LDL belongs to the group of cholesterols. LDL is the abbreviation for Low density lipoproteinwhich translates as "low density lipoprotein". Lipoproteins are substances made from Lipids (Fats) and Proteins (Proteins) exist. These form a ball in the blood in which various substances can be transported. In the sphere they show hydrophobic (i.e. the water-insoluble) components of the LDL inside, the hydrophilic (water-soluble) components form the shell. LDL is mainly needed to transport water-insoluble substances.

Standard values

The norms for the Total cholesterol (not only LDL but also HDL) are included <5.2 mmol / l, What 200 mg / dl corresponds. The limit values ​​for LDL depend on the person's risk profile for the coronary heart disease and Atherosclerosis (Calcification of the vessels). The risk depends on gender, age, cardiovascular disease and many other factors. At a low risk the limit is included 4.2 mmol / L (160 mg / dL). At medium risk the border shifts to 3.4 mmol / L (130 mg / dL). A high risk exists if you already have coronary artery disease or atherosclerosis. In this case the cholesterol levels should be below 2.6 mmol / L (100 mg / dL) be lowered.

What is LDL used for?

As a lipoprotein, LDL is ideally suited to prevent water-soluble (hydrophobic) To transport substances in the blood. For this, the LDL forms small transport balls, which are usually filled with fats or fat-soluble (lipophilic) Substances are filled.

The main task of LDL is to transport cholesterol, which is produced in the liver, to other regions. Cholesterol is needed almost everywhere in the body: For example, it forms the basic structure of hormones or Bile acids, so it is in Cell membranes to find. That is why it is transported by the LDL to the various tissues, organs and vessels.

In addition to transporting cholesterol, the LDL also has other transport tasks. The fat-soluble vitamins (Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Vitamin K), which are needed in different places in the body, are also in good hands in the ball of LDL. Other fat-soluble substances that are distributed in the body using LDL are Phospholipids, Fatty acids and so-called Triglycerides (also body fat). LDL itself is also found in the Liver formedwhere it can immediately pick up the substances to be transported. From there it is flushed out into the blood and reaches other body cells. In these the LDL transport particles are broken down, at the same time the ingredients are released and can be used by the respective cells.

LDL level too high - what does that mean?

LDL is the so-called "nasty cholesterol". It ensures that various fat-soluble substances get from the liver into all other body tissues. An excessively high LDL level is particularly feared because it increases the risk for one coronary heart disease or the Atherosclerosis (Calcification of the vessels). The cholesterol that is transported into the vessels with the LDL particles can adhere to the vessel walls.

There it is from the Macrophages (so to speak Phagocytes) recorded. These form foam cells that lie on the vessel walls and offer more and more space for new cholesterol. The foam cells create so-called Plaquesthat are attached to the vascular cells and represent small foci of inflammation there. The inflammation also attracts new cells, which also stick there.

With the accumulation of more and more cell material, the vessel narrows. The blood can no longer flow without problems and forms small eddies. Due to the turbulence, the flow of blood is so slow in some places that it can Blood clots can form. Small vessels in particular can become so narrow that not enough blood flows through them and the organ behind is not adequately supplied with blood.

You might also be interested in the following articles: Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, diet for high cholesterol levels, hypercholesterolemia

LDL level too low - what does that mean?

By definition, there is no such thing as an LDL value that is too low; instead, there is only an upper limit up to which the LDL value is considered normal. Since LDL is called "bad cholesterol“Contributing mainly to diseases of the cardiovascular system (coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis), a low LDL value is initially desirable.

Possible reasons for a very low LDL value, however, can be massive Malnutrition or malnutrition be. However, this is almost impossible to achieve in our society. As a result of a very low LDL value it could happen that not enough fat-soluble substances reach your target tissue. Too little transport of the Vitamins A can have a bad impact on that Eyesight to have. Is missing Vitamin K in the corresponding tissue, is the Blood clotting disrupted. This leads to an increased tendency to bleed. Inadequate transport of cholesterol or other fats that are built into cell membranes can damage the cell membrane and thus lead to cell death.

