The “bad” cholesterol, LDL, comes in large and small particles. Large LDL particles are relatively benign, but small LDL particles can more easily oxidize and stick to artery linings, forming hardened plaques. Doctors wanted to explore a link between nutrients such as B vitamins and LDL particle size.
In one study, researchers measured blood fats and folate levels in 255 hospital workers. Scientists found a strong link: as blood levels of folate rose, LDL particle size increased; HDL, the “good” cholesterol, also increased; and triglycerides decreased. Doctors believe folate may help enhance and control LDL particle size, reducing chances of hardening of the arteries.