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High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL-C) is seen as the 'good' cholesterol (relative to LDL-C). Its job is to bring circulating cholesterol and fatty acids back to the liver tissue and clear them from the blood; high levels are desired to protect the heart.

Research analysis lead by Kamal Patel
All content reviewed by Examine.com Team. Published:
Last Updated:

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect hdl-c
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-a Garlic Notable Very High See all 14 studies
Garlic supplementation tends to increase HDL cholesterol in persons with cardiovascular disease risk reliably and in the range of 10-15% when looking at individual trials and by 1.49mg/dL (95% CI of 0.19-2.79mg/dL) as assessed by meta-analysis.
grade-a Fish Oil Minor Very High See all 27 studies
Mixed evidence, but a possible increase in HDL-C is seen with fish oil supplementation in unhealthy persons
grade-a Policosanol Minor Moderate See all 12 studies
Unlikely to be potent, either small or no increases in HDL-C are likely to occur after policosanol ingestion. A good deal of the literature is based upon some highly suspicious past research from Cuba
grade-a Chromium  
grade-a Cocoa Extract  
grade-a Conjugated Linoleic Acid  
grade-a Red Clover Extract  
grade-b Vitamin B3 (Niacin)  
grade-b Berberine  
grade-b Curcumin  
grade-b Green Tea Catechins  
grade-b Inositol  
grade-b Olive leaf extract  
grade-b Psyllium  
grade-b Spirulina  
grade-b Astaxanthin  
grade-b Dehydroepiandrosterone  
grade-b Grape Seed Extract  
grade-b Hesperidin  
grade-b L-Carnitine  
grade-b Lactobacillus reuteri  
grade-b Magnesium  
grade-b Nigella sativa  
grade-b Trimethylglycine  
grade-b Vitamin C  
grade-b Vitamin E  
grade-c Ganoderma lucidum  
grade-c Krill Oil  
grade-c Ashwagandha  
grade-c Ephedrine  
grade-c Fenugreek  
grade-c Ginger  
grade-c Guggul  
grade-c Irvingia gabonensis  
grade-c Panax ginseng  
grade-c Pterostilbene  
grade-c Pueraria mirifica  
grade-c Punicic Acid  
grade-c Quercetin  
grade-c Rooibos  
grade-c Shilajit  
grade-c Anethum graveolens  
grade-c Artichoke Extract  
grade-c Benfotiamine  
grade-c Black Cohosh  
grade-c Blueberry  
grade-c Caffeine  
grade-c Citrulline  
grade-c Citrullus colocynthis  
grade-c Creatine  
grade-c Eleutherococcus senticosus  
grade-c Gamma Oryzanol  
grade-c Garcinia cambogia  
grade-c Green Coffee Extract  
grade-c Gynostemma pentaphyllum  
grade-c HMB  
grade-c Hemp Protein  
grade-c Hibiscus sabdariffa  
grade-c Japanese Knotweed  
grade-c Licorice  
grade-c Melatonin  
grade-c Microlactin  
grade-c Nattokinase  
grade-c Phosphatidylcholine  
grade-c Phosphatidylserine  
grade-c Pyruvate  
grade-c Resveratrol  
grade-c Rose Hip  
grade-c Royal Jelly  
grade-c Salvia hispanica  
grade-c Sea Buckthorn  
grade-c Soy lecithin  
grade-c Stevia  
grade-c Theaflavins  
grade-c Vanadium  
grade-c Vitamin K  
grade-c Whey Protein  
grade-c Yacon  
grade-c Zinc  
grade-d Coleus forskohlii  
grade-d Ruscus aculeatus  
grade-d Coffee  
grade-d Emblica officinalis  
grade-d Medium-chain triglycerides  
grade-d Pycnogenol  
grade-d Safflower Oil  
grade-d Tauroursodeoxycholic Acid  
grade-d Tetradecyl Thioacetic Acid  
grade-d Yerba mate  
grade-d Ecklonia cava  
grade-d Eclipta alba  
grade-d Horse Chestnut  
grade-d Mangifera indica  
grade-d Perilla Oil  
grade-d Pueraria lobata  
grade-d Pyrroloquinoline quinone  
grade-d Rubus coreanus  
grade-d Tribulus terrestris  
grade-d Vitamin B1  
grade-d Vitamin D  

All comparative evidence is now gathered in our ​A-to-Z Supplement Reference.

The evidence for each separate supplement is still freely available ​here.