HDL cholesterol is known as “good” because it carries cholesterol from the circulation back to the liver for disposal. But its benefits might extend farther than we used to think!
A new study out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that a sub-fraction of cholesterol called HDL3 offers protection against inflammation in the liver.
It all goes back to the gut microbiome (doesn’t everything?).
Here’s what we previously knew:
- Gram-negative bacteria in the gut microbiome produce an endotoxin called lipopolysaccharide (LPS)
- LPS travels from the intestines to the liver through the portal vein
- Once in the liver, LPS triggers pathways of inflammation
- Inflammation in the liver can drive fatty liver and other liver diseases
The new study shows that HDL3 is also produced in the intestines and travels to the liver through the portal vein. Along the journey, it binds to LPS—and blocks it from triggering inflammation!
This study goes to show our bodies are probably smarter than we can ever imagine. If we focus on only one tiny detail (like lowering cholesterol, for example), we might be disrupting health in ways we never knew.
That’s why the functional medicine health coaching approach looks at the whole-body picture to support health by the most natural means possible.
Have questions about gut health, liver health, or cholesterol? Drop me a message so we can schedule a time to chat.