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HDL cholesterol can be thought of as the “good” cholesterol. (So, in the case of HDL cholesterol, higher levels are actually better.)

The body uses cholesterol to make hormones and vitamin D and to support digestion.

HDL carries LDL (bad) cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where the LDL is broken down and passed from the body. But HDL cholesterol does not completely eliminate LDL cholesterol. Only one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL.