Further data shows raising plasma HDL cholesterol may not reduce heart disease risk

Posted: 1 August 2015

New data shows vitamin B3 (known as niacin; an organic compound used to increase levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol) does not significantly lower risk of combined occlusive vascular events, such as coronary death and stroke.i

Additional studies are needed to further investigate the protective effect of HDL cholesterol and the current guidance remains for patients to achieve a balanced lipid profile to manage CHD risk,ii however, the data is the latest in a wave of new studies which challenge the concept that raising plasma HDL cholesterol will translate into reductions in risk of heart attack.

Data from a large-scale, genetic epidemiological study of 116,320 subjects published in The Lancetiii strongly suggest plasma HDL cholesterol is not a causal risk factor of coronary heart disease (CHD) because increased HDL cholesterol is not always associated with a reduced CHD risk. This study provides further evidence that low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is a causal risk factor of CHD because increases in LDL cholesterol are found to be consistently associated with increased risk of heart attack.