We Know About Good And Bad Cholesterol – Now There Is ‘Ultra-Bad’ Cholesterol

Most people are now aware that there are different types of cholesterol.  Some types are actually good for you and you want those to increase in numbers.  Then there is the bad cholesterol that you want to decrease.  Besides those two that we are familiar with there is now a third general class being defined as “ultra-bad” cholesterol.

There is much to be learned about this new type of cholesterol.  Why is it “ultra-bad”?  How is formed?  How can we prevent the formation and decrease the levels of this bad cholesterol?  Before we examine these questions lets first take a look at what we already know.

LDL Vs. HDL Cholesterol

The “good” version that we want to see high numbers of is HDL cholesterol.  HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein.  These HDLs grab cholesterol that is in your blood and carries it back to the liver.  In the liver the cholesterol is used to create bile, which reduces the amount of cholesterol in your blood.  It is better to have more HDL as that means more cholesterol can be removed from your blood.

We Know About Good And Bad Cholesterol - Now There Is 'Ultra-Bad' Cholesterol

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

On the other hand, there is the “bad” version, called LDL cholesterol, that we want to reduce.  LDL stands for low-density lipoprotein.  These LDLs carry cholesterol, but they are soft and are able to squeeze through the walls of your arteries.  By doing this they can get stuck in your arteries and cause plaque, which eventually can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

Discover Of “Ultra-Bad” Cholesterol

Researchers have now identified a third class of cholesterol that they are naming “ultra-bad”.  This is a form of LDL cholesterol called MGmin-low-density lipoprotein.  The reason why this is “ultra-bad” is because it is much stickier than normal LDL so it is more likely to attach itself to the walls of your arteries.  The researchers created MGmin-LDL by adding sugar groups to standard LDL.

The discovery of this type of cholesterol is actually very promising.  For a long time doctors have known that diabetics have a higher risk of heart attack and stroke.  This discovery of ultra-bad cholesterol could explain this increased risk, as explained by Dr. Shannon Amoils:

We’ve known for a long time that people with diabetes are at greater risk of heart attack and stroke. There is still more work to be done to untangle why this is the case, but this study is an important step in the right direction.


This study shows how the make-up and the shape of a type of LDL cholesterol found in diabetics could make it more harmful than other types of LDL. The findings provide one possible explanation for the increased risk of coronary heart disease in people with diabetes.

Determining what causes the formation of this MGmin-LDL also could provide an explanation as to why the risk of heart disease is decreased with the use of a type 2 diabetes drug, metformin, which lowers blood sugar levels.

Now that ultra-bad cholesterol is better understood new medication for cholesterol may now be created, especially for patients that have diabetes.