As we've been saying for years, LDL isn't the 'bad' cholesterol that's responsible for heart disease and blocked arteries-and now scientists are proving it. Although it's the target of statin drugs, LDL doesn't cause fatty deposits in the arteries, but prevents them.
The 'good-bad' cholesterol theory, which launched the multi-billion-pound statin drugs industry, has claimed that oxidized LDL (low-density lipoprotein) moves into arterial walls and engorges them with cholesterol. In time, cholesterol converts into plaque, blocking the arteries or sending clots into the bloodstream, causing heart attack or stroke. Statin drugs target the LDL cholesterol, while allowing the 'good' HDL cholesterol to flourish.
Scientists have been discovering for a while now that the theory just isn't true. Results from human and animal studies show LDL cholesterol isn't the 'bad guy' after all.
And now researchers from the University of Kentucky are becoming increasingly convinced by the evidence. "Our research...seems to indicate that oxidized LDL might, in fact, be a 'good guy' in the process," said lead researcher Jason Meyer.
In their research, the researchers found that LDL cholesterol was actually preventing an increase in cholesterol in artery walls, and so is a protective mechanism against heart disease and atherosclerosis (hardening and blocking of the arteries).
(Source: Journal of Lipid Research, 2014; 55(8): 1648)