How To Raise Hdl Cholesterol Levels
This article was medically reviewed by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 14 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, several readers have written to tell us that this article was helpful to them, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 136,366 times.
Interpreting Hdl Cholesterol Levels
HDL levels below 40 mg/dL are associated with an increased risk of CAD, even in people whose;total cholesterol;and;LDL cholesterol levels;are normal. HDL levels between 40 and 60 mg/dL are considered “normal,” and do not very much affect the risk of CAD one way or the other. However, HDL levels greater than 60 mg/dL are actually associated with a reduced;risk of heart disease.
In other words, the dogma has been: the higher the HDL levels, the better.
While this belief is still thought to be almost always true, in recent years a fly has been found in the ointment. Drug companies have spent billions of dollars developing drugs that increase HDL cholesterol levels. However, to the dismay of all, these drugs have failed to reduce cardiac riskdespite the fact that they make HDL levels go up. Development of at least two of these drugs has now been halted. So the HDL story is more complex than scientists originally had hoped.
Dangers Of High Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves and;hormones.
Although your body needs cholesterol, excess cholesterol can build up and form a fatty plaque on the walls of the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body. If plaque continues to build long-term, it can significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
So what causes high cholesterol? Believe it or not, the answer goes way beyond a high cholesterol diet.
While cholesterol is normally kept in balance, an unhealthy diet high in hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to increased cholesterol levels. This imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL and low HDL , which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Other causes can include physical inactivity, diabetes, stress and hypothyroidism.
But keep in mind that not all cholesterol is created equally. LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, is the form that can build up on the artery walls and increase your risk of heart disease. HDL cholesterol, on the other hand, is often dubbed good cholesterol because it travels through the bloodstream, removing harmful cholesterol from the arteries to help enhance heart health.
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Work In Some More Movement To Your Daily Tasks
Do you need to start running every day? Do you need to join a gym or buy a bunch of home fitness equipment? If you want to, go ahead! But there are many other choices, and finding a routine that works for you is whats most important.
Ideally, you want to aim for at least 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity every week. You can break that up however you like. You might focus on doing something every day, or you could dedicate yourself to just a few days per week. The key is to just get started.
For example, do you usually take the elevator? Take the stairs instead. Do you walk your dog every day? Go a little farther than usual, or walk at a faster pace. Need to go shopping? Park farther away than you normally do. Catching up on your favorite TV series? Try stretching, dumbbells or kettlebells while youre watching rather than just sitting on the couch. Also look for chances to bring motion into your daily life, such as walking while you talk on the phone.
If youre feeling good, work up to more intense physical activity, like lap swimming, jogging or hot yoga. Dont overexert yourself, but remember that regular and consistent exercise has benefits beyond managing your cholesterol. It also helps reduce blood pressure and builds your overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
Even if you just go a little farther or a little faster than you usually do, that extra activity will be a big step in the right direction for your health.
Natural Ways To Increase Hdl Cholesterol
Your genes do play a role in determining how much HDL your body makes and the proportion of different subtypes. Your genes are obviously already decided for you and out of your control, but your lifestyle choices are in your control. Here are some of the;best, and even some easy, ways that you can get those HDL cholesterol numbers up:
1. Dont Smoke
As is always the case, smoking only makes health problems worse, and that includes HDL levels. Studies show that;cigarette smoking adversely affects HDL by lowering its level, which further increases your risk for developing coronary heart disease. So if you smoke, youre already increasing your risk for heart problems.
2. Exercise More
To maintain a healthy body, you should exercise on a daily basis. If;you want another specific reason to start exercising or increase your frequency of exercise, its your HDL levels. Increased physical activity directly helps raise your HDL cholesterol just another one of the many benefits of exercise.;Vigorous exercise is the best choice for boosting HDL, but any additional;exercise is better than none.
3. Decrease Body Weight
If youre currently overweight, by losing even a few pounds can improve your HDL cholesterol. For every six pounds of weight;you lose, your HDL can increase by 1 milligram per deciliter. Thats means you want to lose weight, and if youre extremely overweight, getting your HDL cholesterol levels in order is another reason to treat obesity.
4. Eat Healthier Fats
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Talk To Your Doctor About Supplements And Cholesterol
If all other methods of increasing your HDL cholesterol haven’t been effective, you might think of taking dietary supplements. Still, Ahmed cautions that supplements aimed at raising HDL only do so modestly. Also, supplements have not yet been proven to reduce heart attacks or strokes.
Speak to your doctor before taking any supplements to raise HDL cholesterol, because some supplements come with health risks or may interact with medication.
Niacin 15 Grams Per Day
Niacin Immediate Release.
The immediate release version has better-supporting data than sustained release formulations.
You don’t want Inositol, you want to get immediate release Nicotinic Acid.
