Lisa Nelson RD #6: If you have a patient with a high HDL level, let’s say an HDL greater than 80; are you concerned if their LDL level is elevated?
Dr. Shelby-Lane: New research has revealed that LDL or “bad” cholesterol inhibits the breakdown of fat in adipocytes, or fat cells, thus suggesting that it is a regulator of fat stores.
This new knowledge gives you three important areas to work on to not only boost your HDL number but to also boost your HDL quality. It is interesting indeed that HDL-building nutrients like niacin and pantethine also help lower triglycerides and improve cardiovascular health, giving more proof to this new field of emerging HDL science.
Key nutrients that support HDL are:
Niacin: Niacin has been shown to directly boost your levels of apoA-I while lowering triglycerides. I recommend non-flushing inositol hexanicotinate.
Pantethine: Pantethine provides the energy to help form HDL, while also providing energy to assist triglyceride and LDL cholesterol metabolism.
Phosphatidyl Serine: This nutrient contains a mix of the key phospholipids that are often lacking in the diet and are needed to construct the healthy cell membrane of HDL.
Along with HDL-building nutrients it is vital to take anti-inflammatory nutrients to calm down immune cells that are inducing free radical damage to the apoA-I protein. The basis of this approach is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Many nutrients may be of assistance. Some top choices include grape seed extract, resveratrol, tocotrienols (vitamin E), vitamin C, DHA, pomegranate, and blueberries. Stress management and getting adequate sleep are essential.
Ensure your fasting blood sugar never gets above 90. If it is, use “anti-glycating” nutrients that help protect your HDL from sugar-induced damage. Top choices include R-alpha lipoic acid, grape seed extracts, and resveratrol.
HDL cholesterol is a pivotal molecule that protects your circulation and directly manages its health. It is no longer adequate to simply have an HDL score above 40. You need high quality HDL - HDL that is energized and ready for duty.
Lisa Nelson RD: So, if you have an individual with an HDL of 88, do you take action if their LDL level is elevated at 145? Or are you less concerned, due to the protective effects of the high HDL level?
Dr Shelby-Lane: This requires further testing with an expanded lipid profile to determine risk and treatment options. (See my answer to question number 7 to learn more about the expanded lipid profile test.)
To learn more about Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane, you can check out the services she offers at www.elanantiaging.meta-ehealth.com.
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Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.