You can hear or read it everywhere : cholesterol is bad for you, cholesterol can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, and dietary cholesterol has no place in a bodybuilding diet. What if we say that all these claims are all false?
Cholesterol is a waxy substance created in the liver and it is responsible and even essential for a wide range of normal body functions and between them is also muscle growth. Dietary cholesterol has little influence on levels of blood cholesterol or the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In fact, very low blood cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of depression, anxiety, respiratory illness, and stroke.
Cholesterol is also responsible for gaining muscle. Eating a diet that’s higher in cholesterol may be better for building muscle and increasing strength, according to new research from Kent State University in Ohio.
In the study 47 adults (age 60-69) were put on a 12 week training program and tested for strength and muscle mass.They were divided in two groups that consumed same (moderate) amounts of protein a day, but different amounts of cholesterol a day.After 12 weeks of weight training, the lower-cholesterol group (1.6mg/lb) increased strength by about 35% with no increase in muscle mass.The subjects from the high cholesterol consuming group (2.6mg/lb) increased their strength by 90% and saw an increase in muscle mass of about 5 lbs.
The reason of why the high cholesterol group gained more muscle and strength is not exactly known, but it’s speculated that cholesterol is important for testosterone production as well as maintaining the integrity of muscle cell membranes.In other words, cholesterol may be necessary for building muscle and strength.
Steve Riechman, a researcher in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at the Texas A&M University, says:
“It shows that you do need a certain amount of LDL to gain more muscle mass. There’s no doubt you need both – the LDL and the HDL — and the truth is, it (cholesterol) is all good. You simply can’t remove all the ‘bad’ cholesterol from your body without serious problems occurring.”
People often say, ‘I want to get rid of all my bad (LDL) cholesterol,’ but the fact is, if you did so, you would die,” the Texas A&M professor adds. “Everyone needs a certain amount of both LDL and HDL in their bodies. We need to change this idea of LDL always being the evil thing – we all need it, and we need it to do its job.”