body needs cholesterol to make vitamin D. in the presence of sunlight,
cholesterol is converted into vitamin D. Vitamin D is mostly known for its role
in calcium metabolism.
liver uses cholesterol to make bile acids, around 400 mg are synthesised
daily, it is a fluid that plays a vital role in the processing and digestion of
fats by increasing their surface area for binding of lipases. One of the most
common bile acids produced by the liver is chenodeoxycholate which possess both
hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties which in water environments can
allow for transport in the blood cholesterol is attached to proteins called
lipoproteins, there are two types: High-density lipoproteins (HDL) which is
referred to as “good cholesterol” and low-density lipoproteins (LDL)
the “bad cholesterol”. LDL is not as heavy as HDL, as HDL contains more protein
and less cholesterol. LDL contributes to atherosclerosis in the arteries and
higher risk of heart attacks and stroke due to build-up of plaque in the narrow
arteries. Having increased levels of HDL is thought to help lower the risk of
cardiovascular disease, as HDLs removes LDL from the arteries and brings to the
is vital for proper functioning of the brain. Cholesterol is used by serotonin
receptors. Serotonin is the body’s natural “feel good” chemical. Low
cholesterol levels have been associated with aggressive and violent tendencies,
depression and suicide.
plays a crucial role in the generation of many steroid hormone, for example, the
stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol C21 is produced at night, it
is released when high stress levels and low level of blood glucose
concentrations are detected, thereby, it activates gluconeogenesis. It is also
used in the regulation of growth development and suppresses the immune system
to aid fat & protein degradation.
Cholesterol is most important for its
role in formation and maintenance of cell membranes and structures. Cholesterol
can make the cell more fluid as it can fit between fat molecules making up the
cell. It decreases the permeability of the lipid bilayer to small water-soluble
molecules. Increased concentration of cholesterol causes the cell membrane to
become more rigid. Cholesterol is necessary for cells to help them adjust
to changes in temperature.