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Want bulging muscles? You need cholesterol

Cholesterol may play a role in increasing muscle mass and help in muscle repair, show the results of a new study.

health and fitness Updated: Jan 10, 2008 20:20 IST

Cholesterol may play a role in increasing muscle mass and help in muscle repair, show the results of a new study.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body. The liver manufactures it from the fat consumed by us.

High cholesterol level in the body is known to cause several illnesses, including heart disease. However, researchers at the Texas A&M University have found that it may also be beneficial.

The researchers studied 55 men and women, aged between 60 and 69, who were healthy non-smokers and were able to perform exercise tests.

Three days a week for 12 weeks, participants performed several exercises, including stretching, stationary bike riding and vigorous weight lifting, according to a report posted on the website of the university.

At the conclusion of the study, 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.

"Lower cholesterol levels can actually reduce muscle gain with exercising. 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," lead researcher Steven Riechman said.