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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cholesterol - The Good and the Bad

been cited as a possible antioxidant, and plays a major part in the human body as a major component used to manufacture many substances required for proper bodily system functions', such as bile acids in the digestive tract, hormones, and the processing of vitamins of the fat-soluble variety (like Vitamin A, D, E, and K). However, despite its many required functions, this necessary molecule can be a dire indicator of disease if elevated levels are discovered.

Cholesterol is excreted by the liver. The typical human adult of about 150lb produces naturally, about 1gram (1000 mg) of cholesterol a day, and retains at any given time about 35grams within the body itself. The amount of cholesterol produced by the human body can be influenced by the amount ingested in food products as well. The more cholesterol a person ingests (approximately 200-300mg in the average US citizen's daily diet), the less cholesterol the body produces naturally. This is the body's method of regulating the amount of cholesterol it maintains. Cholesterol enters the digestive tract via the bile produced by the liver, and is recycled by the body by reabsorbing approximately 50% of the original amount produced, through the small bowel and it is then re-transported throughout the body via the bloodstream. Since Cholesterol cannot be soluble within the blood stream, and is only partially soluble in water, (and even at that, at only very small concentrations), the body has a very remarkable method of transporting this highly necessary molecule. To transport cholesterol the body utilizes lipoproteins, which, spherical in shape, are extremely complex particles consisting of a water soluble exterior called amphiphilic proteins, and a lipid

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