“Good” Cholesterol Not So “Good” Afterall

In a study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers has found that the commonly called “good” cholesterol,  or the HDL cholesterol may in fact be harmful to your heart. The research studies the effect of two forms of HDL cholesterol present in our body. One of the forms of this “good” cholesterol has a small protein called apoC-III that may have harmful effects than the HDL counterpart that doesn’t have this protein on its surface.

The study was published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association. A high level of HDL cholesterol is strongly predictive of a low incidence of heart disease. But trials of drugs that increase HDL cholesterol have not consistently shown decreases in heart disease, leading to the hypothesis that HDL cholesterol may contain both protective and non-protective components. After adjusting for age, smoking status and other dietary and lifestyle cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers found that two different subclasses of HDL have opposite associations with the risk of heart disease in apparently healthy men and women. The major HDL type, which lacks apoC-III, had the expected heart-protective association with heart disease. But the small fraction (13%) of HDL cholesterol that has apoC-III present on its surface was paradoxically associated with a higher, not lower, risk of future heart disease.

This means that you should not automatically assume that higher amount of “good” cholesterol is always good for your heart. Unless you measure the ‘better’ part of your ‘good’ cholesterol, you cannot conclude that all good cholesterol is in fact good for you.

You should not automatically assume that higher amount of “good” cholesterol is always good for your heart.