Health Tip – Jan. 2 – Empowering Your HDL
Dee Dee – Health Tip
High density lipoprotein or HDL is commonly known as “good” cholesterol because it carries cholesterol away from blood vessels so it can’t contribute to the formation of blockages leading to heart attack. HDL also acts as an antioxidant and reduces inflammation, but just having high blood levels of HDL may not be enough.
Researchers at UCLA noted that even at desirable levels, HDL may not work well in men who don’t exercise, whether or not they’re overweight, increasing the risk of heart disease. To test this, the team recruited 90 men ages 18 to 30 who exercised regularly and divided them into three groups: lean men who weight-trained at least four times per week, overweight men who did the same, and overweight men who had no structured exercise routine.
The investigators checked the men’s muscle strength and carotid artery thickness (a sign of heart disease) and analyzed blood samples for various heart disease markers including triglycerides, C-reactive protein, and sex hormones. These indexes helped them measure how well HDL was functioning as an antioxidant, a tipoff to how well HDL is working overall. The conclusion: regular weight training seems to improve HDL function and offers protection against heart disease, even in overweight men. This suggests that physical fitness may be the best measure of healthy HDL function and, by extension, the risk of heart disease.