If your HDL–your Healthy, “good” cholesterol–is below 40 mg/dl, it is a major risk factor for heart disease. For every 10% drop in HDL, your risk of heart disease goes up 13%. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, you need to pay special attention to your HDL.
What works to raise HDL? Exercise raises your HDL from 5 to 30%. Losing weight raises your HDL from 5 to 20%. Quitting smoking raises it 5%. Read the National Guidelines on Cholesterol Education for Physicians.
Statins, niacin and fibrates all work too: and niacin raises HDL up to 35%. But liver toxicity, facial flushing, elevated blood sugar and other niacin side effects keep people from taking niacin, especially long-acting niacin.
If you take Vytorin and niacin plus vitamin E, C, selenium, and beta-carotene you DROP your HDL by about 15%.
Intrigued? Lower cholesterol.