Cholesterol: Effects, Functions & Reducing

Cholesterol

Too Much Cholesterol: What Are the Effects?

Your body is pretty amazing — it produces all the cholesterol you need. If you eat too much fat and cholesterol, the body can’t get rid of the surplus, and that might be very damaging to your health.

Excess cholesterol in the blood can accumulate into fatty deposits on the inner surface of the arteries, which then forms calcium plaques. These grow, which causes the arteries become narrow. This decreases blood flow, leading to heart attack, stroke, or a condition known as atherosclerosis.

When atherosclerosis – hardening of the arteries – affects the coronary arteries, which are the blood vessels supplying the muscles of the heart, the condition is known as coronary artery disease. This puts you in danger of getting a heart attack.

When atherosclerosis affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the brain, the condition is known as cerebral vascular disease. This puts you in danger of getting a stroke.

Atherosclerosis may also obstruct blood flow to other vital organs, including the kidneys and intestines. This is why it is important to monitor cholesterol levels – to delay or prevent serious health problems in the future.

The relative amounts of the various types of cholesterol shows you what your cholesterin level indicates. If your total cholesterol is high because of a high LDL level, you might be in danger of heart illness or stroke. If the total amount is high only because of a high HDL level, you most likely are not in danger. Knowing the ratio between the two components is what’s important.

Unfortunately, there are usually no symptoms of high cholesterin. So many people don’t know that their cholesterol is high until they develop symptoms of heart disease like angina or chest pain. It’s important to have your blood tested.

As you age, it’s a lot more important to know your cholesterol level. Young women tend to have lower LDL ranges than men, but after the age of 55, that changes. You need to begin getting your lipid ranges monitored, usually at about age 30, depending on family history.

Various kinds of tests are used to measure blood cholesterol levels. A lipoprotein profile, which requires fasting, will supply details about your total cholesterol – LDL and HDL. This test also measures triglycerides, another form of fat in your blood.

A triglyceride level of 150 mg/dL is desirable. If you can’t get a lipoprotein profile done, knowing your total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol level can give you a general idea. Testing for total and HDL cholesterol doesn’t require fasting.

Total cholesterol should be below 5 mmol/L for it to be considered normal. The value for HDL should be greater than 1.2 mmol/L, and the value for LDL should be less than 3 mmol/L. Cholesterol levels which are above 6.5 mmol/L mean that the danger of heart illness is about four times higher than for a person that has a normal level of 4 mmol/L.

Sources of LDL Cholesterol

Seventy-five percent of cholesterol is synthesized by your own liver along with other cells of the body, while the other twenty-five percent is obtained in your diet.

Exogenous cholesterin refers to the cholesterol derived from the meals we eat, and is derived mostly from the saturated fats in animal foods, like meat and poultry. Other sources of dietary cholesterol are dairy items, eggs, and some seafood. Organ meats, like liver, are particularly high in cholesterol, while meals of plant origin, like fruits, vegetables, and cereals, contain no cholesterol, unless it has been added through food preparation. However, plant items, like flax seeds and peanuts, contain healthy cholesterol-like compounds known as phytosterols, which are apparently able to help lower serum cholesterol levels. Human breast milk also contains substantial amounts of cholesterol.

Animal fats are complex mixtures of triglycerides, with lesser amounts of phospholipids and cholesterin. As a result, all foods that contain animal fat contain cholesterol to varying extents. Some animal products are a lot higher in cholesterol than others. Eggs are best known for their cholesterol content because they are in such common use, even though many organ meats are a lot higher in cholesterol than eggs. Shellfish is a lot higher in cholesterol than fish. Meat, poultry and fish are similar in cholesterol content. However, these foods differ in fat content, so they have different effects on the amount of cholesterol in the blood.

Diet plays a substantial role, not only in how much cholesterol the body absorbs directly from food, but in how much the body produces. For example, a diet high in cholesterol may cause too much cholesterol to be absorbed into the bloodstream. And a diet high in saturated fat may cause the liver to produce a lot cholesterol also.

But dietary cholesterin alone should not be blamed for causing high cholesterol. In the transport of cholesterol from the liver to the arteries, it isn’t cholesterol that creates the thick, clogging plaque deposits, it’s saturated fats consumed.

Endogenous cholesterol is that which is derived from the liver. Our cells make the cholesterol they need for their membranes. The intestines and adrenal glands manufacture cholesterin for the other functions in which cholesterin is used. During pregnancy, the placenta also produces cholesterol, from which it makes progesterone that keeps a pregnancy from being prematurely terminated.

