There’s good and bad cholesterol. Everyone knows that by now. Low-density lipoprotein is what we know as “bad cholesterol.” But, why is LDL bad? Not many understand a lot beyond the good-bad categories.
With proper management, cholesterol is vital. You can benefit extensively from your cholesterol. But, that’s as long as you can favor HDL over LDL. But, as I’ve already covered, oxidized cholesterol is the real issue. It’s what you really should be avoiding.
But, what does that mean for LDL’s reputation? Let’s find out.
Understanding what is LDL before why is LDL bad
The CDC defines LDL as the majority of the body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL can raise your risks of different health diseases. That includes stroke, heart disease, and more. But, that’s not the full picture.
LDL and HDL aren’t cholesterol by themselves. In reality, they’re responsible for mobilizing cholesterol through the blood. HDL takes cholesterol to the liver, thus being good. But, LDL cholesterol can accumulate in your arteries.
What makes LDL “bad cholesterol”?
As mentioned, LDL cholesterol can accumulate on the walls of your arteries. As MedlinePlus explains, other substances can stick to these buildups. From there, the combination forms plaque. This plaque buildup is what we know as atherosclerosis.
Naturally, it’s also why LDL is bad.
We can keep building on this condition. It’s also the cause of coronary artery disease. It happens when said buildup is in the heart’s arteries. It narrows and hardens the arteries, disrupting blood flow.
The diseases that explain why LDL is bad
We’ve already mentioned coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. But, those aren’t the end of the story. WebMD points out several other conditions caused by LDL. You can find them below:
- Peripheral artery disease.
- Heart disease.
Naturally, all of them stem from poor blood flow and even blood pressure. Thus, bad cholesterol is the reason behind health complications. That includes smoking, obesity, and poor nutrition.
Is LDL’s reputation uncalled-for?
However, some experts suggest that we don’t really understand why LDL is bad. As reported by Healthline, new research challenges common beliefs. It cites a study that evaluated data from over 68,000 older adults.
The study found that LDL didn’t relate directly to death in older adults. 80% of the study’s participants had high LDL levels but didn’t die because of them. Conversely, low LDL subjects had higher death rates due to cardiovascular disease.
The study aims to challenge traditional heart health guidelines. But, it also sheds light on new possibilities. I already mentioned that possibility. So, let’s dive into it.
The real reason why LDL is bad
The main problem with LDL is that it’s prone to oxidation. LDL oxidation marks the onset of atherosclerosis. The process is lipid peroxidation, which modifies cholesterol. More importantly, it oxidizes the plaque buildup caused by LDL.
Firstly, it hardens the plaque buildup in the arteries. But, it also leads to several immune responses. That includes inflammation. Of course, that worsens blood flow, causing atherosclerosis.
Moreover, other mechanisms include macrophage cells and antibodies. Said antibodies correlate with arterial thrombosis. As such, we should aim toward cholesterol oxidation instead of merely LDL.
The holistic takeaway
So, why is LDL bad? LDL by itself isn’t a health hazard. But, high levels can result in numerous heart conditions. That said, bad cholesterol isn’t the culprit by itself. Instead, it’s the victim of cholesterol oxidation.
That’s where the problems really come into play.
Therefore, aiming to reduce oxidized cholesterol can be more effective. And, it’s why I recommend The Oxidized Cholesterol Strategy. It’s a lifestyle program that targets the real problem.
To learn how and why it works, check out my review.