What is Cholesterol?: by Scott Canipe
Many ask, "what is cholesterol?" There is a lot of confusion surrounding this subject. On a regular basis, we hear of high LDL cholesterol, cholesterol ratio, cholesterol numbers, and much talk about lowering triglycerides.
Frankly, cholesterol is very important to many physiological functions and is naturally produced in the body. But, too much of it, specifically LDL, can cause serious health problems. Because of this, many people are deeply concerned whether they have normal cholesterol levels are not.
As stated previously, there is great misunderstanding regarding this subject and it leads people to ask, "what is cholesterol?" Physical fitness and understanding cholesterol go hand-in-hand.
This article, and other linking ones, will provide extensive information concerning the purpose of cholesterol, how it is made, the difference between healthy and unhealthy types, and what to do to maintain normal cholesterol levels.
Cholesterol is a fat like substance that has a waxy texture to it. Every cell has a part in creating cholesterol, and it is important because it is used to synthesize protective membranes in the cells. The body regulates when and how your cells make cholesterol.
If there are insufficient levels, then there is a triggering mechanism within the liver to produce more. You could go without ingesting any cholesterol for the rest of your life and still have normal cholesterol levels.
Sometimes there are genetic defects within one's physiological system, in which too much cholesterol is produced by the cells, liver, and other organs.
Cholesterol travels through the body via the bloodstream. This is not an easy process because blood is water-based and cholesterol is oil-based. Oil and water do not mix. To counter act this, the body mixes cholesterol with certain fats and is housed in a protein covered membrane. The result is what's referred to as "lipoproteins." This combination mixes well with blood and that is how cholesterol flows through the bloodstream. The following list explains the imperative roles that cholesterol plays in many bodily functions:
Precursor for Vitamin D - Whenever the sun rays emit upon the skin, there is a chemical reaction in which cholesterol converts into vitamin D. Of course, vitamin D is responsible for growth of teeth and bones and many other functions.
Sex Hormones - Aid in the functionality of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in women and testosterone in men.
Bile - Cholesterol plays a significant role in the synthesis of bile, a liquid that is stored in the gallbladder but made in the liver. Bile is secreted when necessary to break down fats so that they can be mixed with enzymes for better absorption in the bloodstream.
Cell Membranes - Cholesterol plays an important part in making these membranes. These membranes actually protect all cells.
Steroid Hormones - Cholesterol facilitates a significant role in the production of cortisol which is used in carbohydrate metabolism; and aldosterone which is significant in balancing fluid and mineral retention.
Many people do not understand the function of cholesterol. Because of the confusion that is out there, scores have a misconstrued understanding. They continue to ask," what is cholesterol and what is its purpose?"
It is definitely vital to our biology. However, with the diets of most people, cholesterol enters the body from different food sources; the result sometimes has a negative impact. This negative impact comes from high LDL cholesterol levels, which will be discussed, among other things, in other links.
Browse through some of these connecting links to get a deeper understanding of cholesterol and how it affects your body:Foods that lower cholesterol
LDL vs. HDL