The HDL Quality Revolution: Policosanol Boosts "Good" Cholesterol Function

New research reveals that HDL quality and functionality may be just as important as quantity alone.

Apr 2024

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High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is a type of cholesterol-carrying particle in the bloodstream that plays a crucial role in maintaining heart health. Often referred to as "good" cholesterol, HDL works like a cleanup crew, scavenging excess cholesterol from the blood vessels and transporting it back to the liver for disposal. By promoting the removal of cholesterol from the arteries, HDL helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and supports overall cardiovascular well-being.

For years, medical and scientific circles have focused on raising HDL cholesterol levels to protect against heart disease. However, exciting new research reveals that HDL quality and functionality may be just as important as quantity alone.

Policosanol Optimizes HDL's Protective Powers

A recent study from the Raydel Research Institute found that supplementation with Raydel's premium Cuban policosanol significantly improved multiple markers of HDL quality and function in healthy subjects, including:

  • Increased cholesterol efflux capacity of HDL particles
  • Higher levels of HDL and heart-protective apolipoprotein A-I
  • Larger, more cholesterol-enriched HDL particles better able to perform reverse cholesterol transport
  • Reduced triglyceride content in smaller HDL particles

*(scoll down to the bottom of the article to learn more about cholesterol efflux capacity, Apolipoprotein A-1 and reverse cholesterol transport).

These findings highlight the importance of looking beyond just HDL numbers. The true power of HDL lies in its efficiency, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties - its ability to shuttle cholesterol out of arteries and perform other protective roles in the body.

The Future of Therapeutic HDL Enhancement

These findings represent a paradigm shift—moving beyond merely raising HDL levels to optimizing the entire HDL pathway for maximum cardioprotective benefits. Poor HDL quality and function have been linked to higher cardiovascular risk, even in those with healthy HDL levels.

By boosting HDL quality, functionality, and key components like apolipoprotein A-I, studies have shown we may be able to reduce cardiovascular risk through a completely novel mechanism compared to traditional therapies. Additional clinical trials from Raydel are underway to evaluate this therapeutic approach further.

*Better Understand:

Cholesterol Efflux Capacity: Cholesterol efflux capacity is a crucial measure of how effectively the body's high-density lipoproteins (HDL) can remove excess cholesterol from cells and transport it back to the liver for disposal. Think of it as the efficiency with which HDL acts as a cleanup crew for your arteries. This process is essential for maintaining cardiovascular health, as it helps prevent the buildup of plaque in the arteries, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Apolipoprotein A-1 & Reverse cholesterol transport: Apolipoprotein A-I, or apoA-I, is a vital protein found in high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Its primary role is to facilitate the removal of excess cholesterol from cells, including those lining the arteries, and transport it back to the liver for elimination from the body. This process, known as reverse cholesterol transport, plays a crucial role in maintaining cardiovascular health by preventing the buildup of plaque in the arteries, thus reducing the risk of heart disease.


Cho, K.-H. (2022) ‘The current status of research on high-density lipoproteins (HDL): A paradigm shift from HDL quantity to HDL quality and HDL functionality’, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23(7), p. 3967. doi:10.3390/ijms23073967.

Uehara, Y. et al. (2024) ‘Cuban policosanol improves high-density lipoprotein cholesterol efflux capacity in healthy Japanese subjects’, Frontiers in Nutrition, 10. doi:10.3389/fnut.2023.1297008.

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