After a meal, cholesterol is absorbed by the intestines into the blood stream, and is then wrapped in a protein coat, known as a chylomicron. Between meals, the liver makes and secretes cholesterol into the blood stream.

Genes have a role in deciding just how much cholesterin the liver produces. Genetics also influences how much the intestines absorb from cholesterin-containing foods like eggs, meat, and dairy items, and how much the body excretes.

cholesterin intake should not be above 300 milligrams a day. Everyone is different on their absorption of dietary cholesterin, but what is important is your amount of blood cholesterin. High blood cholesterol has been linked to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a buildup of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries and other blood vessels, and is a leading cause of heart attacks.

What Is LDL Cholesterol ?

LDL cholesterol is really a kind of fat created by the liver from fatty foods that you eat – meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products, for example. It plays an essential role in allowing your body to function normally. It is present in the outer layer of every cell in your body, carried in the blood by molecules known as lipoproteins, and stored in cells in the form of cholesteryl esters.

LDL cholesterol is a primary sterol – a combination of steroid and alcohol. It is synthesized by animals, but small quantities are also produced in plants and fungi.

Francois Poulletier de la Salle was the first to identify cholesterin in solid form in gallstones, in 1769. But it was in 1815 that chemist Eugene Chevreul named the compound “cholesterine”.

Generally, your body makes all the cholesterinit needs, so you don’t have to ingest it. The liver creates about 1,000 milligrams of cholesterol a day, and you take in approximately 150 to 250 milligrams in the meals you eat.

The synthesis and use of cholesterin must be carefully controlled to prevent over-accumulation in your body. Abnormal deposition ofcholesterin and cholesterol-rich lipoproteins in the coronary arteries will eventually lead to atherosclerosis, which is the leading contributory factor in heart disease. And, aside from affecting the heart, atherosclerosis may also block blood flow to other essential organs, including the kidneys and intestines.

LDL cholesterol levels are identified by chemical analysis of a blood sample obtained by pricking the finger, or from a vein in the arm. To get meaningful results, you should not eat or drink anything for 9 to 14 hours prior to the examination. The amount of cholesterin present in the blood can range from 3.6 to 7.8 mmol/litre, but a level above 6 mmol/litre is usually considered excessive, and poses a danger for heart disease.

Elevated cholesterol frequently starts in childhood. Some children are at greater risk than others, due to a family history of higher cholesterin. Saturated fatty acids are the chief culprit in raising blood cholesterin, which increases the risk of heart disease. But trans fats and dietary cholesterol also play a part in raising blood cholesterin levels.

Some excess dietary cholesterin is removed from your body through the liver. But it’s still recommended that you limit your average daily cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams. If you have heart trouble, your daily intake should be less than 200 milligrams. But even if you don’t have heart problems, keeping your intake of saturated and trans fats low can substantially lower your dietary cholesterol level.

People with very high blood cholesterin levels may need an even larger reduction. Since cholesterin is found in all animal foods, you should not eat more than 6 ounces of lean meat, fish, or poultry per day. It is also best to use fat-free and low-fat dairy products. Proteins from vegetable sources like beans are great substitutes for animal protein.

 Functions in the Body

Cholesterol is important to a person’s overall health and bodily functions. cholesterin, which is a type of lipid, serves as an energy source in the form of body fat. It also forms part of the cell membrane of every cell in our body. Because it is a rigid body fat, it gives the membranes rigidity and stability. It also builds, repairs, and holds cells together. It regulates membrane fluidity over the range of physiological temperatures. Within the cell membrane, it features in intracellular transport and nerve conduction.

Cholesterol is found in large amounts in the brain, nerve tissues, and liver, and is used to produce steroid hormones, including cortisol, cortisone, and aldosterone in the adrenal glands. It also produces the sex hormones progesterone, estrogen, and testosterone, which is why ipeople who are being prescribed with cholesterin-lowering drugs are worried that their sexual function might diminish.

The hormone aldosterone regulates water and sodium balance in our body, and is also made from cholesterol.

Cortisol is a hormone that regulates metabolism, suppresses inflammation, and is produced as a response to tension. This is the reason why people who have higher cholesterin levels are advised to relax, because when you are under chronic tension, your body manufactures a great deal more cholesterin.

Cholesterol is important for the functioning of serotonin receptors in the brain. Serotonin is a chemical that helps to protect us from depression. Several studies have shown that low cholesterin levels are associated with depression and violent behaviour.

