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Cholesterol levels closely tied to immune function

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Cholesterol testing may reveal more than just an individual's cardiovascular health. According to a new study from a team of British researchers, it may also indicate the health of their immune system.

Researchers from Edinburgh University found that the link between cholesterol and immune function is somewhat cyclical. Upon infection, an immune hormone is stimulated. This has the effect of lowering cholesterol levels, as fats can provide a food source for viruses. Therefore, lower cholesterol can also mean fewer infections.

The researchers told Reuters that drugs currently used to lower cholesterol, most notably statin medications, could one day be repurposed to help fight infections. While many more studies would have to be conducted to make sure that this is viable, their findings show that it could definitely be possible.

"Drugs currently exist to lower cholesterol levels, but the next step would be to see if such drugs would also work to help bolster our immune systems," they told the news source.

They added that taking this approach could help create new medications that fight infections that have become resistant to most currently available antiviral and antibacterial drugs.

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