The confusion that surrounds cholesterol is pretty intense and whether high levels of cholesterol causes heart attack remains a serious question. Since the year 1950, billions of dollars have been spent to produce drugs that have the power to reduce the cholesterol levels because they are
thought to be an extremely dangerous molecule responsible for heart attacks. The myth that surrounds cholesterol needs to be broken. One has to understand that cholesterol is actually a friend and not a foe. Have you ever considered what would happen without cholesterol in our
body? SLOS or Smith Lemli Opitz syndrome happens to be the genetically occurring cholesterol deficiency syndrome. This is when our body fails to produce cholesterol all by itself. However, this is a recessive trait. That means the defective gene is passed down from both the
father and mother. The number of people who are affected by this is only 2% of the whole population and babies born with this deficiency is far less too. But, it has been seen that an unborn child, which is incapable of synthesizing cholesterol of its own, faces spontaneous
abortion. This proves that cholesterol is extremely crucial for life itself. A child born with SLOS faces a wide range of health defects like autism, failure to thrive, physical defects occurring in internal organs, hands, and feet.
How important is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is a substance that is produced by both the liver as well as a majority of cells present in our body. This is then carried around in our blood by lipoproteins or little couriers. Our body uses cholesterol for the following functions –
- It helps to build the cell membrane structures
- It makes hormones – testosterone, estrogen, and the adrenal hormones
- Your metabolism works efficiently because of this.
- It is because of cholesterol that your body has the power to produce Vitamin D.
- It helps to produce bile acids – this enables the body to absorb important nutrients and digest the fats.
- Cholesterol is essential for learning new things, enables us to think, and create memories.
- It is essential to produce both sex and steroid hormones
Cholesterol is the insoluble, white, and waxy substance. It is carried in our body by two major key transport systems present in our blood. This includes –
- LDL or low-density lipoprotein cholesterol helps to carry most of cholesterol delivered to
- Then there is HDL or high-density lipoprotein. This ensures excessive cholesterol is
removed from your cells as well as arteries.
Deficiency or low levels of cholesterol has an impact on almost every aspect of healthy living. The primary reason behind this is the fact that cholesterol has a critical role to play within the cell membranes. Our body comprises of trillions and trillions of cells which interact with one another. Cholesterol is one such molecule which enables these interactions to occur.