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.
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.
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.
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:
In summary, high ox LDL can lead to:
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.
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.
Some risk factors that appear to increase the levels of oxidized LDL include:
Get advanced cardiac testing done. We recommend the Vibrant America cardiovascular prevention panel here. This will tell you your level of oxLDL.
The supplement protocol we’ve had great luck with for dramatically reducing oxLDL numbers includes:
If you have questions about supplements or want help with an oxLDL-lowering protocol, you can schedule a free health coaching call here.
Regular exercise decreases oxLDL
Increased weight causes increased inflammation and cholesterol damage
Eliminate known toxins, get on a detox protocol and reduce toxin burden in the body
Increase HDL levels as HDL can act as an antioxidant and prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol
Stress acts like a toxin to the body by raising inflammation and damaging arterial lining
Paleo diet is rich in antioxidants, nuts, avocados, and seafood, all of which are associated with optimal HDL levels and lowered oxLDL levels
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