Tags: little known type of cholesterol great heart risk | oxycholeserol | most serious threat

Little Known Type of Cholesterol May Be Greatest Risk

Wednesday, 09 Sep 2009 09:46 AM

Most Americans know that high levels of cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. But Chinese scientists now believe that a type of cholesterol you’re probably never heard off—oxycholesterol—may pose the most serious threat of all by boosting the total levels of cholesterol in the body.

“Total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), and the heart-healthy high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) are still important health issues,” said study leader Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., of Chinese University of Hong Kong. “But the public should recognize that oxycholesterol is also important and cannot be ignored. Our work demonstrated that oxycholesterol boosts total cholesterol levels and promotes atherosclerosis more than non-oxidized cholesterol.”

For years, scientists have known that a reaction between fats and oxygen (oxidation) produces oxycholesterol in the body. Oxidation occurs when foods containing fats are heated, such as in frying chicken or grilling burgers. Food manufacturers also add oxycholesterol to processed foods when they add partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils or trans-fatty acids. Many studies have shown the harmful effects of oxycholesterol in the body in damaging healthy cells and DNA, but until now, no one had studied the effects of oxycholesterol in raising blood cholesterol when compared to non-oxidized cholesterol.

Chen’s study found that the blood cholesterol of hamsters fed oxycholesterol was 22 percent higher than hamsters which ate non-oxidized cholesterol. In addition, the hamsters eating oxycholesterol developed larger deposits of cholesterol, called atherosclerotic plaques, which increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. Even more important, said Chen, oxycholesterol reduced the flexibility of arteries, hampering their ability to expand and increased amounts of blood.

Fortunately, a healthy diet rich in antioxidants can counteract the effects of oxycholesterol by blocking the oxidation process, said Chen. Sources of antioxidants include fruits, vegetables and beans.

Scientists don’t get know whether statin drugs can lower levels of oxycholesterol, said Chen.

© HealthDay

 
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Most Americans know that high levels of cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. But Chinese scientists now believe that a type of cholesterol you’re probably never heard off—oxycholesterol—may pose the most serious threat of all by boosting the total
little known type of cholesterol great heart risk,oxycholeserol,most serious threat
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Wednesday, 09 Sep 2009 09:46 AM
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