why do we need cholesterol in our bodies
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that circulates in blood in a complex with protein called a lipoprotein. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is a bad form of cholesterol, because in excess it raises your risk for coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke. Nevertheless, cholesterol is also needed by your body for many metabolic processes, so keeping your blood levels in a healthy range is important both to prevent disease and allow your body to function properly. Consult your doctor or a registered dietitian to develop a dietary regimen appropriate for you. Your body obtains cholesterol from the food you eat or from cells that make it from raw materials. Cholesterol is needed by every cell in your body as a component of the cell membrane that surrounds it. It helps to stabilize the cell membrane, making it less fluid and more impermeable to external molecules. Cholesterol is also a component of the membranes of some organelles inside the cell that produce energy and synthesize proteins. Cholesterol is a precursor to one of the most important vitamins, vitamin D. Manufacture of vitamin D occurs in the skin, triggered by exposure to sunlight. The ultraviolet B rays in sunlight act as a co-factor for vitamin D production, which requires cholesterol as a starting material.
Although fortified foods and some animal foods such as meat and eggs provide small amounts of vitamin D, your body depends significantly on its own ability to produce this important vitamin from cholesterol. Cholesterol is the basic building block of all steroid hormones. These include the sex hormones, testosterone, made mainly in the testes in men, and estrogen and progesterone, made mainly in the ovaries in women. Men's bodies make some estrogen and progesterone, and women's bodies make some testosterone -- but in much smaller quantities. Cortisol and aldosterone are also steroid hormones, produced in the adrenal gland and crucial for regulation of blood pressure, responding to stress, maintenance of salt and water balance and proper function of your immune system. For each hormone, cholesterol is modified in a specific way by cells of these organs. Bile acids are specialized compounds manufactured in the liver from cholesterol. They are very important in allowing your digestive system to break down fats. When you eat, bile acids are released into the intestines as part of bile. These molecules have special characteristics that allow them to form a bridge between fat molecules and water. This emulsifies the fat, making it soluble in the intestinal fluid where enzymes are able to break it down.
Most people think of cholesterol in a negative way.
However, cholesterol actually plays a very important role in the functioning of the body. According to The Mayo Clinic, cholesterol is found in every cell in our body and without it our bodies would not function properly. Understanding why it is there and the purpose it serves is something everyone should be aware of. According to The American Heart Association cholesterol cannot be dissolved in the blood and has to be carried to and from the cells by lipoproteins. Lipoproteins come in two basic types. The first is the low density cholesterol (LDL) which is also known as the "bad" cholesterol. The second type is the high density cholesterol (HDL) which is known as the "good" cholesterol. Research indicates that high density cholesterol seems to guard against heart problems while the low density causes buildup on the artery walls which lead to heart disease. Another type of "bad" cholesterol is the LP(a) which is a genetic variation of the LDL "bad" cholesterol. The LP(a), LDL and HDL along with triglycerides which is a form of fat made in the body, make up the total cholesterol count in the human body. One of the most important jobs of cholesterol is to aide in the production of hormones.
Cholesterol is stored in the adrenal glands, ovaries and the testes and is converted to steroid hormones. These steroid hormones perform other vital duties to help the body function properly. According to 3DChem. com, without steroid hormones we will have malfunctions with weight, sex, digestion, bone health and mental status. Cholesterol plays an important role in our bodyвs digestion. Cholesterol is used to help the liver create bile which aids us in digesting the food that we eat. Without the bile our bodies are unable to properly digest foods, especially fats. When the fat goes undigested it can get into the bloodstream and cause additional problems such as blockages of the arteries and cause heart attacks and heart disease. Cholesterol is a structural component of cells. Cholesterol along with polar lipids make up the structure of each and every cell in our bodies. Cholesterol is there to basically provide a protective barrier. When the amount of cholesterol increases or decreases, the cells are affected. This change can affect our ability to metabolize and produce energy. This can ultimately affect other aspects of our bodies' function such as food intake and digestion.
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