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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
          
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HDL cholesterol
Feb 28, 2003

I am HIV+ and on meds for 7 years now. I was wondering if you can recommend any nutritional supplement or foods (diet) that help increase HDL cholesterol. No matter what I do including exercise and a good diet my HDL levels are remain low, around 37. Thanks.

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

While your HDL cholesterol doesn't sound exceedingly low, there are many strategies for increasing HDL cholesterol. Medications have shown improvement, but should be used in conjunction with other reasons for treatment (such as high LDL cholesterol -- statins or fibrates come to mind, insulin resistance -- the glitazones come to mind).

Weight maintenance at a good level and exercise are important parts of your plan to increase HDL. Also, you should quit smoking if you smoke currently and limit alcohol (you may have heard that small amounts of alcohol can increase HDL, but it is uncertain about the end result of such a change at this time). See the link below or give the link to your health care team for an interesting presentation on improving HDL for medical professionals.

As far as nutritional supplements, examples are nicotinic acid and N-acetyl cysteine (contained in foods as well). You should be very careful about combining nicotinic acid with any fibrate medications. There has been some suggestion of fish oils to reduce overall cardiovascular disease but there are some cautions about using large and steady doses (try eating the fish!). These and others within a diet can be evaluated by your dietitian before indulging in supplementation.

Best wishes!

presentation on HDL as a therapeutic target.


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