Is Cholesterol Bad?
Cholesterol: is it a good thing or a bad thing?
Well the short answer is that it (can be) both. One thing we know for sure is that Atherosclerosis, which is the “hardening of the arteries”, is a process that happens to everyone and will eventually lead to disorder like stroke, heart attack, or dementia. Atherosclerosis, we could argue, is the number 1 killer in North America.
What is Cholesterol?
What is it? Cholesterol is a building block for many things in our bodies: it’s a pre-hormone, it helps with membrane fluidity, and it our nervous systems need it. Overall, cholesterol is required for us to function in a healthy manner, but it can be involved in an unhealthy process: Atherosclerosis. How does it get high?
Cholesterol, as it turns out, is only partially absorbed from our diet; there are also many things in food that reduce its absorption (fibre for example). An average amount of dietary cholesterol absorption is ~125mg per day. (1) Our bodies synthesize about 1,000mg per day, which means only 11-12% of our cholesterol comes from our diets. The rest has to do with how much is made in the body and, more importantly, how much is recycled.
Next up, we will answer the question: What are Lipoproteins? Please join us for for part in this part 5 series.