Cholesterol: main functions and what is it used for
There is a mistaken belief that the cholesterol by itself it is extremely bad for health, when in fact we are facing a fundamental element for the proper functioning of our body, as long as we have normal cholesterol values.
In fact, cholesterol is essential for our body, so that we could not live without this essential lipid for the proper functioning of our body. However, it is true that when their levels are higher than recommended, it is then that it becomes a risk to our health.
What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a type of fat or lipid, which participates in a great diversity of important physiological processes, hence it is considered as a fundamental molecule both for our organism and for our own health in itself.
That is to say, It is a substance that we find naturally in our body, finding it in fact in large concentrations in the liver, brain, pancreas and spinal cord.
It is a steroid fat, consisting of a molecule of cyclopentaneperhydrophenanthrene and consisting of four condensed or molten carboxylic acids.
It's more, most of the cholesterol naturally present in the body is created in the liver, while a small amount comes finally from the diet we follow every day.
How many types of cholesterol exist
So far we have identified a total of 3 different types of cholesterol, and say so far because in fact until recently it was thought that there actually were two: the one known as LDL cholesteroland the HDL cholesterol.
However, a few years ago the existence of a new type of cholesterol was discovered, known as MGmin-LDL cholesterol, apparently even much worse than LDL or bad cholesterol, as it would be more sticky, with a greater ability to adhere to the walls of the arteries and form fat plates in greater quantity.
- LDL or bad cholesterol:It is a low density lipoprotein that carries cholesterol from the liver to the different tissues of our body. In normal amounts it becomes a fundamental lipid for our organism. But when its level is excessive it can accumulate in the walls of the blood vessels, narrowing and therefore increasing the risk of coronary and cardiovascular diseases.
- HDL or good cholesterol:It is a high density lipoprotein, capable of dragging the cholesterol present in the arteries to the liver, to be subsequently eliminated. Therefore it is very important that it is in recommended amounts or levels, because it is very healthy for the health of the heart.
- Cholesterol MGmin-LDL:It is a recently discovered type of cholesterol, similar to LDL cholesterol, but with the peculiarity that it would have a more sticky consistency, so that it would tend to adhere in greater quantities to the arteries.
Cholesterol functions: what is it used for?
We can consider cholesterol as a real raw material for the formation of steroid hormones, such as testosterone or estrogen.
It also provides fluidity to the cell membrane, so that it prevents them from being destroyed.
In addition, from cholesterol are formed:
- Bile salts: fundamental for correct digestion.
- Vitamin D: essential in the metabolism of calcium, essential for our bones.
Of course, we must not forget something important: in excessive amounts, cholesterol itself is a risk to our health, since it forms atheromas or plaques in the blood vessels preventing the proper flow of blood, which is associated with an increased risk cardiovascular. But let's go in parts.
Help in the production of hormones
Cholesterol is especially useful in the production of hormones, since after being stored in the ovaries, in the adrenal glands and in testicles is converted into steroid hormones.
These hormones are fundamental for the performance of certain vital functions, so that without them we would have a bad functioning of the organism.
Useful in the digestion of fats
It is paradoxical, but the truth is that cholesterol is essential for the proper digestion of fats. How? Very simple: our liver uses it for the creation of bile, which in turn is essential for proper digestion of food, especially fats.
It helps repair cells and is antioxidant
HDL cholesterol is a lipid with antioxidant qualities, which means that it helps to reduce the negative action of free radicals, directly related to premature aging - and damage - of our cells.
Further, Cholesterol is essential for the repair of cells, by becoming an important component of the cell membrane. On the other hand, it also participates in the formation of new cells.
Precursor of vitamin D
Cholesterol helps in the manufacture of vitamin D, so that it becomes an important precursor of this vitamin. In fact, sunlight is able to convert cholesterol into vitamin D. This article is published for informational purposes only. You can not and should not replace the consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist. ThemesCholesterol