  This study shows another benefit of LDL.  The more you have in your blood, the better you are able to build muscle during resistance training.

What's bad about that?

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Then Avoid A1 Type Milk



Yeah LDL cholesterol may be good but a1 type milk casein oxidizes it, actually A1 type milk may be the most important reason of cardiovasculer diseases. I think A1 milk's harm is underestimated even in Devil In The Milk by Keith Woodford, I myself avoid even traces of it.

It's the (particle) size that matters...



For a complete rundown on cholesterol read one or both of these very thorough explanations by Dr Ron Rosedale: cholesterol-heart or making-sense-of-your-cholesterol-numbers. Long story short, small particle LDL size is the actual symptom (but not really not the actual underlying cause), because those are more apt to "collect" and get "stuck" in the bends of your arteries. Tests for particle size are newer and may be expensive and even not covered, but there is already an existing test that can be used to show a correlation, the one for your triglyceride levels. You stop the problem by a complete cessation of eating sugar/HFCS/refined carbs (bread, grain, pasta), which then lowers your triglicerides, and your correlated LDL particle size returns to normal over time. Cholesterol "problems" are actually dietary in nature; they are not caused by a "defficiency" of statin drugs...

Cholesterol & Fatty Liver



I have been popping vitamins and supplements for over 6 years to control LDL's, HDL's, and my triglycerides. Even now my HDL is a little low therefore I've recently added dark chocolate to help elevate my level HDL level. I was diagnosed with a fatty liver in 1998. Since then I have tried and failed to lose the belly fat even though I walk 6 miles a day (over a year). If the LDL's are good for building muscle, shouldn't everyone with fatty livers be trying to increase LDL's, and pumping iron to increase muscle mass in order to reduce body and visceral fat instead of cardio? Wouldn't weight training lead to an increase in metabolism and therefore burn fat faster? 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Login or Register to write a comment

Popular Threads

This website is for information purposes only. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease or medical condition. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.

© Copyright 2008-2016 GreenMedInfo.com, Journal Articles copyright of original owners, MeSH copyright NLM.