Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance that comes from two sources: the animal foods you eat and your liver. It helps form cell membrane layers, produce vitamin D, make certain hormones, and help the liver synthesize bile for digestion.
Cholesterol and other fats circulating in your bloodstream as spherical particles are called lipoproteins. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) and high density lipoproteins (HDL) are the two best known lipoproteins.
Not all cholesterol is bad, because a healthy level of HDL can protect the heart by returning a quarter to a third of your total LDL to the liver, where LDL is broken down and excreted from the body.
Therefore, your HDL reading should ideally be between 45 and 60 mg/dl to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and coronary heart disease. However, be aware that too much cholesterol is bad for you, whether it’s HDL or LDL.
HDL is a very complex particle with anti-inflammatory ability and anti-atherosclerotic functions. LDL is the “bad” counterpart of HDL, which causes plaque to build up in the arteries. Your total cholesterol refers to the total amount of LDL and HDL cholesterol in your blood.
Normal HDL cholesterol levels in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) by age and sex are as follows:
|Anyone (19 or under)||More than 45mg/dl|
|Men (aged 20 or older)||Less than 40 mg/dL (1.0 mmol/L)||60 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) or more|
|Women (aged 20 or older)||Less than 50 mg/dL (1.3 mmol/L)||60 mg/dL (1.6 mmol/L) or more|
HDL cholesterol is most protective at around 40 to 59 mg/dL, and having HDL-C levels below 40 mg/dL is unhealthy. Your risk of heart disease and stroke increases with low HDL cholesterol. Low HDL often develops due to unhealthy lifestyle habits, poor eating habits, smoking, and lack of exercise.
A study shows that the amount of HDL can change with age, gender, puberty, middle-age symptoms, diet, health conditions, climacteric, and menopause. You can measure and monitor your cholesterol levels from the comfort of your home with the brand new HealthifyMe Metabolic Panel.
It is a complete and personalized test kit that will allow you to understand your entire blood lipid profile among more than 85 other parameters. A complete lipid profile shows the actual levels of each type of fat in your blood, such as LDL, HDL, triglycerides and others.
With just a drop of blood, the metabolic panel could find your potential predisposition to medical conditions, such as high LDL cholesterol and low HDL cholesterol, diabetes, or hypertension. If you have low HDL cholesterol, real-time coaching input will help you get started and develop a corrective diet and activity approach and plan.
HealthifyMe Metabolic Panel
This is a long-term initiative, which means the test is not one-time. You can do this every three months, which allows you to measure your progress quarterly.
The tests available in the Metabolic Panel include thyroid function tests, kidney function tests, urine routine, iron study, complete blood count, vitamin profile, lipid profile, liver function test, and diabetes screening.
All of this metabolic information reaches your expert trainers and the RIA AI-powered nutritionist. Their combined contribution helps personalize and modify your lifestyle, so you can make smarter choices and take lasting action to achieve your health goals.
The premium plans also offer a range of diet and fitness plans to lose weight according to your needs. If you don’t know where to start, HealthifyMe offers trial subscriptions. You can now connect directly with one of the health coaches via WhatsApp to start a conversation about a plan best suited to your goals and provide more details on available plans and pricing.
Is HDL cholesterol good or bad?
A common belief about cholesterol is that it is bad for your health. However, you may not know that HDL cholesterol in the right amount promotes better health.
A study shows that higher levels of high-density lipoproteins reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. This is because HDL particles promote the reverse transport of cholesterol from peripheral cells. Moreover, HDL also possesses antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic effects.
Here are the important roles of HDL cholesterol:
The anti-inflammatory ability of HDL reduces blood vessel inflammation and helps predict who is most likely to develop a heart attack or other serious cardiac event. HDL stimulates the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that relieves inflammation, helps relax artery walls and prevents blood clots from forming inside arteries.
The degree of protection of the anti-inflammatory capacity of HDL is higher in women than in men. An interesting statistic illustrated by to research is that for every 22% increase in HDL particles in endothelial cells, there is 23% less chance for anyone to have a cardiovascular event.
