Cholesterol is a fairly popular word in society, and many become anxious and panicked after learning that cholesterol level in their blood is high. Increased levels of cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (heart blood vessel blockage and stroke). While cholesterol is popular, many do not know in detail where cholesterol comes from, is it really dangerous and shouldit be shunned and other related questions.
Cholesterol is one type of fat besides triglycerides and phospholipids. The amount of cholesterol in the body of animals and humans is naturally very small compared to other types of fats, ie between 1-2%, while 95% fats are triglycerides or triasilgliserol. Cholesterol can only be found in animals and humans and is not found in plants or food derived from plants. Thus, the various oils made from plants do not contain cholesterol, for example coconut oil, palm oil, corn oil, and olive oil. In plants there is a cholesterol-like molecule called phytosterol, yet human body ca not digest and absorb it, even if it is present in food fitosterol is useful to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in human gastrointestinal tract.
Cholesterol in food or food material is once again found only in foods derived from animals. This means that as long as we still consume food that comes from animals we also consume cholesterol, because cholesterol is an integral part of animal cells. However, the distribution of cholesterol in animal body is uneven, there are parts that are high and some are low. Animal body parts that contain high level cholesterol are organs in animals or offal, skin, gravel, brain, bone marrow, plus egg yolks. Apart from those mentioned, almost all contain cholesterol, yet in lower level.
Cholesterol is needed by the human body for the manufacture of substances: sex hormones (testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone), vitamin D, and bile acids that are useful for fat emulsification in digestion process in gastrointestinal tract. Sex hormones are vital for the process of growth and reproduction processes for human survival. Vitamin D is essential for the growth and metabolism of the human body. Bile acids are beneficial for the digestion of fat and fat soluble vitamins. Therefore, cholesterol is very important for humans. Without cholesterol, human survival can be threatened because the reproductive process is disturbed, thus, human body metabolism will not be normal without cholesterol that will trigger the emergence of various serious diseases. However, human needs of cholesterol is low and if the amount is excessive it will trigger the formation of blockages in the blood vessels of the heart and brain.