What Is Cholesterol and Can We Make It in Our Body

Cholesterol has received its share of negative press over the years, however it is important to realize that cholesterol is absolutely vital to our

Figure 5.1 (a) Triglyceride (fat) has a glycerol "backbone" with three fatty acids attached. Thus a monoglyceride and a diglyceride would only contain one and two fatty acids, respectively. (b) Phospholipids are diglycer-ides with phosphate and something else attached in place of the third fatty acid. This molecule is lecithin (phosphotidylcholine).

Figure 5.1 (a) Triglyceride (fat) has a glycerol "backbone" with three fatty acids attached. Thus a monoglyceride and a diglyceride would only contain one and two fatty acids, respectively. (b) Phospholipids are diglycer-ides with phosphate and something else attached in place of the third fatty acid. This molecule is lecithin (phosphotidylcholine).

existence. Cholesterol can be made in many cells, and under normal situations we seem to make all that we need. In fact, we will make about 1 gram of cholesterol each day depending on how much cholesterol is in the diet. The liver is by far the most productive organ when it comes to making cholesterol and one of its jobs is to share with the rest of the body. Cholesterol is a necessary component of cell membranes and many vital substances in the body are made from cholesterol (Figure 5.2). These substances include bile components, vitamin D, testosterone, estrogens, aldosterone, progesterone, and cortisol.

Cholesterol is needed for cell membranes and to make certain hormones, digestive factors, and vitamin D.

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