Washington, Jan 10: Cholesterol may not be as mean as we tend to believe it is.
A new study says they might actually provide a benefit. Researchers at Texas A &M University have discovered that combined with exercise, cholesterol appears to play a role in contributing to muscle gain.
During the study conducted on 55 men and women, aged 60-69 were made to perform several exercises three days a week for 12 weeks.
The researchers found that there was a significant association of dietary cholesterol and change in strength. In general, those with higher cholesterol intake also had the highest muscle strength gain.
Cholesterol circulating in the blood also appeared to have contributed to greater muscle gain in the participants, Science Daily reported.
''We were not expecting to get these kind of results. We need further research in this area, but what we found could really make us look differently at cholesterol, especially as it relates to a vigorous workout,'' explains lead investigator Steven Riechman, assistant professor of health and kinesiology.
''One possible explanation is through cholesterol's important role in the inflammation process,'' he noted.
''As you exercise, your muscles can become sore because they are rebuilding muscle mass. More cholesterol may result in a more robust inflammatory response. We know that inflammation in some areas, such as near the heart, is not good, but for building muscles it may be beneficial, and cholesterol appears to aid in this process,'' he explained.
Prof Riechman said that subjects who were taking cholesterol-lowering drugs while participating in the study showed lower muscle gain totals than those who were not.
''Needless to say, these findings caught us totally off guard,'' he added. explains.