LDL Cholesterol and Muscle Development



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A new study published in the Journal of Gerontology shows a correlation between heightened LDL cholesterol levels and better muscle development following training.

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I'm linking an article about the study, not to the study itself. I haven't read the original yet, but I thought I'd share this with you guys.

The general population, as well as the medical community, tends to approach the topic of cholesterol in a hysterical manner. They scrap cholesterol as "harmful" or even "useless," and have a simplistic outlook that treats HDL as absolutely good, and LDL as absolutely bad.

The reality is that cholesterol is important and critical to human function. As I mentioned in a topic floating around this board, cholesterol is important for cell membrane integrity, for modifying cell membrane structure, and as a signaling molecule. Cholesterol is also responsible for endogenous production of Vitamin D and steroid hormones.

When we get blood tests for cholesterol levels, we see our results in terms of HDL and LDL concentrations. When these blood tests are performed, high total cholesterol as well as high LDL:HDL ratios are generally regarded as markers for possible cardiovascular complications. This is because high LDL is usually associated with plaque formation in the arteries. Having too high LDL thus is considered "bad," but many simpletons have taken such warning signs to mean LDL is some evil molecule that must be eliminated or heavily suppressed.

As mentioned earlier, the way we measure cholesterol levels in humans is by looking at combined serum lipoprotein concentrations. Lipoproteins are a different class of molecule than cholesterol. It's assembled with proteins and cholesterol and has different properties than cholesterol itself. Various types of lipoproteins exist (HDL, LDL, IDL, VLDL, chylomicrons), and their general function is to transport lipids between tissues in the body. LDL is synthesized in the liver and is the principle carrier of cholesterol and cholesterol esters from the liver to other tissues. HDL returns excess cholesterol back to the liver to be broken down. So we see LDL serves some purpose here.

In addition (this I didn't know), LDL also plays a role in signaling. Supposedly this is why high LDL can lead to atherosclerosis - it signals the body that there was damage, and then alcohol plaques gather around the area (microtrauma in the artery) and initiate a cascade of events to heal the trauma. More recent research, however, has indicated that it's not even so much LDL that's responsible for plaque formations in the heart as much as a diet of damaged (from heat) or processed fats. I can't link you to the research atm.

Anyways, the research I'm linking you guys to is saying that LDL might also be responsible in initiating a sequence of events following microtraumas from weight training. And they go on to say that perhaps those with higher LDL experience better muscle development because the signal for repair is more enhanced in these individuals. Since I haven't read the paper, I can't tell exactly what mechanism they're proposing for this. So for now, it's heresay, but it'll be interesting to see what the research was, how it was conducted, and to see what conclusions one can earnestly draw from the research. Should be interesting.

Sorry if this was already posted elsewhere. I know Maxximal is usually on top with this kind of stuff.

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