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Exercise speeds LDL cholesterol removal in hypercholesterolemia

Atherosclerosis 2010; Advance online publication

Exercise accelerates the removal of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol from plasma in previously sedentary people with moderate hypercholesterolemia, a study has shown.

Exercise also decreased LDL cholesterol levels and reduced the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation, report Raul Maranhão and colleagues from the University of São Paulo in Brazil.
"The results of the study show that exercise training contributes to improve the regulation of the intravascular lipid metabolism in hypercholesterolemic subjects," they say.

The team studied 20 hypercholesterolemic individuals with LDL cholesterol levels of 130 to 190 mg/dl (3.36 to 4.91 mmol/l) and 20 normolipidemic individuals with LDL cholesterol below 130 mg/dl, all of whom were sedentary.

Twelve hypercholesterolemic participants underwent a 4-month exercise program consisting of three hour-long training sessions per week while the remaining eight individuals were instructed to keep their sedentary habits.

The normolipidemic individuals were divided up in a similar manner.

An LDL-like nanoemulsion labeled with 14C-cholesteryl ester was injected intravenously on the first and last day of the 4-month study, and plasma samples collected at defined periods for 24 hours afterwards to determine Fractional Clearance Rate (FCR).

Training increased nanoemulsion FCR by an average of 36% in both exercising groups, but this improvement was only statistically significant in hypercholesterolemic individuals.
Exercise also elicited a 14% decrease in LDL cholesterol in hypercholesterolemic individuals, while only a trend for this was observed in normolipidemic participants.

LDL susceptibility to oxidation decreased with exercise only in the hypercholesterolemic group, whereas oxidized LDL remained unaltered following exercise in both groups.

FCR remained unchanged in both non-training groups, the researchers report in the journal Atherosclerosis.

They conclude: "This study shows that exercise accelerated the removal of LDL, as tested by the nanoemulsion model, and this effect could be related with the exercise-induced decrease in LDL cholesterol and also the decreased LDL susceptibility to oxidation."

Read the abstract

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2010