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Syndrome X: Low HDL, High Triglycerides

People who have low blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol and high blood levels of triglycerides are at high risk for heart attacks (1). HDL cholesterol is called the good cholesterol because it carries LDL cholesterol from your blood to your liver before it can form plaques in arteries (2). Triglycerides are manufactured by your liver from extra food that you take in, primarily from refined carbohydrates that cause a high rise in blood sugar. Then your pancreas releases large amounts of insulin that converts sugar to triglycerides. High levels of triglycerides cause clotting and plaquing, so the good HDL cholesterol then carries triglycerides from your bloodstream to your liver, and excessive amounts of triglycerides cause a condition called fatty liver that interferes with liver function.

A major function of the liver is to remove insulin from the bloodstream after it has driven sugar from the bloodstream into cells. Excessive amounts of triglycerides in the liver (fatty liver) prevent the liver from removing insulin from the bloodstream, so large amounts of insulin accumulate in the bloodstream to constrict arteries to cause heart attacks, affect the brain to make you hungry, affect the liver to manufacture even more fat, and cause you to deposit even more fat in your belly. So people with high blood levels of triglycerides and low levels of the good HDL cholesterol are at high risk for obesity, diabetes and heart attacks. These people should avoid all refined carbohydrates that start the cycle of high blood sugar levels calling out huge amounts of insulin.

The low HDL cholesterol, high-triglyceride syndrome, called Syndrome X (also called Metabolic Syndrome or Pre-Diabetes), is genetic and is aggravated by eating too much food. If you have this syndrome, go on a diet that is loaded vegetables, whole grains, beans and other seeds; and avoid all of the refined carbohydrates: foods made with flour, white rice, milled corn, and all added sugars. See my
diet recommendations
Who is Pre-Diabetic

1) Fasting triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein, and risk of myocardial infarction. Circulation 96: 8 (OCT 21 1997):2520-2525. Fasting triglycerides, as a marker for triglyceride-rich lipoproteins, may provide valuable information about the atherogenic potential of the lipoprotein profile, particularly when considered in context of HDL levels.

2) Brinton EA, Eisenberg S, Breslau JL, et al. A low-fat diet decreases high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels by decreasing HDL apolipoprotein transport rates. J Clin Invest 1990;85:144-151

Checked 3/15/17

June 3rd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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