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The link between inflammation, cholesterol, body fat, and cardiovascular disease has been recognized for some time, but there’s still plenty of research that needs to be done in order to fully understand how these factors are related. For instance, we’ve known how inflammation and LDL cholesterol particles interact to clog and stiffen arteries. However, we know less about how inflammation is related to low HDL cholesterol, the “good” type of cholesterol.
Research group identifies new genes that cause both inflammation and low HDL cholesterol
Recently, a group of Finnish researchers at the University of Helsinki discovered several new genes that predispose people to dangerously low HDL cholesterol levels. They also discovered that some of those same genes also regulate inflammation. Their findings, published recently in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, indicate that the same genes that predispose some people towards low LDL cholesterol also predispose them towards more inflammation.
Low HDL also associated with poor quality HDL particles
They also found that those with the genetic tendency towards low HDL cholesterol levels tended to have a less beneficial type of HDL particle. Just how protective HDL is to the arteries depends not as much on the quantity of HDL cholesterol but more on the quality of HDL particles. HDL particles are made of protein and lipids and are the structures that carry the cholesterol through the bloodstream to be disposed of.
The subjects with low HDL-cholesterol levels had HDL particles that were impaired. They contained less of the lipid molecules which are known to be antioxidant and thus protective to arteries. In contrast, the subject with high HDL cholesterol levels had high quality HDL particles with more antioxidant capabilities and thus more protective against heart disease.
The genes get expressed more frequently in fat tissue
Not only that, the researchers found that these genes tend to get expressed in fat tissue. So, people with genes predisposing them to low HDL cholesterol and inflammation may be much likely to suffer the dangerous consequences of these conditions when they have more body fat.
There are many natural treatment options to alter gene expression, lower inflammation, and raise HDL levels
So what does all this mean for you? Don’t fall prey to believing that your genes are your destiny. If you have low HDL cholesterol because of a genetic predisposition, it does not mean those genes will automatically get expressed. You are not destined to low HDL levels of poor quality or to excessive inflammation! There are natural medicines and therapies proven to help alter gene expression, lower inflammation, raise HDL and help protect you from cardiovascular disease.