What do HDL and LDL levels mean? Understanding high cholesterol
High cholesterol levels can lead to dangerous illnesses such as coronary artery disease and stroke. This is because cholesterol is a type of lipid that does not dissolve in water or blood. Like oil droplets in water, they can join together and form larger droplets. Excess cholesterol in the body can build up inside blood vessels and prevent blood flow to the heart, brain, and other parts of the body.
Common Misconceptions: Good and Bad Cholesterol
There are no good or bad types of cholesterol. LDL and HDL cholesterol are not chemically different, in the way vitamin C and vitamin D are. However, your blood tests may show different levels for LDL-cholesterol and HDL-cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol level is often said to be ‘bad’, while high HDL cholesterol is ‘good’. Why is this, and what do LDL and HDL mean?
LDL vs HDL Cholesterol
In simple terms, LDL and HDL cholesterol levels indicate where your body’s cholesterol is going. As mentioned before, too much cholesterol in the bloodstream can be dangerous. On the other hand, cholesterol can be taken to the liver, where it is used to make bile or is removed from the body.
HDL-cholesterol can be described as cholesterol packages that are headed to the liver, and LDL-cholesterol are packages headed into the tissues of the body via the bloodstream. HDL-cholesterol removes excess cholesterol from the body. High HDL-cholesterol levels in the blood indicate more cholesterol is being removed from the blood and body, whereas high LDL-cholesterol levels indicate high amounts of cholesterol entering the body.
LDL Cholesterol and Your Health
LDL and HDL cholesterol levels measure how balanced your body is between cholesterol input and use/removal. The balance between HDL and non-HDL cholesterols can reflect your risk of developing heart disease.
But high LDL-cholesterol levels do not only indicate nutrition imbalance. LDL-cholesterol can aggregate and form plaques inside blood vessels, causing atherosclerosis. LDL aggregates may enter inside white blood cells, transforming them into abnormal cells that also aggregate together, ultimately forming larger and larger blockages.
In addition, LDL packages contain 50~60% cholesterol, whereas HDL packages contain only 25~30% cholesterol. Hence, to maintain a healthy cholesterol level, monitoring your dietary intake is a key solution.
Reaching Healthy Cholesterol Levels
In addition to monitoring your diet, regular high-intensity exercise has been directly linked to higher HDL-cholesterol levels and cholesterol efflux . Exercise can also help to prevent blood clots and reduce other risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as obesity and diabetes.
For people concerned about blood cholesterol, natural cholesterol supplements can additionally help to stabilize cholesterol levels. Mannas Well is a cholesterol lowering supplement derived from brown kelp that has been clinically proven in 3 human trials to lower LDL-cholesterol levels by 10% in 12 weeks, without any side effects [2,3,4]. Total cholesterol was reduced by 9.3%, and HDL-cholesterol was increased by 13.3% in individuals with high blood cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) as well as overweight individuals. However, you should always consult a doctor before starting a new supplement, especially if you are currently taking medications, have existing health conditions or are pregnant or lactating.
*This article is only provided for general information purposes and reference only and not designed or intended to constitute medical advice or to be used for diagnosis. Please consult a qualified medical professional for further advice on decision making on treatment and/or medication.