What is Cholesterol?

what is cholesterol

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty, waxy substance that is found in high fat meats and dairy products. The reason it is only found in animal products and not vegetables is that cholesterol is made in the liver, and vegetables don't have a liver.

  • The fat we eat gets absorbed in the intestines and eventually transported to our liver. Once it is there it joins the cholesterol the liver is making and is transported through the bloodstream.
  • The liver converts fat into either cholesterol or triglycerides.
  • The cholesterol and triglycerides are packaged into lipoprotiens and transported through the bloodstream to be used or stored in fat cells until needed.

    Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood (mg/dL).

There are three types of lipoproteins.

  • There are Very Low Density Lipoproteins or VLDL. Though we may hear about VLDL it is not reported to us when we receive the results of our cholesterol check because it is harder to measure.

    It contains the highest amount of triglycerides and is therefore "bad" as well. Normal is anywhere between 5 mg/dL and 40 mg/dL, but it is not mentioned until the reading is at the upper end of this range. When it is, we will often be encouraged to loose weight so we are not carrying around so many fat cells.

  • There is Low Denisty Lipoprotein or LDL which is the "bad" cholesterol. The thing that makes it "bad" is that it has more fat and less protein. It sticks to the lining of arteries, causing plaque to build up in their walls.

    As it builds up and hardens it narrows the arteries, decreasing the flow of blood. This is known as "hardening of the arteries", or "artherosclerosis".

    If the artery becomes totally blocked and blood flow is stopped, a heart attack occurs. If the artery is in the neck or brain, a stroke occurs.

  • There is High Denisty Lipoprotein or HDL which is the "good" cholesterol. The HDL (high density) cholesterol is a carrier vessel that vacuums up the cholesterol in the artery wall and brings it back to the liver.

    It aids in the removal of cholesterol that can block arteries and reduce blood flow. For this reason we want to make sure that our HDL is high enough.

what is cholesterol

Cholesterol is critical for strengthening the membranes of every cell in the body.

Cholesterol is critical for every one, even for vegetarians and vegans. Cholesterol also aids in the production of many hormones including estrogen and progesterone.

When answering the question, "What is Cholesterol?" we need to also ask the question, "What are Triglycerides?"

Triglycerides are the chemical form in which most fat exists - in food as well as in the body.

The fat cells gobble up the triglycerides making the fat cells fatter. When the triglycerides are taken, the part that is left is called LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, the bad kind of cholesterol, or the kind that promotes heart attack and stroke.

The problem really comes when the body has used all the cholesterol it needs, and the LDL continues to circulate through the blood stream, then it sticks to the walls, then it builds up, then the heart attack or stroke occur.

what is cholesterol

After 85% of the artery is blocked with LDL cholesterol it may be too late. That is why it is better to take charge and do something about it while we can.

Because of the question, "What is Cholesterol?" researchers discovered that it is not really the numbers, but the ratios of total cholesterol to HDL - and of triglycerids to HDL, that matter the most. Either way - lower is better.

With 30 million or more prescriptions written a year for cholesterol lowering and triglyceride lowering drugs! And with all the side effects mentioned every time you watch a commercial - isn't it time to step up to the plate and do something better?

After answering the question, "what is Cholesterol," we have a better understanding of what we are dealing with. A lifestyle change in diet and exercise is always what doctors of any sort tell us we need to do.

If we follow this advice and combine it with other natural remedies, such as healthy eating, herbal teas and infusions we may be able to avoid the drugs altogether, get rid of high cholesterol and increase our life expectancy - The Natural Way!

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