Why are Cholesterol Levels Important?

Cholesterol clogged artery

Although cholesterol is an essential part of good health, unhealthy levels of cholesterol are linked to cardiovascular diseases and even cancer. It's one of the main ingredients in the development of atherosclerosis — the buildup of plaque on artery walls. Atherosclerosis can progress and block blood flow, and is a primary cause of heart attacks(vii.208)

"Good" and "Bad" Cholesterol

Most media focuses on the benefits of raising HDL ("good") cholesterol and lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglyceride levels. However, research shows the story of these lipoproteins is a little more complex than simply good or bad cholesterol. (vii.69208)

HDL and LDL cholesterol are lipoproteins, molecules made from different types of apolipoproteins and lipids in the liver. Low levels of HDL and the high triglyceride content of LDL cholesterol are linked to increased risk of heart disease. Fortunately, turmeric and its compounds have beneficial effects on HDL and LDL cholesterol levels(vii.69208-209)

Table VII.28: Differences between HDL and LDL Cholesterol
Cholesterol Type Characteristics Relevance to Heart Disease


  • Formed mainly with AI and AII apolipoproteins (not to be confused with apolipoprotein (a) [also known as lipoprotein (a) or Lp (a)], which is linked to increased risk of heart disease). (vii.208)
  • HDL lipoproteins have less triglycerides than LDL. (vii.208)
  • Critical to first step in removing cholesterol from macrophages that line artery walls so it can be excreted (via bile and feces). (vii.210)
  • Prevents accumulation of excess cholesterol in arteries. (vii.210)


  • Formed from very low density lipoproteins (VLDLs) containing B-100 apolipoproteins (commonly referred to as apo B). (vii.208)
  • VLDL2 converts to VLDL1 and then to LDL with the addition of triglycerides. (vii.208)
  • Research shows that a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates promotes high levels of smaller, denser LDL [such as Lp (a)] and triglycerides. (vii.69)
  • Promotes small, dense LDL particles (sdLDL) that stay in the blood longer and binds tighter to artery walls. (vii.69208)
  • Lowers HDL. (vii.208)
  • The sdLDL particles are far more dangerous than the larger LDL cholesterol in terms of heart disease. (vii.69208)

How Does Plaque Form?

Macrophage immune system cells scoop up cholesterol in the blood. If the cholesterol isn't transported out of these pro-inflammatory macrophages, it can combine with oxidized cholesterol to form foam cells(vii.67)

Foam cells combine with inflammatory AGE molecules in blood vessels. With the help of adhesion molecules, they stick to artery walls and create plaque build-up: (vii.67210)

Diagram of plaque build-up in arteries

Figure VII.9: Plaque Formation

Technically, myocardial infarctions.
Advance glycation end-products. (vii.201)

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