Cholesterol Management >> Understanding Cholesterol >> Liver and Cholesterol
The Liver and Cholesterol Link
© 2005, Frank Mangano
The liver plays an important role in the production of cholesterol in all animals, including humans. Even vegetarians in the strictest sense get about 800-1,500 milligrams of cholesterol a day, just produced by their liver processing saturated fats and sugars. If the liver did not produce some cholesterol, even low cholesterol levels, strict vegetarians could not survive. That is because the majority of cholesterol in food form comes from animal based foods.
The fact is our bodies need cholesterol. However, there is a difference between the cholesterol made by the body and dietary cholesterol. The cholesterol that the liver produces is vital to strengthening the membranes of each and every cell in the body. It is also important in the production of many hormones in the body including estrogen, progesterone, cortisone, and aldosterone. These steroid hormones help the body manage stress and balance sodium and water in the body, not to mention regulate sexual function. Blood cholesterol that primarily comes from diet is what doctors are most concerned about.
Culture and genes play a huge role in how much dietary cholesterol will translate into blood cholesterol. Some cultures and people can consumer high fat and high cholesterol diets without raising their blood cholesterol. This is true of one Southern African tribe of cattle herders who for thousands of years have consumed a diet that would have most modern day Americans in cardiac arrest. Yet they manage to maintain more than ideal blood cholesterol levels of 150 mg/dL. This is because their liver production of cholesterol is able to balance out the consumption of high cholesterol foods.
Not all cholesterol is bad. It is when blood cholesterol is in excess of what the body needs to perform its job with the cells and hormones that we should be concerned about having lower cholesterol. Lower cholesterol levels can be achieved by a good diet based on whole grains and vegetables with limited animal proteins. Find out how in The 60 Day Prescription Free Cholesterol Cure.
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