The Overlooked Artery Adversary – Knowing Your Levels Could Save Your Life

By Tucson Functional Medicine on September 11, 2023 0 Comments

Most traditional physicians almost always order a standard lipid panel, which includes total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol.

Unfortunately, this standard lipid test will put most people at risk, causing plaque to silently build up in their arterial walls if this one test is not ordered.

Most people, have not even heard of this life-saving test, worse, most people would believe if their total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol are within the optimal range, they are free from a severe cardiac event.


I am referring to the lab test called oxycholesterol, or oxidized LDL cholesterol (OxLDL).

Its role in cardiovascular disease has been well documented. (See references below.)

The optimal value for OxLDL is less than 60 U/L.

Learning to lower OxLDL levels (if elevated) is critical to preventing or reducing the plaque buildup in your arteries, known as atherosclerosis.

When OxLDL increases in your bloodstream, it causes massive inflammation and significantly decreases the elasticity of your arteries.

Even worse, this ominous lipid (OxLDL) also increases blood clot formation in your arteries, leading to atherosclerosis and sending your stroke risk skyrocketing.

Mainstream medicine has unfortunately overlooked this test.

Patients have false confidence in taking statins to lower their total and LDL cholesterol, only to see significantly elevated OxLDL. 

This is a recipe for disaster.

This article is not to deter anyone from addressing elevated LDL cholesterol with statins but to be confident that they are not going toward a cardiac event with high levels of OxLDL.

Unfortunately, statins will not lower OxLDL.:(

Fortunately, the technology to measure OxLDL levels is available.

Ask your doctor to order OxLDL from Labcorp or Quest. The code from Labcorp is 123023. The code from Quest is: 92769

In the next 3-5 years, this type of testing will likely become much more mainstream. But why wait? Knowing your OxLDL levels, working on lowering them, and keeping them low can mean the difference between no plaque buildup and severe plaque buildup in your arteries!

The peer-reviewed medical papers below show that OxLDL levels are linked to heart disease.

In one study published in Circulation, the plasma OxLDL level in patients with heart attacks skyrocketed about 3.5-fold over control subjects.

Knowing if the amount of oxidative damage to your LDL cholesterol is elevated or not is critically important. That’s why testing is essential.

But equally as important is to know why the oxidative damage is occurring in the first place so you can do something about it.

What do we know about the possible causes of elevated OxLDL?

While the experts aren’t positive yet about what triggers the oxidation of LDL molecules, much of it is likely related to diet, stress, infections, thyroid issues, and environmental toxin exposure.

What Steps Can One Take to Lower Elevated OxLDL?

1: Mediterranean-style diet, high in monounsaturated fats, reduces LDL oxidation. One study of 372 adults at increased risk for heart disease found that diets rich in olive oil or nuts decreased OxLDL levels.

2: Eating a diet high in polyunsaturated fats—like those in fast foods, junk food, and baked goods- increases OxLDL. Corn, sunflower, safflower, cottonseed, canola, and soy oil all seem to raise OxLDL levels.

3: Besides the Mediterranean diet, a couple more dieting “secrets” can drive down LDL oxidation. To no one’s surprise, gluten-free diets have been shown to reduce levels of OxLDL.

4: Pomegranate juice has been shown to ward off LDL oxidation.

5: Green tea fights LDL oxidation as well.

6: Vitamin E is a powerful nutrient that prevents oxidation damage in the body. (Ensure you are taking all eight of the vitamin E family.)-Naturally occurring vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms (alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocotrienol

7: A heart supplement superstar, Coenzyme Q10, because it targets and reduces the oxidation of LDL cholesterol molecules. I recommend 200 mg daily as a supplement.

8: Other natural solutions for fighting oxidation include garlic, resveratrol, and grape seed extract. 

Other Factors to Consider in Lowering OxLDL Include the following

1: Research has shown that either a low-functioning or an over-functioning thyroid gland can increase OxLDL levels.

2: Chronic infections can increase levels of OxLDL. Studies show that bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS), commonly associated with increased intestinal permeability, aka Leaky Gut, will negatively impact LDL particles, leading to elevated OxLDL. (Good reason to go gluten-free). COVID is associated with elevated OxLDL. In addition, the following infections have also been associated with elevated OxLDL and should be ruled out and addressed: Chlamydia pneumoniae, Helicobacter pylori, and cytomegalovirus

3: Rule out environmental toxins 

Be sure to get your OxLDL level tested and work with a functional practitioner to treat the root reasons if your level is elevated.

You can find a qualified and certified functional medicine practitioner by going to: www.FunctionalMedicineDoctors.com



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