Darren Burns

The word cholesterol is often interpreted as a major health concern regarding cardiovascular health. When most people think of cholesterol they think of good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.

The good cholesterol label is associated with high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and bad cholesterol is associated with low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Recent research performed by Steven Reichman, Ph.D., from Texas A&M University may have shed some new light in regards to bad cholesterol not being such a bad actor after all. Reichman determined that you need a reasonable amount of LDL circulating in your blood to induce adequate muscle hypertrophy.

In fact, Reichman led a study involving 52 adults ages 60–69 who were in good health but not physically active. None of the subjects trained on a regular basis. The summation of the study concluded that after moderate-intense exercise, participants who had accrued the most muscle mass also displayed the highest levels of LDL. This was definitely a surprise, and not the expected result.

This unique finding demonstrates that you need a certain amount of LDL to elicit adequate muscular hypertrophy. It proves that all forms of cholesterol are paramount to a person’s health. You simply cannot remove all of your bad cholesterol, as that would actually be detrimental to your health.

LOW-DENSITY Lipoproteins get a bad reputation for their ability to build up in the walls of arteries, which causes a reduction in blood circulation, which often leads to heart disease and heart attacks.

HIGH-DENSITY Lipoproteins often help facilitate the removal of cholesterol from the arteries. However, LDL is significant in the fact that it serves as a warning sign that something is wrong and alerts the body to defend against the malady at hand.

People need to understand that you don’t want to completely rid yourself of bad cholesterol and understand that everyone needs a certain amount of both forms of cholesterol.

Reichman says, “Our tissues need cholesterol, and LDL delivers it. HDL, the good cholesterol, cleans up after the repair is done. And the more LDL you have in your blood, the better you are able to build muscle during resistance training.”

The study Reichman conducted serves as a useful finding in dealing with conditions such as sarcopenia (age-dependent muscle loss), which could help aging individuals fend of muscular atrophy that can shorten one’s life span.

The findings reveal how imperative essential fatty acids and saturated-fat-based diets are in overall health, and in a person’s plight for ultimate muscle mass accrual.

The take-home message here isn’t to start infusing copious amount of bacon, fast foods, and excessive animal fats into your blood by ingesting a poor diet, but to understand that precise implementation of saturated fats will be conducive in facilitating muscle hypertrophy.

I also believe saturated fats will increase healthy prostaglandin production, which will initiate a myriad of growth factors localized to muscle, and systemically. This could also play a major role in LDL’s influence on building big muscles. FLEX