Friday, October 24, 2014
Sunday, August 24, 2008 SAIF, Community Member, asks

Q: I have HDL (Good ) cholestrol tested below 40, that means 38, what can I do?

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Answers (3)
8/24/08 2:42pm



You want your HDL to be at least above 40 mg/dL and ideally above 60, so it's great that you are staying on top of this.  You have several options to boost your HDL back up. 


For the most impact, increase your physical activity, especially aerobic activities, such as walking, jogging, biking, etc.  For the best results, be active 5 or more days each week for a minimum of 30 minutes to raise your HDL levels.


In addition to being more active, limit unhealthy fats.  Look at your saturated fat and trans fat intake and see where you can make cuts.   Your total fat intake for the day should be limited to 30% of your daily calories.  Of this 30%, only 10% should be from saturated fat and ideally zero from trans fats.  To attain these levels you'll need to select healthy choices when dining out, read food labels, select healthy fats when cooking, select lean cuts of meat, etc.


Adding heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids would be a benefit.  Here are three articles where you can learn more about using omega 3's.


Get a Grip on Fatty Acids

Top 5 Omega 3 Sources to Lower Cholesterol

Omega 3's - How much to lower cholesterol?


Alcohol plays a role in raising HDL levels also.  I'm not a big advocate of using alcohol to raise HDL, so if you already consume alcohol 1-2 drinks per day can raise levels.  More than 1-2 drinks per day will increase your health problems.  If you do not drink, do not start.


All the best,


Lisa Nelson, RD, LN

Heart Health and Weight Loss Tips

Neil MD, Health Pro
8/24/08 3:23pm

Hello SAIF,


Congratulations on being active.  That is a great way to keep your cholesterol levels low like yours are now.


You can try several things under your doctor's supervision to increase your HDL.  Diet can play a huge role in your cholesterol levels.  Try to add more fish, especially those rich in in the omega-3 fatty acids.  You could additionally/alternatively consider adding a fish oil suppliment to your diet.  If you smoke, stop smoking.  Lower fat intake to no more than 35% of your daily calories.  Add food high in soluable fiber to your diet, like whole grains and legumes.


Statin drugs do not effect HDL cholesterol levels very much at all.  Niacin does raise HDL, however, there is not a consensus that using niacin to raise HDL levels is appropriate or appropriate therapy.  The drug also has unpleasant side effects like severe facial flushing that people tend not to tolerate very well.


Try the diet modifications first!


To your health,

Neil MD

luz, Community Member
10/26/08 8:23pm

I would like to know the implication of having hdl=47 and ldl=124 and systolic=127


Thank you  luz

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By SAIF, Community Member— Last Modified: 06/14/12, First Published: 08/24/08