What Can I Do to Increase My HDL Levels?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Cholesterol, Q&As, Heart Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

My doctor has been closely monitoring my LDL, HDL, and total cholesterol levels. It seems like all the supplements and treatment options are focused on reducing the LDL levels. What can I do to increase my HDL levels?

 

One of the best and least expensive tools to increase HDL is niacin. The research shows that adding high doses of niacin (working up to 2–4 grams a day) can increase HDL levels as much as 35 percent—which is higher than any of the more popular drugs being used today, such as statins.

Two other ways to increase HDL levels include losing weight and stopping smoking.

If you smoke, your HDL levels will generally rise by about four percent if you quit. And, for every kilogram of body weight you lose, you can expect to increase your HDL about 0.35 mg/dL.

Overall, the research indicates that for every mg/dL you increase HDL, you cut your risk of suffering a fatal heart attack by three percent.

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