Cholesterol - Function and origins

Cholesterol belongs to the family of lipids or fats. It is essential for building cell walls and membranes. Cholesterol is produced in the liver and a certain amount circulated in the blood stream.

Cholesterol is essential for keeping healthy.

Building cell wall and membranes

Cholesterol is necessary for making cell walls and membranes thus ensuring a good fluidity of the cells as well as their permeability to certain substances.

Production of bile salts

It also involved in the production of bile salts which are essential for digestion.

Synthesis of steroid hormones

Cholesterol helps in the synthesis of steroid hormones such as aldosterone, the hormone involved in the control of blood-pressure. The synthesis of sexual steroid hormones, such as progesterone or testosterone, also depends on cholesterol.

Synthesis of Vitamin D

Sunlight converts cholesterol into Vitamin D, which facilitates the absorption of calcium.

Where does cholesterol come from?

Nearly 70% of the cholesterol is made by the liver. The remaining part comes from food.

cholesterol is found in animal products (meat, cold meats, dairy products, offal...) as well as in eggs, fish, shellfish. It is mainly synthesised by the liver.

The regulation of cholesterol depends on genetic factors and our eating habits.