In this article on cholesterol facts we will learn some interesting and some surprising facts about it. We will try to answer questions like what is cholesterol? Why is it important? What happens in case of its deficiency? What happens when its level increases in body? And more…
So, let’s begin…
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 1-5
1. Cholesterol is nothing but a certain type of fat, also known as lipid. So, we can say cholesterol is a lipid. It is an essential component for all forms of animal life.
3. Cholesterol is also necessary for making hormones and vitamin D. Hormones like estrogen (in females) and testosterone (in males) cannot form without it.
4. Cholesterol cannot dissolve in blood. Blood is water-based fluid. Cholesterol is based on oil. When it enters bloodstream, it only coagulates into globs that are unusable. Our body then converts it into lipoproteins, which are nothing but very tiny particles of protein.
5. Animal brains have high levels of cholesterol and other lipids. This is why, eating brains is considered unhealthy.
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 6-10
6. High cholesterol level leads to sexual health problems. High cholesterol level clogs blood vessels in pelvic area by depositing fat. This leads to low blood flow in pelvic area. For men, this means erectile dysfunction. For women, it means lubrication problems.
7. Healthy development of embryo is dependent on cholesterol. Studies show that 1 out of every 9,000 babies that are born with birth defect have cholesterol in picture. It turns out that for those babies, the fetus fails to make needed cholesterol.
8. It was found in US Human Genome Project that the fetal brain fails to divide into two halves if the pregnant woman has cholesterol deficiency. This condition of the fetal brain caused by cholesterol deficiency is known as HPE.
9. Of all embryos with HPE, 99% get aborted spontaneously. Only 1% live but they too die with the first year but not before experiencing mental retardation. Pregnant women are advised not to take drugs that reduce cholesterol levels in their bodies.
10. Cholesterol is responsible for maintaining cell health and for protecting cell membranes’ integrity.
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 11-15
11. If hypothetically, cholesterol levels drop to zero, cells will die. This will happen because cell membranes will dry up and then crack. After the cell membrane cracks, the content of the cells will come out. We said “hypothetically” because practically it is impossible for cholesterol levels to drop to zero.
13. Seafood such as fish is low in cholesterol levels. Other seafood may be really high in cholesterol. For example, a 3 oz. lobster has 61 mg cholesterol.
15. Total cholesterol content in body should not exceed 200 mg/dL. Total cholesterol will contain both HDL and LDL. HDL is good cholesterol and LDL is bad cholesterol.
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 16-20
16. A person is said to have high cholesterol if he or she has cholesterol level of 240 mg/dL. This will include both HDL and LDL. dL stands for deciliter.
17. The name cholesterol is derived from Greek word chole and steros. Chole in Greek means bile while steros in Greek means stiff or solid.
18. High cholesterol directly leads to heart disease. In America, almost 1 million people get heart disease every year. Out of these only half survive.
19. Of all cholesterol in body, about 70% is LDL or the bad cholesterol. Now, LDL is needed because it is responsible for taking cholesterol to different parts of the body. LDL has less protein and more fat. When cholesterol level increases, LDL deposits cholesterol in blood stream.
20. HDL on the other hand is good cholesterol. It has more protein than fat. It does not carry cholesterol to other parts of the body. It takes up excess cholesterol from blood and transport them back to liver.
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 21-25
21. The discovery of cholesterol took place in 1769. The person who discovered it was Francois Pelletier de la Salle. He found it in gallstones in solid form.
22. It was Eugene Chevreul – a chemist who came up with the name ‘cholesterol’ in 1815.
23. Breast milk has cholesterol. This cholesterol is necessary for an infant brain because it helps to build nerve tissues.
24. Breast milk has healthy cholesterol which helps to prevent CNS and heart diseases in babies. CNS means central nervous system.
25. Before a woman reaches menopause, she will have lower cholesterol compared to men. Once she reaches menopause, LDL in her body rises. Experts believe that the hormone estrogen helps to keep cholesterol in check in female body.
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 26-30
26. There are absolutely zero symptoms of high cholesterol levels in body. This means that a person is completely unaware that he or she is at risk of cardiac diseases and stroke.
27. American Indians have lowest cholesterol levels. Mexican Americans and White Americans have highest cholesterol. Japanese Americans and African Americans fall somewhere in the middle of these groups.
28. High cholesterol may be genetic my nature. There is a genetic disease known as familial hypercholesterolemia. It is responsible for high LDL content even at a very young age.
29. Smoking is anyway not good because of nicotine. But it also reduces HDL or good cholesterol and increases LDL or bad cholesterol in body.
30. Those who quit smoking experience 5% growth in HDL content. In other words, HDL increases by 2.4 mg/dL.
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 31-35
31. According to scientists, cholesterol plays an important role in brain structure and neuron signaling. Low cholesterol in body is often associated with high accident levels, Alzheimer’s, violence and suicide.
32. LDL levels in the body can increase because of high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, family history of heart diseases at early stage, low HDL content and even age.
33. Men older than 45 years and women older than 55 years tend to have high cholesterol levels in their bodies.
34. High fat content doesn’t necessarily mean high cholesterol content. Liver for example, is an organ which has very low fat content but very high cholesterol content.
35. A study conducted in Ohio state found that Autism symptoms can be eased in children if cholesterol levels are increased.
Surprising Cholesterol Facts: 36-40
36. Red Wine has a chemicals group known as saponins. It helps to reduce cholesterol levels in human body.
37. Researchers have found that when the stress level increases, the level of LDL or bad cholesterol in body increases.
38. On the other hand, a person will have higher levels of good cholesterol or HDL if he or she copes with stress properly.
39. Cholesterol is a waxy substance. Held in hand, it will look like it has been scraped off a candle of whitish-yellow color.
40. Both intestines and liver produce cholesterol. Human liver is capable of producing nearly 1 gram of cholesterol in a single day.