What is the role of cholesterol?

1 year ago


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Alysha Schinner

3 Replies

Fiona G Profile Picture

Verified Sherpa Tutor

Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in the body. It is produced naturally in the liver but is also found in foods such as eggs, meat and cheese. It is needed for hormone production, use in the digestive system and helps produce Vit D in skin cells.

Too much cholesterol can result in the build up of plaque in the arteries, this is called atherosclerosis which can develop into coronary heart disease where the arteries become blocked..

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Hi Alysha,

Hope you’re well, so we get Cholesterol in two ways:

1) From our Diet: Eggs, Meat, Seafood and Dairy

2) We can also make Cholesterol in our Liver

These Cholesterols exist in our body in 3 different ways:

  • Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) also known as the Bad Cholesterol
  • High-density lipoproteins (HDLs) also known as the Good Cholesterol
  • Very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs)

Bad Cholesterols are like lumps that can form lumps and block our blood vessels. When we have too much bad cholesterol in our body it means our blood can struggle to get around. This can cause some people to have Heart Attacks.

Good Cholesterols pick up all the extra bad cholesterol in our blood and take it to our liver so it can break it down. The liver will then help get rid of it

But these are not the only functions of cholesterol, here is another one:

Cholesterol is very very important in cell membranes and it helps regulate the fluidity. Without cholesterol the membrane would be very fluid and runny. This means lots of molecules would go in and out of the cell and this can be bad.

Hope this helped,

Teeba :)

Aqeel A Profile Picture

Verified Sherpa Tutor

Cholesterol plays an important role in cell membranes of animal cells.

Cholesterol molecules are present in the spaces among the hydrophobic tails of phospholipids in the plasma membrane.

Cholesterol is involved in regulation of fluidity. The cell membrane is just like a fluid in which the individual components can move freely (hence called fluid mosaic structure). Cholesterol molecules in the lipid bilayer check this mobility. The role of cholesterol is temperature-dependent. When temperature is high, cholesterol reduces the mobility of phospholipid molecules. When the temperature is lower, cholesterol enhances their mobility.

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