High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL), is also known as the “good cholesterol” for what they do; the removal of harmful cholesterol from the human bloodstream. Healthy levels of HDL in the bloodstream have been shown to reduce the instances of heart disease, whereas lower HDL levels are said to have the opposite effect, ie, an elevated risk of heart disease.
There are numerous articles, social media posts and other guides on the internet that talk about ways and methods to increase HDL levels in your body. Too much of a good thing cannot possibly be bad, right? Wrong.
What the research says
High-Density Lipoproteins are great. They help the human body flush out toxins from the bloodstream and you need a decent level (Above 40-60 mg/dL) in order to ensure optimal heart health. However, there is a limit to how high the HDL levels can be before they don’t have any further positive effects on your health anymore, and if research conducted at Harvard University is to be believed, the upper limit cap has been set at 90 mg/dL.
You might be thinking… so what? Even “too much” of HDLs in the bloodstream don’t really matter, they just stop helping beyond 90 mg/dL. That’s what the study shows! But unfortunately, that’s not all.
As per research conducted by the Washington State School of Medicine, both low AND high levels of HDL cholesterol in the bloodstream can cause detrimental health effects, including death. To their credit, the research documents do say that further research is required before they reach any concrete conclusions.
In a separate study conducted by the Medical Centre at the University of Rochester (whose findings were published in a journal of the American Heart Association), high levels of HDL cholesterol can place some people at a risk of chest pain, increased heart attacks, and even death.
The solution to High Cholesterol levels
So, what’s the solution then? Should you stop trying to increase your HDL levels? Should you just turn a blind eye to your Cholesterol test results altogether? Should you break off your friendship with the “good” Cholesterol for good?
The solution is very similar to how you’d control elevated levels of LDL, by keeping a constant vigil on your Cholesterol test results.
Time and again, we’ve stressed the importance of a regular health check-up, and issues such as both high and low levels of something like HDLs is one of the biggest reasons why you should not only get the health check-up but why you should also read and understand the values properly.
If the research is to be believed, it’s best for you to ensure that your HDL levels stay well north of 40-60 mg/dL, while at the same time, it’s probably best to keep them lesser than 90 mg/dL. If you drink alcohol, eat a fat-rich diet (Keto etc.) or take any special medication or supplements to increase your HDL levels and they’re becoming too high as a result, you may want to cut back on the consumption of such dietary inclusions, to maintain neither high, nor low, but “healthy” levels of HDLs.
With regular health check-ups, being attentive of your test results and a few lifestyle changes, you can continue to remain best friends with the helpful HDLs without letting them turn into your worst enemies.
As always, we wish you the best!