Mainstream medicine is absolutely obsessed with LDL cholesterol. They’ve turned it into Public Enemy #1. All that’s missing at this point is a wanted poster hanging on the wall at the post office.
But they got the wrong guy. Because LDL isn’t always the big baddie, it’s been made out to be. In fact, new research nails down ANOTHER form of cholesterol that’s often a MUCH bigger problem.
It’s easy to spot. In fact, you can calculate it on your own, in about 3 seconds. I’ll tell you exactly how in a moment.
And trust me, you’re going to want to know what your number is. Because even though most folks have never even heard of this type of cholesterol before, it’s persistently linked to major health threats.
Yet despite the latest evidence reconfirming just how bad this stuff really is, chances are your own doctor has never said a peep about it. And he likely never will.
The most dangerous cholesterol you’ve never heard of
As I’ve shared with you before, the REAL killer isn’t normal LDL.
When you’re healthy… eating right, and exercising… and things are going well, normal LDL will basically bounce harmlessly through your blood vessels. Almost like a beach ball being tossed around on a lazy summer day.
The real problem is a buildup in your arteries of tiny, dense, and heavily oxidized particles. They’re called very-low-density lipoprotein, or VLDL, which is a component of remnant cholesterol.
Instead of those fluffy and light beachballs I mentioned earlier, THESE particles are like little jagged rocks. And they can get lodged in blood vessels, leading to buildups and blockages.
They’ve been linked to heart attacks and stroke, as I’ve shared before.
Calculate… and curb…. your remnant cholesterol
Now, the latest research uncovers one more awful risk of this overlooked form of cholesterol. It’s a painful and debilitating condition called peripheral arterial disease, or PAD.
As your levels of remnant cholesterol jump, the blood vessels in your legs narrow. Next thing you know, you’re one of the 9 million Americans struggling with PAD.
PAD isn’t just incredibly painful. It can also…
- make it difficult to walk and get around
- cause slow-healing or non-healing wounds in the legs and feet
- lead to infection or even amputation
But as bizarre as it sounds, your doctor almost certainly won’t even bother to calculate your remnant cholesterol. It’s not something they focus on in medical school. And all his attention will likely be on your LDL number.
But it turns out you don’t need him for this one. Here’s how you figure out your remnant cholesterol on your own.
Get the results of your most recent blood test. Look at your TOTAL cholesterol number. Subtract the LDL cholesterol from that number, then subtract the HDL cholesterol.
What’s left is the “remnant,” and a number of 9 or higher could DOUBLE your odds of PAD. If you hit 18, your odds will TRIPLE.
And if your remnant cholesterol is greater than 27, you’re facing…
- FIVE TIMES the risk of PAD
- FOUR times the odds of a heart attack
- DOUBLE the chance of a stroke
Remnant cholesterol is still a relatively new and developing area of research. We still have a lot to learn about it. But many experts believe that it’s likely that the same approaches that reduce triglycerides could also help reduce your remnant cholesterol number too.
Move a little more. Don’t worry, you don’t have to turn into a gym rat. You just want to make sure you’re active more often throughout the day. In fact, there’s even evidence that “mini-workouts” can deliver BIG benefits.
Cut back on those carbs. You don’t have to go ultra-low-carb if you don’t want to. Mediterranean-style eating should do the trick. Lots of veggies and fruits. Plenty of olive oil. Eat more wild-caught, cold-water fatty fish. And consider a high-quality omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
The jury is still out on whether or not fish oil supplements will bring down triglycerides. But there are plenty of other benefits. Plus, with more research, we may find they help with remnant cholesterol too.
Don’t smoke. And if you’re not already taking a probiotic, you might want to start. Some research finds that these good gut bugs could help reduce elevated triglycerides.
For example, in one study, a group of volunteers with high triglycerides saw a significant drop in their numbers after taking Lactobacillus curvatus and Lactobacillus plantarum for 12 weeks. And in a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials, probiotics were linked to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides.
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