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Cholesterol: friend or foe?

Cholesterol is not the ‘villain’ it has been portrayed to be. In fact, it is a vitally important molecule for our overall health.

Below are some of its important functions:

* It is a ‘parent’ molecule from which steroid hormones are synthesized; these include: cortisol, testosterone, progesterone, oestrogen.

* It is used by the body to form bile acids which are important for the digestion of fats.

* It is an essential component of cell membranes.

* It is involved in our immunity

* It is a precursor to Vitamin D.

* Our brain is highly dependent on cholesterol for proper functioning; although, the brain forms only 2% of total body weight it uses about 25% of body’s cholesterol!

Some interesting facts:

* Most of your cholesterol is made by your liver.

* Cholesterol is not a problem per se, it’s the oxidised cholesterol that is a problem.

* The size of your cholesterol particles offers a deeper insight into your health, rather than the ratio of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ cholesterol. You want more of those fluffy, buoyant LDL - A particles than those small, hard, dense LDL - B particles.

* Not all HDL cholesterol is created equal; there are various subclasses of HDL (e.g. HDL-2 is ‘good’, while HDL-3 has a detrimental effect on our health as it’s pro- inflammatory).

As you can see this molecule deserves a place of honour since it is involved in so many aspects of our health! One certainly doesn't need to fear cholesterol.

If you want to delve deeper into the topic of cholesterol you might find the book below helpful:

The Great Cholesterol Myth by Jonny Bowden, PhD., CNS & Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACC

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