‘Good’ cholesterol plays important role in protecting your liver, scientists say  

Gut Health News

While most people know about the dangers of high cholesterol, that’s only half of the story. The body also contains a “good” cholesterol called high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and animal research suggests HDL has another role in protecting the liver from injury. HDL helps the body by absorbing cholesterol and delivering it to the liver. The liver then flushes the cholesterol out of the body. But in the current study, researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine reveal that a form of HDL, known as HDL3, protects against liver inflammation by blocking inflammatory signals from gut bacteria. If the signals are not blocked, they can travel from the intestine to the liver where they activate immune cells to promote inflammation. Too much inflammation has the potential to cause liver damage such as fatty liver disease or liver fibrosis. “Even though HDL has been considered ‘good cholesterol,’ drugs that increase overall HDL levels have fallen out of favor in recent years because of clinical trials that showed no benefit in cardiovascular disease,” says senior author Gwendalyn J. Randolph, PhD, the Emil R. Unanue Distinguished Professor of Immunology at Washington, in a university release. “But our study suggests that raising levels of this specific type of HDL, and specifically raising it in the intestine, may hold promise for protecting against liver disease, which, like heart disease, also is a major chronic health problem.”

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