Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in certain foods and created by the liver. While the body needs some cholesterol to maintain proper function, too much of the bad type of cholesterol — also known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — may lead to some drastic consequences. This substance can build up in blood vessel walls and cause blockage, reducing blood flow to the heart, as previously noted. Here Virgilio Maren, NaturalNews.com, reflects on a study suggesting that good cholesterol may help fight atherosclerosis:
“Did you know that not all forms of cholesterol are bad? High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is commonly known as the “good” cholesterol. One particular study has found that it may even help fight atherosclerosis, a condition characterized by the hardening of the arteries as a result of plaque buildup.
A group of researchers from the United States and Australia examined the effect of increasing HDL levels in diabetic mice. Diabetes accelerates the development of atherosclerosis, as people with the disease tend to exhibit decreased HDL levels and increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. This “bad” cholesterol can build up along the arterial walls and promote atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart attack or stroke.
The researchers found that increasing HDL cholesterol levels in diabetic mice reduced inflammation and helped reverse atherosclerosis.
“Our study results argue that raising levels of functional good cholesterol addresses inflammatory roots of atherosclerosis driven by cholesterol buildup beyond what existing drugs can achieve,” said senior author Dr. Edward Fisher, a cardiologist and professor at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine.
The results of the study were published in the journal Circulation.
Good cholesterol may help reverse atherosclerosis
For the study, the researchers used a different approach to measure HDL levels. Instead of looking at how much HDL was present in the blood, they looked at how well HDL extracts cholesterol from cells. This process is called cholesterol efflux, and HDL capable of carrying out this process is called “functional HDL.”
To boost functional HDL levels, the team increased the amounts of apolipoprotein A1, an important component of HDL, in diabetic and atherosclerotic mice receiving treatment to lower their LDL cholesterol levels.
Results showed that increasing functional HDL cholesterol levels helped reverse atherosclerosis by 30 percent. It also reduced inflammation in immune cells present in plaques by 50 percent and suppressed the proliferation of immune cells in the bone marrow.”
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