Cholesterol is a lipid, which means that it is a fatty substance that does not dissolve in water. It is produced in the liver. It is necessary for the body because it has many important functions. One of these functions is that it is a part of the cell membrane. It breaks down the connection of the cell membrane and allows things to pass through it more easily. Another function is that it is building block for many hormones. These hormones, like the ones used in processing food, are produced in the adrenal cortex; they are actually different forms of cholesterol. The final function of cholesterol is that it plays a large role in building nerve cells.
The body produces all the cholesterol it needs. That is why a person does not need to consume more cholesterol. This additional cholesterol can be harmful to the body. It can collect on artery walls and harden, causing hardening of the arteries or heart disease.
Cholesterol is transported through the body in the bloodstream. It is transported on large molecules of fat and protein called lipoproteins.
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