A Little Oxidation in Your Cholesterol Might Be a Good Thing

Hi everyone, I am excited to be writing for a new digital magazine called Cafe. For my first piece, I write about a new study that scrutinizes a major assumption about cholesterol and oxidation. Oxidation is the chemical reaction responsible for rusting iron, but all kinds of materials—including cholesterol and cells—can undergo oxidation.

For a long time, scientists have assumed that oxidation of cholesterol is a harmful process that helps plaque build up in our arteries. However, the authors of this study, a group of researchers at University of Kentucky, suggests otherwise. They believe that oxidation might actually help, rather than harm, us.

Studying mice cells, the researchers observed that oxidation prevented immune cells from gobbling up cholesterol and helping form fatty plaque cells. The lead author of the study, Jason Meyer, thinks that some agent in oxidized cholesterol can actually thwart immune cells from hoarding cholesterol, a process that leads to plaque buildup in our arteries. Their findings could inform what types of food we should eat and lead to the discovery of new heart disease medicines.

To learn more, you can read the piece here.


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