9 doctors weighed in:
How can I increase HDL cholesterol? Mine is35mg/dl and serum cholesterol-that I guess total- is 220 mg/dl. Are my levels normal for31y male?
9 doctors weighed in

Dr. Daniel McGee
Family Medicine
5 doctors agree
In brief: Dietary Changes 1st
An HDL over 60 is cardioprotective.
Increase intake of monosaturated fats like olives, olive oil, avocado and most nuts esp walnuts will help but remember these are high calorie foods so only a small amount. A fish oil 1, 000mg to 3, 000mg omega3 is also great. Plant sterols/stanols help-a spread in the grocery store called 'benecol' can raise HDL using 1 or 2 tsp instead of butter or margarine.

In brief: Dietary Changes 1st
An HDL over 60 is cardioprotective.
Increase intake of monosaturated fats like olives, olive oil, avocado and most nuts esp walnuts will help but remember these are high calorie foods so only a small amount. A fish oil 1, 000mg to 3, 000mg omega3 is also great. Plant sterols/stanols help-a spread in the grocery store called 'benecol' can raise HDL using 1 or 2 tsp instead of butter or margarine.
Dr. Daniel McGee
Dr. Daniel McGee
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Dr. Timothy Ashley
Internal Medicine & Pediatrics
3 doctors agree
In brief: Exercise, diet
Routine exercise is a great HDL booster. Avoiding saturated fats (land animals, processed or fried foods) and eating healthy fats like olive oil, walnuts, and fish can also raise hdl.
The usual target for total chol is under 200, for HDL is at least 40 and ideally >60. You have left out LDL or "bad" cholesterol, which is the primary target & probably should be under 130 or lower with risk factors.

In brief: Exercise, diet
Routine exercise is a great HDL booster. Avoiding saturated fats (land animals, processed or fried foods) and eating healthy fats like olive oil, walnuts, and fish can also raise hdl.
The usual target for total chol is under 200, for HDL is at least 40 and ideally >60. You have left out LDL or "bad" cholesterol, which is the primary target & probably should be under 130 or lower with risk factors.
Dr. Timothy Ashley
Dr. Timothy Ashley
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1 comment
Dr. Timothy Ashley
Of course, drug therapy is also available, but lifestyle generally is best to begin with.
Dr. Vasu Brown
Wound care
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Carnitine
Carnitine will increase HDL cholesterol.
Niacin will normalize cholesterol. For young people cholesterol is needed to make hormones - check your thyroid and dhea levels.

In brief: Carnitine
Carnitine will increase HDL cholesterol.
Niacin will normalize cholesterol. For young people cholesterol is needed to make hormones - check your thyroid and dhea levels.
Dr. Vasu Brown
Dr. Vasu Brown
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2 comments
Dr. Irv Loh
Most low HDL-C is heritable. Weight loss and exercise may help slightly. Niacin and to a lesser degree, fibrates, are medications that may help raise HDL-C. Omega 3 fish oils have variable impact, with all of these somewhat dependent on the triglyceride levels. There are several drug classes in trials that may be more effective, most prominently CETP inhibitors, but outcome trials are needed.
Dr. Vasu Brown
Thank you Dr. Loh
Dr. Arthur Heller
Internal Medicine - Gastroenterology
In brief: Genetics
Agree w/ dr. Mcgee.
Vigorous exercise, done regularly can increase hdl; modest alcohol intake (not only red wine) can too. Increased monounsaturated fats, omega 3 fats (e.g. Marine oils) can too. All of these are relatively modest effects; genetics can play a significant role in this issue. May have more affects on the other lipids, e.g. Ldl, triglycerides. Don't smoke. Ldl major lipid factor.

In brief: Genetics
Agree w/ dr. Mcgee.
Vigorous exercise, done regularly can increase hdl; modest alcohol intake (not only red wine) can too. Increased monounsaturated fats, omega 3 fats (e.g. Marine oils) can too. All of these are relatively modest effects; genetics can play a significant role in this issue. May have more affects on the other lipids, e.g. Ldl, triglycerides. Don't smoke. Ldl major lipid factor.
Dr. Arthur Heller
Dr. Arthur Heller
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