The antioxidant effects of HDL protect against atherogenesis or the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries. Small, dense, protein-rich HDL particles reduce oxidative damage caused by free radicals and deliver potentially toxic proatherogenic lipids to the liver for excretion. However, metabolic and inflammatory diseases can damage HDL antioxidant function.
Good for diabetes management
HDL appears to protect pancreatic beta cells from the toxic effects of glucose to enhance insulin secretion. HDL helps increase insulin activity in skeletal muscle for better glucose uptake. HDL stimulation will reduce the risk of early kidney failure and high inflammatory score in people with type 2 diabetes. This is because of the antioxidant activity and endothelial vasodilator function of HDL. Therefore, low HDL cholesterol increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Although high levels of HDL cholesterol reduce cardiovascular events, having amounts above the optimal amount may not provide additional cardiovascular benefits. HDL-C can even be harmful in extremely high amounts. Furthermore study noted that higher HDL cholesterol levels did not appear to provide the same benefits for all ethnicities.
HDL cholesterol belongs to a family of different particles. Some types of HDL are cholesterol neutral or transfer cholesterol the wrong way. To complicate matters further, some HDLs block oxygen from chemically altering LDLs, making them even more harmful. Therefore, although HDL cholesterol is natural and essential, there are also some potentially dangerous variations that you should consider.
Note from The Fitness Freak
HDL cholesterol is good because it cleans the LDL cholesterol accumulated in the arteries. It protects your heart by transporting LDL from the artery to the liver for elimination. As is evident, low HDL cholesterol leads to an increased risk of heart attacks and may not provide cardiovascular benefits.
Low HDL cholesterol, now what?
Anyone with bad HDL cholesterol can benefit from living a heart-healthy lifestyle. However, your nutritionist may recommend additional support to manage your overall cholesterol levels, such as a personalized diet, especially if your HDL cholesterol is low due to a poor diet or if you have pre-existing health conditions.
Cholesterol in food is also important, but most people don’t know that foods high in dietary cholesterol are also very nutritious. For example, eggs are tasty, filling and high in protein, but contain cholesterol, with two large eggs providing 372 mg.
Unfortunately, due to the mistaken fear of cholesterol in food, people throw away the yolk, which is by far the most nutritious part of the Egg. Therefore, having proper advice from a nutritionist helps you make smarter, healthier and more informed choices.
For all the answers you want, for all the health tips you miss, and for all the advice you seek, HealthifyMe’s team of certified coaches can provide you with the most accurate and relevant information.
HealthifyMe trainers will curate a diet and workout plan tailored to your lifestyle based on your calorie needs, food preferences, and activity level. If something isn’t working, you can change your diet through discussions and consultation calls with your designated health coach.
The Pro Plan or HealthifyMe SmartPlan also provides access to 24/7 AI nutritionists, daily and weekly insights to track your progress, macro or micronutrient tracking, and healthy recipes. If poor glucose metabolism is a concern for your cholesterol, HealthifyPro 2.0 comes with a continuous glucose monitor to check your blood sugar trends throughout the day. A CGM can immediately notify you and your trainer if a particular food you have eaten is causing your blood sugar levels to drop or spike.
HDL is the acronym for high density lipoprotein, known as “good cholesterol”. It sweeps LDL or bad cholesterol (low density lipoproteins) from the arteries to the liver to remove them. Therefore, having a healthy level of HDL cholesterol, around 40 to 59 mg/dL, helps prevent cholesterol or plaque buildup in the arteries. As a result, it reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and blood clots.
An HDL level above 60 mg/dL is high, while an HDL level below 40 mg/dL is low. More importantly, HDL levels above the recommended range may not provide additional protection. Instead, amounts above the optimal amount of HDL could trigger a heart attack or stroke. So, to achieve the right HDL level, contact and seek help from Healthifyme’s panel of certified nutritionists.