What is Cholesterol ?
According to Wikipedia, Cholesterol, from the Ancient Greek chole- (bile) and stereos (solid) followed by the chemical suffix -ol for an alcohol, is an organic molecule. It is a sterol (or modified steroid), a type of lipid molecule, and is bio-synthesized by all animal cells, because it is an essential structural component of all animal cell membranes; essential to maintain both membrane structural integrity and fluidity.
Cholesterol enables animal cells to dispense with a cell wall (essential for protecting membrane integrity and cell viability), thereby allowing animal cells to change shape rapidly and animals to move in contrast to bacteria and plant cells, which are restricted by their cell walls.
In addition to its importance as an important component of animal cell structure, cholesterol is also an important precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acid,and vitamin D. Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by all animals. In vertebrates, liver cells typically produce the greatest amounts of cholesterol.
When one considers cholesterol, it is always important to take into the relationship between cholesterol and cholesterol HDL. A high cholesterol level is a risk factor. Lower cholesterol levels reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, as outlined previously, cholesterol is NOT all bad !
The majority of the cholesterol in our bodies results from synthesis by the liver, only a small part originates from our diet :
If you have a cholesterol level below 5, your cholesterol is good. A value above 5 is not good news. The cholesterol level is measured by blood tests. By nature, the cholesterol levels fluctuate. A high value can be a “one-off” so multiple measurements are needed to get a reliable picture of the cholesterol level.
Good & Bad Cholesterol
Generally, there are 2 types of lipoprotein that carry cholesterol to and from the cells: LDL (bad) and HDL (good) cholesterol.
- LDL – bad cholesterol
LDL (ie low density lipoprotein) is also called ‘bad cholesterol’. LDL is the cause of the risk factor of cardiovascular disease. LDL transports cholesterol to the cells and muscles. Along the way, LDL easily settles in the walls of arteries, causing the arteries to narrow and lather. This process is called arterial calcification . The more the arteries are narrowed ie constricted, the greater the risk of heart or vascular disease. The LDL contributes to fatty buildups in arteries (atherosclerosis). Plaque build-ups narrow arteries and raise the risk for heart attack, stroke and peripheral artery disease.
- HDL – Good cholesterol
HDL is called the “good cholesterol”. HDL ie high density lipoprotein according to experts acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver. There it’s broken down and passed from the body. It is also known as “healthy cholesterol”.
Determining the Cholesterol Level
The value of the total cholesterol level is not enough to determine with certainty whether someone has an elevated cholesterol level. The physician also looks at some underlying values:
- LDL cholesterol level
- HDL cholesterol level
- Triglyceride content (fat content)
High HDL cholesterol levels are beneficial. High LDL cholesterol levels or high triglycerides levels are unfavorable.
To predict the risk of cardiovascular disease, the doctor determines the cholesterol rate. Calculation of cholesterol is: Total cholesterol content divided by HDL content. A low ratio is good which therefore implies the good cholesterol (HDL) is high.
Illustrative Summary (!)
Triglycerides are the most common type of fat in the body; they store excess energy from your diet. A high triglyceride level combined with low HDL cholesterol or high LDL cholesterol is linked with fatty buildups in artery walls. This, as mentioned previously, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol Levels in Men & Women
In women, the risk of cardiovascular disease increases slowly. Before the transition, female hormones (oestrogens) have a protective effect on the heart and blood vessels.
During the transition this protective effect is eliminated:
- The fat storage in women shifts from fat around the hips (pear) to fat in the abdominal cavity (apple shape). This form of fat storage increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reducing Cholesterol Levels
First and foremost, start changing your lifestyle ! This involves
- Altering your diet.Proper nutrition can reduce cholesterol by up to 10%. Therefore: (1) less saturated fat. Replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat ; (2) 250 grams of vegetables and 2 pieces of fruit a day ; (3) consume more whole grain, fibre-rich products ; (4) eat more fish and less meat during the week ; (4) reduce your consumption of alcohol since this is detrimental to the blood vessels.
- Take more exercise
- Don’t smoke. Smoking reduces the levels of HDL which quickly increase after cessation of smoking.
As a supplement to maintain an acceptable cholesterol level in your body, we recommend the Hypercet Cholesterol Formula: The Hypercet cholesterol Formula acts as a general tonic supporting the cardiovascular system. Supports good and bad cholesterol levels within the normal range along with the ability to deal with harmful free radicals.
Further details on this product are available free of charge by also clicking the link HERE.