Size Does Matter, especially with your cholesterol 03/14/12

Many people do not really understand how your arteries begin to get clogged and how this clogging is related to LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.

Total cholesterol is the measurement of LDL (bad cholesterol), triglycerides (bad cholesterol), and HDL (good cholesterol).

Our body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to build cell membranes, produce hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and cortisol.   Cholesterol is also need to produce Vitamin D, digestive enzymes, and bile acids.

Our body makes some cholesterol with the rest coming from our diet.

For years one of the major ways to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes was to get your LDL as low as possible and your HDL as high as possible.

We now know that LDL by itself is not that bad.  In order for LDL to truly increase your risk for heart disease two things must happen.

  1. The LDL must be modified
  2. The LDL must be small enough to stick to the blood vessels and move from the blood stream to the inside of the blood vessels

Your natural LDL is NOT dangerous.  In order for LDL to become dangerous and lead to heart disease it must be modified.  The most common way to modify LDL is through oxidation.  Oxidized LDL is very dangerous and begins the process of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

In fact high levels of oxidized LDL can also raise your blood pressure.  Our bodies respond to this modification by with inflammation with further increases our risk for heart disease.

This is the reason that anti oxidants and natural anti inflammatory supplements can really help improve a person’s heart disease risk.

Studies are now showing that even more important than the total LDL and HDL number is the size of these LDL and HDL number.

In order for LDL to become artherogenic and increase our risk for heart disease, it must make its way from the blood stream into the inside of the blood vessels themselves.  This is important because large fluffy LDL particles do not make their way inside of the blood vessels.  They stay inside the blood stream where they are essentially harmless.

The small dense LDL particles are more easily absorbed into the lining of our blood vessels where if oxidized they can dramatically increase the risk for heart disease and strokes.

The American Heart Association has stated that LDL particle size and the number of these smaller particles is more predictive of heart disease risk than just total LDL.

So can we convert our small dense, marble like LDL to large fluffy, marsh mellow like LDL?  Yes we can and the more large LDL and HDL we have will further decrease our risk for heart disease and strokes.

Remember LDL particle size and particle number are NOT apart of the standard lipid (cholesterol) panel.  You must ask your physician to check your LDL particle number and particle size

Click here to read about C – Reactive Protein and Heart Disease.

Great natural ways to increase the size of your LDL particles

Great natural ways to increase the size of your HDL particles

  • Red Wine
  • Exercise

It is important to remember that while cholesterol lowering medications; like statins reduce total cholesterol they DON’T change particle size or particle number.

Click here to read the truth about statins and your heart disease risk.

If you truly want to decrease your risk for heart disease ask your physician to evaluate your C – Reactive Protein and LDL particle size and number.

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