What is HDL Cholesterol? Here you have a clue: it is known as the «good cholesterol».
Find out about their properties and how to measure it.
What are the normal ranges?
We invite you to read our information on the subject.
So far we have learned a lot about cholesterol. We already know what cholesterol is, how it is produced and its effects on our health. However, today we are going deeper into the subject and focus on HDL cholesterol (HDL-C), also known as the «good cholesterol».
As we have commented in other articles of our website, cholesterol is a fatty substance present in all the cells of our body and where we can identify three different types of cholesterol, also called «lipoproteins»: VLDL, LDL and HDL.
But what are lipoproteins? Well, is cholesterol attached to the proteins, on which it travels through the blood. It is something like fat plus protein, and this is where our topic comes from today: High Density Lipoproteins or HDL.
These lipoproteins are responsible for transporting cholesterol from the tissues and arteries of our body back to the liver in order to excrete them. That is why it is called good cholesterol, because it eliminates the excess of cholesterol present in our body.
However, this does not mean that it is good to have high levels of this lipoprotein, since it has not been proven that its high values can prevent cardiovascular diseases.
How does it work
HDL lipoproteins are the smallest and densest, and are composed largely of proteins. The liver is responsible for synthesizing these lipoproteins as empty proteins and, once they «collect» cholesterol from tissues and arteries, they increase in size as they circulate through the bloodstream.
To date there are no conclusive studies on the benefits of having high concentrations of HDL (more than 60 mg / dL), nor has it been possible to link low HDL levels with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This is because HDL levels says very little of our health if taken alone, hence the importance of considering LDL, triglycerides and total cholesterol levels to make a more accurate diagnosis. In addition to considering factors such as sex, age, race, family history, among others.
For example, it should be considered that men tend to have a lower level of HDL than women. Also, the consumption of alcohol, the food we eat and some vitamins influence the plasma concentration of HDL cholesterol.
Other factors that affect the levels of this lipoprotein are physical activity, treatments with some medications (such as estrogens) and tobacco.
According to a study published in the journal Science (2016), some people have an alteration in a gene that prevents the functioning of the SR-BI receptor, a protein that adheres to HDL cholesterol that circulates in the blood.
Specifically, those suffering from this alteration in the SR-BI gene can not absorb HDL cholesterol in the liver and, therefore, there is evidence of a considerable increase in the level of this lipoprotein in the blood.
But that’s not all, because despite having high concentrations of HDL cholesterol, these people have a higher risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases.
HDL cholesterol levels
According to the American Heart Association there are 3 ranges with which it is possible to qualify the HDL cholesterol concentration.
Less than 40 mg / dL: Low HDL cholesterol, so there is an increased risk of heart disease (less than 50 mg / dl in the case of women).
Between 40-59 mg / dl: Medium level of HDL cholesterol.
More than 60 mg / dl: High level of HDL cholesterol. This would be the optimal condition to prevent heart disease.
High levels of cholesterol in blood do not show any kind of symptom, that is, it does not hurt. Reason why a large part of the population does not know that they have high cholesterol and are prone to cardiovascular diseases.
Without going any further, CVD is the leading cause of death worldwide, so it is essential to start paying more attention to our cardiovascular health.
To be less likely to suffer a CVD is important that you hydrates well, prefer foods rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Take out ultra-processed and high-sugar foods from your diet, you will see that in a short time you will feel much better, especially with more energy.
Remember that the only way to measure your cholesterol levels is through a blood test also known as a cholesterol test, lipid profile or lipid panel.
And if you discover that you have high cholesterol, you can turn to Cardiosmile. This is a natural product that has no fat, sugar, sodium, gluten or lactose so everyone can consume it and help reduce their cholesterol and triglycerides *.
* AS SEEN IN THE CLINICAL STUDY OF AMIR SHAGHAGHI, ET AL. 2014. J FUNCT FOODS. 6: 280-289