Can It Be Harmful to Have Too Much “Good” Cholesterol?

April 9, 2019 , ,

It is often said that to prevent cardiovascular disease, one must reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol. But is it possible to have too much “good” cholesterol? Keep on reading to find out the answer!

Cholesterol is a fat necessary for the body to function. It enters into the composition of cell membranes and allows the synthesis of many hormones. It is not soluble in the blood and must, therefore, be transported by proteins, with which it forms complexes called lipoproteins. Cholesterol can be linked, in the blood, to two main types of “carriers”:

         1) LDL (Low Density Lipoproteins)

LDL cholesterol is called “bad cholesterol”. LDLs bring cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body. When the latter is in excess, it accumulates on the artery walls and forms a plaque, called atherosclerosis. Over time, a clot may eventually form and clog the bloodstream. If the obstruction occurs in an artery of the heart, this causes myocardial infarction (a heart attack). If it occurs in an artery of the brain, it causes a stroke. An excess of LDL cholesterol, therefore, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

         2) HDL (High Density Lipoproteins)

HDL cholesterol is called “good cholesterol”. HDLs carry excess cholesterol from the body to the liver for removal. Thus, a high level of HDL cholesterol is associated with a lower cardiovascular risk.

Lipid profile

In general, the normal values ​​are to have an LDL-cholesterol level of less than 3.5 mmol/L and a HDL-cholesterol level greater than 1 mmol/L in men and 1.3 mmol/L in women. On the other hand, the target values ​​depend on the age of the patient and other cardiovascular risk factors. They also vary slightly by country.

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Kathryn Adel
Kathryn completed degrees in kinesiology and nutrition, as well as a Masters in Sports Nutrition. She is a member of OPDQ and of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health. Kathryn is experienced with the low FODMAP diet and she completed the Monash University low FODMAP dietitian's training.

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