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Study: Good cholesterol not as protective in people with Type 2 diabetes


DALLAS There’s “good” cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, but a new study suggested that some diabetic men benefit from neither.

According to a European study published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, high-density lipoprotein, also known as “good” HDL cholesterol, lacks the ability to protect the heart and blood vessels in men with Type 2 diabetes. Normally, the cholesterol reduces the production of damaging chemicals and increases blood vessels’ ability to expand while repairing damage to their lining.

Researchers at the University Hospital Zurich, in Switzerland, and the Medical School of Hannover, in Germany, compared the vessel-protecting properties of HDL in 10 healthy adults and 33 with Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome who were taking cholesterol-lowering medication. In lab testing, the ability of HDL to protect the blood vessels was “substantially impaired.”

The diabetics were then randomized to receive either placebo or 1,500 milligrams of extended-release niacin, which raises HDL levels while reducing other blood fats. After three months, the patients taking niacin had increased levels of HDL, and the HDL’s protective ability was markedly improved.

The researchers cautioned, however, that more research was needed to determine if diabetic patients should receive niacin due to the small sample size and other factors.

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