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'Good' cholesterol guards against MS

High levels of HDL (good) cholesterol may help protect against disabilities related to multiple sclerosis (MS).

Good cholesterol guards against MS

High levels of HDL (good) cholesterol may help protect against disabilities related to multiple sclerosis (MS). HDL has anti-inflammatory properties and thus it might benefit patients with MS, a disease of chronic inflammation. Researchers from America analysed clinical, demographic and HDL data on 186 MS patients whose average age was 50 years. At the start of the study, almost 20 percent of the participants had low HDL levels while close to 50 percent had high levels. Over the next 6 years, an association between the level of HDL cholesterol and the level of disability became apparent. Patients with higher scores on the Expanded Disability Severity Scale (EDSS) initially were significantly less likely to have high levels of HDL at follow-up. It was found that patients with greater disability, or higher EDSS scores, were almost twice as likely to have low HDL levels compared to patients with less disability, or lower EDSS scores. Increase in HDL is an important factor known to prevent cardiovascular events but also appears beneficial in preventing chronic inflammation and both statins and omega-3 have preliminarily shown beneficial effects for MS patients. The findings suggest that people with MS should have their HDL levels checked and if they're low, should consider dietary and medical interventions, such as statins and fish oil (omega -3) supplements, which are known to increase HDL levels. However, further studies regarding the relationship between HDL levels and MS disease progression are warranted.
American Academy of Neurology's annual meeting
April 2009
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