Cholesterol is the primary body fat found in the myelin sheath, which coats our nerve cells and enables electrical impulses to occur in our brain and spinal cord. A healthy myelin sheath is needed for good concentration, fast learning, and sharp memory.

Cholesterol is also an intermediate compound from which your body synthesizes bile acids – cholic and chenodeoxycholic, which aid in digestion and with the absorption of dietary fats and body-fat-soluble vitamins from food. This is the major path for elimination of cholesterin from your body. Bile is secreted into your intestines and leaves your body in bowel movements.

cholesterin in the skin covers and protects us from dehydration, cracking, and the drying effects of external elements. It helps to keep skin looking healthy and wrinkle free. cholesterin has a role in wound healing, since elevated amounts of it are found in scar tissue.

Also, cholesterin in the skin is the precursor of 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is ultimately converted to vitamin D. Vitamin D boosts the immune system, and helps to keep blood pressure normal. Getting a bit of sunlight on the skin every day can help to lowercholesterin  levels by facilitating its conversion into vitamin D.

Lately, cholesterol has been implicated in cell-signalling processes, helping to form lipid rafts in the plasma membrane.

Some research has shown that cholesterin also acts as an antioxidant, because it helps transport body-fat-soluble antioxidants around our body – e.g. vitamin E, vitamin A and several antioxidant enzymes.

Some Hints For Reducing

In the past it was accepted wisdom that cutting cholesterol was merely a case of eating fewer eggs and reducing fat intake, but now we know that it is a lot a lot more complicated than that. Good thing is you will find a lot more methods to bring good and badcholesterin in line.

Eat a lot more Good FATS

Monounsaturated fats, discovered in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, lower bad cholesterol (LDL) without bringing down good cholesterin (HDL). Replace butter with olive oil, use skim milk instead of whole and eat lean meat.

EGGS ARE OK

Eating saturated fat is what raises blood cholesterol the most, and eggs are low in saturated fat. Consequently, eggs are ok to eat. Eggs are excellent sources of nutrition. But two groups of individuals are sensitive to eggs. If both cholesterol and triglycerides are higher, eggs ought to be avoided. They ought to be skipped too if a individual has an inherited lipid disorder. Generally, this little group of individuals have very badcholesterin levels at an unusually young age, which means their bodies cannot handle cholesterin properly.

Watch OUT for Bad Fat

A lot more than any other meals, saturated fats stimulates the liver to produce LDLs. But there’s an additional bad fat to watch out for. Trans-fatty acids (TFA) are produced when unsaturated fat is chemically processed, which turns it into solid. Not only do they increase LDLs and total cholesterin, but in higher amounts they may also lower HDLs. Meals labels do not list TFAs, which are discovered in solid stick margarines, shortening, deep-fried fast foods, and numerous pastries, crackers, and cookies. Figure that in any meals containing hydrogenated oils, if the label lists 2 grams of saturated fat per serving, the meals has 2 a lot more grams of TFAs.

LOSE WEIGHT

Being overweight is bad for the arteries because it lowers HDLs. In any given group of individuals, the heaviest will have HDL levels 10 to 15 % lower than the leanest. If a individual is a lot more than 10 or twenty pounds overweight, his/her HDL levels can get eight to 10 points lower.

CHECK YOUR THYROID

Hypothyroidism, if left untreated, can substantially increase cholesterol levels. Symptoms for this problem are tiredness, increased sensitivity to cold, hair loss, weight gain, joint stiffness, and depression. A TSH blood test diagnoses the problem in its earliest stages. Hypothyroidism is very easily corrected by taking every day medication, for example Synthroid or Levthyroxine. Both are less costly than cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Exercise

Raising HDLs by diet alone is tricky, but the combination of normal exercise and strategic eating gets them up. At least 30 minutes a day of vigorous exercise can increase them by 20 %. Exercise also dramatically affects triglycerides.

TOAST TO YOUR HEART

Though a every day alcoholic drink of any kind can increase HDLs by five to 10 %, only red wine is loaded with antioxidant flavonoids that discourage LDLs from clogging arteries. Red wine has 10 times as numerous flavonoids as white wine because grapes, seeds, stems, and skins are steeped in the vat longer.

LIGHTS OUT

Cigarette smoking depresses HDLs at about 9 %.

RELAX

Stress is known to have a harmful effect on arteries. Getting angry with the people around you and consistently burying frustrations elevates LDLs.