Cholesterol is vital to your health. Researchers are discovering just how vital it is. As one explained it, think of the liver as packaging cholesterol into so-called lipoproteins, combinations of fats and proteins that function as mass-transit systems. They transport cholesterol, fat-soluble vitamins, and other needed substances through the bloodstream to the cells that need them. What is so vital about cholesterol? Here are a few key functions cholesterol provides:
- Helps keep cell walls (membranes) working appropriately
- Assists cells in adjusting to temperature changes
- Is used by nerve cells for insulation (myelin)
- Helps create substances such as vitamin D in the presence of sunlight
- Produces bile, a fluid that helps process and digest fats
- Creates hormones such as testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen
What role do trans fatty acids play in raising LDL cholesterol? More tomorrow.