Be aware that this kind of dosing protocol is not sustainable.
1.5 grams of Nicotinic Acid is about 100 times higher than the RDA.
That’s not a sustainable practice that you can use long-term.
The goal of this protocol is to boost my HDL high enough and then sustain it long-term with just the krill oil, but we’ll see how that goes.
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What Are Hdl And Ldl
HDL and LDL are two types of lipoproteins.They are a combination of fat and protein. The lipids need to be attached to the proteins so they can move through the blood. HDL and LDL have different purposes:
- HDL stands for high-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver then removes the cholesterol from your body.
- LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. It is sometimes called the “bad” cholesterol because a high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
How To Increase Hdl Cholesterol
Considering the work HDL does in your body, mopping up excess LDL cholesterol so that it can’t clog your arteries, it’s important to maintain adequate levels.
When HDL is too lowâbelow 45 mg/dl in women and 40 mg/dl in menâyour risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke increases.
But there are steps you can take to elevate your levels of HDL cholesterol. Our medical experts outline seven steps to a healthy heart.
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Unwind With A Glass Of Wine To Increase Hdl Cholesterol
Research shows that moderate drinking can increase good cholesterol levels. According to the;Mayo Clinic, this means having up to one alcoholic drink per day for women, as well as for men over age 65; men under 65 can have up to two drinks per day.
A study published in February 2016 in the journal PLoS One;concluded as much. For nearly 11,000 adults, researchers found that low to moderate alcohol consumption led to higher levels of HDL cholesterol. It also helped get them to healthier overall cholesterol levels, decreasing triglycerides and lowering LDL cholesterol.
Drinking too much alcohol, on the other hand, can reverse these health benefits and lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and high triglyceride levels as well as addiction for some.
How Is High Cholesterol Diagnosed
All kids should have their cholesterol checked when they’re between 9 and 11 years old and again when they’re between 17 and 21.
Kids over 2 years old should be tested if they:
- have a parent or other close relative with a total cholesterol higher than 240 mg/dL
- have a family history of cardiovascular disease before age 55 in men and age 65 in women
- have some kinds of medical conditions
- are overweight or obese
- have diabetes, high blood pressure, or smoke cigarettes
Your doctor can order a blood test to check your child’s cholesterol. Your child may have to fast before the test.
According to the National Cholesterol Education Program guidelines, the ranges of total and LDL cholesterol for kids and teens 218 years old are:
mg/dL = milligrams per deciliter
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How To Increase Your Hdl Cholesterol Levels
High levels of HDL cholesterol, often called “good” cholesterol, are associated with a reduced risk of;coronary artery disease . It appears that HDL particles “scour” the walls of blood vessels, cleaning out excess cholesterol that otherwise might have been used to make the;plaques;that cause CAD. The HDL cholesterol is then carried to the liver, where it is processed into bile, and secreted into the intestines and out of the body.
So, the current theory goes, when we measure a person’s HDL cholesterol level, we are measuring how vigorously his or her blood vessels are being “scrubbed” free of excess cholesterol.
The Link Between Dietary And Blood Cholesterol
The liver produces as much cholesterol as the body needs. It packages cholesterol with fat in very low-density lipoproteins .
As VLDL delivers fat to cells throughout the body, it changes into the more dense LDL, or low-density lipoprotein, which carries cholesterol wherever it is needed.
The liver also releases high-density lipoprotein , which carries unused cholesterol back to the liver. This process is called reverse cholesterol transport, and protects against clogged arteries and other types of heart disease.
Some lipoproteins, especially LDL and VLDL, are prone to damage by free radicals in a process called oxidation. Oxidized LDL and VLDL are even more harmful to heart health .
Although food companies often advertise products as low in cholesterol, dietary cholesterol actually only has a small influence on the amount of cholesterol in the body.
This is because the liver changes the amount of cholesterol it makes depending on how much you eat. When your body absorbs more cholesterol from your diet, it makes less in the liver.
For example, a study randomly assigned 45 adults to eat more cholesterol in the form of two eggs daily. In the end, those eating more cholesterol did not have higher total cholesterol levels or changes in lipoproteins, compared to those eating less cholesterol .
While dietary cholesterol has little influence on cholesterol levels, other foods in your diet can worsen them, as can family history, smoking and a sedentary lifestyle.
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Fill Your Diet With Plant
Your liver makes all the cholesterol your body needs to function. So any cholesterol you get from your diet is extra, which is why dietary cholesterol can lead to high LDL levels. And that leads to a decline in HDL.
Animal-derived foodsâmeat, poultry and dairy productsâall contain dietary cholesterol and should be consumed sparingly, says Romano.
