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Hidden Importance of Cholesterol

11.27.2017

 

 

Ask anyone “What does cholesterol do?” and they’ll likely say something like “It clogs your arteries and gives you heart attacks.”
While excess cholesterol is certainly a major health concern, cholesterol in reasonable concentrations is not dangerous. In fact, it is essential. Cholesterol is the beginning molecule for the following substances within the body:

 

1. Vitamin D – essential for healthy bones and immune system.

**Nerd Alert** If you’re interested in the biochemistry behind this process…
(7-dehydrocholesterol + UV light (sunlight) --> Cholecalciferol --> 1,25                             Dihydroxycholecalciferol (Vitamin D))

 


2. Progesterone – part of the normal reproductive cycle; essential for a healthy pregnancy.

The Biochemistry:
(Cholesterol --> Pregnenolone --> Progesterone)

 


3. Estrogens – also part of the normal reproductive cycle.

The Biochemistry:
(Cholesterol --> Pregnenolone --> Progesterone --> 17α – Hydroxyprogesterone --> Androstenedione --> Testosterone --> Estrogens)



4. Aldosterone – essential to regulating blood pressure.

The Biochemistry:
(Cholesterol --> Pregnenolone --> Progesterone --> 11-Deoxycorticosterone --> Corticosterone --> Aldosterone)



5. Cortisol – produced by the body in response to stress.

The Biochemistry:
(Cholesterol --> Pregnenolone --> Progesterone --> 17-Hydroxyprogesterone --> 11-Deoxycortisol --> Cortisol)


6. Testosterone – another sex hormone.

The Biochemistry:
(Cholesterol --> Pregnenolone --> 17α-Hydroxypregnenolone --> DHEA --> Androstenedione --> Testosterone)


 

As you can see, having healthy levels of cholesterol in your system is essential to the functioning of many of your body’s organs and tissues!
Learn more about other important hormones here.

 

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