HDL / LDL quotient

The HDL / LDL quotient indicates how it is in total Distribution of cholesterol stands in the body. Most of the time when a blood sample is taken Total cholesterol measured. This is made up of the HDL and the LDL together. HDL is the “good” cholesterol because it transports cholesterol and other fat-soluble substances from all cells back into the liver. There the substances can be broken down and excreted by the body.

LDL, on the other hand, is the “bad” cholesterol because it carries these substances from the liver to the other tissues. This increases the risk for Diseases of the cardiovascular system. For this reason, the more HDL and the less LDL there is in the body, the cheaper it is. A ratio of LDL to HDL below 4 is within the normal range. So there should be a maximum of four times as much LDL as HDL in the body. A higher ratio would speak for too much LDL too little HDL and accordingly harm the body. Conversely, a lower ratio has a positive effect.

How can I lower the LDL level?

Through nutrition

In order to lower the LDL value, one should especially the intake of animal fats be reduced. Many frying and deep-frying fats also contain "bad" fatty acids (chemically speaking "Trans fatty acids") contain. Monounsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in olive oil contained, have a positive effect on the LDL level. Likewise are Omega-3 fatty acidsfound in fish especially, good for the LDL level. It is advisable to consume as little sugar as possible. Instead, it should be a high-fiber diet with lots of fruits and vegetables be respected. Smoking also harms the LDL balance.

Further information on the topic can be found here: Diet for high cholesterol, foods and cholesterol

With herbal products

Various herbal remedies can lower the LDL level. vitamin C, which is mainly found in citrus fruits, ensures that cholesterol is increasingly broken down into bile acids. This lowers the LDL level. Vitamin E. however, it is mainly contained in vegetable oils. It's a so-called antioxidant and thus prevents the oxidation of the LDL. It is only through this oxidation that the LDL can cause damage to the vessel walls. This effect can be mitigated by increasing the intake of vitamin E. Also zinc can contribute to a lower LDL value. It intervenes in enzymatic processes and thus regulates parts of the fatty acid metabolism.

Through sport

Exercise can increase LDL levels in many ways improve. A lack of physical activity generally increases the fat mass, which of course also increases the LDL level. In addition, a low use of the muscles leads to the Lipoproteins adversely, causing the LDL to circulate longer in the blood. This in turn leads to increased LDL levels. Particularly suitable sports are those that do the Condition and stamina strengthen. Continuous motion sequences, as in the Jogging, cycling, hiking, Nordic walking, swimming and many other sports are much more effective than sports in which the load fluctuates widely.

Which foods contain LDL?

LDL itself is not found in foods, but the body makes it from the unsaturated fatty acids that are found in many foods. Especially animal fat consist of many unsaturated fatty acids. flesh and cold cuts such as milk and other animal products are bad for the LDL balance. Likewise, these "bad fats" are in Roasting and Frying fat contain. Also Lard, butter, palm oil and Coconut oil have a negative effect on the LDL balance.

Foods containing cholesterol, such as Eggs, also lead to increased LDL levels. Of course, not only the individual foods contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids or cholesterol. Food made from them should also be avoided if you want to lower your LDL level. All kind of sweet pastries and cake contain butter and are therefore to be assessed negatively with regard to the LDL balance.

More information can be found here: Food and Cholesterol


So-called statins are usually prescribed to lower the LDL value. This drug works by blocking an enzyme that the body uses to make cholesterol. The enzyme is called HMG-CoA reductase. By making this enzyme less active, the body can produce less cholesterol. This causes the liver to absorb more cholesterol from the rest of the tissues.

HDL is the primary requirement for cholesterol to be absorbed by the liver. In return, the body doesn't have much cholesterol in reserve. This means that hardly any cholesterol is transported from the liver to other parts of the body. That is why there is hardly any need for LDL and accordingly less is produced. This ultimately leads to the LDL level falling.

You may also be interested in this article: Simvastatin, Cholestyramine

LDL level after heart attack

The LDL value is after a Heart attack unchanged compared to before. Due to vascular damage, LDL leads to an increased risk of heart attacks, coronary heart disease and other vascular diseases. After a heart attack, the tolerable level of LDL in the blood drops (see above at Standard values). Therefore, the LDL value must be checked more intensively, for example by the family doctor. If the values ​​are too high, a Statin be treated. Also, the patient should be encouraged to do more Sports to drift.