VLDL cholesterol refers to very low density lipoprotein, a transporter of cholesterol and triglycerides within the body. It is created in the liver in response to a high-carbohydrate meal, and conditions known to increase it include obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers. It is also thought to play a role in the development of atherosclerosis. Ways to lower this type of cholesterol include lifestyle changes and taking certain medications.
What Is VLDL Cholesterol?
VLDL stands for very low density lipoprotein, one of several transporters of cholesterol within the body.
Understanding Cholesterol and Lipoproteins
To better understand the role of VLDL cholesterol, it may be helpful to know a little more about cholesterol and lipoproteins.
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in all the cells of the body. Your body needs some cholesterol in order to work properly. To get to all of the cells, cholesterol needs to travel through the bloodstream. However, because cholesterol is a fat, it separates from the blood similar to the way that oil separates from water.
To prevent this from occurring, proteins form a shell around the cholesterol, creating a "cholesterol complex." It is then released into the bloodstream and travels to where it needs to go.
A protein that is linked to cholesterol to form this cholesterol complex is called a "lipoprotein." VLDL is one of several lipoprotein complexes. Other lipoproteins include:
- High density lipoprotein (HDL), the "good cholesterol"
- Low density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad cholesterol"
- Chylomicrons, the major transporter of triglycerides in the blood
- Intermediate density lipoprotein (IDL).