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How to Raise HDL With Supplements

author image Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis has worked in nutrition in the clinical setting and currently works as a licensed Realtor in California. Davis began writing about nutrition in 2006 and had two chapters published in "The Grocery Store Diet" book in 2009. She enjoys writing about nutrition and real estate and managing her website, She earned her bachelor's degree in nutrition from San Diego State University.
How to Raise HDL With Supplements
Supplements can help to raise the healthy HDL cholesterol levels. Photo Credit: ironstealth/iStock/Getty Images

Not all types of cholesterol are bad. HDL, or high density lipoprotein, is a type of cholesterol that protects the heart and removes unhealthy cholesterol, called LDL cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic, the higher a person's HDL cholesterol is, the lower their unhealthy cholesterol usually isl. The recommendation for reducing the risk of heart disease is 60 mg/dl and above. Increasing HDL cholesterol levels can be done simply by adding in a few healthy supplements.

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Step 1

Talk to your doctor about the safety of taking niacin and omega 3 fatty acids as well as what doses he recommends. These two supplements have been found effective in increasing HDL cholesterol levels, but they also have side effects and risks. For example, the Mayo Clinic states that niacin supplements can cause nausea. If your doctor feels that the benefits outweigh the risks of these supplements, then he can tell you what dose to take.

Step 2

Find a slow-release niacin supplement to reduce the risk of side effects. Niacin is a B vitamin that is normally used by the body to turn carbohydrates into energy. It is available in many foods, but in higher doses in supplements. The Mayo Clinic states that taking niacin regularly can help to significantly increase HDL levels, from 15 to 35 percent more. Taking a slow-release niacin decreases the dosage received at once, meaning you have less chance of flushing, nausea or other side effects.

Step 3

Purchase an omega 3 fatty acid supplement that contains EPA and DHA. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish oil or other capsules, can improve HDL levels when taken regularly. EPA and DHA are two types of fatty acids and because both are healthy, choosing a supplement with both is best. Look for supplements with USP, or United States Pharmacopoeia symbol on the label, as this signifies it has been tested for accuracy of product ingredients and amounts.

Step 4

Eat a healthy, low-fat diet to improve the effectiveness of these supplements. Supplements can help to boost HDL levels, but eating unsaturated fats such as olive oil, avocados and fish along with taking supplements can do even more. Try replacing butter with olive oil and eating fish instead of beef.

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