Cholesterol – Does Size Matter?

Cholesterol – Does Size Matter?


To make the subject of cholesterol more confusing, now scientists are telling us that the size of the cells is what’s really important.

In this instance, you might want to pay attention.

Low Density Lipoprotein is an important transporter of chemicals to every cell in your body.

You need it to make vitamin D, and vital hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.

But when your LDLs are predominantly small, they can’t do this job well.

Hence the new concern about small LDL.

When the body sends out LDL prematurely and these little weak protein molecules dominate the blood, there is concern this may create plaques in the arteries.

When LDLs are big and fluffy this doesn’t seem to be a problem.

This is the conclusion of studies six years ago which began to look more closely at particle size of the LDL molecules.

Like many studies, this one did not PROVE that small LDL caused heart attacks.  It just noted that people with small LDL had a slightly increased risk.

And people should be concerned.  Heart attacks are the number one killer in America.

But what was interesting about this study is they found that LDL particle size was a much more accurate predictor of heart disease risk than any other cholesterol number.

So why would your LDL be small?  The answer is probably Metabolic Syndrome.

(To learn more about it, please see this article in Freedom Health News.)

According to the American Heart Association, here are the biggest risk factors:

Waist Size – Over 40” for men, and 35” for women

High Triglycerides – 150 mg per ML

High Blood Pressure – blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or greater

High Blood Sugar – 100 mg/dL or higher fasted

Three or more of these puts you at very high risk.

One of the side effects of metabolic syndrome is small, dense LDL.

Now does this mean that small LDL is what puts you at risk of a heart attack or is it metabolic syndrome?

This is where opinions differ wildly.

It seems as though these two conditions are linked and there is nothing good with either side.

And while doctors can give you drugs to try and lower your LDL, there is no evidence that proves lowering your LDL will save you from a heart attack.

The bigger question is, where does the metabolic resistance come from?

The evidence is pointing toward insulin.

Insulin is the hormone released when we eat.  Carbohydrates increase the amount of insulin in your system.  It helps you use the glucose in your blood to be used for energy.  At some point though, the body quits utilizing it effectively especially as fat starts to be stored around the belly.

This tends to lead toward non-alcoholic fatty liver, which leads to smaller LDL particles, which in turn leads to greater heart attack risk.

So, it seems that the best therapy to get bigger, fluffier LDL is to look at dietary approaches to fighting metabolic syndrome.

This means getting rid of sugar and processed foods.

For many this is not going to be easy.  There is a transition and some amount of discomfort for up to a couple of weeks.

Lowering carbohydrates in the diet will also mean that the body needs more salt.  (You probably need more salt than you are currently getting, see this Freedom Health News report.)

This is an area where there will be much continued debate and discussion, but it is important to really understand this if you want to live the best and healthiest life possible.