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Extreme Super-bad, Super-sticky Cholesterol

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Most women have long suspected that there are some foods which possess super staying power -- that is, such foods stick to you like glue and no amount of exercise changes the outcome of consuming those foods. Whether science backs up our personal belief or not is quite irrelevant -- we know what we know! It appears that this belief in the super-staying power of some foods may not be quite as far-fetched as one might assume. Researchers at the University of Warwick recently identified a new form of extreme, ‘ultra-bad’ cholesterol with super-charged sticking power that sticks to arteries like glue.

A waxy substance similar to fat, cholesterol exists in all cells throughout the body. In the right amounts, cholesterol is not only helpful but necessary. It’s used to manufacture various hormones, Vitamin D and even has the added benefit of aiding digestion. Luckily, our bodies naturally make just the right amount of cholesterol needed to do its job. Unfortunately, many foods also contain cholesterol. If we get too much low-density lipoprotein, LDL or "bad", cholesterol in the blood, it may begin to build up leading to the formation of plaques and atherosclerosis, and render you more susceptible to coronary artery or heart disease, heart attack, stroke or even death.

Funded by the British Heart Foundation or BHF, Warwick researchers identified a form of LDL cholesterol -- MGmin-low-density lipoprotein -- which is described as "ultra bad". More common in persons with type 2 diabetes and the elderly, MGmin-LDL is super-sticky in comparison to normal LDL cholesterol. Because of its super-sticking power, it’s more likely to stick to artery walls thereby increasing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart-related disease.

MGmin-LDL cholesterol is created when sugar is added to normal LDL cholesterol, which explains why this type of super-sticky LDL cholesterol is more common in those with type 2 diabetes. It also explains why some diabetics taking the drug metformin exhibit a reduced risk of heart disease. Metformin is known to lower blood sugar levels and it’s theorized that it may be responsible for preventing excess sugars from creating MGmin-LDL. Excited about the discovery, researchers are hopeful that this will lead to new treatments for heart disease, especially for those with type 2 diabetes.


Super-sticky ‘ultra-bad’ cholesterol revealed in people at high risk of heart disease. Breakthrough Digest Medical News. 26 May 2011. http://www.breakthroughdigest.com/medical-news/super-sticky-ultra-bad-cholesterol-revealed-in-people-at-high-risk-of-heart-disease

Super-sticky ‘ultra-bad’ cholesterol. Warwick Systems Biology Centre. 02 Jun 2011.

What is Cholesterol? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Jul 2011. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Hbc/HBC_WhatIs.html

Reviewed August 22, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg R.N.
Edited by Jody Smith

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