I just got my bloodwork back today and the results are good overall, except for 1 category. My overall cholesterol is at 153, my “bad” cholesterol is at 96, while my HDL or “good” cholesterol is at a 34, which is considered a bit low (35-40 is average and over 40 is recommended).
Not sure why this is low, other than I’ve been sick with my sinus infection and haven’t exercised much in the past 2-3 weeks, so that could be a reason.
If I get back on a regular routine, should this number jump up pretty quickly? And, how much should I worry about my HDL being below normal levels?
I grappled with cholesterol numbers a few years ago and it took me quite a while to figure out the best way to lower what should be lowered and raise what should be raised.
I can only tell you what has worked for me and those whom I have advised.
An HDL of 34 is very low. But your total cholesterol is also quite low at 153.
The HDL cholesterol act as an “artery sweeper” for lack of a better term. It helps clean out the cholesterol that may otherwise build up in the artery walls.
There are a few theories regarding cholesterol.
One goes like this: Since your total choesterol is only 153 then your HDL need not be any higher than 35 or so, as it is not needed.
Personally, I would feel better if you had an HDL of at least 40 or better and they say that the “gold standard” for HDL in men (women are naturally higher, go figure) is a number at 50 or better!
My HDL was in the mid 30’s as well with a total cholesterol of 170. The doctor was not the least bit worried. But I thought that since a number closer to 50 was indeed healthier why not shoot for it?
Here’s what worked for me after a couple of years of trial and error:
-Two cups of oatmeal per day. That might sound like a lot but it really isn’t bad at all. Have one cup in the morning. And then have a couple of oatmeal muffins during the day. If you add raisens to the oatmeal you will also be raising your consumption of antioxidants.
-Take no less than 6 grams of Fish Oil per day. If I recommend “Flameout” are we going to have the usual mentally challenged T-Nation haters flame me? Ha ha…who cares? Buy some “Flameout” which will give you the Fish Oil that you need. And it will also give you some important CLA.
-Walnuts and Almonds! I consume about one small handfull per day. It might sound like a pain but it’s really not. But them in bulk at your local grocer and when you pass by the container in them morning (or at night) take a handful. After a while you won’t even have to think about it.
-Okay, here’s the big one…ready? Okay here we go: No amount of weight lifting ever seemed to raise my HDL, But, cardio did! Try to burn at least 1200 calories per week performing some sort of cardio.
If you weigh around 190lbs. and run for 30 minutes you’ll burn about 500 calories. Below is a calculator to help you figure exactly what you have to do to get to the minimum of 1200 calories per week:
After a period of trial and error, finally doing all the things above. I raised by HDL to 49. That was a big improvement for me.
If there is anything else that I can do to help you out don’t hesitate to PM me.
Best Of Luck,
I appreciate the advice…I figured since my overall cholesterol was low that a number of 34, while low, wasn’t that off when compared to my total number and shouldn’t be something I should be overly concerned with at this stage. Obviously to be on the safe side I’d like it to be higher and in the normal, acceptable range, so I will add some things to try and raise the number.
One thing I have slacked on is cardio…I think CW’s MMA Endurance program will help in that area, as I’ll be doing that workout 3x a week (it’s a circuit-style program that lasts 20-30 minutes).
I eat almonds, but not all the time. I will make this a part of one of my daily snacks and will also add in some walnuts for variety.
I do take Fish Oil currently, but haven’t taken as much recently due to my sinus infection. I was at around 4-6 grams a day. I do need to order some Flameout, though, as the Fish Oil I am taking doesn’t have much CLA in it.
I’m not a huge oatmeal guy, but I don’t mind it. Does it matter if it’s instant oatmeal or not? I don’t like the taste of regular oats.
Thanks again for the advice. I appreicate it.