LDL vs VLDL Cholesterol
Non communicable diseases, or NCDs have become a hot topic as other infectious diseases are somewhat under control and as one of the major contributors to morbidity and mortality in humans. NCD is a collective term for cardiovascular diseases and neoplastic conditions. Cardiovascular conditions are dependent on many factors, and one of those factors that play a vital role is dyslipidaemia. This has a familial tendency with aspects of diet contributing to it, as well. Lipoprotein level is one of the determinants of transportation of fats throughout the body, and in diagnosing the condition in early stages. Two such important lipoproteins are very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) and low density lipoproteins (LDL). We will now discuss these two biological markers as to how they contribute and differ from each other.
Low density lipoproteins (LDL) carries the newly formed cholesterol from the liver to the other tissues in the body. It is related to early atheroma formation progressing into atherosclerosis with narrowing of arteries and leading up to cardiovascular disease (heart attacks & strokes) at an early age and death. On transport to the arterial walls, these LDL linked cholesterols undergo oxidation, which promotes the formation of plaques. Usually the LDL is low in triglycerides (TGs) and high in cholesterols. Reduction of LDL levels can be achieved through positive lifestyle modifications and compliant use of the medication statin, and to a lesser level with fibrates, nicotinic acid, gemfibrozil and resins like cholestyramine.
Very low density lipoproteins (VLDL) are responsible for moving the fats and cholesterols through the blood. It is produced in the liver. Thus, it is only present as a mediator in the transport of triglycerides and cholesterols. This lipoprotein contains a high number of apolipoproteins required for binding lipids to proteins, to form these discrete particles. They contain Apo B 100, Apo E, Apo C I, and Apo C II. They are acquired and lost along the way, ultimately to form the final product. VLDL contains high amounts of triglycerides and lower amounts of cholesterol. Measurement of VLDL is done indirectly through triglyceride levels. The management is based on the management of triglycerides. Thus, reduction of TG is done through exercises and omega-3 fish oils.
What is the difference between LDL and VLDL Cholesterol?
Both LDL and VLDL are lipoproteins containing apolipoproteins that contain TG, cholesterol, proteins and phospholipids. Both of these contain Apo B 100, and important in transporting the fat. But the VLDL is high in TGs and LDL is high in cholesterol. VLDL would lyse most of the TG to become LDL ultimately. The LDL can be measured directly, but the VLDL cannot be measured directly. The management of LDL can be done through specific drugs like statins and carbametes, but the management of VLDL is done through the management of TGs, which in turn, is managed by fish oils. Both these factors are prominent in the creation of cardiovascular diseases leading to prominent morbidity and mortality.
Where LDL is high in cholesterol, VLDL is high in TGs; where LDL can be directly measured VLDL cannot be. And we can directly manage LDL, but we cannot the VLDLs.