Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all cells of the body.

Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Your body makes all the cholesterol it needs. However, cholesterol also is found in some of the foods you eat.

Cholesterol travels through your bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins (lip-o-PRO-teens). These packages are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside.

Two kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout your body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Having healthy levels of both types of lipoproteins is important.

LDL cholesterol sometimes is called “bad” cholesterol. A high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. (Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from your heart to your body.)

HDL cholesterol sometimes is called “good” cholesterol. This is because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver removes the cholesterol from your body.

Source: NHLBI (NIH)1

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Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that your body needs to function normally. It’s used in the cell membranes that surround cells throughout your body. You also use cholesterol to make important chemicals, including hormones, vitamin D and the acids that help you digest fat.

“Cholesterol has a variety of uses in the body that are very important,” says Dr. James Cleeman, coordinator of NIH’s National Cholesterol Education Program, “but the body makes all it needs and we don’t need to get any more from our food.”

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)2

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References

  1. Source: NHLBI (NIH): nhlbi.nih.gov/ health/ health-topics/ topics/ hbc
  2. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2008/ January/ docs/ 01features_01.htm

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.