Oxidized Cholesterol (What it is & How to Lower it)

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. We know that. But what are the major risk factors for heart disease? One major risk factor is oxidized cholesterol, also known as oxycholesterol. 

Traditionally, LDL has been referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, however, that’s not always the case. What we are more concerned with is if the cholesterol is oxidized (or “damaged), and also, LDL particle size and number.

What is oxLDL?

Oxidized LDL, or oxLDL, is a type of low-density lipoprotein (known as LDL cholesterol) that has become damaged by a chemical reaction with harmful molecules known as free radicals.

How does oxLDL occur?

As LDLs encounter free radicals, the two compounds combine through a chemical process known as oxidation and form oxidized LDL cholesterol.

Upon that reaction, the LDLs become damaged, which triggers inflammation and attracts immune cells (white blood cells called macrophages). These white blood cells engulf the damaged LDLs, which creates a sticky aggregate complex that can attach easily to artery walls and form the basis of plaque.

This is why oxLDLs significantly contribute of the development of atherosclerosis.

How does oxLDL increase cardiac risk?

 Research has shown that in patients with elevated oxidized cholesterol levels there is a significant increase in cardiac events.

Oxidized LDLs contribute to cardiovascular disease through a number of mechanisms.

Here are the main results of oxLDL on cardiac risk:

  1. Your immune system doesn’t recognize oxidized cholesterol well. It thinks it is a foreign invader and so it attacks it. The causes widespread inflammation in the arterial wall. This increase in inflammation makes arterial plaque unstable and prone to break off and rupture.
  2. OxLDLs increase the deposition of calcium into the arterial wall (a major hallmark of atherosclerosis).
  3. The increased calcium buildup in the artery wall impedes blood flow, increasing risk for heart attacks and sudden death.
  4. OxLDL increases the synthesis of a blood clotting protein, called thromboxane, which makes platelets sticky and increases clotting risk.

In summary, high ox LDL can lead to:

  • Decreased blood flow
  • Decreased nitric oxide
  • Increased calcium deposition
  • Increased atherosclerosis
  • Increased inflammation
  • Increased risk for heart attack, blood clot, or coronary artery disease (CAD)

What does ox LDL measure?

OxLDL measures the damage to the ApoB subunit on LDL cholesterol. This oxidative damage of LDL cholesterol is one of the first steps in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. 

What causes oxLDL?

Cholesterol that is circulating in the blood does not cause plaque formation unless it is able to lodge itself into arterial walls. This is why traditional cholesterol testing metrics are inaccurate and misleading. There are so many individuals who have died from CVD whose pre-death cholesterol levels were considered “normal”. Read more about why advanced cholesterol testing is necessary and life-saving here.

Therefore, a patient cannot have atherosclerosis unless they have a buildup of cholesterol in their artery wall. So, the questions should be: “how does cholesterol get into artery walls?” followed by “what particle size of LDL cholesterol is most responsible for lodging itself into artery walls?

The answer is the small size. LDL cholesterol molecules are not all the same size, and some are larger than others. Smaller LDL particles are more likely to become oxidized, making them more detrimental to your health.

Importantly, this small sized cholesterol is the most susceptible to oxidative damage.

What risk factors cause oxidative damage to LDL?

Some risk factors that appear to increase the levels of oxidized LDL include:

  • Inflammation
  • Insulin resistance
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High toxin burden in the body
  • Consuming a diet that is high in trans fats and omega 6 fats (oxidized fats)
  • Consuming processed foods and refined sugar
  • Smoking
  • Chronic stress
  • Leaky gut syndrome

How do I know if I have elevated oxLDL?

Get advanced cardiac testing done. We recommend the Vibrant America cardiovascular prevention panel here. This will tell you your level of oxLDL.

Two other important root cause tests for oxLDL would be the leaky gut test (called Wheat Zoomer) and the environmental toxicity test (called the 3 test combo).

What can I do to lower my oxLDL today?

The supplement protocol we’ve had great luck with for dramatically reducing oxLDL numbers includes:

  1. OptiLipid (this is our natural “statin”): 1 cap twice per day with food
  2. Omega DHA (this is our fish oil): 1-2 caps per day with food
  3. Garlic: 1 tab per day
  4. Daily Defense- 2 scoops per day in water or nut milk. 

If you have questions about supplements or want help with an oxLDL-lowering protocol, you can schedule a free health coaching call here.

What are other methods to reduce oxLDL concentrations:

  • Exercise

    Regular exercise decreases oxLDL

  • Get to a healthy weight

    Increased weight causes increased inflammation and cholesterol damage

  • Detoxify the body

    Eliminate known toxins, get on a detox protocol and reduce toxin burden in the body

  • Increase HDL levels

    Increase HDL levels as HDL can act as an antioxidant and prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol

  • Manage stress

    Stress acts like a toxin to the body by raising inflammation and damaging arterial lining

  • Eat organic, Paleo foods

    Paleo diet is rich in antioxidants, nuts, avocados, and seafood, all of which are associated with optimal HDL levels and lowered oxLDL levels

Pin It on Pinterest

12 things in your home that damage your heart.

Discover 12 things in most homes that destroy your heart.

Learn of common household items that destroy your heart, and what you can do about it.