Glossary term explanation

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is one of the major fat-soluble compounds that is found in animal plasma membranes. It is necessary for life and is found throughout the body. It is carried from the liver to the tissues where it is needed by lipoproteins of which it is a component. Much of the cholesterol is transported in Low density lipoproteins (LDL). High levels of LDL lipoproteins are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.
Cholesterol is transported back to the liver from the tissues as a component of High density lipoproteins (HDL). Low levels of HDL lipoproteins are associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.
One theory of heart disease holds that cholesterol builds up inside the arteries whenever there is too much cholesterol in the blood. The cholesterol attaches itself to the inner walls of the arteries as a component of plaque. The build-up of plaque inside the arteries leads to a diminished supply of blood to the heart. See atherosclerosis.
Cholesterol-inhibiting medications, called statins, inhibit not only the body’s synthesis of cholesterol but also the body’s synthesis of Coenzyme Q10, making Coenzyme Q10 supplementation especially important for people taking a statin medication.



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