By now, we’re no strangers to oxidized cholesterol. I’ve covered the worst foods, prevention, and more. But, there’s also an interesting relationship between LDL and oxidized cholesterol.
I’m yet to go through it.
We know LDL as “bad cholesterol.” But, the true reasons might not be what you think. Oxidized cholesterol could be the answer to that question.
So, what’s going on between them?
The main link between LDL and oxidized cholesterol: Causality
We also know oxidized cholesterol as oxidized LDL. And, that’s the main link we must study. Essentially, the relationship lies in that one comes from the other. Low-density lipoprotein is prone to turn into oxidized cholesterol.
LDL undergoes extensive modifications, from size to chemical properties. The last stage of this process is oxidation. Likewise, it’s the stage responsible for its atherogenic properties.
How does LDL become oxidized?
Oxidative stress is the main culprit behind LDL and oxidized cholesterol. It’s a complex process that involves oxidative changes. During that time, proteins and lipids oxidized into complex products.
Likewise, some of these components decompose. That results in released aldehydes and ketones that modify amino acids. From there, damaged LDL gets scavenged by macrophages.
Why are LDL and oxidized cholesterol dangerous?
Oxidized LDL is the “harmful version” of cholesterol. It comes when free radical interactions damage LDL. That triggers inflammatory processes, which result in atherosclerosis.
From there, multiple consequences come. The most obvious one is a decrease in blood flow. In other words, heart attacks and strokes become more likely. In the worst cases, cerebrovascular disease also becomes a risk.
How are LDL and oxidized cholesterol different?
SFGate has a fantastic breakdown of how LDL and oxidized cholesterol are different. We must note that they’re not the same. This entire article has basically established that.
Moreover, we also have to consider how HDL fits the picture. Eating food results in both cholesterol classes. And, the main reason why LDL is “bad cholesterol” is its propensity to oxidize.
#1. LDL isn’t necessarily harmful
As mentioned, LDL isn’t inherently bad. In fact, our body needs it to a certain level. Moreover, its role is roughly the same as HDL.
Our body can’t move fats freely through the bloodstream. That’s because fats don’t mix with water. So, LDL and HDL package fat with lipoprotein. The main difference is that LDL has a higher cholesterol content.
#2. LDL becomes risky via oxidation
LDL and oxidized cholesterol mark somewhat of a turning point. As this study states, LDL oxidation is among the first changes in atherosclerosis.
In other words, LDL must oxidize before it becomes a health hazard. As such, oxidized LDL is the real bad cholesterol. Oxidized cholesterol is a damaged form of LDL. And, it’s responsible for most of LDL’s alleged risks.
#3. HDL can protect LDL and not oxidized cholesterol
Finally, HDL carries less cholesterol than proteins. It grabs LDL and takes it to the liver. From there, our body recycles or eliminates it.
That’s another crucial difference. We can’t recycle oxidized cholesterol. Instead, HDL focuses on preventing LDL oxidation.
The holistic takeaway
LDL and oxidized cholesterol might not be equally harmful. But, these implications mean you still need to care for LDL. That’s why you must be careful about what you eat. Likewise, working out can be a crucial ally.
Speaking of working out, I have a great tip.
The Oxidized Cholesterol Strategy targets just that. It’s a comprehensive exercise and nutrition guide against oxidized cholesterol. It offers a fantastic alternative to pharmacological treatments as well.
If you want to learn more, my review is over here!