One of the common misconceptions people have about their health is that cholesterol is unhealthy. As a matter of fact, not only is cholesterol good for you, but a deficiency of cholesterol can be dangerous. The liver produces 75% of the cholesterol content in the body, while the remaining 25% comes from the food we eat. The misconception stems from where we get that remaining 25%. Cholesterol consumption becomes a problem when the diet is lacking in fiber, lacking in essential fatty acids, is high in calories or is high in refined carbohydrates. However, the body knows what to do with the cholesterol it gets from food and the excess gets excreted.
Cholesterol is a key part in the body’s ability to heal, it serves an antioxidant and is the precursor to bile acid, which enables us to digest fats. While the dangers of consuming an excess in bad cholesterol is well told, the risks of low levels of cholesterol have on health are often lost on the general public. It is present in each cell of our body and the body produces cholesterol to preform many key tasks which are vital to our health.
How the Body Uses Cholesterol
- Cholesterol is imperative to the brain and brain health. Fats and cholesterol are super fuel for the brain, which contains 25% of total cholesterol in the body. Cholesterol is also a crucial component to facilitating brain communication and function. People with higher levels of cholesterol are capable of faster mental processing than those with lower levels. Furthermore, the ability to grow new synapses in the brain depends on the availability of cholesterol.
- Cholesterol is essential to the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D. Interestingly, Vitamin D levels are low in people with neurodegenerative diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Vitamin D also possesses cancer protective qualities. Suffice to say, Vitamin D plays an important role in the human body, and without cholesterol our bodies would be unable to produce it.
- Cholesterol plays a key role in chemical reactions that occur in the body. Cholesterol is in every cell of the body, and its role is to keep the cell membrane permeable. Without this, the chemical reactions that are crucial to keep the body functioning wouldn’t be possible. Cholesterol also produces both sex hormones and adrenal hormones and affects serotonin levels in the body.
Dangers of Low Cholesterol
- Low levels of cholesterol can wreak havoc on the brain. Without Cholesterol our nerves would be unable to function, and our brains would be vulnerable to the damaging effects of free radicals. Low levels of cholesterol are associated with memory loss, depression, anger, and hostility. Studies have shown men with low levels had significantly higher risk of mental health issues. Current studies are also discovering diseased brains are deficient in fat and cholesterol.
- Low levels of cholesterol become more dangerous as we get older. It may come as a surprise that people with high cholesterol levels are associated with increased longevity. As we age, both cholesterol and free radicals increase. So, the rise in cholesterol is beneficial because it protects against free radicals. A low level of cholesterol is also associated with increased risk of cancer.
Contrary to popular belief, not only is cholesterol good for you, but it is essential to your health. While an excess in cholesterol consumption can be an issue, that issue stems from a diet that is lacking in fiber, lacking in essential fatty acids, is high in calories or is high in refined carbohydrates. The liver produces 75% of the cholesterol content in the body, while the remaining 25% comes from the food we eat. Cholesterol is imperative to the brain and brain health. Not only does cholesterol facilitate brain communication and function, but the ability also to grow new synapses in the brain depends on the availability of cholesterol. Cholesterol is also essential to the body’s ability to produce vitamin D, which can help prevent cancer, and low levels of vitamin D have been found in people suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Cholesterol also helps facilitate chemical reactions in the body and produces both sex hormones and adrenal hormones.
Low levels of cholesterol are associated with memory loss, depression, anger, and hostility. Without Cholesterol our nerves would be unable to function, and our brains would be vulnerable to the damaging effects of free radicals. Since the brain contains 25% of all cholesterol in your body, it is a vital super fuel for your brain. The risks of low cholesterol levels become more dangerous as you get older, as the level of free radicals in the body increases as you get older. Fortunately, a healthy diet high in fiber and essential fatty acids and low in refined carbohydrates can help you maintain a healthy cholesterol level.