The abbreviation HDL stands for High Density Lipoprotein, which translates as "lipoprotein with high density". Lipoproteins are substances that consist of lipids (fats) and proteins (proteins). Since these form a ball in the blood, they can transport various substances.
In the sphere they show hydrophobic (i.e. the water-insoluble) components of the HDL inside, the hydrophilic (water-soluble) components form the shell. In this way, lipoproteins can primarily transport water-insoluble substances inside the blood.

As the antagonist of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), HDL is the so-called “good” cholesterol, which protects the body from many cardiovascular diseases.

Standard values

Above all else, HDL has positive effects on metabolism of the body, therefore there is no set upper limit for the HDL level.
Instead, a lower limit has been found below which an increased risk for Heart attacks, Atherosclerosis and other Vascular disease present. This lower limit is generally at 40 mg / dl.
However, slight differences are found in the risk profile for men and women, which is why the HDL value in men should not fall below 35 mg / dl. In women it should be above 45 mg / dl.
It is also known that an HDL value above 65 mg / dl has a particularly positive and protective effect on the cardiovascular system.
Furthermore, the general rule of thumb is that if the HDL level is increased by 1 mg / dl, the risk of suffering a heart attack decreases by around 1%.

What is HDL used for?

The lipoprotein HDL is well suited to be able to transport water-insoluble (hydrophobic) substances in the blood. The HDL forms small transport spheres that are mostly filled with fats or fat-soluble (lipophilic) substances.

HDL is the "good" cholesterol. It is responsible for harmful cholesterol from the Body cells back to the liver to transport. As an opponent of the LDLs HDL protects the human body from the harmful effects of cholesterol.

For example, cholesterol settles in the vessels, triggers local inflammatory reactions there and leads to the accumulation of Plaques. This creates a Calcification of the vessels (please refer: arteriosclerosis).
This can particularly affect the vessels that carry the heart supply with nutrients (coronary vessels). Therefore, high cholesterol increases the risk of having a heart attack.

HDL ensures that as much of this harmful cholesterol as possible is transported from the blood vessels and other cells back to the liver, where it is broken down and excreted in the bile.
Thus, above all, HDL has a protective effect on the Heart and vessels.

Increased HDL value

Vascular calcification

Because HDL as that "quality" A high HDL value should be regarded as positive, because it is called cholesterol and transports cholesterol back to the liver from all body cells.
The higher the HDL level, the better the vessels are against dangerous Fat deposits protected.

These fat deposits are made up of cholesterol. You solve Inflammatory reactions on the vessel walls out. There, further cells are washed ashore, which also attach to the vessel wall. As a result, the vessel becomes narrower and there is reduced blood flow behind the constriction.

The deposits in the area of ​​the Coronary arteries. These supply the heart muscles with oxygen and other nutrients. If the vessels are narrowed, the heart is not adequately supplied. This can lead to a heart attack.

These negative effects are mainly caused by the HDL's opponent, the LDL (low density lipoprotein). Just increasing the HDL value protects the body from these negative effects.

However, the HDL value is always in connection with the LDL value consider. Because only one at a time low LDL level promises a low overall risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Decreased HDL value

HDL protects our vessels from cholesterol build-up that too coronary artery disease, heart attacks, vascular calcifications and circulatory disorders being able to lead. It does this by removing harmful cholesterol with the help of HDL is transported from vessels and other body cells to the liver, where it can be broken down and excreted.

It has the opposite effect LDL. This is also a transport protein, which transports the cholesterol from the liver into the body cells and thus increases the risk of cholesterol deposits.

Therefore, the HDL value must always be viewed in relation to the LDL value. Basically, however, the lower the HDL, the less protection against cholesterol deposits.
Therefore, regardless of the level of the LDL level, a low HDL value should be viewed as a risk marker for heart attack, atherosclerosis and other vascular diseases.

In summary: a low HDL value can lead to Vascular damage, circulatory disorders and heart disease to lead.

HDL / LDL quotient

When a blood sample is taken, the total cholesterol is usually measured, which is made up of HDL and LDL. Of the HDL / LDL quotient provides information about the distribution of cholesterol in the body.

HDL is the “good” cholesterol, whereas LDL is the “bad” cholesterol, as it carries these substances from the liver to the other tissues. This increases the risk of diseases of the cardiovascular system.

For this reason, it is better if the body has more HDL and less LDL available. A ratio of LDL to HDL below 4 is within the normal range. So there should be a maximum of four times as much LDL as HDL in the body.
A higher ratio would speak for too much LDL too little HDL and accordingly harm the body. Conversely, a lower ratio has a positive effect.

How can I increase the HDL value?

A high HDL level is desirable because the HDL protects our cardiovascular system from dangerous fat deposits.
The HDL value can be increased in various ways. One is known to work best Combination of measures.

Sport activity generally helps the body to reduce fat and build muscle.
A lot of HDL is required for fat breakdown, which primarily transports cholesterol from the tissue back to the liver.
Especially Endurance sports such as jogging, cycling, Nordic walking and hiking are well suited. They go hand in hand with a uniform and continuous movement pattern and are therefore more suitable for increasing HDL than sports with different load levels and performance peaks.

Also one conscious diet can affect HDL levels. That is why you should pay particular attention to consuming less animal products. These contain many saturated fatthat are more likely to harm the body.
Instead, phytonutrients make sense. For example, butter should be replaced with margarine. Instead of animal-based frying fat, it is better to use vegetable oils.

Also Smoking and alcohol consumption have a negative influence on the HDL value and should therefore be avoided.

If these measures do not work, the HDL value can also be adjusted with medication. Be for it Statins (Cholesterol lowering agents, see e.g. Simvastatin) is used. The body is made to break down more cholesterol, which requires a lot of HDL. This causes the body to make a lot of HDL.

Which foods contain HDL?

HDL itself is not contained in foods and cannot be ingested through food. Instead, there are a lot of foods that help the body to produce more “good” cholesterol, i.e. HDL. Particularly suitable are foods that many unsaturated fatty acids contain.

The unsaturated fatty acids include, for example Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. These are increasingly in Fish, nuts, legumes and seeds contain. Also included vegetable fats tend to be more unsaturated fatty acids.

In contrast, especially saturated fat in Animal fats contain.

In order to get the body to increase HDL production, vegetable fats (oils, margarine, nuts etc.) should be used.

Continue to affect Vitamin C and Vitamin E. positive for the HDL level. These vitamins are found in many fruits. Both vitamins are Antioxidants. Thus they counteract the "bad" cholesterol LDL and support the HDL in the body.