Oxidized cholesterol is changing how we look at heart health. It’s changed our understanding of how cholesterol works. Thus, it could drive better approaches to treating it. But, what’s the link between oxidized cholesterol and heart health?
Oxidized cholesterol comes from LDL. After LDL builds on your artery walls, it oxidizes. From there, several complications start cropping up. This process speeds up if you eat the wrong foods. Naturally, that’s where most heart issues become prominent.
But, how does all this happen? Let’s answer that question.
How oxidized cholesterol compromises your heart health
After building up on your artery walls, cholesterol oxidizes. Now, oxidation is a natural reaction in our bodies. Nonetheless, oxidation damages cholesterol cells. This becomes a problem when there’s an overproduction of this sterol.
The danger comes from an immune response. Our bodies confuse oxidized cholesterol for bacteria. Therefore, it triggers an immune response trying to fight it off. That causes inflammation in the arterial walls. From there, atherosclerosis becomes an issue.
Oxidized cholesterol overproduction comes primarily from our eating habits. Fried foods and polyunsaturated fatty acids are the main sources. Margarine and fast foods are other sources. Lastly, smoking cigarettes also generates oxidized cholesterol.
Oxidized cholesterol and atherosclerosis development
Oxidized cholesterol has been part of atherosclerotic lesions in animals and people. In other words, it’s easy to see why both could be related. Oxidized fatty acids go into serum lipoproteins and then the liver. This transportation occurs via the blood. That’s been evident in animal studies.
Dietary cholesterol goes through the same process in animals and humans. Moreover, oxidized cholesterol speeds up fatty streak formation. That’s why dietary cholesterol is a cardiovascular disease factor.
Additionally, the mice show lower serum cholesterol levels. The theory is that oxidized cholesterol impairs cholesterol absorption. Also, fatty streak lesions increase with oxidized cholesterol. This suggests that oxidized cholesterol plays an integral role in atherosclerosis. In some mice, the area increase amounted to 38%.
Coronary heart disease explains oxidized cholesterol and heart health
During inflammation, our bodies catalyze lipid oxidation. Therefore, this process also speeds up LDL oxidation. This ties into the chances of developing coronary heart disease. And, oxidized LDL tends to be more present in high-CHD people.
Once diagnosed with CHD, high levels of oxidized cholesterol appear more prevalent. This could be due to certain CHD treatments. However, metabolic syndrome might also predict high oxidized cholesterol levels. The latter is independent of LDL amounts.
This becomes a larger problem when we consider oxidized LDL’s effects. Let’s remember that oxidized cholesterol triggers inflammation. As such, it could trigger a cycle of worsening inflammation. So, the dynamic between oxidized cholesterol and heart health would be:
- Oxidized LDL triggers inflammation.
- Inflammation speeds up lipid oxidation.
- Faster lipid oxidation catalyzes LDL oxidation.
- LDL oxidation worsens inflammation.
How to prevent oxidized cholesterol from damaging heart health
Of course, the first step to prevent cholesterol oxidation is watching our lifestyle. Oxidized cholesterol comes from eating habits and physical activity. We can also add stress and alcohol and cigarette consumption.
Initially, we ought to look into our diet. From there, we can assess foods containing oxidized cholesterol:
- Processed eggs and meat products.
- Fried foods.
- Trans fat.
We should reduce our intake of processed foods. And, smoking cessation is another worthy approach.
Then, we can start working with our healthcare practitioner. Cholesterol screenings and treatments can go a long way. Regular exercise and medication can also boost our healing process.
The holistic takeaway
Oxidized cholesterol and heart health are intimately connected. High oxidized cholesterol leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease. Moreover, oxidized LDL triggers and worsens inflammation. It creates a vicious cycle that feeds into it.
That’s why I recommend The Oxidized Cholesterol Strategy. It’s a fantastic workout program that focuses on removing oxidized LDL. So, it offers a great addition to your treatment.