Cholesterol is a waxy substance inside every cell which has a role in obtaining membrane integrity and fluid transport. It is being produced inside the body, but there are a lot of sources in the food that we ingest which also serves as a cholesterol source. It is a part of a hormone structure, vitamins, bile acids and other important matter in the body. Cholesterol circulates the bloodstream linked to proteins called lipoproteins, where they make the center.
Types Of Cholesterol
HDL-Cholesterol or “Good” Cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins or HDL are the types of cholesterol which have a high percentage of protein and a low percentage of cholesterol which makes it dense and solid. It has a role in cholesterol circulation, where it picks up the leftovers from LDL and takes it to the liver where it breaks down and it is being used in the synthesis all over again.
LDL-Cholesterol or “Bad” Cholesterol. This kind of cholesterol has a high percentage of fat and it is responsible for the changing of the lining of the vessels in atherosclerosis and coronary heart diseases with creating plaques, thus narrowing the vessel diameter.
Lipoprotein(a) or LP(a). It is a subclass of an LDL-cholesterol. It is bad and always considered abnormal. The function of Lp(a) is still unknown, but it has been proved that it has to do with the risk of atherosclerosis, coronary heart diseases, and stroke.
Functions Of Cholesterol
Due to a fact that the hormonal structure is made out of steroids, cholesterol plays an important part in hormone production. Adrenal glands produce adrenal androgens such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione and a small portion of estrogen. There are other glands inside the body which produce steroid hormones such as ovaries and testicles with sex hormone production.
Vitamin D Production
Vitamin D has multiple ways of producing, where one of them is ingestion of cholesterol-rich food. It is the ingredient within eggs and cod liver oil. Cholesterol is also responsible for creating Vitamin D out of the sunlight. Higher Vitamin D levels are associated with low LDL and triglycerides levels, and high HDL as well.
Cell Membrane Structure
Cholesterol makes the membrane in the human cells. It creates a protective outline which lets the cell travel through the system without having a strong barrier like plants. It does not have a rigid membrane and it enables the transition of a lipid structures through it. If the levels of the cholesterol are unbalanced, the cell can lose its structure and suffer from deformation and it can change the metabolism and production of energy in general.
Bile Acids Production
A cholesterol has another important function in the body which affects digestion. The liver creates bile acids which help with lipids absorption. When the cholesterol levels are low, the bile acid synthesis is disturbed, resulting in malabsorption and lack of lipids and vitamins. When the lipids go undigested, it can show in a waxy stool and the fat can circle around the bloodstream causing blockage of the arteries which can lead to coronary heart disease and other complications.