Generally understood as a harmful element for health, cholesterol is a lipid that is necessary for the proper functioning of the body. Cholesterol is involved in the formation of cell membranes and is also essential in various body mechanisms. Discover through this article the information on cholesterol often ignored.
Origin of cholesterol
If you tend to think that cholesterol comes exclusively from food, you should know that 80% of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver. Only 20% comes from food. Therefore, an excess or a lack of cholesterol can be the result of a dysfunction in the production of cholesterol by the liver, or a problem in the regulation of cholesterol by the liver. The liver must maintain a normal level of cholesterol in the blood for the body to function normally. It adjusts its production as needed. After a cholesterol-rich diet, the liver reduces its production. A dysfunction in this natural regulatory system can lead to deficiencies or excesses. Unbalanced external inputs are the most common cause of excess cholesterol today. The liver then has difficulty regulating the level of cholesterol in the blood, especially if it is very high. This leads to a build-up of cholesterol in the blood.
How does cholesterol help the body?
In addition to the fact that cholesterol provides the cell membrane with flexibility and permeability for a better entry or exit of the necessary nutrients, it also allows good communication between cells. It is essential for a good digestion of food. It facilitates the absorption of fats from food by the digestive system.
Cholesterol is the key element in the production of certain hormones in the body such as progesterone, oestrogen, testosterone, cortisol, aldosterone, etc. It is also the main component of the body’s immune system.
It is cholesterol that produces vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones, for certain autoimmune diseases, fatigue, vascular problems, etc. It is also involved in the manufacture of coenzyme Q10, necessary for the production of energy in the body.
Good and bad cholesterol?
Fats such as cholesterol are not soluble in the blood. They have to be transported by proteins called lipoproteins. So there is only one cholesterol, but three types of lipoproteins:
– Low Density Lipoproteins also called LDL, with a light density and often referred to as bad cholesterol. They take the cholesterol produced by the liver to travel through the body. During this journey, cholesterol is deposited in the arteries, and this is what can lead to blockage.
– Very Low Density Lipoproteins or VLDLs are very low density.
– High Density Lipoproteins or HDL, which are high density and considered the good cholesterol. Their function is to recover the cholesterol deposited in the vessels to bring it back to the liver. The normal level of HDL cholesterol is 0.4 to 0.65 g/L or 1.0 to 1.65 mmol/L in men, and 0.5 to 0.8 g/L or 1.3 to 2.0 mmol/L in women.