Can HDL be too high?

by 2684 · November 22, 2012 at 09:39 PM

It is well known that a Paleo diet improves your HDL levels. However, can HDL get too high?

According to Wikipedia, the reference range upper limit for HDL is 80 mg/dL for males, 86 for mg/dL, but we know that Paleo folks frequently have HDL exceeding 100 mg/dL.

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9 Replies

11363 · February 20, 2010 at 08:36 PM

An elevated HDL (>80mg/dl) may not be harmful, but it's probably not any more protective than an HDL in the 60 to 80 range. High HDL can be genetic, in which case it's benign and there's nothing that needs to be done about it. Sometimes taking too much niacin, fish oil, or certain statins may elevated HDL out of the normal range, in which case you can adjust your meds. The potential caveat to high HDL is that it can be secondary to conditions such as hyperthyroidism, biliary cirrhosis, and alcoholism without cirrhosis. If you're healthy, and you have normal TSH and liver enzyme levels, don't worry about high HDL. Ref: the Merck Manual On-line http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec12/ch159/ch159b.html

0 · November 22, 2012 at 09:39 PM

My HDL is 112, and LDL is 92 as of yesterday. I eat LOTS of salmon and broccoli along with whole grains and oat meal. Walk 3+ miles daily which might also be elevating HDL.

0 · October 14, 2011 at 06:31 PM

My LDL is in the 40's but my HDL is at 107. This made me a it nervous, but makes me feel better reading the above. It has never been that high, but this is the first time I have checked it since beginning paleo earlier this year.

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39204 · January 21, 2011 at 06:36 PM

None of these reference ranges are based upon healthy populations of people who abstain from grain. I would definitely not worry about this.

0 · January 21, 2011 at 05:12 PM

My total cholesterol was lab tested at 266 with HDL of 127. HDL is usually 110. Now I am worried that it is too high. My doc thinks its great.

I was told that with me it is hereditary stemming from a fishing village in Italy where my origins are. The way i discovered this i my previous doc did studies on HDL and isolated the village, and it coincides with my ancestry, so how about that? Elaine

346 · August 11, 2010 at 02:25 AM

HDL cholesterol levels are a rough measure of HDL particle quantity in the blood. They actually tell us next to nothing about HDL particle type, although HDL cholesterol increases are usually associated with increases in LDL particle size. This a good thing, since small-dense LDL particles are associated with increased cardiovascular disease.

Most studies suggest that a level of about 60 mg/dl (1.55 mmol/l) is close to optimal for most people on the Standard American Diet (SAD), and that HDL's protective effect plateaus after 60 mg/dl (1.55 mmol/l). For more details:


0 · August 10, 2010 at 07:21 PM

My HDL was 97 and 7 + years ago it was 99 so mine has always pretty much been high.

My Dr told me today that he wanted to try me on Cholesterol Medicaion if I wanted to try it.

MY LDL was 104 range 100----140


Total Cholesterol 218 <200

The Total is just 18 points over the cut off limit but my LDL is int he lower range of normal and HDL is high.

This is the first time anyone has offerred me medicaiton for it.

2357 · February 19, 2010 at 10:22 PM

I just saw my doctor this week who said I had "high cholesterol" (yes, we know we know the total is high) but that my HDL was great at 95. No warning about it being above an upper range limit.

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