Doctors – and the drug companies – have got it badly wrong about cholesterol, a new study has discovered. Even the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol is good, and plays a vital role in keeping us alive.
Researchers from Texas A&M University question the headlong rush to reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein) levels, which has been seen as the body’s ‘bad guy’ that merely clogs the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart.
In a study of 52 people aged between 60 and 69 years, the researchers discovered that LDL cholesterol plays an important role in restoring muscle mass. They put the participants through a rigorous exercise programme, but only those who had high LDL levels saw any improvement in their muscles.
Not only that, LDL is the body’s early warning signal, says lead researcher Steve Riechman. “LDL acts as a warning sign that something is wrong and it signals the body to these warning signs. If you did get rid of all your LDL cholesterol, you would die,” he says.
(Source: Texas A&M University. http://tamunews.tamu.edu/2011/05/04/%e2%80%98bad%e2%80%99-cholesterol-not-as-bad-as-people-think-shows-texas-am-study/).