Too much of something good can never be good for you. While cholesterol can be drawn between high-density lipoprotein or the good ones from the low-density lipoprotein or the bad ones, it does not mean that you can have as much good cholesterol as you want. The thought of increasing your intake of good cholesterol can lead to a lower risk of developing heart ailments is not exactly true. Here are some reasons why:
Knowing the Good from the Bad
Cholesterol has always had a bad name and everyone wanted to keep avoiding it. That is until research has classified cholesterol into the good and the bad ones. People started thinking that cholesterol is not really that bad as long as you eat the right types in the right amounts. This thought has grown to have more people think that they should keep their levels of LDL cholesterol low while keeping their HDL cholesterol high.
LDL has always been thought to increase the risk of stroke and heart disease while HDL has been seen as the better type. HDL has become more popularly known as good cholesterol and several claims point to it having great effects in reducing heart disease.
Good Cholesterol is Not So Good
The thought of HDL cholesterol being able to prevent heart disease and a lot more led to drug companies taking advantage of the alleged discovery and they have been pulling out all their money for treatments that raise HDL. They might have thought that doing so can reduce the incidence of strokes or heart ailments, but it looks like they were wrong.
The most recent discoveries show that high HDL levels might not even be helpful at all. They do not actually give any benefits and having too much of them can even cause harm.
High HDL Levels can Kill You
In a study from Washington University School of Medicine, researchers observed the direct connection of kidney function and HDL cholesterol levels in around 1.7 million male veterans for over a year and until around a decade later. The researchers noted that it had been previously thought that HDL cholesterol was beneficial and was effective in declogging arteries, but their findings show otherwise.
It was later discovered that whether or not the HDL levels were high or low, the risk of dying due to kidney or heart ailments was still present. Having HDL levels which were too low or too high pointed to a higher risk of death. However, whether maintaining a median level of HDL cholesterol levels can increase longevity should still be looked into.
Why Too Much HDL is Bad for You
Professor Eliano Navarese, noted Italian cardiologist and director of Sirio Medicine explained that the thought of increasing HDL has been widely abused and is already being overturned by a growing body of evidence. Most of the cholesterol in our bloodstream is produced by the liver primarily from saturated fats. While LDL transports cholesterol from the liver to cells where it is needed, HDL does the exact opposite as it takes surplus cholesterol from cells back to the liver.
It is recommended that total cholesterol should be less than 5mmol/l, with HDL being more than 1 and LDL less than 3. The alleged protective effects of HDL appear to reach their peak at 1.5mmol/l and do not provide any significant protection beyond that level. That could be where it starts to harm you.
They Can Harm Your Kidneys
Not only are high HDL levels traced to damaging your heart, they can also damage your kidneys pretty bad. When your HDL levels are too high for your body to handle, this can exacerbate inflammation and tissue damage. Other studies have also shown that there can be similar effects with patients who have diabetes or arthritis.
One reason for this could be because the more HDL there is, the more chance that they will not function correctly. HDL might no longer be that effective of doing its job, and they might already be counterproductive by causing inflammation.
Just like everything else, moderation is the key. This does not mean that HDL is bad for you, just take them in the right amounts for your body to get a balance. What do you think of these findings? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.