Cholesterol is a waxy substance found among fats in the body. Despite bad publicity, cholesterol is necessary. It's part of every cellular membrane in the body; we have over 100 trillion cells, and cholesterol is an integral part of that. It's a large percentage of our brain tissue.

I had a fantastic conversation with Dr. Ryan Bentley, author of Sex, Lies & cholesterol and there is always something new to learn and simple ways to modify your diet and be healthy.

Cholesterol is used to synthesize our steroid hormones such as testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. We also use cholesterol as a precursor to our stress hormones, such as cortisone, which raises the heart rate and make the muscles tense up. Cholesterol is also the precursor to vitamin D. It's part of the nerves and part of the coating around our nerves, so it's very integrated into the body.

Everybody tags cholesterol as something bad, especially LDL, which isn't really cholesterol. LDL is a low-density lipoprotein, which means it's a protein that's a carrier molecule. It's termed the bad cholesterol because it delivers cholesterol to various parts of the body, such as to the cells for cellular repair and to the organs for the synthesis of steroid hormones. It also helps make bile salts in the body.

LDL carries about 75% of the body's total cholesterol. About 50% of LDL is the LDL molecule itself; the other 50% is cholesterol. It has a higher cholesterol percentage than HDL (high-density lipoprotein), which removes excess cholesterol from the body and transports it to the liver for elimination. People consider HDL the good cholesterol because it removes excess cholesterol. The HDL molecule by itself is only about 25% cholesterol. That's cholesterol in a nutshell.

We can't function without hormones. We can't live without cells since they are what make us up. Nervous tissues run through the entire body, and it's very important to have cholesterol. It's also important to understand that not all LDL is bad, and not all HDL is good, but I'll share more about that later!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane, MD is a board certified anti-aging specialist, emergency physician, comedienne and talk show host who believes “laughter is good medicine”. Dr. Shelby-Lane has been seen and heard on local, state and national television and radio talk shows, educating Americans on a variety of medical issues.

ShelbyLaneMD is also the chief medical Officer for MVP Solutions, a network of healthcare professionals helping to change the health care delivery system and build health care centers worldwide. She is also the producer and host of a health teleseries called Conversations with Dr. Shelby-Lane, interviewing the best health experts on the planet.

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