A few years back, researchers believed high blood cholesterol was the leading cause of heart disease. But modern research shows that this idea was only one part of the story.
Different particles, such as VLDL, HDL, and LDL, carry cholesterol through the blood, and all have different effects on the body. These particles are together called lipoproteins.
Lipoproteins are a combination of fats (lipids) and proteins in the blood. Since fats do not readily dissolve in the blood, lipoproteins help to transport them.
Lipoproteins are categorised based on their density and size. For example, VLDL is a lipoprotein with a very low density and is considered bad cholesterol.
This article discusses VLDL, its functions, and ways to maintain healthy levels.
Understanding VLDL Cholesterol
Very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol is produced by the liver and released into the bloodstream. It supplies fat (triglycerides) to the body tissues.
It is considered “bad” cholesterol because it can contribute to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which narrows the passage and restricts blood flow. Furthermore, it may result in cardiac disorders, including coronary artery disease and others.
How to Calculate VLDL Cholesterol Levels?
The CDC states that high cholesterol has no noticeable signs or symptoms. Therefore, the only way to know if someone has high cholesterol is to get a lipid profile test.
You will most likely need a blood test to determine your triglyceride level. The VLDL will contain the majority of these triglycerides and carry them to the cells.
The lab can estimate the levels of VLDL by using triglyceride levels. Your VLDL level is approximately one-fifth of your triglyceride level. However, if your triglyceride level is high, calculating your VLDL in the same manner, will not be effective.
The test provides triglyceride readings in mg/dl or mmol/l. Additionally, it is recommended that people abstain from alcohol for at least 24 hours before the test.
The HealthifyMe Note
VLDL is a type of cholesterol that can increase your heart attack or stroke risk. Some ways to help control cholesterol levels include eating a healthy diet, being physically active, and not smoking. It’s also essential to maintain a healthy weight. Unfortunately, people with high VLDL levels may not know they have it because high cholesterol has no symptoms.
Healthy VLDL Cholesterol Levels
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) states that the average VLDL level should not exceed 30 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl).
Having VLDL levels that exceed this number puts a person at an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, a study found that women generally have lower VLDL levels than men, resulting in lower overall VLDL-C levels.
How to Reduce VLDL Cholesterol?
To lower your VLDL cholesterol, the primary strategy should be reducing triglycerides. One can lower bad cholesterol by making simple lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and exercising regularly.
It is also important to switch to healthy fats and reduce sugar and alcohol consumption. Medications can also help lower cholesterol levels.
Physical activity can help increase HDL levels, or good cholesterol, in the body. HDL can help remove VLDL from the blood, so it can be helpful to follow the American Heart Association’s (AHA) recommendations of getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. You can try brisk walking, swimming, or cycling—every day, whenever possible.
Healthy Eating Habits
A heart-healthy diet is low in saturated and trans fats. Therefore, you should avoid or reduce the consumption of sugary and processed foods and minimise your intake of saturated and trans fats. Instead, choose fibre-rich foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A study showed that the Mediterranean diet could help lower triglyceride and VLDL-C levels and decrease your risk of heart disease. This diet includes lots of fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, olive oil, and nuts.
Additionally, you should increase your consumption of fatty, omega-3-rich fish. You can talk to an expert nutritionist at HealthifyMe to help create a customised meal plan that can help reduce your VLDL levels.
Quit Smoking and Alcohol
A recent study has found that smoking cigarettes lowers good cholesterol (HDL) levels in the blood and increases the likelihood of developing high blood pressure or diabetes.
These conditions can lead to heart attack and stroke. However, smokers can lower their LDL cholesterol and raise their HDL cholesterol by giving up smoking.
Additionally, quitting smoking can help to protect arteries from damage. Nonsmokers should also avoid passive smoking to protect their health.
Limit your alcohol intake, or don’t drink at all. Study shows that alcohol can increase triglyceride and VLDL-C levels.
The American Heart Association (AHA) suggests that people who are overweight or obese are more likely to have high cholesterol. However, they have noted that if an overweight or obese person were to lose just 5-10% of their body weight, it would help improve their cholesterol levels.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to reducing VLDL cholesterol, as the best approach depends on the underlying cause.
However, some general lifestyle changes that can help lower VLDL cholesterol levels include eating a healthy diet low in saturated and trans fats, exercising regularly, avoiding tobacco use, limiting alcohol consumption and managing conditions that can contribute to high cholesterol, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
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