London: A substance formed from glucose in the body damages ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, potentially increasing the risk of heart disease, a new study has found.

The substance, methylglyoxal – MG, destabilises High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and causes it to lose the properties which protect against heart disease.

HDL damaged by MG is rapidly cleared from the blood, reducing its HDL content, or remains in plasma having lost its beneficial function.

Low levels of HDL are closely linked to heart disease, with increased levels of MG being common in the elderly and those with diabetes or kidney problems, according to ‘’.

“MG damage to HDL is a new and likely important cause of low and dysfunctional HDL, and could count for up to a 10 per cent risk of heart disease,” said lead researcher Dr Naila Rabbani, of the Warwick Medical School.

“By understanding how MG damages HDL we can now focus on developing drugs that reduce the concentration of MG in the blood, but it will not only be drugs that can help.

“We could now develop new food supplements that decrease MG by increasing the amount of a protein called glyoxalase 1 which converts MG to harmless substances.

“This means that in future we have both new drugs and new foods that can help prevent and correct low HDL, all through the control of MG,” Rabbani said.

The study is published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.

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