It’s fine to have hamburger and fries on occasion, but she recommends more fruits and vegetables , whole grains , tofu, beans, seeds, and nuts, all of which will help increase your HDL levels.
The goal, says Romano, is a lifestyle focused on managing cholesterol, which will likely mitigate other health issues as well.
“Adapting a diet that incorporates a variety of enjoyable and accessible foods is very much in line with general recommendations for decreased risk of many chronic diseases,” she says.
What Can I Do If My Hdl Cholesterol Level Is Low
If your HDL is low, you can take several steps to boost your HDL level and reduce your heart disease risk:
- Exercise. Aerobic exercise for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week can help pump up HDL.
- Quit smoking. Tobacco smoke lowers HDL, and quitting can increase HDL levels.
- Keep a healthy weight. Besides improving HDL levels, avoiding obesity reduces risk for heart disease and multiple other health conditions.
In certain cases, your doctor may recommend medication to improve your cholesterol level. Remember that multiple factors besides cholesterol contribute to heart disease. Diabetes, smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and genetics are all important as well.
Because so many factors contribute to heart disease, cholesterol isn’t everything. People with normal HDL cholesterol can have heart disease. And people with low HDL levels can have healthy hearts. Overall, though, people who have low HDL cholesterol will have greater risk of developing heart disease than people with high HDL levels.
Experts recommend follow-up cholesterol testing every five years for most people. People with abnormal lipid panels, or who have other risk factors, may need more frequent cholesterol tests.
If you have high cholesterol or low HDL levels, take steps to increase HDL cholesterol such as eating right, exercising regularly, and not smoking. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference for most people and may prevent heart disease and stroke.
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# 10 Use This Supplement To Help Naturally Raise Hdl:
Berberine this is a plant-based natural supplement to raise HDL. Its ideal for promoting healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It may very well be the single most powerful supplement we carry. Due to soil depletion and modern farming practices, its nearly impossible to get the nutrition you need from food alone. Use Berberine as the supplement of choice to boost HDL.
Filed Under: Natural Home & Lifestyle
Cook With Healthy Oils To Raise Hdl Cholesterol
Not all oils are created equal when it comes to your heart health. Olive oil and soybean oil are mainly unsaturated fat, which can lower LDL cholesterol and at the same time increase HDL cholesterol. In;a study published in July 2015 in The Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that including olive oil in the diet decreased LDL concentrations in healthy young men.
Research also shows that coconut oil is beneficial in raising HDL, though it isnt the best heart-healthy oil because of its high saturated fat content, which can raise LDL cholesterol.
In a Harvard Health Letter,;Walter C. Willett,;MD, chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, suggests using coconut oil sparingly because of the lack of research on how the oil may contribute to heart disease.
Groppo agrees. Coconut oil is best used on the skin, she says.
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What To Know About Triglycerides
In addition to cholesterol, you might hear about your triglycerides, another kind of fat found in the bloodstream. Women should pay particular attention to this. A high level of triglycerides seems to predict an even greater risk for heart disease in women compared with men, says Michos.
When you take in more calories than you need, your body converts the extra calories into triglycerides, which are then stored in fat cells. Triglycerides are used by the body for energy, but people with excess triglycerides have higher risk of medical problems, including cardiovascular disease. Drinking a lot of alcohol and eating foods containing simple carbohydrates , saturated fats and trans fats contributes to high triglycerides. High levels may also be caused by health conditions such as diabetes, an underactive thyroid, obesity, polycystic ovary syndrome or kidney disease.
Triglycerides also circulate in the bloodstream on particles that may contribute to plaque formation. Many people with high triglycerides have other risk factors for atherosclerosis, including high LDL levels or low HDL levels, or abnormal blood sugar levels. Genetic studies have also shown some association between triglycerides and cardiovascular disease.
High Cholesterol: Prevention, Treatment and Research
Why Exercise Is Effective At Lowering Cholesterol
Cholesterol is one of the fatty substances we have circulating in our blood. If we have too much, it can stick to the inside walls of our arteries, narrowing them and increasing risk of cardiovascular disease.
Its not only the amount of cholesterol in the blood that affects our risk, though. Other factors play a part. One of these is the type of protein that carries the cholesterol through the body. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is more likely to cause problems. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol protects the body from cholesterol buildup.
Exercise helps increase levels of HDL good cholesterol. Researchers reported on this in Lipids in Health and Disease. Physically active women had significantly higher levels of HDL cholesterol than sedentary women. Another study published in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology found similar results. In men with belly fat, regular endurance exercise increased HDL good cholesterol levels.
Exercise may even change the nature of our cholesterol. In 2002, researchers from Duke University Medical Center found that exercise improved the number and size of the particles carrying cholesterol through the body. Those who exercised more had larger, fluffier particles that were less likely to clog arteries.
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