Cholesterol is a fatty substance found in all animal tissues. The substance makes up an important part of the membranes of each cell in the human body. The liver uses cholesterol to manufacture bile acids, which aid indigestion.
Cholesterol is also utilized in the production of certain hormones, including sex hormones.

Where is cholesterol produced?

The human body manufactures most of its own cholesterol. All body cells are capable of production, but most is made by liver cells.
Cholesterol also enters the body in food, particularly from butter, eggs, fatty meats, shellfish, and organ meats, such as liver and brains.

How is cholesterol transported in the body?

Three types of special molecules called lipoproteins:
  • high-density lipoproteins (HDL), 
  • low-density lipoproteins (LDL), and 
  • very low- density lipoproteins (VLDL)
transport cholesterol from the liver through the bloodstream to cells throughout the body.

What does high cholesterol mean?

Although the body needs cholesterol, high levels of LDL-type and VLDL-type cholesterol have been linked to certain diseases, particularly atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
One large study of middle-aged men with elevated cholesterol levels showed that for each one percent reduction in blood cholesterol level the chance of heart attack was reduced by two percent. Because of this, many physicians have recommended a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats to reduce risk of heart attacks and atherosclerosis elsewhere in the body.
Each person’s ability to maintain a healthy level of cholesterol is determined partially by inheritance and partially by diet.
Foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol should be reduced in quantity and frequency.
Consultation with a physician or nutritionist will help direct effective changes toward a more healthy diet and lifestyle. Several books are also available for this purpose. Adults should have their blood cholesterol checked every five years by their physician in order to control this very important health risk factor.
It should be checked more often if other cardiac risk factors are present.

Good cholesterol - What is good cholesterol?

HDL-type cholesterol is sometimes referred to as “good cholesterol” because, unlike the other types, high levels of HDL-type cholesterol may actually provide protection against heart attack.

How to increase good cholesterol?

Exercise and a diet high in fish may improve the HDL level.