Why Your Blood Needs HDL Cholesterol
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Do you know why your blood needs HDL cholesterol? It is an important question to ask yourself, as HDL cholesterol plays a vital role in your health.
HDL cholesterol is one of the five major types of cholesterol found in your blood. It is usually referred to as the good cholesterol, because it works by protecting your heart and arteries.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what HDL cholesterol does, why your body needs it, and how you can ensure you have enough.
What is HDL cholesterol and what does it do in your blood?
HDL cholesterol is also known as the good cholesterol, because it removes LDL cholesterol from the blood.
HDL cholesterol carries LDL cholesterol back to the liver, where it is broken down and eliminated.
High levels of HDL cholesterol is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
The benefits and functions of HDL cholesterol include:
- Reduces LDL cholesterol
- Prevents the build-up of LDL cholesterol on the walls of blood vessels
- Increases blood flow
- Protects the body against inflammation and the formation of blood clots
- Prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol
Is HDL cholesterol good for your blood?
Yes. Your blood needs HDL cholesterol for several reasons:
Removal of LDL cholesterol
HDL cholesterol eliminates excess LDL cholesterol from the blood. This is because LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of blood vessels, narrowing them and increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Maintaining a balance of lipoproteins
HDL cholesterol helps to maintain a balance of all the different types of lipoproteins in the blood.
High LDL cholesterol combined with low levels of HDL cholesterol is a greater risk factor for heart disease than having high levels of LDL cholesterol alone.
HDL cholesterol has antioxidant properties which helps protect the body against inflammation and the formation of blood clots.
Immune system support
HDL cholesterol has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties and improves the activity of white blood cells helping to strengthen the immune system.
Decreased risk of cancer
High levels of HDL cholesterol is linked to a decreased risk of certain cancer types.
Better control of diabetes
HDL cholesterol helps to regulate the metabolism of glucose and insulin which helps to improve the control of diabetes.
What foods provides HDL cholesterol?
There are foods that can help increase HDL cholesterol in your blood, some examples include:
Are HDL cholesterol supplements available?
There are supplements available that claim to increase HDL cholesterol but most of them are not FDA approved and lacks evidence to support it.
However, the efficacy of these supplements may vary and more research is needed to confirm their benefits.
Some examples of HDL cholesterol supplements include:
- Vitamin B3. Niacin has been shown to increase good cholesterol. It can be found in dietary supplements, fortified foods and multivitamins.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 foods have been found to raise HDL cholesterol levels.
- Fiber supplements. Some studies have shown that supplements containing soluble fibers such as psyllium and beta-glucans may help increase HDL cholesterol levels.
- Policosanol. A type of supplement made from sugar cane increases HDL cholesterol levels but more research is needed to confirm it’s potency.
Which groups of people don’t get enough HDL cholesterol?
There are several groups of people who may be at risk of not getting enough HDL cholesterol, including:
- People with obesity
- People who consume too much alcohol
- People with diabetes
- People with high triglyceride levels
- People with metabolic syndrome
- Individuals with family history of low HDL cholesterol
What’s the recommended daily intake for HDL cholesterol?
According to the American Heart Association, there is no specific recommended daily intake for HDL cholesterol.
However, the accepted level of HDL cholesterol is generally considered to be 60 milligrams per deciliter or higher. Levels below 40 mg/dL may indicate that that you have a heart disease.
What are the symptoms of low HDL cholesterol?
Low HDL cholesterol don’t cause any specific symptoms. If your HDL cholesterol is low and low density lipoproteins increases, it can lead to heart disease and stroke.
In these cases, symptoms may appear only when a damage has occurred in the heart and blood vessels, this may include:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations
Which medications interferes with HDL cholesterol?
Several medications have been reported to lower HDL cholesterol in the blood, including:
HDL cholesterol maintains the circulatory system by getting rid of bad cholesterol in the blood.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of HDL cholesterol protects the heart and blood vessels. A healthy balance of cholesterol, including an adequate level of HDL cholesterol is crucial for your cardiovascular health.
It is important to maintain a healthier lifestyle and diet in order to keep your HDL cholesterol at a healthy level, and avoid certain medications that interacts with HDL cholesterol.
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