Cholesterol is a component of lipid rafts, this helps to secure proteins involved in cell signaling. When sleeping at night, our brain synthesizes cholesterol to benefit our mood and increase our memory. Cholesterol supports the nervous system, in which cholesterol is a vital component of the myelin sheath. The myelin sheath allows neurons to conduct impulses with each other. Cholesterol has been found to be the rate limiting factor found in the formation of synapses, this formation is necessary for learning and the formation of memories.
How many of you know that besides the cholesterol that causes many medical conditions there is also a good cholesterol. In your body there are two types of cholesterol: HDL, which is the good cholesterol and LDL, the bad cholesterol. For many years now, having a high level of HDL was thought to be very beneficial to your health. This high level of cholesterol was thought to give you some kind of protection against heart conditions. However, lately there have been some attention to lowering all cholesterol levels, not only the LDL cholesterol level, known as the bad cholesterol.
Good Cholesterol (High Density Lipoprotein)
HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol is also known as the good cholesterol. HDL removes cholesterol from your bloodstream and carries it back to the liver. I like to think of HDL as a vacuum cleaner, picking up cholesterol LDL leaves behind in your arteries. HDL should be greater than 40 mg/dL, ideally greater than 60 mg/dL.
The cholesterol test you normally take actually measures lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are sorted by their density: the measure of fat versus protein in the combination. High density means that there is more protein ratio compared to fat. High density lipoproteins (HDL) are good cholesterol. They do the necessary work assigned to cholesterol, they help to un-clog your arteries and help flush excess fat from your body.
The bad cholesterol is Low Density Lipoprotein or LDL. This is the way cholesterol is carried into the bloodstream and it is one of the major causes of the dangerous fatty build up in the arteries. The higher the levels of LDL are in your blood, the higher you are at risk of developing heart disease.
The LDL is considered as bad or damaging cholesterol while the HDL is the good and protective cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is made up of larger particles and are more likely to get caught in the artery’s lining. It is carries the cholesterol from the liver to the cells of the body and blood vessels and ends up inside the cells that line the artery walls. HDL cholesterol is made up of smaller particles and hence are less likely to get caught in the artery’s lining. It is responsible for the transportations of cholesterol from the arterial walls to the liver where it is broken down for removal from the body. The higher the level of LDL cholesterol, the greater the risk of developing coronary heart disease.